1) Is this “real” Kung Fu ?
The Shaolin Institute is a martial arts and health-wellness facility with a lineage direct to the original Shaolin temple in Henan province, China. We offer traditional Shaolin training. The Institute’s Master, Shi DeRu (Shawn Liu) is 31st generation Shaolin Grand Master, trained by the great master, His holiness Shi Suxi the at the Shaolin Temple. Shaolin teaches and trains an individual to be free in body, mind and spirit. For more than 1,500 years, the Shaolin Temple has trained hundreds of thousands of the highest disciplined warriors in the world, with deep respect, great character, integrity, a superior level of self control and indomitable spirit.
Students are offered a wide variety of internal/external disciplines to study and master, with a mission to make the world a healthier and better place to live. The knowledge of Shaolin evokes a confidence that enables us to stay focused and on course with our views and missions. Major programs are Shaolin Kungfu/Wushu, Taiji (Tai Chi), Qigong, Cardio San Shou Kickboxing, QinNa and Health Wellness Programs.
2) “What do “Kung Fu” and “Wu Shu” mean ?”
We can give a direct the translation of these words from Chinese into English: “Kung Fu” which translates to “Time and Energy”. Kung Fu is a term historically used in the Chinese language for anyone who gains a skill through time and effort. The more modern term associated with “Kung Fu” is “Wu Shu” which translates to“Martial Arts”. Neither of these two terms can be separately translated to a fighting style or some type of self defense. However, when they are placed together, they represent the general set of Chinese martial arts.
3) “What do “Tai Chi” and “Qigong” mean?”
First of all, “Chi”, or “Qi” (pronounce them both the same - “chi”). “Chi”( or “Qi”) is understood in the West to be the vital energy deep within us all, which can be developed and manipulated. Chi is a Chinese term, and loses much of its meaning when removed from its proper context. Simply put, Chi is the Taoist concept of an underlying life-force, which is said to circulate in specific patterns in the body. The benefits to good health associated with Qigong or Tai Chi practice derive from maintaining the flow of chi. Many manifestations of Chi can be explained using quite normal vocabulary, without recourse to mysticism. In martial arts, to achieve the total expression of physical power, a person must also learn to develop health, internal discipline and energy.
“Chi” or “Qi” may also be defined as life energy, breath or breath energy, our essential vitality. “Gong” is defined as work. Thus “Qigong” is breath work, life energy work, internal energy channeling and cultivation.
Now let’s examine “Tai Chi”, starting by using the full term “Tai Chi Chuan”.The literal translation of Tai Chi Chuan is “Supreme Ultimate Boxing”. This is one of the oldest form of internal Kung Fu. Although primarily practiced today as a “moving meditation”, and a wonderful exercise form for improving Qi balance, circulation, concentration and relaxation, Tai Chi is, in origin, a method of fighting. Tai Chi is one of the three internal martial arts of China. The difference between internal and external arts has been debated widely. It can be said that the internal arts are more concerned with how the body controls and generates strength and energy. The differences don't mean much, however, because at the highest levels of any martial art, it's all exactly the same.
4) What are “San Shou” and “QinNa”?
San Shou is Chinese kick-boxing. Master Shawn Liu is the “God Father of Sanshou” as many media depict, and the United States National San Shou Team Head Coach, representing the USA at international competitions world-wide. QinNa is a system of grappling and arm-leg locks, taught here for basics in self defense.
5) Can I do this?
Every person can do Kung Fu. The Chinese martial arts are most importantly a healthy way of life. The training in Kung Fu includes not only the more familiar physically explosive forms, weapon techniques, physical toughening, and self-protection skills; but, must also include mental discipline such as meditation, breathing and healing Qigong as well as Tai Chi. Training in Kung Fu is exercise, To fully practice a martial art, a person must also strive to develop and maintain a level of fitness that will allow them to improve their physical and mental capabilities.
6) What class should I take?
It depends on your physical ability and your current interests. For you to enjoy the most from your training, it helps to have a solid understanding of what you want to achieve and to define personal goals. At Liu Institute, each prospective student must have an interview and orientation before he/she becomes a full student. Together, we will help you decide which class will work best to meet your goals and where to start.
7) How long are training sessions?
A training session lasts about 30 minutes for kids from 4 to 5-years old and also for beginners; 45 minutes for older beginners and adults; 1-2 hours for intermediate and advanced students.
8) Who will be my instructor?
The Institute’s Head Master, Shawn Liu (DeRu) is 31st generation Shaolin Grand Master, trained by the Great Master Shi Suxi at the Shaolin Temple. His selected instructors are well trained in the techniques, styles and traditions, directly from the original Shaolin Temple of China.
9) Will my instructor be professional?
Your instructors are carefully selected and trained by Master Liu. They serve each student with kind hands and hearts. The Institute strives to provide all selected trainers with on-going training in professional conduct and instructional skills. There are various levels of “professional certifications” established for instructing the Shaolin martial arts. Your instructors are specially trained and supervised by a true Shaolin Master.
10) Will classes meet a planned time schedule?
It would be wonderful to have a full time Shaolin temple where students could reside and train full-time, but, this is today - in America !! We understand that this is not your only activity all day, every day. All classes follow a regular schedule and must start and end on time.
11) I’ve heard about difficult, mean spirited martial arts schools and instructors - Will my instructor be encouraging?
Shaolin is a means for attaining harmony, to increase an individual’s health, mental attitude and encourage a deeper awareness and focus. We also strive to have our students become positive community representatives. This begins with the instructor’s attitude towards teaching and towards their students. You will be encouraged in every step along the way to make sure of your progress.
12) Will I understand what my instructor tells me?
All instructors strive to give each student explanations of the exercises and techniques in the training program. We take care to answer questions as best we can during the training session without reducing the level of training being provided to the class. Instructors will also be available to answer questions before and after classes. To the greatest extent possible, instructors will be made available to assist students in other languages. Students will be assisted in every way possible to understand all situations of the class and all the materials covered in class.
13) Will I be introduced to anyone? Will anyone be my age, and will anyone be a beginner like me?
You will be introduced first to your instructor and office staff. You will be introduced to all the students, especially beginners in your ranking at the institute. All classes are divided not only by ranking but also by age.
14) Will I feel welcome or out of place?
This is a very friendly institute with positive energy around. You will be welcomed very dearly.
15) Will I leave here feeling like I have learned something or will I leave feeling confused?
Like any new experience, you may be confused in the beginning due to the large amount of unfamiliar information given. In this regard, you will be in great company! All of the students and instructors in the classes have been in that same situation and will strive to help. You will feel more comfortable with your program as you progress. It is a great feeling.
16) Will I learn something new each time I come so I can see progress or will I do the same thing each time I come?
You will learn something new each time you come. The martial arts, like any physical training regimen, require repetition of body movements. Improvement comes through conducting this training with the assistance of the Master and the instructors, and through your own concentrated attention and focus. Each student must train hard and review all the previous training skills before moving on. The speed with which an individual student advances is directly dependent on their level of personal attention to the training. Our training philosophy is “master a few things with perfection instead of going over many things without mastering anything”.
17) Will I be on some type of program so that I can have a goal and progress toward reaching that goal?
You will be assigned a program and a goal will be set. When a goal is set, the goal can be achieved.
18) What is self-defense?
Self-defense is a state of mind and any available means of safely avoiding or escaping a potentially dangerous encounter.
19) Does self-defense work?
Yes. Self-defense training can increase your options and help you prepare responses to slow down, de-escalate or interrupt an attack. Like any tool, the more you know about it, the more informed you are to make a swift and accurate decision and use it.
20) Will it take years before I learn how to defend myself?
No, a basic course can offer enough concepts and skills to help you immediately develop self-protection strategies, which you can continue to build and perfect indefinitely.
21) Is self-defense a guarantee?
No, there are no guarantees when it comes to self-protection. However, self-defense training can increase your preparedness and options.
22) Am I too old or out of shape to study Kung-Fu?
You don’t have to be an athlete to learn how to defend yourself. Our program is designed to adapt to every age and their limitations. It provides each student with the opportunity to learn at his or her own level.
23) Will I get hurt?
Under the staff’s direct supervision the student is taught how to control the amount of contact while training. At no time is a student allowed to use destructive force. This policy provides for safe training and maximum learning for each student.
24) What is the difference between Kung-Fu and Karate or Tae Kwan Do?
Among these martial arts, there are similarities in some physical appearance, but the mental aspect is quite different. Kung-Fu is the oldest martial arts in the world with 3000 years of history. These arts were carried to other areas of Asia and incorporated into the styles of combat and Buddhist training of their day. Kung Fu, is characterized by both straight line as well as more fluid circular movements, and includes both internal and external strength with more in depth training. Karate evolved later in history in Japan, with varying styles of “direct” (“rigid”) movements. Tae Kwan Do, developed in Korea, and has been speculated to have derived from Karate and Kung Fu, but adapted it’s highly evolved kicking techniques. Akido, one of the latest derivations of Karate, established as a distinct style following World War II, more closely resembles the origins of Kung Fu with fluidity of movement and the combination of internal and external energy toward a peace and health – the circle of martial arts expands and yet returns to its beginnings!
The Shaolin Temple is the oldest institution that teaches martial arts, health and wellness. For more than 1,500 years, the Chinese martial arts have grown and become inclusive of new ideas and techniques, while maintaining its rich and proven traditions.
25) Is there a belt ranking system in this school?
Yes, in order to organize each student’s studies and check your progress, we have a ranking system. Beginning from Black sash (belt), which is a symbol of total darkness, we progress through many years of disciplined training and studies to a more advanced level of Golden black sash symbolizing completion of the first level of pre-discipleship program graduation.
The first graduation, which epitomizes the accomplishment of successful completion of various levels of sash tests, is the first launching platform for students to travel on the path to becoming a true Shaolin warrior.
The whole process of golden black sash program is divided into 4 stages of studies: freshman (white-orange), sophomore (green-red), Junior (purple-brown) and Senior (from part 1-part 2 golden black) before the first pre-discipleship graduation. After first full pledged golden black sash graduation, only the dedicated Shaolin warriors will be chosen to continue further training on the road to become full pledged disciples, some of whom will be chosen to become future certified Shaolin instructors and Masters who need many more years of in depth studies and training.
26) Okay, when can I start?