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Friday, January 20, 2012

It's all Shaolin

Dear Systems within Systems students (and fellow blog readers who are interested in knowing what forms we teach at the Systems within System school),

Please take a few minutes to look at the three videos below, and tell me if any of them look familiar. Go ahead, I'll meet you towards the end :)

If you are a student from our school and had an odd sense of déjà vu, just know that you're right; these do look very much like the forms we teach at the Systems within System school.

Then you may be wondering, "DAMN, do I have to get that low in my form? Is that the way the form is suppose to go? Wait, did they add a step/change a step? Have I been doing it wrong all this time???"

Martial arts is like a giant tree. Each martial arts school is a branch, and has their own way of expressing their institution's values and philosophy through movement. New schools were created from the foundation of other traditional schools, so sometimes there are crossover forms between schools depending on the lineage.

But no matter what school you represent from whatever part of the world you're from, it's all Shaolin. Shaolin is pure expression of the individual. When a martial artist does their form with full intent, has total awareness of their body's positioning/balance, and is mindful in the moment they are doing the movement, that's when a martial artist expresses what Shaolin is truly about.

The best part is, you don't necessarily have to be in the martial arts in order to express what Shaolin is. You can be a runner who is one with the road, an artist in the midst of their creative passion, a driver who becomes a united force with their vehicle. As long as you move through your life with purpose in your action, you can understand why understanding Shaolin is so powerful to the individual.

Don't look at these videos and think about what you're doing wrong or what you can't do. View them as a way to inspire you to challenge your body and your mindset and improve on what you already know. If you can be mindful of what is going on in your present, that Shaolin mindset will help you move forward with your future.

Grow, Learn, Teach!


  1. 30 moves! Nice!

    And where can I get me one of those get-ups. Pretty flashy haha.

  2. 30 moves, and tantui variants. im personally not a big fan of the flashy costumes. It makes me think the kung fu is just for show. Trying to define what i'm tryin to achieve with practicing forms can be difficult sometimes, but it coincides with defining what i'm doing to get better. Id be careful saying that shaolin is everything or can be everything. i would rather keep it in the realm of practicing the martial art, because for me, to limit what i call shaolin will free the shaolin. does that make sense? clearly define it for yourself, then work on getting really good at it. be a mandala, not a dancer.

  3. I'm digging the different interpretations of the form. Gong Li Quan is so very fluid in that demo, but still very strong. It's the one form that really challenges me in terms of ... well ... everything. Gonna keep at it!