have their martial arts, and these are usually very ancient;
our school in particular is 2000 years old, and throughout
its history there have been 87 Grand Masters who have
transmitted the teaching orally from master to disciple,
which has avoided the disappearance of the Tradition.
first mentions of the abilities of Chinese pugilism come
from the legend of the Yellow Emperor Huang Ti, who fought a
fleshy monster called Ch’ih Yu 4,000 years ago. In the sixth
century B.C., in the Chou Dynasty, Sun Zi (the oldest
book on the art of war known in China) was written. The book
refers to able fighters, and says “…to prepare oneself for
hand to hand combat, and combat with weapons, to be certain
to defend oneself from an attacker, be it man or beast.”.
This book and another of the period of the warring states
were printed between 1122 and 221 B.C., when China wasn’t a
vast empire, but a group of populations which combated each
other with their armies of nobles. During this dynasty, a
military sport called “yiao” (fight) was practiced along
with the crossbow and chariot driving.
first dynasty which united all China was the Han, which
began in the year 220 B.C.,, and concluded the feudal period
of the noble warriors. The Han unified the three kingdoms
which existed at the time: Chin in the north, Chuen in the
south, and Chung Yua in the center.
One could say
that Shaolin had its principal locus of development in the
Shaolin Monastery situated in Song Shan (Ho a Chang)
mountain, in the province of Honan in the north of China.
The monastery was founded in the year 475 A.C. After the Han
dynasty, China found itself once again divided.
In the year
525 D.C., Bodhidarma (the term derives from the Sanskrit
Dhyana), known in China as Ta Mo, and known in Japan as
Daruma arrived from India. He professed a different form of
Buddhism. Bodhidarma, the patriarch (the 28th
Buddha), exposed his new philosophic concept called Chan
Buddhism in China (Chan = meditation).
breaks all the paradigms of the Buddhist teaching, because,
contrary to traditional Buddhism, it is an forceful
intuitive self-penetration; a system of impact which defends
that to reach illumination one needn’t believe in God, as
man, to know the great mysteries of the universe, must
journey from within himself to the universe; not the
universe to man.
that, for man to know God, he must begin with
self-knowledge. Illumination, for Chan Buddhism, is acquired
via right thought, right action, and in general a right
expression in one’s existence. This is more a Taoist
exposition than classic Buddhism. This concept displeased
the emperor of the south of China; therefore, Bodhidarma
headed north where he was well-received, and lodged in the
Shaolin Monastery. He headed to a cave 1,300 feet high,
where he remained for approximately nine years in meditation
facing a wall “hearing the sound of the ants”. At the time,
the Shaolin Tsu Monastery was headed by the Mahayana
Buddhist sect (which means “the great vehicle”). The
province of Ho Nan was divided between the Meridional Liang
Dynasty and the Septentrional Wei Kingdom.
a Hindu prince; third son of the Indian king Shuganda; and
member of the feared warrior caste Ksatria. Upon leaving
India he was accompanied by two bodyguards who had become
his disciples, and were under orders from his father to
guard his life. These two men knew a folkloric art of Hindu
self-defense (which still exists) called Karapaito, and they
taught movements of this art to Bodhidarma. In the
monastery, when he had completed his long meditative
exercise, he practiced these breathing and strengthening
exercises. These movements began to be imitated by the
Shaolin monks, by which they learned to dominate the fatigue
which they felt after their lengthy meditations.
those times, China was passing through difficult times,
characterized by political instability. Food was scarce and
the monks, malnourished, would fall asleep exhausted during
their meditative practice. Worse yet, they were attacked by
bandits who were plentiful during that period.
Shaolins would heed the calls of the peasants whose populace
was being destroyed, their people robbed and killed, the
monks were attacked and allowed themselves to be beaten
fulfilling their vows of non-violence. But Bodhidarma
advised them to “convert each finger into and arrow, each
arm into a sword, and each leg into a garrot”. He taught
them eighteen exercises of pugilism, to increase
their strength, concentrate the Tchi, and withstand
assailants. These movements were based on meditation and a
series of harmonious movements of nature. These movements
are called the 18 hands of Lo Han (Shin-Pa Lo Han Sho) or
“weaving silk”. These were the 500 disciples of Buddha who
had achieved nirvana and return to earth as Buddha's. These
movements permit control of respiration, and sinking the
Tchi in the Inferior Tan Tien, as in this manner one is much
more stable than one whose lungs are filled with stagnant
air. The Tchi concentrated below, and fresh air in the lungs
makes the fighter firm as a mountain.
a short time, the monks were recognized not only for their
great wisdom, but for their fighting strength and skill,
which allowed them to effectively clan the monastery area of
bandits. Bodhidarma thus united Dhyana mediation with
physical exercise, placing them on the same plane of
importance. And although Ta Mo was not a martial artist in
the strict sense, he is the inspiration of Shaolin and the
martial arts which later arose in imitation.
technique recognizes two categories of fight, depending upon
whether or not one is armed. Some people
think that the history and existence of the patriarch
Bodhidarma is a myth, and search for the origin of the
martial arts in other sources; but the carvings in the
Shaolin Monastery walls prove not only his existence, but
also his life and teachings.
monastery, 18 classic schools were formed, from which
emerged 360 styles. The monk had to spend two years in each,
so that after 36 years he graduated as Master, having been
trained as: lawyer, engineer, doctor, military, and priest.
At that time he had to submit to a series of tests to be
allowed to leave the monastery.
were called the “test of the four chambers”. The first of
these chambers submitted the monk to a test of
concentration. It was called the “lucky – sad” room, and
there the masters told the aspirant first a funny story and
then a tragic one. If the slightest hint of emotion was
noted, he failed the test.
Then came the
“room of strength”, where the candidates had to lift a 90
kilo stone, shoot an arrow from an immense and heavy bow,
and carry two baskets with 180 kilos each. After this room
was the feared “dark chamber” where the hearing and senses
of the aspirant were acutely tested. He was to remain seated
in the dark in absolute silence while a knife or lance was
thrown directly at him. The novice had to hear the arm
arrive, and block or avoid it. Then an immense trunk,
mounted on wheels, rolled crazily through the room; and,
unless the candidate could jump over it in the dark, he
would die crushed.
was the “chamber of vengeance”. There ten armed senior monks
awaited him. The candidate was given a chair or a club, with
which he was obliged to defend himself without wounding any
of them. If he was able to do this, he was allowed to rest
and meditate before the final test: he
passed through a long corridor near the entrance to the
temple, and at its end, after having defended himself from
108 wooden dummies that move in coordination with his steps
on the paving stones, the monk had to pass through a door
which opened via a trip mechanism which was underneath a
scalding hot cauldron: such that to open the door he had to
embrace the cauldron and lift it. On its sides The cauldron
had in high relief a dragon on the left and a tiger on the
right. Thus, when the monk lifted the cauldron, these
figures were branded on his forearms, which were, so to
speak, his diploma. This diploma varied from temple to
temple it passed for a next runner prolonged to the entrance
of the Temple, in some it was a pair of dragons, in
others cranes, serpents, or leopards. This harsh test
demonstrated to the other monks and the candidate himself
that he was above pain and fear. The masters of the
monastery, upon leaving the temple, headed toward varying
locales; to remote villages where they established their
monasteries. Thus they dispersed throughout China,
maintaining for many years the integrity of the empire; the
the extent that the Shaolins began to be used as guardians
of the empire; a work for which they were rewarded with
terrains to continue their labor and disseminating Shaolin.
On the flip
side, some monks weren't able to complete the tests to reach
mastery, and so many of these escaped the temple and formed
their own schools to teach the people. As these monks hadn't
achieved the required development, they created schools
which are not comparable to that achieved by Shaolin.
masters and their schools gave birth to what is known as
Kung-Fu Wu Shu, which means ¨well learned martial arts¨. But
the techniques of Shaolin were very distinct from the
martial arts done by the people, as those of Shaolin are the
fruit of an internal development, and the others arise from
the struggle for survival.
This great difference was visible in the tournaments which
occurred regularly in the towns, in which a monk was allowed
to participate, and left the other competitors slack-jawed.
Many myths were woven about these warrior
monks : that they walked on water, flew through the air, and
could remain for long time periods under water without
breathing ; as their discipline brought them incredible
strength, and through the control of Tchi, they could
endure great trials. One could strike any part of their body
with an iron bar and leave no wounds, or lift tremendous
weights ; it is even told that they could jump on a
swallow's nest without harming the small bird. One of the ¨myths¨
that the monks could fly, this may have been due to an
out-of-body experience, otherwise known as and astral
The myth was so strong, that in China it
was said, ¨No one knows and no one can do anything, except for
God and the Shaolin Monks.¨ .
The rigorous Shaolin training consisted
of hours of striking tablets and bags of rice with fists.
They would climb posts using only their wrists and knees for
leverage, and balance themselves so for many minutes. This
gave them such strength that with a scissor hand block, they
could smash of the bones of the hand of an adversary. They
toughened their hands by sinking them in buckets of hot
sand, and sharpened their speed by striking moving sacks
filled with racks and horsehair.
In the year 470, the emperor Wu Ti (there
were five emperors at the time), in his anti-Buddhist policy,
decided to destroy the Shaolin temples. The teaching was
therefore fragmented among the disciples, and transmitted
bit by bit by the masters. It is told that after the
persecutions to which the monks were subjected under this
government and later dynasties, only five Shaolin masters
remained, the so-called Five Immortals ; they reconstructed
the art. The monastery was later rebuilt by the kings
of the Suei dynasty (589-618), although it is uncertain that
they practiced Shaolin within.
Tang Dynasty (618-907), most of the Chinese youth knew Kung
Fu Wu Shu, and the amount of Shaolin practitioners increased
greatly as well. This is considered the Dynasty of the
Golden Age of Shaolin. In this era the great deeds of the
fighter monks such as Chih Tsao, Hui Yang, and Tlan Tsung of
Hunan Temple are known.
In the year
675, a new crisis occurred in which the Emperor Li Chi Ming
lost almost complete control of the empire. During that
time, many guerrillas arose. One of the guerrilla leaders at
the time, Wang Shih Chung, wanting to create a separatist
regime, kidnapped the son of the emperor of China and
demanded a great sum for his safe return. But the prince
threw his seal to some peasants from his imprisonment. They
collected this sign and brought it to the monks who
identified it ; thus, knowing that the kidnapper was a cruel
man who terrorized the region, they decided to rescue the
prince. Twelve monks headed toward the site indicated by the
peasants. They divided themselves in two groups : six who
would go to the rescue, and six who would bring the getaway
horses. After a long battle, the Shaolins successfully
rescued the young man, and one of them, Tan Tsung, remained
behind wanting to catch the guerrilla chieftan. Doing so, he
has to chase the man to a brothel, where in the dark he
fought him and was able to capture Wang. Meanwhile, the
bandits chased the monks, but the emperor's troops arrived
on the scene and cleaned up the remaining bandits.
gratitude, the emperor conferred upon the Shaolin monastery
the title ¨first monastery under heaven¨ and offered all the
monks the post of general in his army. Only one Shaolin
accepted, with the condition that he could continue with his
mystic discipline and teach it to his men.
time, the Chinese Army was renowned for its discipline and
strength. The other monks didn't accept the post ; they were
given instead a the Imperial Mantle ; a beautiful red cloak
with gold embroidered checks. From that point the Shaolin
monks could act as official representatives of the emperor
in his absence.
when the feudal lords saw the dragon and the tiger and the
imperial mantle, they could do nothing but give praise to
the Shaolins who had become a means to keep the peace of the
maintained itself until the 9th century as a school. Then,
at that time, it changed to become a religion called Chang.
The Fa Men Chuan (which was only one of the 360 schools) was
opposed to this, and left the monastery. They maintained
that Chang Buddhism, as a religion would impede the method
of internal development as had been established until then.
The development ought to be without any trace of religion of
Of the schools
which remained in the monastery, many disappeared.
departure from the monastery, the Fa Men Chuan school
continued a very different training from that of the line of
Chang (known in Japan as Zen), although some of the beliefs
are applicable to that of Fa Men Chuan.
occurrence also provoked the separation of the discipline in
the schools to the north (Pek) and the south (Ta) of the
great river Yang Tze which flow across Central China.
schools had concepts of ¨hard¨ or external, and ¨strong¨ or
internal, combat. The ¨hard¨ method sought control of
breath, training of the bones and muscles, and strengthening
of fists and feet. Their ability to advance and retreat in a
fraction of a second was as important as the ¨union of the
hard and the soft¨. Among these schools belong the Shaolin
Chuan-Fa or Shaolin Fist, the Hung Gar Chuan, and the Tong
For its part,
the ¨soft¨ schools emphasized the exercised of the Tchi, the
training of bones and muscles, and the submission of the
offensive using immobility; defeating the adversary in the
moment of his attack. To these schools belong the Pa Kua,
the Hsing-Ji, and the Tai Chi Chuang Fan.
emphasized more strongly one of the aspects than the other.
The northern schools – Septentrionals - sought a
technical-scientific-philosophic training; they wanted to
strengthen and attacked and defended preferentially with
their feet. The Meridional – Southern - school emphasized a
mystic, religious teaching ; using subtlety, the strength of
the attacker to defeat him, and used their hands in strikes
Song Dynasty (1127-1279) the most skilled Shaolins in the
history of China existed. Open classes of martial arts were
presented to any interested person ; exhibits attracted
great multitudes. There were tournaments and large schools.
Then, during the Chin Dynasty, hunted military men began to
take refuge in the monastery to avoid capture, and thus
received monks habits. With time, China was invaded by
foreigners, and the government passed into their hands. The
Shaolin monasteries then became centers where nationalist
groups met to plot against the emperor.
At the time
Kublai Khan sought the Golden Throne of China, a wealthy
young man named Chueh Yuan or Yen became a Shaolin priest.
He revised the 18 ancient methods, and augmented them,
including 72 movements, but he sought something more. He
found himself in Kansu Province where near the east coast he
saw an old ambulatory seller attacked by a large man. When
this man attempted to strike the weak individual, he was
knocked unconscious with the touch of two fingers of the old
man´s hand against the leg extended toward him. Yen became
friends with the old man, who, while he didn't teach him his
art, introduced him to Pai Yu-Feng, incomparable in fight.
Yen, Pai, and the old man went to Shaolin temple and
consolidated the eighteen movements of Bodhidarma and the 72
of Yen in 170 moves grouped into five schools which were the
basis for all Kung Fu Wu Shu.
styles are based on five animals : the dragon, tiger,
leopard, serpent and crane. These represent five essences :
spirit, strength, bone, Tchi and tendon, and to achieve
perfection in martial arts these styles had to be
efficiently fused. These five names of the five principal
divisions of Chinese Pugilism of the the Shaolin Temple
received the names of the five monks who, according to
tradition, were the first to develop them : Hung, Lau, Li,
Monk. This division is known as Fist of the Five Animals.
The Dragon :
the cultivation of the spirit, with the Tchi concentrated in
the Lower Tan Tien, so that the conscience dominates the
body and the body in this way can rest lightly and freshly
on the legs and shoulders. Thus one can perform the
movements with agility and great grace. The five centers ;
the heart, the two palms, and the feet are ready in constant
response. The boxing of the dragon is meditation in
movement. It is considered that when done while maintaining
a higher degree of attention, it can adjust the functions of
control of the central nervous system.
The Tiger :
the training of the bones and strengthening them ; and
movements at short range like clawing. The Tchi circulates
through the body whilst the body is raised and lowered in a
horse stance, with the spinal column perpendicular to the
ground, and the arms loose. This exercise rectifies
deformations of the body, augments the capacity of the core
muscles, the legs, shoulders, and back, as well as favoring
the growth of the bones.
It was chosen
for the strength of its posterior paws, and its powerful
leaps were used to symbolize the necessary strength in the
lower body. To act like a leopard demands speed and power,
augmenting one's strength and ability.
It is related
to the Tchi, for the importance of the rhythmic respiration
in its cultivation . The example is the viper, whose body is
invaded by Tchi and allows it, although soft to the touch,
to extract the necessary strength from all its length,
wrapping itself mortally around the enemy. Its movements are
flexible and violent. They stimulate principally the
respiration, and help to breath deeply, augmenting the vital
capacity of the lungs, activating the circulation of the
blood, and improving the cardiovascular system.
Crane or Stork:
It was taken
as a symbol the tendon, and its great
wings in agitation were the model for strikes at long reach
with fists, and the speed of the hands resembling a bird's
beak striking. It develops stability, agility, and
strengthening of the tendons, practicing self contemplation
and control, with the mind tranquil yet alert, which
improves the function of the systems of the human organism.
Various additional styles of Kung-Fu,
based on movements of different animals, appeared later. The
style of the Praying Mantis, for example, was inspired by a
battle witnessed in the the 17th century by the Kung-Fu
master Won Long, between a mantis and a grasshopper. A
Tibetan Lama is considered the founder of the White Crane
style, which reproduces the form in which this animal
defended itself in a fight against a monkey. Monkey Style,
for its part, was founded at the beginning of the 20th
century by Kou Sze.
He was an expert of Kung Fu who was imprisoned for murder
after having killed an assailant in self-defense. Kou Sze
observed a band of monkeys from his window and began to
imitate their movements, teaching what he had learned upon
In the 16th century the traditional
systems of fighting were already highly elaborated, densely
stylized, and one needed to memorize hundreds or thousands
of rigid movements. As a result, the ancient martial arts
were burdensome and too complex. A woman named Yim Wing
Chung changed all this and founded in the process the first
of the modern schools of Kung-fu. She studied the art with a
Shaolin monk called M´g Mui, and arrived at the Some of the
systems required 100 forms ; Shaolin requires 34.
Yim Wing Chung reduced this to three, and
created one of the most subtle ¨soft¨ schools, concentrating
on converting each attack into a counterattack. One of the
best skills was to fight with a blindfold, ready for each
attack, and using the strength of the blow to roll, turn,
and project the antagonist.
the 17th century in the year 1620, after the end of the Ming
Dynasty (which was ended by the Shaolin warriors), the
Shaolins continued their resistance against the Manchu
invasion and that of other foreign countries. In the year
1690 A.C. the south of China was invaded by Japanese
pirates, forty monks armed only with staffs, expelled the
Japanese from Chinese territory. Then, in approximately the
year 1720, they did the same with a Mongol invasion to the
north of China. The Manchu invasion dispersed many
inhabitants, including many who dwelled in the monasteries
which propagated the Shaolin methods throughout China, as
well as to the exterior. This movement of masters produced
in Korea various styles of Kung-Fu Wu Shu, classified as Tae
Kwan Do (open hand fight), which imitated the circular and
feline movements of Kung-Fu ; in Thailand, Thai booking with
its high kicks, and in Burmai, the ferocious Bando.
On the island of Okinawa, due to a
prohibition on weapons imposed by the Nipponese Conquerors,
the islanders and their priests recurred to Karate in the
17th century, and to the use of clubs to protect themselves.
In Japan, the Bushi, or Samurai, began to practice boxing
and projections with empty hands, among them, Ju-Jitsu.
In the year 1735, the emperor prohibited the practice of
martial arts, and meetings of more than two people.
that time, the master Won-Po was at the helm of our system,
and, to avoid the disappearance of the art, he divided it in
two. Thus, the philosophic and martial practices took
separate routes; and when the student reached a certain
level, he was sent to another master where he was taught the
internal work. To avoid being discovered teaching the art he
took his students to the mountains to practice there ; thus
the Fa Men Chuan maintained its existence.
The master Won Po died in 1755, leaving his daughter Li Ming
Shing as the grand master of the system, who was later known
as Golden Fist. Li Ming Shing married a man who opposed the
practice of Shaolin, and who pursued its practitioners.
Fortunately, he was unaware that his wife was the grand
master of the system.
The Si-Jo Li Ming Shing had two sons to
whom she taught Shaolin without their father's knowledge;
but they were not destined to be the successors. The Si Jo
died at the age of sixty four, leaving her servant Fen Weng
as her successor, who assumed the position at the age of
twenty eight years of age. The new Si Jo began to be hunted;
therefore he was obliged to flee, and wherever he went, he
taught what he knew.
Whilst so engaged, Fen Weng met a young
lady ; her name was Su Ning Tsu, and she became his wife,
winning great acclaim for her agility as a warrior. In his
thirties, Fen Weng left his wife encharged with the running
of the school in his absence ; while he headed in search of
his master of internal development. Fifteen years later, he
returned, but found that the emotional conditions between
them had changed. Resigned, the master Weng took habits in a
Taoist monastery, and there, Su Ning Tsu arrived eventually,
after having suffered the death of her family, to be again
the disciple of the Master. She died at the age of 84 years.
For his part, Fen Weng died at the age of 112 years.
China, occurred what is known is the Opium Wars¨, a time in
which Japanese and Hindu pirates brought their shipments of
opium to transport to the West. This was not to the liking
of the emperor of China, who prohibited the use of his ports
to traffic opium. The Brittish, who used this substance
heavily, invaded China, and force its inhabitants to consume
it, thus degenerating the Chinese people. The emperor, well
guarded in the Forbidden City, didn't give this much
importance, but the Shaolins who opposed this began a
campaign against the foreign activity, for which they were
persecuted all the more. It was then that Fen Weng decided
that the practice of Fa Men Chuang had to end in China. At
the time he had seven Si Tai Gungs, upon whom he called to
close their schools, relocate their students, and head to
the monastery. Of those seven Si Tai Gungs, only five heeded
the call and began the meditative preparation for the
resurgence of Fa Men Chuan in another time and place. The
two remaining Si Tai Gungs disagreed with the termination of
Shaolin in China and didn't heed the call of the master,
continuing with the revolution against the foreigners. One
of those Si Tai Gungs was Han Shang Ten, a great master of
martial arts, who, for his part, formed a group called the I
Wor Kwen (Harmonious fist of Justice). The other was Bong
Ming, who, more than a fighter, was a warrior monk, and
founded the I Wor-Moon. Each one went to a region of China.
These groups were formed separately, without the used of the
techniques of Fa Men Chuan ; but, using their names to
identify their provenance. The I Wor Moon group had
continued a mystic work, contrary to the I Wor Kwen, which
was dedicated to the martial practice. For this reason, when
this group is mentioned presently in China it is spoken of
as guerrilla fighters.
These two groups of Shaolin renegades
joined ranks and increased their numbers ; and, together
with the Pa Kua Chang and the I Ching Hi, formed what is
known as the Triad, and later, the organization of the White
Lotus. Thus began a series of rebellions which culminated in
July 1900 with the seige of Peking, when they held it for
fifty five days. Of the Triad emerged nine groups, which
eventually formed what is presently the Chinese mafia.
English sent veteran mercenaries to the war in Chinese ( ?)
to terminate the Boxers fighting hand to hand with those
Chines of pitiful appearance who, in the end, defeated the
army sent by the English. The Germans and Russians did the
same, and were defeated. They therefore decided to attack
the Boxers with and international army with firearms, and
defeated the rebels.
But in 1911, the Chinese troops were able
to expel the foreigners, creating the Republic of China,
with Sun Yat Sen as leader. The I Wor Moon had disappeared
in the decade of the 1940s, but the I Wor Kwen, by 1938, had
continued as an organization and received young Japanese,
who began to train, and in 1946 he was named grand master.
The youth called himself Doshin So, he was born in 1911 in
Japan, raised in Manchuria, and received the name Michiomi
Nakano. The founder of Shorinji Kempo was active in Japanese
societies for twenty years. He became a disciple of the
taoist monk Chín Ryo, who was associated with a society
called Zaijari, a variant of the Triad, and after some time,
he arrived at the I Wor Kwen. In Japan he formed what was
known there as Shorinji Kempo ¨Path of the Shaolin Temple
Fist¨ ; but, this is not traditional Shaolin, but a Chinese
boxing derived by Hang Shang Ten. At the age of 40 years,
Doshin So created in Japan the seat of his new school, which
became a temple of Buddhist studies, and a place of martial
arts. His doctrine was registered as the sect of Kongo Zen
of Buddhism, presently the largest martial arts organization
in the world, larger than Karate, Tae Kwan Do, and Judo
together. It has over 800 training salons, an dis directed
by the daughter of Doshin So.
this occurred outside the monastery, a young man from another
school came to the monastery to learn from Fen Weng, who at
the time was 93 years old. The master saw in this youth a
series of qualities, and trained him to be his successor.
This youth was the Master Wey Ley Cheng. He assumed the
succession of the system at the age of 32 years, being the
last Chinese grand master. The master Wey Ley traveled
through all of Asia as a taoist monk, but at 77 years of
age, he retired from China, to the Isle of Kyoto, Japan,
where his cousin had married a Japanese man. He taught her
sons Fa Men Chuang.
From Wey Ley Cheng we learned that
Shaolin is not a material temple as in ancient times ;
rather, the temple is the body of each of its practitioners,
who, with it, with the Law of the fist reach the dominion of
the fourth principle : ¨The knowledge of violence while
living non-violence, bring peace.¨ Wey Ley Cheng made
Shaolin what it is today : a practice without dogma, for
which it is not a religion, and where our heart, and the
¨here and now¨ are the most important. Through him we
learned that web ring God to realization in our being.
Ito and Mitsuhiro Ito, the two children, completed their
training when Wey Ley Cheng was 99 years old. The Ito
brothers both reached the same level ; Sokuto was the
eldest, and so Mitsuhiro more free, was the one who
traveled often. The succession to system depends on
locating the disciple who is destined to be the future
successor. Mitsuhiro Ito was an agricultural engineer, and
traveled to America in 1960 to help in the cultivation of
rice. With the backing of the Japanese government, he made a
contract in Colombia. Whilst there, he met Mariano E.
Rivera, who lived in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and at the time
practiced Okinawa Kempo, a system which left him empty.
In one of many trips of Mariano, he was
able to arrange for a Colombian to communicate with Master
Ito, who resided in Colombia. In 1967, Mariano visited
Mitsuhiro Ito and was accepted as his disciple. Thus,
Mitsuhiro Ito acquired the highest rank in the world in
Shaolin Tsu Kempo, the grey sash. After many years of
practice, Mariano E. Rivera acquired the black sash, and
then the rank of Si Tai Gung and successor, and was ratified
as such by the World Federation in Taipei, China (ROC).
In 1976, the Master Ito left Mariano
Rivera in charge of the system, and retired to live in
Japan. The Si Tai Gung Mariano Rivera developed Shaolin in
Puerto Rico, then in Mexico, Colombia, and other countries,
seeking to form masters who would continue his labor in
America, which is apparently the place the masters had
chosen upon their retreat in the Taoist monastery. America
is where Fa Men Chuang is being reborn as a more dynamic
system, which very rapidly develops conscience and physical
Presently, Shaolin is a method of life
which doesn't believe in an individual god, but a universal
one ; where there is neither possession nor belief in idols.
It is a method of self-cultivation through intense work and
action, living the ¨here and now¨… with no hurry… in
silence… alert, vigilant, and in direct contact with the
energy surrounding us. Both the mental/astral aspect
(internal Shaolin), as well as the external Shaolin have
great importance in the detachment of the self, to enter
reality, being one with the universe.