STQI Downtown Toronto School
Your Journey to a Strong Mind and Body
If you want to learn the Shaolin arts properly (and advance in your capability and skill level), you need to adjust your mindset and look forward to practicing fundamentals.
For instance, in Shaolin Kung Fu, we repetitively work on the basics of stretching, conditioning, stances, foundation kicks, and striking techniques.
Even after years of practice, the good student will continue to train these fundamentals. Master Dao is no exception - he must also regularly train the fundamentals.
The idea that we need to consistently practice the fundamentals comes from ancient Shaolin wisdom. It also applies to Shaolin Qigong, Shaolin Tai Chi, and Shaolin Meditation.
Thus, the students who seriously focus on foundation, will take the fastest path to self-improvement, and outshine others who do not.
Shaolin Masters are very careful when choosing disciples to carry on the Shaolin legacy. Certain wisdom and 'secret' teachings are only passed on orally.
What they generally want are disciples who care about the traditions and respect them.
What they typically worry about is dilution of the Shaolin Arts.
Students must also be careful when deciding to become one. Being part of the lineage means, dedicating some part of you to keep it going. Otherwise, it's just a title with little or no positive impact in the world.
Traditional Shaolin culture recognizes that physical health is just as important as mental health.
When people want to self-cultivate through meditation and Chan (Zen) philosophy, they must also physically train their bodies.
Why does Shaolin Wisdom teach us this?
When the physical health suffers, it creates torment for mental health. This makes it even harder to stay focused and self-cultivate.
Therefore, Shaolin adopted the idea that one can maintain and develop great physical health through martial movement. This improves circulation and the immune system by supporting the vital organs.
People are attracted to the idea of learning Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and/or Qigong. However, the most important idea, and what makes Shaolin so unique, is the practice of self-cultivation.
Self-Cultivation can be thought of as meditation, introspection, and understanding oneself. By practicing this regularly, one can greatly strengthen the mind, and then open up to compassion to help others.
Another way of thinking about Self-Cultivation, is that it will improve your focus, awareness, and clarity of mind. These will then enhance the depth of your development in any Shaolin art.