World-famous Shaolin Temple offers free kung fu classes in Richmond (Video)

Shaolin kung fu has 1,500 years of history

Have you ever dreamed of learning authentic kung fu from Asian kung fu masters living in the mountains? Now you can realize your dream right here in Richmond.

Shaolin Temple, one of the most well-known and historical Zen Buddhist temples in China – especially famous for its kung fu – has opened a centre in North Richmond.

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The two masters, Yanhong Shi and Yandi Shi, were sent to Richmond from the kung fu monastery in Songshan Mountain in Henan, China, with the mission of providing Kungfu and meditation training to local residents.

“We were invited by some local groups in Richmond to come and let more people know about our Shaolin culture and kung fu," said Yanhong, who has been trained at the temple for more than 10 years and now teaches Zen in the centre in Richmond.

Another master, Yandi, is the kung fu teacher here in Richmond – he has practised kung fu in the Shaolin Temple in China since age six.

Master Yandi Shi demonstrates kung fu at the Shaolin centre in Richmond:

“The essence of the Shaolin spirit is the unification of Zen and kung fu,” said Yanhong.

He explained that Zen is similar to meditation, through which people clear their mind to make their minds healthier, so they can “function and obtain wisdom that can benefit a person in all aspects in life.”

Meanwhile, Shaolin kung fu, which has 1,500 years of history, includes martial arts, acupoint, pair exercises, the use of weapons and qigong – an exercise that involves controlled breathing, according to Yandi.

“The purpose of Shaolin kung fu is not to hurt people, but to protect ourselves. That’s very important to keep in mind,” said Yandi, adding that kung fu not only exercises the body, but also people’s courage and temperament.

“Zen helps people have a healthy mind, and kung fu helps people have a healthy body. When we are healthy in both, we can achieve a lot of things and make more of a contribution to society.”

Richmond's Shaolin centre at 12080 Bridgeport Road currently offers free kung fu and Zen classes to adults and children throughout the week – donations are welcomed.

Classes are conducted in Chinese with English translation, but the two masters told the Richmond News they are learning English in the hope of delivering classes in English in the future.

The Richmond location is one of 138 centres of the Shaolin Temple outside of China.

The expansion of Shaolin culture abroad, according to Yanhong, is supported by the Chinese government but "has absolutely no political elements" – all the costs are sponsored by donors in China and other countries.

“For us, helping more people in the world get healthier and understand Shaolin culture is a responsibility and a blessing,” he said.

For a course schedule, check http://www.ShaolinCanada.org/Courses-cn.

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