Inside the Mysterious Shaolin Temple where Training Starts

In the heart of China, nestled at the foot of Mount Song in central China, lies the legendary Shaolin Temple. This iconic site is not only a historical monument but also the birthplace of Shaolin Kung Fu, one of the oldest and most revered forms of Chinese martial arts. At the Shaolin Temple, the journey to becoming a Kung Fu master begins at an incredibly young age, where rigorous training and discipline shape the lives of young disciples.

Early Beginnings: Training from a Tender Age

The Shaolin Temple is renowned for its strict regimen, and this discipline begins at an early age. Children as young as four are brought to the temple to begin their training in Shaolin Kung Fu. The decision to start training so young is rooted in the belief that flexibility, strength, and resilience are best cultivated early. The young trainees wake up before dawn and their days are filled with intense physical training, meditation, and learning the philosophies that underpin their martial arts practice.

Watching these young children begin such an arduous journey is both inspiring and humbling. It’s a stark reminder of the dedication and perseverance required to master any art form, especially one as demanding as Kung Fu.

A Day in the Life of a Young Shaolin Disciple

A typical day for these young practitioners starts at 5 a.m. with meditation and chanting. This early morning routine helps them center their minds and prepare for the day ahead. Following meditation, they engage in hours of physical training designed to build their strength, flexibility, and mental resilience. Each movement in their practice is precise, rooted in centuries-old traditions that have been passed down through generations.

One of the most iconic moves they practice is the “iron head,” which conditions their heads to become as hard as a rock, allowing them to withstand strong impacts. Another remarkable technique is Ye Li Tang Hua, where they bend their bodies so far backward that their feet touch their heads. These exercises are not only physically demanding but also require immense mental focus and discipline.

The discipline and commitment of these young children are astonishing. Their ability to endure such rigorous training and still remain focused on their goals is a testament to the human spirit’s capacity for growth and resilience.

The Philosophy Behind the Training

The training at Shaolin Temple is not solely about physical prowess. It encompasses a holistic approach that includes mental and spiritual development. The children are taught to focus their minds, control their emotions, and harness their inner energy. This comprehensive training ensures that they grow not just as martial artists but as well-rounded individuals with a deep understanding of discipline, respect, and perseverance.

The emphasis on mental and spiritual growth alongside physical training is what truly sets Shaolin Kung Fu apart. It’s a holistic approach that nurtures the body, mind, and spirit, creating individuals who are balanced and resilient.

Balancing Tradition and Modern Education

While the training methods are deeply rooted in tradition, the Shaolin Temple also adapts to modern needs. The children attend regular academic classes, ensuring they receive a well-rounded education. This balance between traditional martial arts training and modern education helps prepare them for diverse futures, whether they continue in martial arts, academics, or other fields.

This blend of traditional and modern education is crucial in today’s world. It ensures that these young practitioners are not only skilled in martial arts but also equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the modern world.

The Path to Mastery

Becoming a Kung Fu master is not an easy path. It requires years of dedication, perseverance, and sacrifice. The children at the Shaolin Temple learn to endure hardship, respect their elders and peers, and develop a deep sense of community and belonging. The values instilled in them during their training at the temple stay with them for life, guiding them in all their future endeavors.

The journey to mastery is long and challenging, but the rewards are immense. The discipline, resilience, and values these young practitioners gain will serve them well throughout their lives, regardless of the paths they choose to follow.


The journey of becoming a Kung Fu master at the Shaolin Temple is a testament to the enduring legacy of martial arts and the human spirit’s capacity for discipline and growth. Through their rigorous training and holistic education, these young disciples are not just learning to fight but also to lead disciplined, purposeful lives. The Shaolin Temple stands as a beacon of tradition, discipline, and holistic growth, inspiring future generations to strive for excellence in all aspects of life.

For a closer look at the life and training of these young Kung Fu masters, watch the full video here.