Shaolin is not reserved for monks, it belongs to all of us. Young or old, we all have a mind and body that can be trained. Shaolin Kung Fu and Qigong transformed my life, my motivation in sharing my knowledge is so that it will transform your life too.
“I help you unlock the peace and strength that is already within you.” – Shifu Yan Lei
Shifu Yan Lei was born in 1973 to a traditional family in the Xin Jiang province of China. The son of a fisherman, he is the youngest of seven children.
“It was a struggle for my parents to look after seven children. I was constantly hungry. I was very naughty as a child; always skipping school and getting into street fights.”
He began his martial arts life at the age of fourteen when he travelled to the other side of China to train in the Shaolin Temple in Henan province.
“Temple life was very hard and sometimes I hated it. I had to get up every morning at five-thirty and prepare my teacher’s breakfast and bring him water so that he could wash himself, and then I would take the boys running up the mountain. But looking back I feel happy. Temple life gave me a strong focus. I stopped fighting on the street and trained every day, honing my Shaolin skills.”
His Master, the Shaolin Abbot, Shi Yong Xin gave him the name Lei – meaning thunder – and he became a 34th generation fighting disciple. When he was eighteen he travelled to different Kung Fu schools to learn additional Kung Fu and Qigong skills from famous masters.
“Because I was young my main interest was in fighting but the more I studied the more I realised that in order to do physical exercise you need to look after your internal organs through the practice of Qigong. This will give you a longer martial arts life. I then went back to the Shaolin Temple to read all of the ancient books they have on the subject.”
At the age of twenty-eight he was invited to the West to teach authentic Shaolin martial arts.
“Shaolin has become famous but unfortunately a lot of what is taught is not authentic. The Buddha said, “Question everything I say. Test it for yourself. Don’t just take my word for it.” This is the same with Shaolin. Try it, see it works for you, once you see it working then you can give your full commitment but be wary of claims people make. There are a lot of so-called secrets about Shaolin but the only secret I have found is that you have to train consistently.”
Shifu Yan Lei specializes is famous for his Iron Shirt Qigong, which was tested by scientists at the Science Museum.
“I use my Qi to defend myself from kicks or bricks, you can use your Qi to defend yourself against ageing and ill-health.”
Shifu Yan Lei is the author of Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity, and the new book, Instant Fitness: The Shaolin Kung Fu Workout, he is among the most respected and sort after teachers of authentic Qigong and Kungfu. Thousands of people all over the world have benefited from his Shaolin Warrior series of DVDs, which offer a graded path to mind and body wellness. He teaches private classes and seminars around the world. He also plays a martial artist in the feature film The Turtle And The Sea which won Best Local Picture at the Birmingham Film Festival.