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About Indian Shaolin

Sifu Thungunooro Balaraju, is a Shaolin Warrior from Shaolin Temple, Song Son, Henon Province, Pr, China. He has been Trained at "The Shaolin Temple", Secular Disciple Union, The Shaolin Temple China 2006. He has been involved in martial arts for over 20 years and has been an instructor for 15 years. He persists in his search for knowledge by never passing up an opportunity to train with his wide array of instructors and peers with in India.

The Chief Instructor, Sifu Thungunoori Balaraju Started Karate Shotokan in 1989. He attained Brown Belt Standard in 1992, because of is varied interest in the field of Martial Arts he started his training in Shaolin Kungfu in 1993. Master Thungunoori Balaraju attained Black Belt 8th Degree Standard in 2014, Master Thungunoori Balaraju. His perseverance and keen interest in this field he trained tirelessly in Wushu in 2003, He attained advanced diploma standard in 2011, Then he continued to scale heights in the field and went to Shaolin Temple China, He was invited in 2nd traditional wushu festival 2006, Having attended to that Festival he trained himself in "Shaolin Wushu", The Shaolin Temple in China 2006, In a thank ful remembrance and appreciation to his Master "Kao Huei Fong", the Master of Thungunoori Balaraju has insisted and asked him to train in Muaythai from 2007, He scaled to a Coach level in india in the year 2008 and now he is undisputed Coach for india muaythai Organisation and continues to train his students with higher spirits and joy.

Ba Tuo was invited to China to preach by the Liang Wu emperor. When he arrived, it is Said that the Emperor showed him great courtesy. The Emperor also showed Ba Tuo how Much good he was doing through his charitable work and sought confirmation that this would ensure a good after life. Ba tuo assured the Emperor that his works were good but also said that he would need to live the life of the 4 noble truths and the 8 Fold paths to really achieve his goal. The emperor decided he did not like Ba Tuo’s Buddhist theory and asked him to leave.

During his time at court, Ba Tuo had heard of the Shaolin temple and now, where his ‘presence’ was no longer welcome, he decided to make the journey to Shaolin. When Ba Tuo’s arrived he was not readily accepted, especially where he commented on the priests week and sickly conditions. Long periods of inactive meditations and very little physical work had made Shaolin monks unwell and weak. Not making himself popular with Shaolin either, with his criticism, he was either asked to leave or chose to do so of his own accord, to Meditate the problem.

Just a little distance away from the Shaolin Temple, 15 to 20 minutes walk and a 20 minute climb up the mountain was a grotto and cave. It is said that he retreated to live there for 9 years. In seclusion he wrote two texts; Yi Jin Jing (Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic) and Xi Sui Jin (Marrow/Brain Washing Classic. The Yi Jin Jing is the Foundation of Shaolin Kung Fu and was also name the 18 Hands of Lo Han (Lo Han meaning Enlightened one).

How and why this found acceptance in Shaolin is a mystery but it did. The priests practiced the Yi Jin Jing exercises and found that not only did they improve their health, but they also greatly increased their strength in about 527 ad, a Indian Buddhist and former Prince named Bodhidharma (later called Ta Mo by the Chinese) left his monastery in Southern India to spread the Buddhist faith to China; later called Ch’an Buddhism. (Ch’an is the Chinese translation for the Sanskrit word “dhyana” meaning Yogic concentration, also known as Zen in Japanese When it was introduced from China.). After traveling hundreds of miles top reach Northern China and crossing the Himalayan mountains and the Yangtze River, he headed north to Loyang, the capital of Henan Province.

There of course he found the Shaolin Ssu (Temple). It was About 30 years after it was founded, and it had become famous for scholarly translations of Indian Buddhist Scripture into Chinese. Bodhi Dharma sought entrance to Shaolin but the abbot of the day, Fan Chang would not let him into the temple (many sought entrance for various reasons). Bodhi Dharma was determined to enter and see the Shaolin Ssu. He located to a nearby cave on the side of a mountain (this cave can be visited when in Henan/Shaolin as well as climbing to the top where a 40 foot Buddha is erected in honor of Ta Mo) where (it is said) he sat in meditation facing a stonewall. Many versions of this event exist, including; That he sat facing a wall for most of the next nine years at the end of which Bodhi Dharma’s deep blue piercing eyes CE apparently drilled a gaping hole in the cliff wall. (We did not find such a hole but we did find what seemed to be a permanent shadow).

That he feel asleep meditating and his eyelids closed and when he awoke, he was so distraught that he cut of his eye lids so that this would not happen again (since this would be against Buddhist teaching – and he was devote Buddhist – this is unlikely). That he was visited by monks (initially secretly as they were interested in the ‘foreigner’) And was supplied with food and water. In this way he was able to demonstrate his knowledge and skill of Buddhism to such a degree that he was finally (after 9 years?) admitted to the into the temple. Irrespective of which story is true, it is clear that Fang Chang at some time relented and allowed Bodhi Dharma entry into the temple Shaolin. Upon gaining entrance to Shaolin, Ta Mo (as he was now called by the Chinese) saw that the monks were weak and unable to perform the rigorous meditations he expected that Buddhist Monks should be practicing. Whilst Meditating they often fell asleep or were very restless and were not achieving inner calm or peace (a state required to reach Enlightenment, that for which all Buddhist strive). He spent some time in seclusion pondering the problem. Considering the time and health awareness of the period, Ta Mo came to a staggeringly accurate conclusion that the monks were not fit to meditate. With this in mind he started working on a solution; he created three treaties of exercise.

These in-place exercises were later transcribed by monks as:

  • ”The Muscle Change Classic” or “The Change of the Sinews.”
  • ”The Marrow Washing”
  • ”The Eighteen Hand Movements later named The Eighteen Lohan Shou (Lohan Meaning enlightened and Shou meaning Hands/Exercises).

This marked the beginning of Shaolin Temple Kung Fu (meaning hard work and perfection). Ta Mo later devised some self-defence movements based on his knowledge of Indian fighting systems (Bodhi Dharma was born an Indian Prince and was well versed in Yoga and Indian Kung Fu).

Many of the Shaolin priests were retired soldiers and generals, thus, Ta Mo’s techings were enriched and refined by these martial arts masters and it slowly developed in to a martial art of the hand also known as Shaolin Ch’uan (Shaolin Fist) or Shaolin Ch’uan Fa [Way of the Shaolin Fist].

Shaolin was not a poor temple by this time and was regularly attacked by peasant armies (since individuals CE no chance to penetrate Shaolin defences and walls). Often, to enrich its knowledge, Shaolin would invite wandering healers, scholars and now also martial arts masters into its walls to learn from these by sharing knowledge and skills.

Shaolin become very apt at Kung Fu and in repelling the attacking bandits. Slowly but surly the Shaolin became renown for their martial arts prowess and fighting ability. It is to be noted that not all Shaolin Monks were warrior monks, often they chose to specialize in areas of expertise, much like university professors. Although at this time all practiced Kung Fu, not all were totally focused on the practical aspect of the art, only the Warrior Monks. It is also interesting to note that Shaolin preferred not to hurt their assailants as this would have ramifications for their spirituality in this life and the next.

A mere 30 years later, Shaolin was closed and forbidden; it took some 30 more years, Around 600 CE, before it was reopened.

Built around the same time as the Henan Temple, the Fukien Temple was integrated into mainstream Shaolin around 650 CE and became the ‘Second Temple’ of Shaolin. It was/is a much larger temple then the one in Henan and served as the second main temple. In times where Henan was destroyed or occupied by other than Buddhists and Shaolin.

In 698 ad, Emperor Tai Tsung, of the Tang dynsty, called upon the fighting monks of Shaolin to aid him in his war against General Wang-Shih-Chung, who CE gathered a large army in an attempt to oust the Tang emperor from the Imperial throne. Li Shimini, the Emperors son, was leading the army against Tang. Wang-Shih-Chung managed to capture the Tang Emperors son and inflicted great damage to tangs army.

Tang sent a message to Shaolin, asking for help to save his son. 13 monks were sent to answer their emperor’s plea, although in fact it may have been a much larger force (113 monks or some such). Even though the number of Shaolin monks sent was small (the enemy’s army numbered 10,000 men) the Shaolin were victorious, the enemy was beaten back and decimated. The Tang Emperors son was saved. In recognition of their great action Tai Tsung awarded the monks land, and bestowed upon the temple the title, ‘Number One’ temple in China.

Li Shimini succeeded upon his father death. Remembering how he was saved, a very strong bond was forged between the imperial court and Shaolin. This lead to regular interchange and training between high ranking soldiers and graduate Shaolin Warrior Monks saw further development of Shaolin Kung Fu and the integration of the secret imperial (Eagle) Kung Fu into Shaolin knowledge and skills which set the foundation to what later would become the Shaolin 72 Fists.

A Couple of hundred years later a rich young noble and experienced martial artist, entered the Shaolin Monastery and assumed the name of Chueh Yuan. He soon devoted all his studies to the further development of Shaolin Kung Fu and fitness training. Within a few years, he revised the 18 Fists of Lo Han and created what he called the 72 Styles or movements. As this was a very violent time, these 72 Fists were a very effective form of both Strategy and Combat. His 72 Fists methods/Skills etc) were so successful that all Shaolin monks adopted his 72 Fists very quickly. They were very effective for both internal and external fitness and Incorporated strategy and thought into Shaolin Kung Fu. Much of the 72 Fists remained within Shaolin even as it evolved into the 170 Skills and later % Animal Kung Fu. Chueh Yuan was still not fully satisfied with what he created (and CE plenty of time on his hands). He went out to tech and learn, looking for Masters of other styles.

This journey years later became common practice for Shaolin. Shaolin adepts were sent out to share Buddha’s teaching and help the poor (much like the founder of Shaolin). It was also a test, as many would be Shaolin monks were tempted by worldly pleasures and did not return. Those that did became the priests and brought many new skills, knowledge and wisdom from their travels.