Chinese Martial arts are divided into two main categories: The Northern and the Southern. Shaolin leads the Northern category. It combines both external and internal, and “hard” and “soft” exercises.
Boxing is the foundation of Wushu and Shaolin Boxing serves as the basis of other kinds of Wushu. The Shaolin Boxing has compactly designed routines, its movements are quick, powerful and flexible, both practical for defense and attack.
The most outstanding characteristic of Shaolin Boxing is that the practitioner works on one straight line. It means that his movements of advancing, retreating, turning around, sideways, or jumping are restrained on one line. His arms are kept sightly bent so that he can stretch out to attack or withdraw for self defense freely.
Another characteristic of Shaolin Wushu is to maintain the body in perfect balance, as stable as a mountain. The practitioners should keep a tranquil mind but strike with great force and speed. He should be geod at “borrowing” force from the opponent. That is, he should take advantage of the striker’s force and go along with it to bring him to ward off a force of a thousand weights. He should know how to make feigned strikes and when striking, hit the vital parts of the opponent. His movements should be as dexterous as a cat, his shaking as a tiger, his moving as a dragon, his advancing as lightning and his yelling as thunder.
The practice of Shaolin Wushu does not need a large space. It is said that Shaolin weather, or the kind of weapons used. So Shaolin Wushu has become a very convenient sport.
In 1982, a feature film “Shaolin Monastery” was released on the mainland China, in Hong Kong, Macao and abroad. Due to its popularity, the number of visitors to Shaolin Monastery to learn Wushu or for sightseeing increases day by day. Wushu teaching schools have been set up. In 1985, there were more than 40 of them, with students from 20 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. In early 1986, the county government combined the schools into five in order to guarantee their quality. In the past several years, many students from these schools have gone on to join professional Wushu teams or sports colleges, and some have become coaches of Wushu teams in other provinces and cities. Shaolin Wushu got its name from the Shaolin Monastery, and the Monastery became famous for Shaolin Wushu.