Roughly six hours each day is dedicated to Shaolin training at our school. This includes practicing traditional fist and weapon forms, Chin Na (grappling), and Sanda, along with lots of strength, flexibility and conditioning training.
Forms are systematised martial techniques arranged in patterns, with the aim of developing strong and stable footwork, learning basic striking, and training sweeps/takedowns as well as takedown defence. One might describe it as an ancient form of 'shadow boxing'.
Students will spend roughly 6 weeks practicing each form on average. They will often alternate between learning fist and weapon forms. So, if a student trains for 3 months, they will learn one basic fist form and one basic weapon form (usually either staff or sabre).
Chin Na is the practice of locking and trapping as well as other basic and advanced grappling techniques. Shaolin forms have many of these techniques imbedded in them so it is important for students to understand the practical applications of these concepts. These include wrist, elbow, and shoulder locks, as well as choking techniques and defence against them.
Full contact competition of traditional styles of Kung Fu was banned by the Chinese government in an effort to distance common people from violent activities, and also because in the past they would have bare-knucle matches that would often result in injury and, in some extreme cases, death.
In recent years, unified rules were developed to allow practitioners from different Kung Fu backgrounds to compete to test their skills against one another.
It is an important part of Shaolin training as it allows students to further understand their true level of competence when it comes to applying martial techniques. These days, Sanda is taught all around the world as a form of kickboxing.
Students will have an opportunity to learn all basic punches, kicks, and how to build combinations. Also, when the weather is warmer, it greatly reduces the risk of injury, which allows students to practice more takedown and wrestling techniques.
2 hours per day is dedicated to the practice of Yang style Tai Chi.
Tai Chi and Qigong training is an important part of traditional Chinese martial arts. It focuses on breath control and relaxed, steady motion. When doing several hours of hard, external training everyday, this practice can complement all of that with its soft movement, which can help students recover their energy faster, help to heal sore muscles, and release body tension that may accumulate throughout the day. At higher levels of training, it can help students to better control their power when practicing other aspects of their training, such as Sanda or forms.
Short-term students (2-3 months) will have a chance to learn 24-step form and longer-term students (6 months - 1 year) will have the opportunity to learn 42-step form as well as Tai Chi straight sword form.
Qigong is a standing form of meditation that is used to help people control their breathing patterns. This can be used to help heal injuries, regulate one's emotions, and relax the body and mind.