Who can train at the Shaolin Temple?

When introducing our Warrior’s Way Kung Fu Bootcamp to people, the first thing we often hear is “Oh, that’s not suitable for me. I’m too old/soft/out of shape/overweight!”

While they aren’t easy programs, our Warrior’s Way Kung Fu Bootcamps are designed to be accessible by anyone, so after hearing those comments on a daily basis, we decided to write this post to let people know exactly who these programs are designed for, how people benefit by taking part, and why they really are suitable for everyone!

The Shaolin Temple – An equal opportunity institution

One commonly heard myth with regards to the Shaolin Temple is that only men can train there. While it’s true that all the warrior monks teaching at the temple are men, both men and women are equally welcome to come and study there. As a centre of Buddhist culture, and the birthplace of Zen Buddhism, the Shaolin Temple is dedicated to being an open environment, welcoming all who wish to learn and experience what they have to offer.

In fact, of our participants over the past 4 years, over 40% have been women, and 25% have been over the age of 45. And every single one of them has been treated the same way. Never have any of our participants been told they couldn’t take part in any of the training, nor excluded from any of the other activities CK Martial Hearts have organised during our time at the temple. As a result, a large proportion of our reviewers mention how inclusive their time at the temple was, and how happy they were to have never been made to feel left out at any point.

Shaolin kung fu – An equal opportunity martial art

Looking at Shaolin kung fu videos online, or live performances of the Shaolin Warrior Monks, it would be easy to believe that you have to be super strong, lightening-fast or made of elastic to train something as explosive and dynamic as Shaolin martial arts. But the fact is, it is through training Shaolin martial arts that you can become all of the above, and more. Shaolin martial arts, while considered an ‘external’ style, doesn’t rely on individual muscles for strength, but instead uses the entire body to generate the power seen in its explosive movements. In this way, with correct training, people of all builds and genders can learn how to overcome larger, more muscularly strong opponents.

Of course, attention to correct technique is also vitally important. Which is why we always make sure our groups are never larger than 10 people. This means the teacher and guide give plenty of attention to each person, ensuring everyone progresses at an equal speed. Furthermore, where possible for paired work, participants will be paired with partners of a similar level at the start, so that they get the chance to acclimatise themselves to training. Later in the week, however, those pairings may be changed in order to let everyone experience training with those at different ability levels, which is a great way to help and support each other, as well as being a better way to simulate real-world self-defence scenarios.

Certainly, there is a lot more to it, and it does take years of practice to master any martial art. But the teaching method at the Shaolin Temple means that everyone can at least get an idea of what it means to train traditional kung fu, and perhaps even open the doorway to future training, if people so wish.


CK Martial Hearts – An equal opportunity trainer

While the CK Martial Hearts guide who joins you during your time at the Shaolin Temple is there to make sure you are always safe and well, assist you with any problems you may be having, and to ensure your experience at the temple goes as well as possible, this does not mean they will allow you to give anything less than 100% just because you are aching or tired. If you show up to class, it means you are committing to giving 100% to that day’s training, and the guide will keep pushing you to to make sure that happens.

This will happen to every single participant on the program, to the exact same degree. Male, female, young, old, newbie or multi-black-belt martial artist. While a 50kg inexperienced attendee would not be expected to lift the same weight, or run at the same speed as a 100kg athlete who has spent the last 10 years in training, both participants would be expected to push themselves 100% for the entire time they are at the temple. People don’t join these programs because they want to take it easy and enjoy the sights all afternoon. And that’s good, because with the CK Martial Hearts guide, all you will have time to do is breathe, and focus on the next goal directly in front of you, no matter who you are.

Requirements – What it takes to train with CK Martial Hearts at the Shaolin Temple

While all of the above hopefully emphasise how training at the Shaolin Temple is open to everyone, there are still a few rules and requirements that individuals must follow, in order to be successful in their applications to join one of CK Martial Hearts’ programs.

  1. Be genuinely interested in experiencing life, kung fu and culture at the Shaolin Temple
  2. Be respectful of Chinese martial arts, Buddhist teachings, and Chinese life and culture in general
  3. Be willing to commit 100% of your effort during your time training at the Temple
  4. Be willing to follow the instructions given by the Shaolin Warrior Monks and the CK Martial Hearts guide during your time training 

If you are willing and able to meet those 4 requirements, then you will most definitely be welcome to train with CK Martial Hearts at the Shaolin Temple. The challenges you’ll face are part of the Shaolin kung fu training experience, and definitely something we believe everyone should push themselves to try at least once, no matter if it’s for the martial arts, the environment, the cultural experience, or simply to see how far they can push themselves. To find out more about the Warrior’s Way Kung Fu Bootcamp, please visit the program page here.

Have any questions about our programs, or how you can learn kung fu in China on one of our Warrior’s Way programs? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. Alternatively, use the contact form at the bottom of the page. However you choose to get in contact, we always love hearing from you!

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Are you interested in learning more about the traditional culture of China, and perhaps experiencing it for yourself?  Since 2013, Cultural Keys Chinese Culture Centre has been helping people doing exactly that.

Through our provision of content, classes, information and services, Cultural Keys helps people access, understand and experience the traditional culture of China, from kung fu to calligraphy, feng shui to painting. Click here to read more about Cultural Keys and what we can do for you, your school, company or organisation to help you get more out of your time in China.

For more information about anything on this page, please contact us or use the form below to let us know your specific requirements. We look forward to hearing from you!


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