The transcript below is from the video “This Is Why Shaolin Monks Are so Strong by #Mind Warehouse.

#Mind Warehouse (YouTube Channel):

“There is probably not a single person in the world that hasn’t heard of the Shaolin Temple. Not everyone is interested in documentary films, but the abundance of movies about the life of the Temple and the monks has helped everyone to get to know it a little. However, this information is quite superficial, especially in Hollywood movies. Do you know why the Shaolin masters are so strong and invincible? What difficulties and adversities did they have to overcome in order to become real pros? Today we will tell you the detailed history of the monastery’s formation and reveal the secrets of the monks.”

#Mind Warehouse (YouTube Channel):

“Hello folks!  There is probably not a single person in the world that hasn’t heard of the Shaolin Temple.  Not everyone is interested in documentary films, but the abundance of movies about the life of the temple and the monks has helped everyone to get to know it a little.  However, this information is quite superficial especially in Hollywood movies.  Do you know why the Shaolin masters are so strong and invincible?  What difficulties and adversities did they have to overcome in order to become real pros?

Today, we will tell you the detailed history of the monasteries formation and reveal the secrets of the monks.  Let’s get it on.  The Shaolin Buddhist temple was founded in 495 but few people know that the monastery was there before that.  It was built in the early 5th century originally as the abode of Kou Qianzhi, the Taoist Reformer.  After almost a century when the persecution of Taoism began, the monastery was finally occupied by Buddhists.

At first, there was nothing extraordinary about the Shaolin monastery, but everything changed in the 530s.  It was then that the temple was visited by the Indian monk Bodhidharma.  He taught the local monks how to improve their mediation skills and maintain their physical health.  This is rarely mentioned but the tradition which became the pride of China was initiated by an Indian.

#Mind Warehouse (YouTube Channel):

The teaching drastically changed the Buddhist practices at the monastery and in 620, it had become famous as a martial arts center.  Shaolin flourished between the 14th and 16th centuries when the number of young monks that wanted to dedicate themselves to the monastery increased.  However, only the strongest could get in, capable of withstanding tests of body and spirit in total for 1,500 years.

The monks worked tirelessly to improve the techniques passing them on from generation to generation.  So that at the beginning of the 21st century, their fighting school is considered legendary.  The Shaolin Temple is located in central China, in the Song Shan mountains in the Henan province, Dengfeng City County.  It’s about 846 kilometers from the Chinese capital Beijing.

In the life of Shaolin monks, there have always been two main occupations:  mediation and training to develop strength, agility and endurance.  It was believed that spiritual enlightenment is only achievable through strenuous daily training and numerous limitations, therefore, the day-to-day life of the legendary temple seems wild and even impossible for common people.  A normal day in Shaolin as in other monasteries, begin early, at five in the morning.

For the first two hours, the students practice meditation and you can’t imagine what happens to those who fall asleep by accident.  The instructors watch the mediators closely and each person who falls asleep is punished with a stick.  Students then proceed to morning training in order to develop their flexibility.  The leg split is only a small part of the result, which is achieved thanks to intense daily training.

#Mind Warehouse (YouTube Channel):

The final stage of the morning exercise is bathing in a mountain stream, as well as, a massage with the use of special creams and herbs.  This allows the body to recover faster and to support a greater physical load.  The duration of morning training nowadays, as it was a thousand years ago is three hours.  After a quick breakfast, the monks proceed to study the scriptures and then begin the main training of the day, which lasts two and a half hours.

During the first half, the disciples perform exercises intended to develop strength and endurance.  The second part is dedicated to martial arts.  It’s worth noting that the life of monks subject to a strict schedule, practically excludes and has never included leisure time.  To achieve total control over the body, these people reject even freedom.  Every day they spend so much time doing exercises that they have even worn out the stones of the training caps.

In the past, the surface of the floor was smooth and even but today, is full of holes in places where for centuries every day, the disciples of the monastery have practiced their exercises.  Only one hour after lunch is dedicated to personal activities.  After this, the training continues.  This time sparring.  Students practice the techniques learned during the day with their rivals.  The skills of Pugilism and combat with weapons are developed.

#Mind Warehouse (YouTube Channel):

It’s very interesting that for the practice, it’s necessary to use all force without taking into account the fact that the other person is your classmate.  Mentors carefully observe the actions to avoid injuries.  It should be noted that throughout the long years of the monasteries existence, the daily routine has not changed and no one has tried to soften it.  The students of the monastery study different styles of Wushu or Kung Fu by mastering the styles of the tiger, the snake, the crane, the leopard, and the dragon.

Upon achieving certain successes, the student becomes a warrior monk.  After which, he receives a special belt.  The improvement process takes many  years and Shaolin masters know more than 170 combat techniques.  If you look at a monk from the Shaolin Monastery, his appearance doesn’t reveal the incredible strength and endurance that’s hidden in their body.  A person who trains every day should have an impressive muscle size, right?

This is true but not in the case of the Shaolin fighters.  The reasons why students don’t increase in size from training are many.  Partly, it’s about genetics.  The Chinese in the majority are prone to slimness and gain weight slowly.  Another reason is their diet, which is very strict for the case of the  monks; meat, fish, eggs and other animal products containing large amounts of protein are prohibited.

It’s no secret that protein plays a key role in the formation and growth of muscles.  It’s also important that the Shaolin monks train every day without rest.  So the muscles simply don’t have time to recover and grow.  Of course after awhile, the body adapts but instead of developing muscles, the energy is spent on increasing the strength of the tendon.  But who cares about muscle size.

#Mind Warehouse (YouTube Channel):

If thanks to his incredible skill, a Shaolin monk can easily beat any opponent even the biggest bodybuilder.  The monks claim that the true power is not in the huge muscles.  A  puffed up body is less agile and flexible and large muscles interfere with the speed of movement.  Then, why have these muscles?  At the beginning of the video, we mentioned that Shaolin monks faced various difficulties and adversities.  So, it’s time to talk about this.

In the 20th century, the normal life of the Shaolin monks came to an end.  Yes, the monks still stood out for their incredible strength and agility, but they could do nothing against firearms and artillery.  The 1920s were filled with war and as a result, in 1928, the monastery was completely destroyed by fire.  In 40 days, the fire destroyed the scriptures and writings of the monastery, and this place which was once full of strength ended in ruins.  World War II had its effect, too.

At the end of the war, only seven people survived among the ruins and only three of them were familiar with the Shaolin martial arts.  At this critical moment, the history of the monastery may have ended forever but at the last moment, the ancient tradition was saved.  The Chinese authorities came to the rescue.  To revive the monastery, they had to find martial arts masters familiar with Shaolin traditions and invite them to teach their secrets.

#Mind Warehouse (YouTube Channel):

The monks carried out a long and arduous work to recover the traditions and the customs of the monastery, which for almost half a century was in ruins.  The 80s of the 20th century were marked by a quiet period in the life of the Chinese, which of course was also perceived in the  monastery.  The government managed to re-establish the economy, eliminate the problem of nutrition, and developed GDP (growth rates) to keep pace with the changing times.

The Shaolin monks decided to lift the veil of secrecy that surrounded the temple.  An important event occurred in 1982, when the film Shaolin Temple appeared on the screen.  This marked the beginning of a new era for the monastery when a wave of popularity swept through China, after which hundreds of young people from different provinces, who wished to become novices, turn to the walls of the monastery.

Unfortunately, not all of them were able to make their dream come true.  The novice followers of the monastery were selected with severity and only the most gifted were chosen.  They who lived in the comfort of their homes were forced to compete with each other within the walls of the monasteries who achieve their goal.  Little by little, the fame of the monastery began to grow and eventually spread far beyond the boundaries of the People’s Republic of China.

The abbot of the monastery, however, didn’t want to stop there.  He managed to adapt to the realities of the modern world and with him, the monastery itself together with many novices also adapted.  It is the central element in the plot of many documentaries and motion pictures.  In many films, it’s mentioned or else the main characters are somehow connected to the temple.  Students who have lived in the monastery for many years, travel the world to organize spectacular performances and demonstrate their abilities that seem almost impossible.

#Mind Warehouse (YouTube Channel):

The monasteries own territory also did not stay away from world fame.  The rector decided that there was no need to keep the training process a secret.  That is why every morning the doors of the temple are opened and it becomes a tourist Mecca, being one of the main attractions in China.  To get to the temple, you must pay 100 Chinese Yuan which is about 15 dollars.  After paying, the visitors have access to the sacred relics at the temple.  Can look at everything and take pictures for the memories.

For an additional cost, you can buy several souvenirs.  Some of them are officially blessed.  However, the most important attraction which draws tourists from all over the world is the inhabitants of the monastery.  Many visitors have the opportunity to see the training of the beginner monks with their own eyes.  The present state of the Shaolin Monastery is almost entirely a reflection of the work of Abbot Shi Yongxin.

He was not afraid of change and in the end, he began to play the role not only of a spiritual mentor but also of a Shaolin brand manager.  Today, he even attends communist party congresses.  None of the previous masters had visited such places in the entire history of the temple.  Shi Yongxin represents the interest of this monastery in the political world and is one of the most influential and respected people in China.

Okay, stop being lazy!  It’s time to use that brain of yours.  Welcome to Brain Time, incredible facts from the past, the present and even the future.  The power of nature and wild animals, amazing facts and unsolved mysteries.  You’ll find all this and much more here.  Subscribe now!  You won’t regret it.”

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