The 72 Secret Fighting Exercises or ‘Kungs’ of the Shaolin Temple involve demanding training extremes, essential to their mastery. Jumping and leaping skills like those demonstrated in Kung Fu movies can be gained via this example.
The Shaolin Jumping Exercise is ideal for acquiring internal strength and developing Qi. However, constant practice, strong will-power and determination are needed to bring about success. The Exercise is one of a group known as ‘Light Body Arts’ and is of the Yin/Rou Internal Energy Training variety..
Dig a one-foot (30 cm) deep pit capable of accommodating two people easily. Next, lead (1) weights of about 1 pound (1/2 kg) need to be attached to the body–shoulders, chest, waist, thighs or ankles will do for this. After this, the student steps into the pit and then, using the power of his legs only, jumps upwards and out of the pit and onto its edge. Immediately after this has been accomplished, the student jumps back into the pit and repeats the exercise, continuing until she/he is tired.
When students can jump in and out of the pit without difficulty they are ready for the next stage.
The student now repeats the exercise again, however, the pit is now deepened by one inch (2.5 cm) and the weights carried are also increased slightly. Every 10 days two extra ounces (50 gm) are added to the students burden, and, after a similar period of time, the pit is deepened by one more inch.
During this period students may experience intense leg-pain as they continue with their jumping practice. If this grows unsupportable, the intervals between weight and depth increases should be increased to 20 days.
After a number of months the pit’s depth may approach the height of the individual inside it. The weights used, similarly, will have increased substantially over the same period of time. If students can now jump in and out of the pit with relative ease they can be said to have mastered this art. By this time the weight they carry will have increased to 8-10 pounds (4-5 kg approx). However, a final stage remains.
The student now continues his efforts without the weights. As even greater heights can now be achieved more readily, the student should now be able to jump on to the tops of walls, outbuildings and even the roofs of single-story dwellings with ease and without a run-up or preparation.
This Shaolin Secret Fighting Exercise or ‘Kung’ is behind the jumping and roof-running scenes which feature so prominently in Kung Fu movies. 3-5 years of regular training are required to master this art.
. (1) Due to the toxic nature of lead, be sure not to affix any to the skin (sand can always be used instead).