From China to India- story of Shaolin
Kung Fu is just another martial art form who had its lead in many eastern countries. Shaolin art form, originally came out from China is now finding acceptance throughout the globe. However, Shaolin Temple Secular Discipline Union in China is considered the prime training centre for any of the thousands martial arts disciples to flock the cloud-capped facility. Not until now when a man from India- Kanishka Sharma, has started his own Shaolin school known as Shaolin Gurukul in the country! But before knowing about the Shaolin Gurukul, how well do you understand Shaolin?
Shaolin- martial art or an emotion?
Shaolin no wonder is a treasure of China but it has its root from India. It is believed that an Indian monk Buddhabhadra came to China during Emperor Xiaowen’s rule in 495AD. The king was impressed by him and offered the monk to teach his learnings in the court, however Buddhabhadra declined the offer. He was then granted a land at Mt. Song where he build the Shaolin temple. Thirty years later, another Buddhist monk from India Bodhidharma went to China to teach Yogic concentration, a Zen form of Budhism. He then travelled throughout the country and came to Mt. Song. Upon his arrival, he went to the Shaolin temple to get admitted. However, he was refused by Fang Chang and it is believed that Bodhidharma went to a cave just above Shaolin and meditated for nine years. For nine constant years he meditated facing a same wall which is said to have carved his shadow onto it. On seeing his devotion, Fang Chang finally agreed him to enter the temple and he became the First Patriarch of Zen Buddhism.
At first Bodhidharma use to exercise just to keep fit but when he realized that many monks inside the temple were unfit, he began training them. Most of these monks where retired soldiers so he combined the existing martial art exercises with his own learnings to create the Shaolin version of Kung Fu. Bodhidharma also developed exercises that later became the basic for the specialized interpretation of martial arts at Shaolin. The temple soon became the masterful of warrior monks who fought many wars alongside the rulers. Few years later, when the art was reaching its height Emperor Wudi banned Kung Fu and Shaolin was destroyed. Soon after that under Emperor Jingwen of Zhou Dynasty Shaolin was revived, rebuilt and restored. And then for many more years, Shaolin was again and again destroyed, rebuild by several dynasties due to which its initial teachings and sacred texts were scattered. Today, Shaolin Temple is a practicing Buddhist temple where adaptations on the original Shaolin Kung Fu are taught. There are around 80 schools teaching Kung Fu at Mt. Song.
India’s Shaolin Gurukul!
Though Shaolin teachings was created by Indian’s, no Shaolin ever has found roof in the country. Fairly today, one can proudly brag that India too has a Shaolin temple popularly known as Shaolin Gurukul and why not! Established by Kanishka Sharma the school teaches professional martial art. His own calling began early at the age of six, funnily inspired by a Hollywood movie “The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin”. Kanishka took training with his utmost dedication and enrolled himself at the temple. Initially he started from karate, he went on learning Kung Fu and India’s famous Kalariyapayyattu. He also took equal learning of northern Shaolin Pai style and Southern Shaolin known as 18 hands of Lohan. Today, Kanishka is the first Indian to qualified himself as Kung Fu master. He has granted the Shifu title and is blessed with the Buddhist name ‘Shi Yan You’. The name means perfection which suits well with his martial art skills.
Kanishka has his own Shaolin Gurukul in Nainital where he ensures that his student’s experience professional training in an open environment with his stress free setups combined amazingly with rigorous training. He imparts the knowledge of Kung Fu to all the enthusiastic students who shows their utmost dedication towards the art form. He wants that his students learn martial art the right way, not as the sports version of some kind of fighting rather a proper martial art. He also teaches the deadly art of Karambit in which he has an experience of over 30 years. The students come to him as much to learn martial art as to learn the Shaolin way of life and this is the beauty of Shaolin Gurukul.