Master Du, Shaolin Monk

Shaolin Kung Fu is one of the most famous and influential Martial Arts disciplines around the world and is a key part of the traditional Martial Arts taught today in China.

Shaolin Kung Fu has a very long history and includes a vast amount of disciplines and styles. It is based on a huge technological system that has a total of 708 sets of Shaolin Kung Fu techniques including 552 boxing applications and 156 various other types, including such things as grappling, fighting, acupuncture techniques and Qi Gong. These are put into different categories and degrees of difficulty that are organically integrated into the huge and technological Shaolin Kung Fu system.

SAMSON has been able to speak exclusively to Master Du Kai Peng, a Shaolin Warrior who trained at the world famous Shaolin Temple in China for many years. 


MATT

Thank you Master Du for this rare opportunity to speak with you in depth about Shaolin Kung Fu and your experiences with it. To begin with, which style do you specialise in and could you tell us about it?

 

MASTER DU

My main style is Shaolin Fist. In Shaolin we train the connection between the internal aspects (such as a persons energy) and the external factors (such as strength, flexibility and stamina). Many people think that Shaolin is a purely 'external' style, but in fact there is a great amount of internal training involved. Within the higher levels of training one learns how to harness his or her energy (called Qi) and use it in the various movements and applications. Since Shaolin has become very popular lately, there are more and more schools that people can go and train at. However, it is very important to find a Master that is proficient and qualified in the various aspects of Shaolin Gong Fu, otherwise problems can arise, such as injuries. Around the Shaolin temple itself there are many schools and the area attracts more and more people all the time wanting to train there. This has led to some very skilled Masters leaving the area and finding other quieter places for themselves in an attempt to avoid the big crowds. There are however still some good masters around the Shaolin area but because of the amount of schools it is important to be careful when choosing where to train.

 

MATT

Can you describe your past experiences, your training and also the competitions that you have been part of?

 

MASTER DU

In 1998 I went to the Shaolin Temple and became a Warrior monk. I trained extremely diligently in the temple and during my time there participated in many Martial Arts competitions. In 2000, two years after arriving there I won the 1st Shaolin Fist Competition, held in Dengfeng City. Later that year I participated in the Hebei Yang-style Tai chi Martial Arts Exchange Competition and was awarded the title of 'Excellent Sportsman'. Then in 2002 I managed to win the National Shaolin Fist Competition and was awarded the title of 'Excellent Warrior' in the Shanghai Martial Arts Exchange Competition, which was a great honour for me. In 2006 I was part of a group that won the first place in the National Martial Arts Championship and by the end of 2006 I moved into teaching and began teaching Shaolin Kung Fu to students from all over the world.

MATT

What is your usual daily routine?

 

MASTER DU

I usually get up at 5:50am and do about an hour and a half of Qi Gong training. After that I eat breakfast and then teach for 4 hours. At midday I have lunch and an afternoon break before teaching another class at 230pm and usually go to sleep around 1030pm. On my rest day I spend time planning the classes for my students and thinking of ways to help them improve.

 

MATT

What benefits (physical and mental) can the training give a person?

 

MASTER DU

The training can help improve a persons general fitness including strength, flexibility, and stamina etc. The mental and emotional benefits include improving ones confidence and mood levels. Within the high levels of training you can feel a greater connection with nature and its Qi, which can assist with a persons peacefulness.

MATT

So who trained you?

 

MASTER DU

I have had many Masters and teachers over the years. When I was growing up I moved around a lot from school to school trying to find the best Masters to train with. There are a few that I remember more than others and since I studied under a lot of different ones, I managed to pick up many different styles and techniques including Ba Gua and Xing Yi. When I was very young I learned the traditional folk Martial Arts under the guidance of my grandfather.

 

MATT

Did you have any idols or people who inspired you when you were growing up?

 

MASTER DU

There were many talented and skilled people around me when I was younger but to be honest I never aspired to be like anyone else. I always wanted to be the best, so I would push myself to train harder and harder and try to get better all the time.

MATT

How has the training influenced your life?

 

MASTER DU

Through the training I have become more confident in myself. As I have been training people from all over the world for many years I have taught myself how to speak English and have learned a lot about the cultural differences through my range of students. The training has also helped me be more disciplined and decisive.

 

MATT

How do you think Martial Arts is doing in the UK at this present time?

 

MASTER DU

I don't really know that much about the status of Martial Arts in general around the UK at the moment, but I have heard from previous students that there does not seem to be enough high level schools around. However I believe there will be more and more good Masters in the UK in the near future as a growing number of people are becoming interested in being healthy and staying fit. In China there is an increased awareness for health and fitness and many people are joining Martial Arts clubs for these reasons.

 

MATT

Do you follow a special diet?

 

MASTER DU

For breakfast I eat eggs and oatmeal. Then for lunch and dinner I have rice with vegetables and meat. I try to refrain from snacks and foods that have a lot of preservatives in them so I'll usually eat fruit and nuts instead. Most days I won't eat after 7.30pm which gives your stomach time to rest and digest the food properly.

 

MATT

Do you have any tips for our readers to build strength, fitness and improve health?

 

MASTER DU

It is important to advance step by step and not to rush with any training programme. If you try to push too much too soon you could injure yourself. In the long run this patience is much better for your health and well being. I would first of all find a good teacher and discuss with them your goals and aspirations to see if you think the trainer or teacher is right for you.

MATT

Do you have any specific goals for the future?

 

MASTER DU

I hope to one day open my own Gong Fu academy. I am also developing my own style of training and teaching that I am building from all my past experience and the different styles I have learned over the years. I would like to focus my teaching on the health aspects, such as the Qi Gong training and also on some elements of self defense. I have taught many students who have had injuries in the past and I have trained them specifically in ways that helped them recover from their injuries. I had one student who had suffered with knee problems from childhood and after only 6 months training I had him running again. 


TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MASTER DU, HIS TECHNIQUES OR TO TRAIN WITH HIM VISIT SHOALIN-KUNGFU.COM


SPORTS EDITOR | SAMSON