It's not necessary to be a Buddhist to practice Shaolin. But it is necessary to understand why you practice. Martial Arts is not a sport but an art, and like all art, it changes your internal makeup. If it's not working the mind as hard as the body then your training need to be adjusted.
Martial Arts is not for the feint hearted because it's not an easy skill to master. I started studying when I was thirteen years old and I'm still a beginner. But one thing I understand is that our training goes through three vital stages. They are similar to traffic lights: red, amber, green. But the green is when we are stationery and can sit peacefully with ourselves because we know ourself.
The Three Stages Of Zen Training In Martial Arts
1st Stage: Jian Chi - Never Give Up
You need willpower, belief and knowledge of your goal so you don't give up. Having a goal means we know which direction our training is going and we have something to work towards. This helps us to Never Give up.
2nd Stage: Dong Jing - Balance
This is a special word for martial arts which is difficult to translate. Dong means to move, Jing means to be still. When your martial arts comes to the second stage, it's important you don't lose your balance. It is like the two wings of a bird. You need to do Qigong and Kung Fu. When you do Kung Fu you need to have stillness in your movement.
3rd Stage: Ch'an / Zen
The Chinese writing says “Ch’an”, which is the highest of the martial arts. Martial Arts training is there to help you understand yourself, the result is to know yourself and be yourself. This is the final stage of your training. Sometimes it can be tough to accept who you are but in order to find peace with yourself you need to do this.
I designed these T-shirts in the hope they will inspire you and act as a daily reminder, helping you to train with the correct attitude of mind as well as body.
Click HERE to find out more about Zen Bamboo Cotton T-shirt