Shaolin Center of Seattle

FAQ

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Tai Chi Teaching

I have no previous martial arts training. Will I be able to do Shaolin Kung Fu?

Yes. Our classes are designed to take someone with no experience and give them the full set of skills that made the Shaolin warrior monks famous throughout all of China. The system has proven successful for 1500 years worth of students – there’s no reason it can’t work for you!

I have not done any exercise or strenuous physical activity in a long time. Is it necessary to be in shape before I start classes?

No. The classes are designed to benefit all levels of physical ability. The warm-up exercises can be tailored to give a light or heavy workout with just a slight modification in body position for each exercise. In the learning groups, you can put as much power into each technique as your body allows. As you develop more strength and flexibility, you can easily increase the intensity of each class to get more out of it.

I have a chronic injury. Can I still do Shaolin Kung Fu?

Certainly. You can modify the warm-ups and techniques to gently work the injured parts, and by working out the rest of the body, you increase overall blood circulation to help heal long term or chronic problems. After a few months, most students see an improvement to the injured area, and in some cases even complete recovery!

Will Shaolin Kung Fu work for self-defense on the street?

Definitely. The techniques we teach were developed and perfected over centuries of combat situations. We make sure you understand the applications behind all of the techniques taught in class, so you can choose the best way to defend yourself should the need arise.

How is Shaolin different from other martial arts like Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Jiu Jitsu?

Shaolin Kung Fu is much older than all of these arts, so it has had a much longer time to develop an advanced repertoire of effective fighting techniques. It is said that “all martial arts come from Shaolin”, meaning that many other styles were created by someone wishing to share their exposure to Shaolin’s fighting methods with a new group of students. The application of Shaolin Kung Fu is pragmatic and ferocious with an emphasis on the elegant delivery of finesse-based techniques.

High KickingHow is the Shaolin Center different from other Shaolin schools such as Wing Chun or Hung Gar?

Due to our rare lineage, we have a much larger variety of styles — empty hand, weapon, and internal. Styles such as Hung Gar, Wing Chun, and Drunken Boxing all came directly from Shaolin, though much like Karate and Jiu Jitsu, they are a specialized field. Each style or weapon works different muscle combinations and emphasizes unique abilities specific to that style. By practicing a diverse range of styles, you get a more robust workout.

What does it mean to freeze my membership?

If you purchase a 3 month, 6 month, or one year membership, and discover you cannot attend classes for an extended period of time, you can “freeze” the membership for the length of your absence. Just notify your instructor via phone, email, or tell them your last day of class. Your first day back “unfreezes” the membership.

Do you offer a free trial class?

No. Since students are exposed to a tremendous amount of material on the first day, we encourage students to try more than one day of classes in order to ensure you make a well-informed decision before committing. Instead, we offer two weeks for only $20. Just show up for any of the beginning classes during those two weeks. You can see the beginning class times and new student information here.

Why do you wear Japanese uniforms and use a Japanese belt system?

When Grandmaster Ie fled to Indonesia it was a time of severe persecution for Chinese people in Indonesia. Chinese weren’t allowed to use chopsticks, have Chinese names or practice Chinese martial arts. In order to fool the authorities, Grandmaster Ie called the art “Shaolin Do”, and dressed his students in Japanese uniforms, and thus was able to teach the art. We continue to wear the Japanese uniforms not merely for their durable affordability, but also to remember how close our art came to dying in the last hundred years. Were it not for Grandmaster Ie’s ingenuity in disguising the Shaolin art, we would have nothing to study today.

In addition, the Japanese style uniform is virtually identical to what the monks wore when training (crossed tops, loose pants and colored belts to denote rank), according to historical resources like the surviving frescoes of the martial monks training from the Thousand Buddha Hall at the original Shaolin temple. The frog button silky uniform that people often associate with Kung Fu is actually a relatively recent innovation, dating to the late Ching dynasty. Hence these fancier types of uniforms are both less historically accurate, and also ill-suited to the intensity of traditional Shaolin training.

Why do we spar? What if I don’t want to spar?

Free sparring allows you to work on applying techniques learned in class in a safe, creative and fast paced environment. Although you are encouraged to spar as often as possible, you do have the option to sit out during the sparring portion of class. You may also request that your partner work with you on specific applications rather than free sparring during the round.

Are there sparring competitions?

We do not have any competitions. Shaolin Kung Fu is not a sport. Because the sparring portion of our class is a laboratory for exploring the effective application of techniques, you are allowed to work on a much wider variety of applications than would normally be emphasized in a competition-oriented sparring environment.

Why are there references to other Shaolin temples?

After the first burning of the original Shaolin Temple, the art was dispersed through a network of 7 Buddhist temples and Taoist hermitages across China, so as to have a better chance of keeping the knowledge fully intact.

When is the best time to start my training?

Today! Classes are designed to begin at any time. Don’t hesitate to come by to see if the ancient art of Shaolin is right for you.

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