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Martial Philosophy/History

Sifu, at 2003 New Year's Festival

         If you think that martial arts are all about fighting, you are mistaken. All martial skills are developed to defend yourself, your loved ones and those who cannot defend themselves. In essence: "Learn the ways to preserve rather than destroy. Avoid rather than check; check rather than hurt; hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill; for all life is precious, nor can any be replaced." This has been the martial artist's credo, passed down from teacher to student for thousands of years. Historical records date back to the Chou Dynasty (1027 - 256 B.C.), the beginning of the Iron Age.

         Huang Ti, China's first unifier (221 - 210 B.C.) prohibited the practice of martial arts for fear that the masses might rise up and destroy the empire. Martial arts were practiced in secret until 206 B.C. when Liu Pang, later known as Kao Tsu, assumed the throne of the Han Dynasty. Emperor Kao permitted the resumption of martial arts practice throughout the realm and they became a vital part of military training.

         Unarmed defense principles were advanced through Zen (Ch'an) Buddhist religious practices during the sixth century. Bodhidharma, who was said to have traveled to China, spread the word of Zen Buddhist faith and is believed to be the father of Shaolin Temple Boxing. It is said that he introduced the monks to systematized exercises for strengthening the body and the mind, to endure prolonged mediation. Self-defense movements were devised later from Bodhidharma's knowledge of Indian fighting systems and thus the birth of Shaolin Kung Fu.

         The greatest contribution to martial arts by the Taoists is without a doubt Tai Chi Chuan. The Taoist priest Chang Sen-feng, after spending ten years with the Shaolin Monks, retreated to Wu Dan mountain to pursue his search for immortality. After witnessing a fight between a snake and a crane, he developed a complete system designed to maintain health, calm the mind, and increase longevity - Tai Chi Chuan, "The Grand Ultimate Fist." The self-defense aspects became so effective that it was recognized as one of the superior schools of traditional Chinese "boxing".

         Over the past quarter century western science and medicine has tested and authenticated the powers and benefits of martial arts training. Practices handed down over thousands of years have stood the tests of modern science. In old school tradition, we train our bodies and our minds at Lin's Martial Arts Academy.

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