Shaolin Temple Experiences - Program Content

Shaolin Temple Experiences Program Content

On all our programs, you will get the opportunity to experience a variety of kung fu cultures, including kung fu foundations, Shaolin Tongbiquan forms, Yang Style taichi, applications and body strengthening exercises specific to Chinese martial arts and the Shaolin Temple.

Note that these are not a fighting courses, with no direct combat elements. The ability to fight is one by-product of martial arts and kung fu training, and we do practice martial drills and learn applications of the the Shaolin Tongbiquan form.  But at the Shaolin Temple and on our Kung Fu programs, more emphasis is placed on training body strength and conditioning, spirit, speed, stamina and power, as well as correct form and technique, all of which are the essence of what it means to ‘have kung fu’. 

Please note: While CK Martial Hearts designs our courses very carefully, to allow anyone the opportunity to experience kung fu and culture at the Shaolin Temple, it would be impossible to always meet 100% of applicants expectations, 100% of the time. Therefore, in the best interests of applicants, CKMH reserves the right to vet each applicant to assess their suitability for our programs. CKMH will review each application and may require further information before confirming whether your application to join this program has been successful. 

Early to bed, early to rise!

Shaolin Temple Experiences - Learning Tongbiquan

On all programs, every day starts at 6am with a class in Yang Style Taichi, led by your guide.

You’ll learn a short Yang Style form, including stepping and balance techniques, correct postures, how to ‘root’ or stabilize yourself and some of the theories behind Yang Style taichi practice and application. 

These classes emphasize very relaxed postures, while still building strength and endurance. 

To enjoy the benefits of morning taichi, these classes are conducted outside. If the weather is bad, classes may not be held.

After breakfast, you’ll head to the temple. Before each session, your guide will lead you through a warm-up routine which includes intense cardio, balance and stretching exercises. This is followed by 2 hours in the morning with your laoshi (teacher; the warrior monk who will be training you).

Practice makes perfect

During each session, the first hour you will practice ‘jibengong‘ (基本功) or kung fu foundations, which are considered essential to be able to practice the Shaolin forms, and therefore the applications, well. Typical jibengong training includes horse stance training (the most basic kung fu posture), stepping and balance training, and muscle and sinew strengthening exercises.

In the second hour of training, your teacher will teach you the Tongbiquan form. Traditional Shaolin Tongbiquan is considered one of the most famous schools of kung fu and one of the fastest and most powerful.

Afterwards, your guide will lead supplemental training. This will include correcting your form and intention training, focusing on punches, kicks and blocks from the form.

The afternoon session follows the same structure as your morning training. Supplementary training will feature application drills, how to use the Shaolin and Taichi techniques you have been learning and impact conditioning exercises.

Shaolin Temple Experiences - Grip Strength

Please note that at the Shaolin Temple, discipline and respect are taken extremely seriously, and factor very deeply in how willing the warrior monks are to teach new students. While no one will force you to do anything you don’t want to do, all students are expected to give 100% effort in all activities, and accept that they will be pushed to do the best they can. If you truly wish to know what it means to train and develop kung fu, you must also continually push yourself and pay close attention to all the instructions your teachers give you. If you feel you are unwilling or unable to commit to this, CKMH respectfully suggest these training programs are not for you.

Class times and locations will vary depending on the weather and season, but a typical schedule with the warrior monk is 9-11 and 3-5. 

No rest for the wicked

Shaolin Temple Experiences - Warrior monks watch your every move

The time it takes to learn Tongbeiquan depends on each individual student, but can be learned by the majority of people in 5-6 days.

You are expected to practice in your free time, and you can practice either in the temple or at one of the practice grounds around the Shaolin Scenic Area. As with most things, the more you put into your training, the more you are likely to get out!

More about the Tongbiquan style can be read on our blog here.

Out and about

On both the 1 and 2-week programs, participants have the option of joining an excursion on the Sunday morning, and visiting some sites of interest around the Shaolin Scenic Area.

These include the Pagoda Forest (the resting place of former monks and abbots), Chuzu Temple (an active convent) and Erzu Peak, with beautiful views across the Shaolin Scenic Area.

Thursday afternoons are free.  You may like to continue practicing, go shopping or explore the rest of the Shaolin Scenic Area.

Shaolin Temple Experiences - Body conditioning

The longer the better

On 2-week programs, the first Sunday features the excursion above, while the second Sunday morning features a hike to Sanhuangzhai, a mountainous area close to the Shaolin Temple that features stunning views of the surrounding areas and an isolated monastery perched on the mountain top.

Also exclusive to our 2-week programs is the addition of qigong exercises in addition to morning taichi, and training in the famous Shaolin Yin Shou Stick Form.

New in 2017

Thursday mornings now feature a training session at the Shaolin Tagou Wushu School, one of the largest martial arts schools in China. Participants will train Shaolin combat techniques and fight applications.

Also new is the opportunity to volunteer at the Shaolin Temple Farm. As part of the Shaolin Chan Buddhist ethos, giving time to laborious duties is considered a highly spiritual action, and whether you follow Buddhist teachings or not, is most definitely time well spent.

Please note that no part of our programs is compulsory. However, to get the most from your program we recommend attending all activities and give 100% effort. If you are concerned about any activity we offer, or wonder if our programs would be suitable for yourself or your group, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Looking for more information?

Shaolin Temple Experiences - Prices and Payment Information

Shaolin Temple Experiences - Where exactly is the Shaolin Temple and how we get there

Shaolin Temple Experiences - Click here to apply for your place on a Shaolin Temple Experience!

Learn kung fu at the Shaolin Temple in 2016 - Contact CK Martial Hearts at the Shaolin Temple


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