Shaolin Warriors: European Tour

The famous Shaolin Warriors are touring the UK and other parts of Europe.  It has to be said that their show is always spectacular.

Shaolin kung fu warriorsIt is interesting to note that during the Chinese cultural revolution, the government tried to stamp out all martial arts.  Many Kung Fu master either left for Taiwan, Hong Kong or some other location; or just kept a very low profile for many years.

However, eventually the government realised that Kung Fu could bring them prestige and even more importantly . . . . . . . money!  So this ban was relaxed and state schools were set up.  These have become centers of excellence, taking children and training them from a very early age to become martial athlete’s and performers.  In my humble opinion, much of what is taught there is not practical martial arts.  That said, if you had to take on somebody who had trained for 6 hours a day for most of their life and started at about the age of 4, then you’re going to have your hands full.  I personally feel that their effectiveness is because of the high degree of intense training over many years, rather than the actual content of that training.

For real practical Chinese Kung Fu, I’d suggest going to Chinese communities outside of mainland China.  I used to train Wing Chun with a Taiwanese friend.  During the Chinese civil war, the Communists chased out the Nationalists out of mainland China and they fled to Taiwan.  Since then China and Taiwan have always had unresolved issued and Taiwan still fears an invasion from mainland China (to re-unite the country).    My friend told me that that as they were so vastly out-numbered, the Taiwanese philosophy was that each one of them would have to kill 10 mainland Chinese in order for them to stand a chance.  This was quite an incentive to put reality and practicality into their training.

I hope this does not offend anybody, but that’s just my opinion based on what I’ve been told.  However, I do know that in many parts of China there are still strict legal restrictions on what they can learn in terms of Chi Gung and energy work.  I friend of mine who trained with a Chinese Tai Chi master in the UK went out to China to train and found that he knew more than some of the masters teaching in China.  When emailing friends back home, he had to be very careful what he put in those emails about the type of training he was doing so as not to get into trouble.

That said, the Shaolin Warriors always put on a great show and are well worth watching if you get the chance.  Their skill levels are incredible.  You can use the following links to get more information about:

The Shaolin Warriors.
UK & European Tour Dates.

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2 Responses to Shaolin Warriors: European Tour

  1. admin says:

    Hi Vincent
    Thanks for the comment. Years ago when I lived in Scotland I used to do some Kung Fu. I remember the Sifu telling me that he gone to a show like this with some of his students. Afterwards he was quite disapointed. His students apparently asked him “why are you disapointed? It was like seeing a Kung Fu movie”.
    To which he replied “that’s why I’m disapointed”.
    But like you say it is still a fantastic show. If they kept it all too real, then it would not have the same commercial success. As much as we as martial artists like to see it kept “pure”, they are entitled to their commercial success just like every body else, so good luck to them. They’ve work very hard and have fantastic skills.

  2. Vincent Lee says:

    Hi Charlie. Good to see you caught the show! I missed them this time around when they came to Ireland. I was up in LondonDerry for Sensei Hazard’s weekend seminar.
    I saw them around 6 years ago and I think that was why I took up Karate when I started college a few months after.
    Also saw a small segment of their work with the Chinese State Circus a few months prior to the Shaolin Warriors show.
    I agree with you exactly, a lot of Shaolin kung fu we are seeing in the shows (in the West) are more on par with modern acrobatic wushu. Definitely entertainment and for tourism in China. Of course there is still an impressive level of discipline and chi gung training (they did the throat to spear, suspended on spears and slab breaking feats yes @_@ amazing). There seems to be a slight influence from the Peking Opera school’s fake sparring for show as well. Very impressive and athletic, I wish I could do jump kicks like that!

    Traditional Kung Fu is… not flashy and definitely boring when you are doing the basics! Dan Inosanto did say Bruce Lee wouldn’t do his flashy stuff in self defense, definitely very boring and quick finish ;-)

    My story I heard from my Dad was when one Lee sifu (Lee Kwok Pui) went to Mainland China, the Bak Mei practitioners were very surprised in the difference in their Bak Mei training. some of it had been lost to changes in time and maybe by the government’s policies. It’s like when a kata is altered to that it requires a runway to finish!

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