small Buddha’s 18 hands (罗汉十八手: luohan shiba shou),
instructor: monk Yanti, from Shaolin temple
– combat strategy:
Chinese kung fu has “36 famous tactics” of fighting and self-defense.
Buddha’s 18 hands style teaches the 1st tactic, prowess:
tactic 1 – “no-fort tactic (空城计)”: don’t take cover behind your fear and weaknesses. keep calm, with no sign of fear or weakness and no pretense of offense or defense. it deters opponents.
this involves calmness and intense prowess in moves.
this is the oldest style of Shaolin kung fu.
Liang dynasty (502-557):
Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, entered Shaolin temple in 527 AD. he made meditation part of Shaolin monks’ daily routine. monks had simple exercises to recover after meditation and cultivate their body as well. they combined martial art and Zen to form the union of body and mind.
Sui dynasty (581-618):
according to the historical records of Shaolin temple, monks of Shaolin temple had a select set of simple moves based on expressions of daily activities and Buddhism. they later combined these moves into a combat form which was later called ‘luohan 18 hands’.
Tang dynasty (618-907):
until the Tang dynasty, the 18 moves were increased into 36 moves.
Jin and Yuan dynasties (1115-1368):
monk Jueyuan, with the help of folk masters Li Sou and Bai Yugeng, developed the 36 moves into about 72. Bai Yugfeng, after becoming a monk with the Buddhist name Qiuyue, became the librarian of Shaolin temple and later increased these into 173 moves.
Ming dynasty (1368-1644):
in Chinese Buddhism, the luohans, those who reach the enlightenment of Buddhahood, were originally only 4, and their number was increased to 16 over time, and in the Ming dynasty it was increased to 18. a group of monks increased the number of the luohan hands into 18 forms, each form with 18 postures with the beginning and ending salutes. out of these, only 2 forms were preserved by Shaolin temple and most of the the others were lost to history. (8 forms of luohan 18 hands are recorded in the “Encyclopedia of Shaolin martial arts”: www.scribd.com/collections/4133108). the 1st and the 8th form, which is actually a bigger frame of the 1st form. these are the small and the big luohan 18 hands of Shaolin.
– note: there are various other forms and styles named ‘luohan shiba shou’ in Chinese kung fu, and they are historically and technically different from Shaolin luohan shiba shou. these are just different styles with similar names.
Shaolin kung fu tutorial:
– weapons: 2