What is Shaolin-Do? Shaolin Do is the original blend of hard and soft fighting arts. It doesn"t rely on body rigidity to develop power like Karate, but instead generates force from natural body mechanices and circular movements. Yet Shaolin Do is more than just a fighting art, it is a way of perfecting oneself. By attempting to master these ancient styles of fighting, we actually come closer to mastering ourselves. The ancient Chinese observed the diverse fighting strategies of the animal kingdom, and realized that like animals, people also required fighting techiques suited to their unique physical statures. Thus the animal fighting systems were born. The animal-based forms taught in Shaolin Do have been passed down for more than two thousands years. Throughout history, the Shaolin monks have been the most feared fighters in Asia, but even more famous is their love of peace, virtue and honor. The long standing history of the Shaolin temples and their famous reputation can be attributed to an ability to train not only deadly fighters, but masters of life.
According to legend, in the year 517 A.D., the Indian, Bodhidhara (Daruma) traveled to China and taught meditation to Chinese monks at a monastery called Shaolin-Sze. Because of the poor physical condition of the student monks, he instituted a system of physical and mental discipline embodied in the I-Chin Sutra. Soon the monks at Shaolin-Sze became known as the best fighters in China. Over many years, these systems of unarmed combat intermingled and eventually developed into the art of Chan-Fa which later became the world's deadliest system: Shaolin Chinese Martial Arts (Kung-fu). The term Kung-fu does not refer specifically to the martial arts per se. It is more a slang reference used in the United States and in some parts of Southern China. Wushu (War Art) is perhaps the more proper term. The terms Wu-Shu and Kung-fu are both generic terms encompassing all the different styles, weapons, routines, and other aspects of the Chinese martial arts.If you would like to know more about Shaolin-do, and it's grandmaster (Sin Kwang The'), please visit the official website of the Shaolin-do Association.
Born with a rare disease, Su Kong Tai Djin was abandoned by his superstitious parents, who thought him to be a demon. He was found by a group of Shaolin monks who brought him back to their temple to live, knowing that he would never survive in society. As grandmaster of the Fukien Temple, Su Kong was the first person to master all the material from all six Shaolin temples. Shaolin Do traces its lineage back to the Fukien Shaolin Temple through three extremely remarkable Shaolin grandmasters. The first was born in Fukien Province in 1849. As an infant he was abandoned by his parents in the forest near Fukien Temple. He was found by a passing monk and taken to Fukien Temple where he was given his name, Su Kong Tai Djin, and subsequently raised by the monks. From a very early age Su Kong Tai Djin studied the Shaolin art with exceptional dedication. The Fukien Masters responded to his dedication with a rare deviation from normal training, Su Kong Tai Djin was allowed to study with each of the Fukien Masters. He was able to complete every branch of Shaolin training and in doing so, he mastered hundreds of styles and disciplines. This was an unheard of accomplishment. In a time when each Master was responsible for a particular segment of the Shaolin system, Su Kong Tai Djin mastered the entire system. Without his dedication many of the arts of Shaolin would certainly have been lost or so fragmented that it would not be recognized by a monk of old.
Ie Chang Ming inherited the immense body of Shaolin knowledge as a master at the Fukien temple and received the Grandmaster title after the burning of the last temple from Grand Master Grand Master Su Kong Tai Djin. Grand Master Ie left China and settled in Bandung, Indonesia where he began to teach the Shaolin art. In Indonesia a law was passed prohibiting the teaching of Chinese Martial Arts. Grandmaster Ie circumvented this law by adopting many of the trappings of the Japanese styles of martial arts. He changed the name from Shaolin Tao to Shaolin Do. He changed the uniforms from the classical Chinese styles to the Japanese karate gi's. He also used Japanese belts instead of the Chinese sash and instituted a ranking system similar to the Japanese using Japanese names. The changes, although cosmetic, were enough for the authorities and he was allowed to continue to teach. It was not easy to become a student of Grand Master Ie. There was a long waiting line and each prospective student had to prove their worthiness to receive training from him. Although no one knew it at the time, Grand Master Ie's exile was important to the preservation of the Shaolin Art. His rigorous training standards and teaching maintained the true tradition of Shaolin. Yet, his flexibility, in modifying the outward trappings of the art, ensured that Shaolin Do would not be lost.
In 1943 a boy named Sin Kwang Thé was born in Bandung who would one day become the third Grandmaster of our lineage. His family had several Shaolin ancestors and young Sin was drawn to the martial arts. His father, however, had been injured during martial arts training when he was a young man and opposed his sons wishes. Nonetheless, Sin Kwang's mother secretly let him out at 4 am each morning, so that he could study the martial arts. He began with sand burn training. Sand burn training is a crude form of toughening the hands by thrusting them into buckets of hot sand.
After 6 mths, the sandburn man stopped teaching. Sin Kwang heard about Grandmaster Ie's school and went to watch. Grandmaster Ie had 80 students practicing empty hand forms, weapons forms and sparring. The 7 year old Sin Kwang asked to join the school, but he was put off with polite excuses. One evening, Grandmaster Ie spilled a bowl of uncooked rice on the training hall floor. He asked Sin Kwang to pick up the rice, grain by grain, and to blow the dust of each grain. He was to find all of the 855 grains that had been in the bowl. It was late at night, and the Shaolin students had all gone home, by the time Sin Kwang was through dusting and counting the rice.
The rice counting was only the first of many tests of determination and character Sin Kwang passed. For the final test, Ie spilled hot tea on the boy and took hold of him, looking deep into his eyes. He saw no anger, only surprise. Sin Kwang The' was finally accepted as a Shaolin student.
In the beginning, Grandmaster Ie had Sin Kwang do hundred of squats to build up his legs. They were done standing on the edge of a chair, with only the balls of his feet touching the seat. He also had Sin Kwang stand in horse stances for what seemed like an eternity. Next came mastering all 49 postures of the I Ching Ching. Only after these preliminaries were completed, did training in martial techniques begin.
Five years later at the age of 13, Sin Kwang The' tested to Black Belt. For his test, he had to spar 7 other students while blindfolded. He also had to do forms blindfolded. At different times during the forms, boards were held in his path. Since he didn't know when there would be a board, every strike in every form had to be true.
In 1964, Master Sin was preparing to go to Germany to study engineering and physics. He had added German to the multitude of languages that he could speak. Yet the Berlin crisis altered his plans. By chance however, he met a couple from Lexington, Kentucky who were able to arrange a scholarship in the US for him. Master Sin Kwang The' came to the United States.
Master Sin studied academic subjects with the same dedication that he gave to the Shaolin art. As often as he could, he returned to Indonesia, for the time had finally come for him to learn the Golden Snake Style.
First of all, Master Sin had to learn to move like a snake. Grandmaster Ie tied Master Sin's wrists to his feet in an arched position similar to the I Chin Ching #35 posture. In this position, he learned to crawl by moving the muscles of his chest alone. Grandmaster Ie also threw Master Sin into the ocean with his hands and feet tied. Master Sin learned to swim by wriggling his body. Only now was he ready to learn the Golden Snake forms.
In 1968 Master Sin's training was complete. Grandmaster Ie awarded him the 10th Degree and the Grandmaster's Red Belt. Sin Kwang The' had become the youngest Grandmaster in the history of the Shaolin art.
Grandmaster The' continued his education and was on the verge of completing his Master's Degree when Ie Chang Ming died at the age of 96. Grandmaster The' realized that while there were many engineers and scientists, he was the only Shaolin Grandmaster. He dropped his studies in order to devote all his time to teaching the Shaolin art.
Shaolin Grandmaster Sin Kwang The' could have returned to Indonesia to resume teaching the art. Instead he chose to stay in the US. This was a bold break in tradition, for in the past only full blooded Chinese had been permitted to learn the Art. Yet when American men and women from all walks of life were able to learn what was once taught to a handful of Chinese monks, it was clear that martial arts excellence dependence on time and effort and not race. There are now several American Masters.
A 8th degree Black Belt certified by Grandmaster Sin Thé. He is one of only four individuals outside of full Chinese descent to achieve the rank of Elder Master in Shaolin Martial Arts. Elder Master Mullins has studied with Grandmaster Sin Thé since 1973 where he has trained in various forms of physical conditioning such as Mayflower Post, Iron Hand, I Ching, and Five Animal Training. His training in Shaolin has also included the Internal systems of Tai Chi Chaun, Pa Kua Chang, Hsing I, and Chi Kung and many of the 36 traditional Chinese weapons.