The Shaolin Temple’s 72 Secret And Consummate Arts, also known as ‘Kungs’ or Fighting Exercises’, involve extreme training but can produce remarkable results. The two following, detailed inter-related examples show how achievements in certain ‘Kungs’ may, in some cases, considerably advance progress in others.
There are actually a lot more than 72 Shaolin Temple Secret Arts. Various authorities have produced different equally authentic lists, although these have much in common. Yang/Yin, Gang/Rou and Internal/External are descriptors used to Classify these Fighting Exercises or ‘Kungs’
‘Kungs’ involve mostly either Soft ‘Yin Rou Energy’ Training, (mainly Internal) or Hard ‘Yang Gang Power’ Training (mainly External) although a few involve both. In the following cases both Fighting Exercises involve Hard ‘Yang Gang External Power Training’.
Shaolin Secret Fighting Exercises: Crouching Tiger
Mastery of this Fighting Exercise greatly enhances the power of the fingers and toes when used in combat.
During Stage 1, the student lies in a prone position, hands shoulder-width apart, with weight supported on the palms and toes, head held upright and then raises and lowers himself up and down, moving his chest up and down about a foot each time, with body held straight.
The student repeats the exercise regularly until one-hundred or so ‘press-ups’ can be performed with ease. In Stage 2 clenched fist-knuckles then replace the palms and the practice is repeated until a similar number can be performed with ease and without discomfort.
The Third and final Stage involves use of the first two fingers and thumb until a similar total of ‘push ups’ can be readily achieved. Optional Extra Stages include use of one hand and foot only and the use of heavy weights attached to the student’s back.
Shaolin Secret Fighting Exercises: Jumping Centipede!
This Fighting Exercise can be considered an extension of the former, although it can be practised separately, being a ‘Kung’ in its own right.
This time the student’s hands and feet are brought closer together as his face-down stance approximates an inverted ‘v’. Using the palms and toes together his body is ‘shot’ upwards into the air repeatedly. The student hops/leaps forwards, backwards to the left and right and then ‘swirls’ his body (arms move in one direction legs in the opposite, sideways) to-and-fro for an equal number of repetitions in each direction. Finally, he leaps upright suddenly forwards (landing on his hands) and backwards landing on his feet.
As before, Stage 1 requires use of the palms and toes, Stage 2 the toes and knuckles and Stage 3 the toes and first two fingers and thumbs. Optional Extra Stages again include use of one hand and foot only and the attachment of heavy weights to the body.
Because of the low profile achieved, the sudden, dramatic nature of the leaps, and the greatly increased hand and foot strength involved Centipede Leaping was frequently used in night-fighting.