M. Wu Nanfang & Shaolin Kung Fu

2011, 56:38

Master Wu Nanfang teaches Wugulun Kung Fu, more internal than the acrobatic Shaolin form, and talks about the relationship between Kung Fu and Zen.

· Marbella Film Festival, Spain, 14-16 Oct 2011

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Master Wu Nanfang & Shaolin posterThis documentary follows Master Wu Nanfang, a Kung Fu Master who is the great great grandson of Wugulun, a 19th century monk from the famous Shaolin temple in Henan Province, China. During its turbulent history the Shaolin temple has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, as various warlords tried to co-opt the fighting skills of the monks.

Filmed in the beautiful grounds of the temple itself the Master performs some Chi Gong and sword forms, the Shaolinfenhuanchui form, and the well known Dragon form. He also demonstrates the fighting applications with some of his students and explains the difference between the more internal Wugulun lineage and the acrobatic, performance oriented Shaolin wushu styles.

We see his school, the students training, and we accompany them on Ching Ming day – the day in spring when the Chinese pay their respects to the graves of their ancestors – to the humble graves of the three earlier Masters of this lineage. The final grave is that of Wugulun himself, which is in the village where Wu Nanfang grew up and spent his youth studying Kung Fu.

Wu Nanfang is also a Zen Master – and standing in front of the very mountain where Bodhidharma meditated he speaks about the development of Zen in China, and how the practice of Wugulun Kung Fu is not simply a fighting form – but is in fact the art of transforming aggressive energy into awareness and compassion.