All posts by Shifu Yan Lei Team

About Shifu Yan Lei Team

I'm a 34th generation fighting disciple from the Shaolin Temple in China. I help people unlock the peace and strength that is already within them.

Rules Of The Shaolin Warrior – Part 1. Health and Fitness

yellow mt1-00217The world of Western traditional physical exercise is beginning to catch up with what Shaolin Warriors have known for thousands of years. Fitness is not just about burning calories and sweating. It’s about being healthy from the inside out. Research is revealing that this mind-body fitness not only keeps us healthy but also greatly helps to banish stress, increase happiness, and aid longevity.  

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  1. Train Your Mind As Hard As Your Body    –  A person can look strong but this doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Body builders may be inflexible and internally weak. Yoga practioners may be flexible but ask him or her to perform a martial art’s kick and they have no power or speed. Shaolin Forms – both Qigong and Kung Fu – are the only exercise I’ve come across where every muscle is engaged and we’re simultaneously building flexibility, strength, endurance, balance, and power. They then teach us how to move in our modern life, whether that’s carrying our groceries home or climbing the stairs to the subway. Everything becomes part of our training: total mind-body wellness
  2.  Switch Your Workouts – One day Shaolin Warrior’s train in the Five Fundamental kicks and stances from Shaolin Kung Fu Workout 1, on another day they train Circuit, on another bag work, and on another day Qigong. Keep surprising your body so it never reaches a plateau.
  3. Inside Out Fitness – For true health and fitness we need to practise stretching and Qigong. The Shaolin Warrior always finishes their training with Qigong. This enhances the power of their external training, extends and deepens their martial arts, and balances their Yin and Yang.yellow mt1-00225
  4. Effortless Effort –  A Shaolin Warrior’s movements look easy. When they run they tell their body to keep light and positive. When they punch they tell their body to relax. When they kick, they know exactly which muscle they need to use and which muscle they don’t. When they practise Qigong they know when they need to inhale and when they need to exhale. They focus on what they need to focus on and this gives them confidence and power. They understand that if their mind is strong then their body is strong and if their body is strong then their mind is strong. It’s not possible to separate the two out.meditation-00136
  5. Train Hard – A smith puts gold through the fire so she can mould it into the shape of jewelry she wants. Our martial art’s is the fire we put our mind and body through so we can mould ourselves into the martial artist we want to be. If it’s not difficult, if it’s not challenging, there can be no transformation.
  6. A Zen Koan – Shaolin Warriors use the breath to link the mind and body. They focus on the present moment because it is the only moment when we can be truly alive. This is why – in the past – Masters sometimes used shock tactics or said Koans in an attempt to awaken their student to what life really is.
  7. What is the sound of one hand clapping? – If we try to understand with our intellect then we’ll never understand and if we try to do martial arts with our intellect we shall never understand.  Only when we have cultivated strong willpower and let go of our mind can we move to hard training to build up our stamina level and create a Shaolin Warrior’s mind and body.

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Learn Shaolin Qigong and Kung Fu with Shifu Yan Lei. Downloads, DVDs, books and training equipment available from shifuyanlei.com. Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity is also available as an e-book on amazon and apple in the US

A Complete Guide To Shaolin Kung Fu

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If you don’t have a Shaolin teacher near you my Shaolin Warrior Programs give you instant access to the authentic teachings you would learn if you entered the Shaolin Temple. In order to learn Shaolin Kung Fu, you need to respect yourself and respect your teachings. Train regularly, five- six times a week and clearly define your goal. Why are you training? Do you want to learn Shaolin as a martial art? Or do you want a fast track to fitness?

My original goal was to test my skills. I was a very angry 15 year old who was always getting into fights. My Master – who is now the Shaolin Abbot – was fed up of coming to the police station to get me out of jail so he sent me to a very well known Zen master.

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In the Cultural Revolution when Mao was destroying all the temples, this master risked his life to stay in the temple. For many years he lived in this destroyed temple and when Buddhism was allowed to flourish again he started to re-build the temple. Every morning he would sit in meditation and chant and I would train. He asked me to sit with him but I had no patience to sit. After a few weeks of trying to get me to sit he told me to make training my meditation.

When I came back to the Shaolin Temple, my training was no longer a way of being able to learn new fighting techniques so that I could conquer other people but it became my meditation.

Shaolin transformed my life, and it’s my goal to help as many people transform their lives. I’m very happy that thousands of students all over the world now train with my DVDs and books.

In this post I give a quick overview of each Kung Fu Program program, what benefit they will give you and some suggested training programs.

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If you want to learn Shaolin as a martial artist then you need to start with Shaolin Workout 1, 2, and 3.  If you’re not so bothered about Shaolin martial arts but you want exceptional stamina then train with Shaolin Bootcamp and Shaolin Circuit Training.

Shaolin Workout 1 is exactly the same as if you were stepping into a class at the Shaolin Temple. Don’t expect to keep up and understand everything.  As you keep studying with the DVD, you will slowly see improvements and gain an understanding. Once you’ve mastered the five fundamental kicks and the five fundamental stances, even if you still can’t keep up, you’re ready to move onto Shaolin Workout 2.

One of the reasons for moving up quickly is so that your body doesn’t reach its plateau, in order for your body to keep improving, you need to keep surprising it and keep finding the edge of your training. Alternate between Workout 1 and Workout 2.

If you’re only interested in fighting techniques and not traditional Shaolin then skip Workout 1 and 2 and go straight to Workout 3, where you learn fighting kicks and fighting punches and combinations.

As a martial artist continue to come back to these three DVDs, and now to improve your strength and stamina and challenge your body even more, add in Shaolin Bootcamp 1 and 2. These DVDs use your own body for strength training and are more challenging in terms of stamina.

You can alternate the days so now you have a complete 5-day workout:

Monday: Workout 1

Tuesday: Workout 2

Wednesday: Workout 3

Thursday: Bootcamp 1

Friday: Bootcamp 1

Saturday: Self-train without the DVDs perfecting your techniques.

If you’re a fighter or you want to work more on your stamina and modern fighting techniques then alternate between the Circuit Training DVDs and the Bootcamp DVDs. Circuit Training Volume 1 focuses on punches and Circuit Training Volume 2 focuses on kicks.

It’s good to do each of the Circuit Training DVDs twice a week:

Monday: Circuit Training 1

Tuesday: Circuit Training 2

Wednesday: Bootcamp 1 or 2

Thursday: Circuit Training 1

Friday: Circuit Training 2

Saturday: Bootcamp 2

With the Bootcamp DVDs, correct form is not as important as pushing your strength and stamina. If you’re working with all 7 of the DVDs then work out a program that fits with your goals.

I have two other kung fu DVDs, these are more specialist DVDs specifically for martial artists, Fighting Punches and Kicks Volume 1 is exactly what the title says Kung Fu Ch’an and Fighting Punches and Kicks Volume 2 teaches takedowns so you need a partner to practice with, Kung Fu Ch’an demonstrates how kung fu can be a direct gateway to the teachings of Ch’an Buddhism or Zen, this is not a teaching DVD as such.

You can share your training experiences with other students by joining this Facebook page.

All of the DVDs and downloads are available at www.shifuyanlei.com

Train like a Shaolin Monk this summer in China 

A Complete Guide To Shaolin Qigong

yellow-mt2-00182If I were only allowed to do one exercise to improve the health of my mind and body I would choose Shaolin Qigong. When I was younger my focus was on Iron Shirt Qigong, partly because it was useful in a combat situation, partly because I wanted to push my limits, and partly because – although I probably shouldn’t admit this – I wasn’t so sure there was a thing called Qi. DSC_0002 When I came to the UK, a scientist from Nottingham University investigated my Iron Shirt Qigong. He usually tests the impact of car accidents on crash test dummies. He was surprised by what my body was doing when a brick was hitting it. He confirmed in scientific terms what my master had taught me. When we practice Iron Shirt Qigong, our Qi acts like a mirror, bouncing our opponent’s power back at us. Of course most of us are not fighters and we don’t find ourselves in combat situations so instead of using our Qi to protect ourselves from a brick, we can use Qigong to protect ourselves against ageing and ill health.

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How many of us think about our liver or kidney or heart? It’s only when we get older and we have problems that we realize how important they are. A strong and healthy body can only be strong from the inside out. Qigong is the only exercise I know which oxygenates our internal organs, refreshing the supply of blood, removing internal blockages and turning back the clock. There are many types of Shaolin Qigong. By the request of many of my students here’s a quick overview of the Qigong’s you can learn. Shaolin Qigong Forms 8 Treasures QigongInstant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout & The Way Of Qigong Volume 1 QigongWhen the Bodhidharma came to the Shaolin Temple, he found the monks were weak from sitting in meditation all day so he devised a series of Qigong exercises to energize their brains, prolong their life and help them gain enlightenment. A monk chose eight of the most powerful movements and put them in this Qigong form. It’s easy to learn and can be very simply broken down. If you only learn one Qigong, learn this one! TRY THIS: Do one of the movements before you go to work. It will create not just Instant Health but Instant Calm. Your day will run smoothly. The Way Of Qigong Volume 2 Qigong 2 This powerful sitting Qigong cleanses toxins from the body and purifies the brain and nervous system. If you are a serious Shaolin Qigong student you need to learn this after you’ve mastered 8 Treasures. Broken down into a few movements it’s great for people who are not fully mobile (it can be done from a chair) jet lag, insomnia, pregnant women (though don’t do the reverse breathing, stick to abdominal breathing). TRY THIS: Follow the DVD for 10 minutes before you go to sleep. Don’t do any longer than 10 minutes or it may energize you too much. The Way Of Qigong Volume 3 This cleanses the muscles, bones and tendons. It builds exceptional inner strength and focus. Shaolin Students progress to this form once they’ve learned Qigong 2. You will notice a vast difference in your martial art’s practice once you start to practice this form. TRY THIS: Do two sections before your kung fu workout and the rest of the form after and monitor how your kung fu workout was more powerful as a result. yellow mt3-00085Qigong For Upper & Lower Body If you are under the age of 25, you may find Qigong boring so I suggest you practice this Qigong. It combines both internal and external training. It gives your muscles a lean and defined look. One student told me that he’d never sweated as much from standing still as when he followed these DVDs. It’s also good for older people as it strengthens their tendons and bones from the inside out (though they won’t be able to do the whole DVD, just a small section of it). This combination of DVDs is incredibly challenging. TRY THIS: Do Qigong for upper body one day and Qigong for lower body the next. Don’t expect to do the whole DVD in one go. Remember it’s quality that counts, not quantity. When we are frightened, it’s our body that reacts first  then our mind takes its cue from our body. Whichever form you decide is for you, Qigong will have a deeply relaxing effect on your body. It unlocks the peace, strength, energy and focus that is already within you. It optimizes your mind and body so it’s always running at its peaceful peak. Sign up to Shifu’s newsletter and receive your free motivational tips. You can find Shifu’s DVDs, downloads and books at shifuyanlei.com

Why The Modern World Is Bad For Your Brain And What Shaolin Monks Do About It

yellow mt3-00085 Most of us love our smart phones. I use mine all the time to keep in touch with my family in China. But the constant multi-tasking of texting, emailing, social media and apps is over stimulating our brain and increasing the production of the stress hormone cortisol according to Neuroscientist, Daniel J Levitin, who has written a new book about his findings. So does this mean we have to throw away our smart phones? At The Shaolin Temple we tread the middle way, using Zen techniques to keep us tranquil and focused while still being a part of the modern world. Here I share with you seven Shaolin tips to help you stay calm in a crazy world IMG_0815

  1. Take Small Regular Vacations  Turn your mobile phone to aeroplane mode or switch it off completely two hours before you go to sleep. The same goes for when you workout, meditate, and eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These small, regular vacations from your smart phone will restore your inner peace.
  1. Drink A Cup Of Tea  Instead of drinking your plans, thoughts, and worries, drink a cup of tea. You will find it far more refreshing. Concentrating completely on this one action helps you come back to yourself. Being Here Now is a great way to banish stress and anxiety
  1. Workout Zen Style   Everybody needs to workout. Not only does it make us feel better but it’s good for our brain. If you’re not a martial artist then find a workout you love and make it your meditation. How do you turn your workout into a meditation? By simply concentrating on your breath and movement together and letting go of everything else. Modern research is showing that meditation leads to a more focused, tranquil and happier way of being. And who doesn’t want that?
  1. Make Everything You Do Your Last  In martial art’s there is only the present. Live now. Take care of now and you take care of your future. Give yourself completely to everything you do. Leave no energy left in reserve. Only then can you take in fresh energyShaolin Temple
  1. Balance Yin & Yang  Health and fitness are like two wings of a bird, you need both Kung Fu (or anaerobic/ aerobic exercise) and Qigong (or an internal practice such as yoga). Exercise can prevent many illnesses from developing but we also need a restorative mindful practice to ground us and give us inner peace. I use my Qi to defend myself from kicks or bricks, you can use your Qi to defend yourself against ageing and ill health
  1. Ring The Bell Of Now  Thich Nhat Hanh, the great Buddhist Zen Master advises that every time we hear a bell – whether that’s a ringing phone or a church bell – we stop and breathe for three breaths. Try it and track your impatience.
  1. Little Reminders  A peaceful brain is a happy brain. Practice small steps of nourishment each day: one cup f tea, ten minutes of switch off, a fully engaged workout, 5 minutes of Qigong. These small moments will re-centre you and lead you to the health and happiness that is your natural birthright.

Shifu Yan Lei is a 34th generation fighting disciple from The Shaolin Temple of Zen. He teaches a graded path of Shaolin Qigong and Kung Fu. He is teaching a Shaolin Summer Camp close to the Shaolin Temple in China.

What’s In A Shaolin Warrior’s Refrigerator?

yellow-mt4-000451Shaolin Warriors alongside the majority of Chinese people see food as medicine and eat in accordance with traditional Chinese Medicine. Foods have Yin and Yang qualities and we alter what we eat in accordance with how our health is that day. For example, if we have a cold then we’ll make chicken soup with dried red plums,  Goji berries and ginger, an excellent tonic soup.

Inside the Shaolin Temple we eat vegetarian food but outside the temple, the fighting monks are allowed to eat meat if they feel their body needs it. Some people believe that all Buddhists are vegetarian but the historical Buddha was not a vegetarian. He begged for his food and accepted whatever was given to him. There is a strong philosophy of compassion in Buddhism which has led many Buddhists to become vegetarians. However in this article I’m not going to go into the ethics of being a vegetarian. I’m just going to give you an insight into a Shaolin Warrior’s daily diet.

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Natural Food   Shaolin Warrior’s focus on eating foods in their natural state. We don’t eat energy bars or cereal, we don’t drink coca cola,  protein shakes,  alcohol, or water with ice. We eat a diet which is rich in fruit, vegetables, and good quality protein. For carbohydrate we eat white rice, steamed buns or noodles. We drink water at room temperature, and lots of green tea. For snacks we eat nuts and fruits.

 Carbohydrate – The Difference Between East & West   Before I came to the West I’d never seen brown rice before. I, along with the majority of Chinese people don’t like the taste of it so it’s not something we eat. There seems to be a backlash against refined carbohydrates or even carbohydrates in general in the West. But anyone who trains hard needs to eat carbohydrates. ( I eat about three times the amount of carbohydrate the average person eats because I train so much.)White rice is a source of dietary fiber, which is important for a healthy digestive system, it contains vitamin B1 and is low in fat.

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Daily Food  Our daily food is stir fried vegetables and protein with carbohydrate, the most common protein being lamb, chicken, pork or tofu (now that I’m in the West I eat turkey and Quorn which is a good source of lean protein).  Lamb is usually grass fed which is better than grain fed, it’s Yang and is good to eat if people are low in energy. We rarely eat beef. We eat protein with every meal because it helps us to sustain energy during our training.  For our evening meal we don’t eat any carbohydrate unless we’re going to train that evening.

IMG_4725Timing Is Important  In this picture, we’re having breakfast at the Shaolin Summer Camp. Shaolin Warriors believe that the time they eat is as important as what they eat. We eat our heaviest food at breakfast because we need this energy for training, a slightly lighter lunch then less food in the evening. Studies have shown that eating breakfast aids weight loss. Eating within an hour of exercise burns a little more fat and helps to promote leanness. Eating before exercise enhances performance and increases the amount of calories burnt.

Chinese food  – excluding Chinese food in Western restaurants which is usually not authentic Chinese – combines food in such a way that not only is it  packed with nutrition but it’s also an immune booster.

IMG_4732 5 Vegetable Immune Booster    A good example of this, and a dish to eat in the evening is  five vegetable stir fry with ginger. Take five vegetables, preferably five different colours, cut them thinly then stir fry them with ginger, garlic and chili. I suggest that one of your vegetables is red pepper which has a high vitamin C content,  and shitake mushroom which enhances immunity . Ginger aids digestion, chili contains capsicum which has anti-bacterial qualities and garlic is one of the most powerful healing foods that you can include in your daily diet to boost immunity. This simple dish not only tastes great but helps to prevent cancer, the common cold,  gives you your five a day, and cannot make you fat.

Although our diet is Chinese,  you don’t need to start eating Chinese food to change your diet to healthy, you just need to make sure that you’re eating fresh fruit and vegetables with good quality protein and carbohydrate. Food in its natural state has all the nutritional benefits you need.  Avoid processed food. Live simply and keep your diet simple. That way your mind and body will be in balance.

Take The 40-day Shaolin Warrior Challenge

shaolin2-010015At the Shaolin Temple, our masters told us that it took 40 days before any lasting change would happen in our mind and body. Buddha sat for 40 days under the Bodhi tree before he gained enlightenment. Jesus and Mohammed fasted for 40 days before they went back into the world to share their teachings. Scientists have found that after 40 days, the neural pathways in our brain make a lasting change.

If you are just starting out, or have been working with my DVDs for many years and want to reinvigorate your practice and transform your mind and body into a Shaolin Warrior then the 40-day challenge is for you.

It’s 40 days of putting a stronger emphasis on your practice, of training more than you usually would – which may mean getting out of bed an hour earlier -, training 6 days a week, and doing some additional mind training throughout the day. After 40 days you will see a significant change in your mind and body.

The DVDs that you use are down to what level you are. You will need at least 1 Kung Fu DVD or download, at least 1 Qigong DVD, download or book as well as the Instant Health bamboo or metal massage brush.

These are my 7 Guidelines to your 40-day challenge

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1. Attitude Of Mind.  Train where you are with what you have. All you need is faith you can do it and your bamboo or metal brush. Just play my DVD and follow the training. You can follow it in a small flat, outside in the park or on top of a mountain.

2. Surrender to the teachings.  One thing that slightly irritates me is the amount of questions I get asked by my Western students. I know that your education is different to mine but coming from a Zen Temple we put the emphasis on practice. If I asked my Master so many questions he would beat me! The more answers I give, the more I take away from your experience. Everything you seek is in the teaching if you can only surrender to it.

3. Practice AM & PM.  In the midst of your busy life it’s difficult to train twice a day but for the next 40 days this is what you must do in order to progress. Even if you only have 10 minutes in the morning, do a little Qigong and stretching and this will help your day flow better while reminding you that you are training to be a Shaolin Warrior. I like my main training to be in the morning, this sets me up for the day; I then do Qigong in the evening to revitalize my body and give me a deep and peaceful sleep. Find the way that is right for you.

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4.Be A Shaolin Warrior In Your Life. Breath is the link between the mind and the body. It’s the key to a powerful martial art’s practice.  A Shaolin Warrior is grounded and focused so keep reminding yourself to breathe throughout the day. If you have a digital watch, you can set a few alarms or get it to beep on the hour as a reminder for you to stop and breathe.

5. Eat Right. Check out my blog post about food. For these 40 days put an emphasis on eating well. Make sure you eat a big breakfast every day, don’t drink any sugar drinks or eat processed food. Try to cook your own food.

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6. Train Intelligently. The beauty of Shaolin is in its many exercises. What do I practice every week? The five basic kicks, the five stances, some traditional kicks and punches, bag work, pad work, exercises from my Circuit Training and Bootcamp followed by Qigong.  Once you know the exercises from my DVDs, mix it up so that your body never gets used to any workout, this means your body will never get lazy and you will always be working to your optimal.

7. Schedule Your Challenge. Write in your diary the day you will start. Throughout the 40 days make a note of the changes that you experience as well as what happens to your fitness levels. How many press-ups and squats can you do now? How many can you do after 40 days? How flexible are you now?  How flexible after 40 days? How about your focus and your peace of mind? Shaolin is as much about the mind as it is about the body.

Join the new Facebook page I’ve made for people training with my DVD so that you can join with your fellow Shaolin Warriors to share your journey and support each other. Or come and train with me at the Shaolin Summer Camp this year in China. Remember. Great mind and bodies are not born that way, they are trained.

Shifu Yan Lei teaches Shaolin Kung Fu & Qigong with DVDs, books, downloads and personal training.

Your Pathway To Zen

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There’s an ancient Buddhist story about a wrestler who wore a precious jewel in his hair. During a match, he received a blow to his head. Without him realizing it, the jewel dropped into his wound. When the wound healed, the jewel was covered by a scar. Every day the wrestler looked for his jewel, never realizing that it was inside him all the time.

This is the same for all of us. Peace and enlightenment are not and never have been outside our mind. All we have to do to access this great peace is come back to our natural state of being.

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Just as the wrestler lost his jewel through acts of violence. We lose connection with our natural peaceful state when we give into anger, aggression and other emotions that don’t increase our or other people’s happiness.

Modern life puts a strong focus on looking outwards at some future time when things will be better. What we want – whether that’s peace or a better life – is always out there and one step away. But what this teaching instructs is: we already are what we want to become. It’s already within us. If we look beneath our hurts, disappointments and wounds, we can rediscover our jewel.

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Whenever I feel disconnected from myself or my mind is turbulent I practice Qigong or Rou Quan and it doesn’t take long before my mind goes back to its natural state of peace.

Daily practice of Qigong changes the neural pathways in our brain. The founder of Zen, Bodhidharma gave us a roadmap that shows us clearly how to use Shaolin Qigong and Kung Fu as a pathway to Zen. This spacious peaceful state of mind is not only reserved for Shaolin monks but for everyone, those of any religion and those of none.

Habit energy drags us down. So set yourself small reminders that you’re on the path of the Urban Shaolin Warrior. This can be uplifting pictures and quotes from people that inspire you or – like the Shaolin Monks do – wear a Jade amulet or mala so the reminder is with you all the time. And practice Shaolin at least four times a week, even if it’s just 5 minutes a day, this is much more beneficial than a long once a week practice. And don’t forget to share how you get on in the comments below or by tweeting me.

Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout is available as a book worldwide & in the USA & Canada an ebook on apple & amazon.

Shifu Yan Lei teaches Qigong as a DVD and download and Kung Fu as a DVD and download. 

Rou Quan is available as a DVD ( bottom of the page)

Jade wrist malas and amulets come from Shifu’s province in China.

Train Like A Shaolin Monk In The Songshang Mountains In China. July – August 2016

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Please click Shaolin Summer Camp 2016 for the updated details of the Shaolin Summer Camp 2016.

From Friday 31st July 2015  – Friday 28th August 2015 I’ll be teaching a Shaolin Summer Camp in the Songshang Mountains, a few kilometers away from the Shaolin Temple in China. You’ll train like a Shaolin Monk in authentic Shaolin Kung Fu and Qigong, three times a day, 6 days a week. You can train for a minimum of two weeks or the whole month. The focus will be on training hard! This is not a holiday. IMG_4768 Sample Schedule: Most of your training will be done outside. You will start the day with a run up the mountain then come back and do a kung fu session with the emphasis on strength and stamina training, you will then cool down with some Qigong. IMG_4725After you’ve finished training, breakfast will be served. This is usually steamed bread, congee, pickled vegetables and stir fried vegetables. After breakfast you’ll rest and we’ll start our training again mid-morning, with a focus on getting your form and techniques correct. Lunch will be served at 1pm. After lunch it’s advisable to sleep to help your body recover from the hard training. In the afternoon you’ll train for another 3 hours. At 6pm we’ll have dinner. Evenings will be spent reading or doing internal training such as Qigong or meditating. I will teach in English. IMG_4845 Who Is Is Suitable For? Anyone over the age of 18 who has a passion for Shaolin. You MUST be a non-smoker and no alcohol is allowed during your stay. Do I have to be good at Kung Fu and Qigong? Beginner’s are welcome but to get the most out of our stay it’s good to have a basic fitness level and a grounding in kung fu. No matter what level you are, you’ll be training in a non-competitive friendly environment IMG_5097 Weather: It’s usually between 30 – 36 so we train in the early morning before it gets hot, and we train inside when the weather is at it’s hottest. You need to bring lots of training clothes. Terrain: We are based amongst the mountains. You can see one of the areas where you’ll be training in this video. PRICE: £1000 for two weeks. ( about $1520.00 US dollars) £1500  for one month. ( about $2285.00 US Dollars). You can start your training in any of those weeks.

yellow mt2-00216 What You Get: 1) 6 hours of training per day – This is a professional way to build up your internal and external strength. Training will be in Shaolin Kung Fu and Qigong. 2) Accommodation – You will stay in a shared room with one other person. The room has an en-suite bathroom and air conditioning. IMG_47323) Meals – All of your meals will be provided. This will be healthy, hearty, Chinese food, locally grown. Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements, We will do our best to accommodate. What you need to provide: A valid passport and Chinese visa. Your flight to China and travel to the venue. Travel Insurance Training clothes, running shoes, training shoes, flip flops or sandals, and towels. Pocket money to buy water, and snacks. There will be the option of visiting the Shaolin Temple and the Bodhidharma Cave and you will need to pay the admission fee. IMG_4524 Getting There: The nearest airport to Shaolin Temple is Zhengzhou. The nearest city is Dengfeng. There are regular flights from Beijing to Zhenghou, and it’s possible to book them on the day at the airport. We can arrange pick up and drop off at Zhengzhou airport. The price will be a maximum of £80.00 depending on the number of people. Once you register, we’ll try and put you with other people who are traveling to make the cost as low as possible. Address:  China, Henan Province, Dengfeng City, Leijia Gou, Shaolin Temple International School. The venue is the blue dot on the map. Payment Details: Payment needs to be made by bank transfer. All payments must be made in full by 30th June. We can only accept currency in sterling pound.  Cancellations for All Retreats: If you cancel 4 weeks before your arrival date, we will be happy to refund you but a cancellation fee of £100.00 will be charged plus £100.00 for the application form. If you cancel less than 4 weeks before your arrival date, there is a cancellation fee of 50% of the total contribution of your stay. If you cancel anytime in the week before your arrival date, there is no refund.  IMG_4741Reserve Your Spot:  We are a small group and places are limited so please book early. Email info@shifuyanlei.co.uk. Palmo will send you an application form, and a link to pay a non-refundable deposit of £100.00 which will be off-set from your training fee. She’s happy to answer any queries you may have. 

Action Plan: 7 Ways To Live Your Best Martial Art’s Year Ever

yellow mt1-00054Kick off 2015 with these actionable training tips that will reset your martial art’s focus and help you live your best martial art’s ever.

  1. Make A Goalless Goal  Shaolin Training doesn’t underestimate a person’s strength of body and mind. The masters knew how much we could achieve and they wouldn’t let us get away with anything less. The first goal young disciples have when they come to the Shaolin Temple is “Never Give Up“. Once that statement is made, it’s like sitting on a plane and knowing the destination is Beijing. We don’t need to think anymore about where we’re heading. Our mind is no longer caught up thinking maybe I should head to Chicago or London instead. There’s no way we can get off the plane, so we let go and focus on the journey. The goalless goal is away of simplifying our life.
  1. Just Do It  Forget willpower, it runs out. That’s why it’s important to train at least 4 times a week and if possible at the same time. Training like this changes the neural pathways in the brain and makes training a habit rather than something you have to make yourself do. Do you need to make yourself brush your teeth in the morning?

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  1. Sharpen Your Knife  Shaolin Training encompasses the fitness of a fighter coupled with the internal training of a Zen master. You’re not training in Shaolin if you don’t train both Qigong and Kung Fu. If you do another martial art, you still need to train in both of these in order to balance your body and prolong your martial art’s life. A professional cook must sharpen her knife in order for it to be functional. Qigong is the sharpening of the knife. Kung Fu is the knife being used.
  1. High Intensity Training High Intensity Training  has been used by Shaolin Martial Artists for hundreds of years. Research has shown that high intensity training is a more effective workout than longer moderate workouts. Not only that but high intensity training is the only way to keep your metabolism high for several hours afterwards which means you keep burning calories. Moderate exercise doesn’t do this.
  1. Get Bored  In order to perfect your martial art you need to repeat the same movement thousands and thousands of times. Don’t allow pride to get in your way. Practice the movements that challenge you and you find the hardest. You have to work hard, often, and consistently in order to see results.

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  1. Stretch Dynamically Why are Shaolin monks so flexible? Because we do two types of stretching: static and dynamic. The Shaolin dynamic stretching we do are the five basic kicks, and the five stances from Shaolin Workout 1. This opens the hips and warms up the leg muscles. When our muscles are warm we then statically stretch our legs.  A flexible body is a relaxed body, centered and more in tune with itself. Flexibility improves posture, makes training easier and helps the Qi to flow around the body.
  1. Be A Disciple Of The Bodhidharma The Bodhidharma gave us a roadmap with clear instructions as to how use martial arts as a meditation. Each person who learns from me, either in person or with my DVDs and downloads is a student of the Bodhidharma. In the West we tend to over complicate things. My master never allowed me to do this. Coming from a Zen Temple meant I wasn’t allowed to ask my master many questions because if he gave me answers then they would be his answers and this would cloud my direct experience. Keep  your training simple. Combine Qigong with Kung Fu. Focus on your breath and your movement. Don’t over complicate. Don’t judge yourself or others. Just do it. This means you a disciple of the Bodhidharma. This means you are training in Zen.

Shifu teaches a graded Shaolin path, you can learn from  his books, DVDs, and downloads. He designed his Never Give Up t-shirt to help you stay motivated on your Shaolin Path.

Share your experience in the comments below or on Twitter.

A Shaolin Disciple’s Daily Workout, Diet, and Meditation

yellow mt4-00029What’s your daily workout like?

My training day starts with either a 10 or 12k jog or interval running, sprinting 800 meters then resting for 800 meters and doing this 4 times or varying my runs like I show in my youtube video. I then do circuit training, the same as on my DVDs though I mix the punches and kicks together. It’s important to sweat when you’re training. Only this is true training. In the afternoon I do bag work, and pad work if there’s someone at the temple to hold pads. I finish off with Iron Shirt Qigong and combine Iron Shirt conditioning with the Instant Health Massage using a metal brush so that I cleanse my bones.

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Can the average person hack Shaolin training?

Shaolin is for everybody. Of course the average person doesn’t have 4 hours a day to train but a lot can be accomplished in one hour five days a week. This is enough to be healthy and fit. If you’re not close to a school and train from my DVDs then all you need to do is define your goal and make a program. The best DVDs for fitness are the Bootcamp and Circuit Training DVDs but you need a level of fitness before you can embark on them. Like all things, take one step at a time. Most people have no desire to do hard Qigong but they  have a desire to have more energy and increase their longevity so they do Eight Treasures.

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 You’ll talk about the Shaolin Monk’s diet in another post, but how important is diet to you?

The more you do Shaolin martial arts, the more you tune into your body and the harder it is to eat badly. If you’re craving unhealthy food, don’t worry about it, start working out the Shaolin way and the cravings will go away of their own accord. Before I train I eat a lot of noodle and vegetable with some meat then a banana, which is a great thing to eat before training as it helps to keep sugar levels up. We don’t use ovens in China but something new I’ve discovered in the West is roasted sweet potato. Very healthy and a better carbohydrate than potato. I eat fruit and nuts through out the day. I tend to cook two days food in advance so when I come home and I’m hungry my food is already prepared.

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How focused are you on Buddhism and Zen meditation?

I’m a simple person. I feel that many Western people read too many books and this makes their mind complicated. My master gave me one sutra, The Hui Neng Sutra and he told me not to sit in meditation but to make training my meditation. Zen is about experience, not knowledge. When people do kung fu or Qigong forms, they get a taste of this Zen experience and then there are no questions. The important thing is not to look outside, but work with where you are and what you have here and now. There’s no need to go to the temple, the temple is right here and now. But you need to be still to find it.

Shifu Yan Lei teaches Shaolin Qigong ( available as a book, DVD and download)

Also available on the apple store and amazon as a kindle.(USA only, UK to follow in 2015).

Shifu Yan Lei teaches Shaolin Kung Fu available as a download and DVD.