Travel

Travel to the Shaolin Temple to learn kung fu

Always wanted to learn kung fu, but never felt like you had a teacher worthy of your lightning-quick reflexes, superhuman strength, and ability to vastly overestimate your own skill level? Then you need to take a pilgrimage to the literal home of kung fu, China's Shaolin Temple, where -- believe it or not -- they allow foreigners like you to live there temporarily as "Shaolin Disciples".

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

This is the Shaolin Temple in Zhengzhou, China. It's been around since 495 AD... Take that, Ed's Kung Fu & Self Defense next to Dress Barn in the strip mall!

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

Since pretty much the beginning of the monastery, Buddhist monks have been developing & practicing a ridiculous brand of kung fu that looks something like this.

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

... and this...

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

... and this...

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

... and this...

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

... and even this.

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

But back to the point: they'll teach you, a regular dude, how to do all that... even if you've got a disgustingly long mullet. Especially if you've got a disgustingly long mullet.

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

With actual kung fu monks as teachers, students learn the traditional kung fu spectrum like fist forms, weaponry forms, and both hard & soft qigong, which's the practice of cultivating "intrinsic life energy".

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

Learn enough, and you might even get one of those neat orange robes.

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

Students also learn about basic Buddhism, practice in a classroom setting, and even learn about elements of Shaolin medicine like acupuncture, tuina massage, and "bone setting" (which is not nearly as sexy as is sounds, and in fact involves fixing 'fu-shattered limbs).

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

Whoa, kung fu monk, unhand the kid! Wait, he's just teaching him Chinese calligraphy, which he'll also be teaching you (along with actual Chinese) while you're there.

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

When you're not kicking ass, learning about Buddhism, or wishing you could just download this stuff Matrix-style, you'll be meditating.

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

And you will be eating with regularity.

Learn kung fu at China's Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

But, perhaps best of all, you'll get to sleep in a room that's actually pretty modern -- just don't go chopping stuff in half...