The history of Northern Shaolin Kung Fu stretches back to the year 495AD, when the Shaolin Buddhist monastery was built in Honan province in Northern China. The temple was built under the order of Su Wen in adoration of the Buddhist master Badra. In order to defend the temple from attackers and thieves, the monks developed martial arts which combined combat techniques with the theories and practices of Buddhist meditation.
Today a general distinction of the kung fu styles in China is between "Northern" and "Southern" styles. This is not only a distinction of geography but also of the techniques and methods themselves. The Southern styles of kung fu are characterized as having short fast hand strikes and low kicks. The Southern styles are often referred to as "short fist" styles. Two examples of Southern kung fu are "Wing Chun" and "Hung Gar". The Northern styles of kung fu emphasize extension in striking, with deep stances and dynamic kicking methods. The Northern styles develop flexibility, strength, coordination, balance and agility. The theory of Northern style is that power is developed through the rigorous training of the extended postures which one can condense into shorter strikes when actually fighting. The training also instills a great amount of versatility in movement and technique.
Another distinction that is important to note is between traditional Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and what is commonly known as "wu shu". During the cultural revolution in China, martial arts were organized into sports and the forms of Northern Shaolin were modified into performance routines for competition-- which became commonly referred to as "wu shu". Wu shu emphasizes the aesthetics of the martial arts over the practical fighting principles and it is a bit like acrobatics. At EBM we offer more traditional Shaolin martial arts where the emphasis is on fighting technique and power.
At the EBM Academy, we teach the traditional Northern style of Shaolin. This system is the largest of the lineages taught at EBM and is taught in a very systematic fashion. Tan Tui ("spring leg") is the system of basic forms which is the foundation of Northern Shaolin. Tan Tui consists of twelve linear forms which are done in repetition as solo practice, and then twenty four fighting forms which are done with a partner. Tan Tui provides an excellent foundation for the martial arts. Tan Tui develops strength, flexibility, proper body mechanics, cardiovascular endurance and hard bones.