In the United States since 2008, Wang Bo is on a mission to promote Shaolin philosophy and physical culture by spreading the practice of traditional kung fu techniques and the discipline that goes along with them.
“My goal is to help as many people as I can while [teaching] them how to defend themselves,” the Shaolin monk says. “My purpose [in coming] to the U.S. is to promote Shaolin traditional philosophy and culture through this traditional art, discipline and spirituality to help more people know [about] Shaolin Temple and to benefit from this art.”
Unlike some martial styles, Shaolin kung fu teaches not just physical skills but also methods for building inner strength and spirituality, Wang Bo says. “Beating somebody is not that hard; loving somebody is harder. We say, ‘If I beat you today, you may hate me for a long time, but if I help you, you may remember me forever.’
“In kung fu, you don’t see people beating each other too much. More often you see self-practice — one person doing forms. The techniques are very powerful for fighting, but when you learn kung fu, your teacher doesn’t allow you to fight. You can fight 10 people and win now, but eventually you will get old. Eventually you can’t fight anymore. It’s better to cultivate yourself and help people use this art to improve their lives.”
SHAOLIN KUNG FU PHILOSOPHY VIDEO
Shaolin Monk Wang Bo on the Spiritual Benefits of Shaolin Kung Fu Training and Philosophy
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Shaolin Kung Fu for the Body and for the Mind
"[Physical] self-defense is action. Mental self-defense is Buddhism and meditation practice," says Shaolin monk Wang Bo.
"As we all know, kung fu [was] created by masters — people who [were] enlightened, people who [had] very high [levels of consciousness]," Wang Bo continues. "So for today's society, we don't have enough patience and we don't have enough concentration. We're easy to get angry. ... So for today's society, ancient arts will help us because kung fu and spirituality [are] based on compassion."
Slow-Motion Breathing: The Foundation of Better Health and Stronger Kung Fu Techniques
With the concept of life improvement in mind, Shaolin monk Wang Bo recommends a series of “internal exercises” for development of people’s mind-body connection. Most of these internal exercises from Shaolin kung fu involve a foundation of slow-motion breathing.
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“As one of the internal practices, [slow-motion breathing] starts inside and moves outside," Wang Bo says. "When you punch [during kung fu techniques], it’s a physical movement from outside to inside which is the opposite. Slow-motion breathing will make your organs work better and make you healthier. It looks very small, but it does a lot of work inside your body.”
Wang Bo's Goals for Shaolin Kung Fu in America
"Our main goal is to build a real Shaolin Temple in [the] South Bay area," Wang Bo says. "My base is in Torrance. It's a kung fu school, it's a Zen Buddhism center, it's a yoga studio and also it's a place for kids to learn to be disciplined. ... [We want to] help as [many] people as we can and help as [many] people as we can learn how to defend themselves."
More About Shaolin Kung Fu Training and Shaolin Kung Fu Philosophy:
Books, DVDs, e-books and video downloads regarding Shaolin kung fu are available at blackbeltmag.com/shaolin. For a broader view of the Chinese martial arts, visit our Chinese Martial Arts History section and our Chinese Martial Arts Philosophy section.
About Wang Bo's Shaolin Temple in Torrance:
Visit shaolintemplekf.com for more information about Wang Bo's Shaolin Temple school in Torrance, California. The site includes information about instructors and curriculum for kung fu, tai chi chuan and yoga, as well as their children's program. You also can email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.