As part of Master Yan Xin’s visit to the UK Shaolin Temple the past weekend, we were very honoured to not only have him as a judge for our competition on Saturday, but also have him leading two workshops in one day on Sunday. Students from the UK Shaolin Temple and former Students of Master Yan Xin from Bristol and the surrounding areas made their way to the UK Shaolin Temple on Sunday morning to learn about soft fist (Rou Quan) and straight sword (Damo Jian).
Soft Fist – Rou Quan
The focus of the soft fist is on the internal energyflow. It is one of the oldest forms that monks have been practicing for their daily routine, as it strengthens the back muscles and spine in particular. The traditional Kung Fu movements combine slow and soft movements with explosive power. This allows the energy to stay inside the body to strengthen the organs.
After warming up and some stretching, Master Yan Xin introduced the first slow and soft movements. They looked very familiar to what we learn in our Tai Chi and Qi Gong classes. Following some practice exercises, we moved on to some explosive power movements, which are a lot more difficult to master, as these take a lot of practice and control of your body. All workshop participants had a go at various excercises to get familiar with the movements. Finally, Master Yan Xin showed the movements of the form step by step for everyone to practice and remember. By lunchtime, everyone had a good insight of all the movements of that form and how to practice these at home.
Straight Sword – Damo Jian
Within the theme of defense and focus on internal and external energy, the straight sword is used to train the control and expansion of the body. For a precise and flowing use of the weapon, the energies within the body need to be controlled, as it is the body work that moves the weapon.
The afternoon workshop started after a short tea ceremony with a quick warm up and stretch. This was followed by some introductory movements with and without the sword. Once everyone was familiar with the weapon, Master Yan Xin went through the form step by step. The form includes some pretty cool movements, such as jumps and stabs in the air, as well as fast and explosive duck walk. By the end of the day, we reviewed the whole form in smaller groups and also repeated the soft fist form from the morning to see what we could remember.
We would like to say a big thank you to Master Yan Xin for giving everyone this fantastic insight into these two forms. All participants learned a lot and feel very inspired for their training now. Likewise, we would love to say a big thank you to all participants and their questions and hard work during the seminars. It has been a great day in a friendly atmosphere, where everyone helped each other.