Our Central Shaolin organization gets its name from the geographical location of one of the Shaolin Temples located in the central area, or "Chung Yen", of China where much of the material in our system is believed to originate. Several Shaolin Temples were built in China after the original Songshan temple was created, with material and training techniques passed between the various temples as monks and temple visitors traveled throughout the country, and eventually beyond China's borders to spread the arts worldwide.Other martial arts systems like Taekwondo, Jujitsu, and Karate can trace their roots to the art first introduced at the Shaolin Temples in China.

The Birth of Shaolin Martial Arts
Around 520 AD, a Buddhist monk from India named Bodhidharma (Da Mo) came to the Shaolin monastery at the foot of the Songshan mountains in north-central China. To help the monks withstand the long periods of meditation he introduced from his Chan (Zen) school of Buddhism, Bodhidharma taught the monks special breathing techniques and exercises to develop both their inner strength and their ability to defend themselves in the remote and often dangerous mountainous area in which they lived. Bodhidharma himself was said to have sat meditating facing a cave wall near the temple for nine years "listening to the ants scream." Based on these exercises introduced by Bodhidharma, the Shaolin monks gradually developed a sophisticated fighting system known as Shaolin Martial Arts.

Two related concepts separate Shaolin arts from most other styles. One is the use of "internal" abilities derrived from the meditative based training and the other is how its fighting techniques are largely based on the movements of animals. Related to the Taoist backgrounds of many of the monks at the time, observing nature and living in harmony with the world was an important concept to go hand-in-hand with the Zen Buddhist concepts introduced by Bodhidharma. The combination of internal exercises with philosophies based on the forces at work in the natural world are the basis for the development of Shaolin martial arts. In our Chung Yen style, we practice Nei Kung (internal work) training incorporated with the more physical Wei Kung (external work) to create a more complete martial artist. We practice a variety of animal based forms and systems such as the Bird, Tiger, Praying Mantis, Dragon, and Monkey.

Su Kong Tai Jin
Somewhere around the middle 19th century, a child was born with a genetic condition that resulted in his face being completely covered with hair. As a result, Su Kong Tai Jin, as he came to be called, was abandoned by his parents near the Fukien Shaolin Temple in southwest China where he was found and taken in by the temple's monks. Rather than specializing in one area as was the custom, Su Kong learned a variety of martial arts systems from several of the temple's masters. After many years of practice, Su Kong eventually became the head of the martial arts program at the Fukien Temple. When the Fukien Temple was destroyed as the result of a government plot in the early 1900's, Su Kong was forced out but continued to travel in China and pass on the martial arts he learned and developed at Fukien. One of his students from the temple he continued to teach was Ie Chang Ming.

Ie Chang Ming and Chung Yen Shaolin
Ie Chang Ming (1882-1968), was born in the Fukien province of China and studied at the Shaolin Temple there from the age of six. After the temple was destroyed in the early 1900's, Ie Chang Ming continued his training with Su Kong, as well as traveling throughout China exposing himself to other styles. But an incident in which Ie, in self defense, fought and killed eleven government soldiers, forced him to flee the country. In a sampan, Ie sailed to Indonesia, arriving in Bandung on the island of Java around 1910. After several years of barely surviving, Ie reunited with several of his colleagues from the Fukien Temple to teach martial arts in Bandung calling it Chung Yen Wu Shu Shao, in reference to the material passed on to them from the central Shaolin temples.

Grandmaster Ie, also known as "Tie Chang Sang Rèn" or "Iron Palm Master" was highly skilled in the internal systems. With him was Master Liu Su Peng (Sen Pien Sow or "Spirit Whip Hand") who specialized in the Tai Peng or "Great Bird" fighting system. He also conducted advanced weapons training with the chain and fire whips. Other Masters at who taught at the Chung Yen school included Je Jou (shiao) Fu originally from Northern China who settled in mid-Java, and Qui Kwong, who is still alive today and living in Bandung. Ie Chang Ming passed away in 1968 at the age of 86. Liu Su Peng died in 1978.


Legend has it that after an Indian Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma arrived at the SongShan Shaolin temple around 520 AD, he spent nine years meditating while facing a wall in a nearby cave. His dedication so impressed one of the monks, that the monk cut off one of his hands as symbolic gesture.
Master Hiang and several of his students visited the rebuilt Songshan Shaolin Temple in 1994. Shown here are the steps to the main entrance to the temple.
Su Kong Tai Jin, abandoned at birth because of a genitic defect that covered his face with hair, grew up within the walls of the Fukien Shaolin Temple in southeastern China. Su Kong eventually became the Grandmaster of the martial arts program there.
Grandmaster Ie Chang Ming, also known as "Tie Chang Sang Rèn" or "Iron Palm Master" was highly skilled in the internal systems. He is shown here in his training hall in Bandung.