The saying goes, "Under Heaven ,Shaolin is the Mother of Martial Arts" and "One Hundred Flowers come from Shaolin." It's a wonderful thought and we studied Shaolin for many years but it isn't true. Shaolin is now such a generic phrase and so overused as to be of very little use. Still there are some indications of styles which are probably "closer" to the core and meaning of the system. Shaolin is, in reality, a Middle Fist not a Long Fist though it is generally categorized as such. It is a huge style with over 200 staff sets and the temple itself was more of a repository for centuries of martial artists: sort of a living library of Alexandria. In this sense Shaolin is indeed an important and historically significant style. It is also often beautiful and "honest"; a style of contrasts and movements known throughout the world.

Click on picture to see larger version. See Shaolin Page Two


Luohan GongfaKL020 Luohan Gongfa: The Skill Methods of the Arhats
Translated and Compiled by Chen Faxing
Plum Price $19.95, 279 pages, Photographs and Illustrations
Purchase with any other translation from Chen Faxing for a 10% discount

This comprehensive compilation delves into the profound practice of the Arhats — the enlightened beings in Buddhist tradition — offering the teachings of esteemed individuals who have dedicated their lives to these principles.

The first section, “The True Explanation of the Enlightened Path Attained By the Western Region Arhats,” is authored by Daoist Sheng Xiao. With insights and clarity, Daoist Sheng Xiao offers genuine explanation of the path to enlightenment as attained by the Arhats of the Western Region.

The second section, “The Exercise Method of the Arhats,” is written by Xu Yusheng; known for his expertise in physical cultivation, he presents practical exercise methods that allow practitioners to embody the qualities and virtues of the Arhats through dedicated practice.

The third section, “The Skills of the Arhats,” is a compilation curated by Huang Hanxun of Shunde. Drawing from a wide range of sources, Huang brings together various skills and techniques employed by the Arhats, providing valuable insights into their abilities and accomplishments.

This book, translated by Chen Faxing, ensures that the knowledge and teachings within are accessible to a broader audience. His translation captures the essence and depth of the original texts, enabling readers to explore the profound teachings and practices of the arhats.

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Secrets of the Shaolin MastersKS013H Secrets of the Shaolin Masters
Five Element Fist with 2 two-man matching sets
Paul Koh
Regular $17.95, Plum Price $7.95, 147 pages, Oversized, Photographs,

When we are asked about the ability to change and modernize martial arts while, at the same time, keeping to the traditional road, we point to the work of Sifu Tak Wah Eng, and his senior student and teacher in his own right, Sifu Paul Koh. These two give good indication of what is possible and, to my mind, necessary for the future health of our great art.

One such exploration lies in this book, “Secrets of the Shaolin Masters.” It begins with a discussion of the philosophy of Five Elements and its implications. The Three great philosophies — Yin and Yang, Five Element, and Eight Trigram — are all pattern-seeking examinations of the art of change, with interesting comparisons to the ancient Greek philosophy of the Four Elements. Greek elements are essentially ingredients — this much water, that amount of fire, etc. The Chinese approach is more an action than a substance. Fire rises, water falls, and so on.

This five element structure is reinforced and applied to martial studies in the next section of stances and hand positions, followed by the extensions of basic strikes. Next, a Three Star Matching Set is demonstrated, then a single person Five Element form, followed by another matched set, with the partner mirroring the full Five Elements. Like all of Sifu Koh’s books, a clear layout and top-notch photographs. This is a step in the future direction.



Eagle Claw Kung Fu KY011 Young Forest, Traditional Skill Northern Shaolin Vol. #2    
Wing Lam and Oliver Bollmann
320 pages, English text

There are at least two styles of Northern Shaolin, with a number of additional claimants representing the Temple. Shifu Wing Lam's lineage, through Ku Yu Cheong,  is one of the more popular.

This book is volume 2 from the late Lam Shifu, cataloguing his version and teachings. For Northern Shaolin practitioners, one could hardly find a truer representation of the system's mechanics, which partially include:


  • Advanced Concepts: 3 Defensive Techniques, 3 Quicknesses, 4 Empties, 7 Fists, 12 don'ts
  • Internal training: The secret of power, aligning Northern Shaolin hand forms
  • Advanced weapons set descriptions (with some photos): such as Double Daggers, Cane, Broadswords, 3 Sectional Staff, Tiger Hook Swords, Horse Knife
  • Northern Shaolin fighting concepts: Application of balance, power and speed; Train low, Use High
  • Drills and sparring: Progression, Heavy Bags, Empty Hands vs. Double Daggers
  • Final thoughts

The actual list is so long we have reproduced the Table of Contents for you HERE.

Just an important note: While the names, all in English, are included for every form in this book, there is a limited number of photos demonstrating the forms. A book containing fully illustrated instruction would most likely run to over 1000 pages. However, having the names of each move is a treasure for Northern Shaolin players, which contributes to making this book indispensable.

Our only complaint is that some of the photos are a trifle dingy.  

Order Lam Shifu's Volumes 1 and 2 for a 10% Discount (discount shown in shopping cart)


Eagle Claw Kung Fu NEW!! SC242 Shaolin Spear with 6 Unifications (Liu He)    with VCD
Chief Editor: Ma Jing Guang
101 Pages, illustrations, En Face English and simplified Chinese, for text and companion VCD

I’ll be truthful, no matter the degree of expertise, the idea of two quick and intense students practicing with two live spears is worrisome to me. That aside, this is one of the rare spear fight choreographies I have seen.

This comes from one of Shaolin Temple’s main sub-division: Liu He, or Six Harmony movements that, in the Shaolin vocabulary, often presage duet partner forms. According to this viewpoint, Shaolin Liu He spear contributed to the skills of other honored styles such as Yang Family, Luo Family, and Yue Family.

Background, from the Shaolin Anecdotes: “All of them held the stick which was seven feet long, 30 jin in weight, and swift like a bamboo rod. The warriors were so brave that if any soldier be ahead of the field, he would act as a vanguard…” This I take to mean that any soldier might, like a flag bearer, take up the lead of the advance. Anyway, this is considered a precious technique in the Shaolin arsenal.



Shaolin Kung Fu #5KA022 Training Methods of 72 Arts of Shaolin
by Jin Jing Zhong
Regularly $36.95 Plum price $26.95
277 pages

Chinese martial training is a treasure-house of methods. Good evidence of this is how, presently, the exercise community is stealing every thing it can from the treasure, to keep up with “exercise channels” and a starving market for people fleeing the boredom.

Not all the methods in this book are solely martial, but each has a possible benefit. Some enhance perceptual skills such as eye and balance routines. Some are just plain difficult. Many are strength, endurance or conditioning techniques.

These all come from a famous little textbook describing these exercises. My only critical point is that all of the line drawings demonstrating the conditioning are public domain and might have been included in their entirety. Some skills are for Iron Palm, some for upper body strength, many emphasize Chin Na power. Lots of training routines, some of them slightly crazy. Again, we have a case of a good-attempted translation, I believe, from Chinese to Russian to English, with occasional slips, mostly on English idioms. On the other hand, the narration and presentation gives a “voice” that makes it easy to forget minor errors.


Eagle Claw Kung Fu KY010 Young Forest, Traditional Skill Northern Shaolin Vol.#1    
Wing Lam and Oliver Bollmann
200+ pages, English text.

This is Volume 1 of a proposed series on Northern Shaolin. It contains history and development of Shaolin style Kung Fu. It records the “melting pot” version of history where Shaolin is not so much a style as an archive of hundreds of forms and dozens of sub-systems. This text, recognized as Shaolin, moves through the lineage of Gu Ru Zhang, famous for Iron Palm breaks. It then deals with some very basic theories and principles. Finally there are sections where six of the Shaolin core forms (Lien Bu Quan, Tan Tui and the four grandparent weapons sets) are shown in sampler style with no complete form being included. In addition there are some breakdowns of usage from the empty hand sets. Reading this we see that the “original” Shaolin has suffered a history of set-backs, often destroying almost all the information. Nowadays we can only see  this or that Shaolin branch as closer or further from the ancient learning and, at best, a representative of some fragment from the Shaolin mural.

If there is one criticism of this book it might be that the contents run to the overly general and, in the effort to make Shaolin something special, take on a schoolmaster tone...

"The Northern Shaolin Hook block is rarely seen in other martial arts styles." It's had to understand why something is "rarely seen" when it is as common as french fries.

"It is important to never abandon any of your forms, even those you learned at the start of your training and even as you learn new ones." This denies the compounding effect of increasingly sophisticated practice. It describes an ideal state where everyone practices everything, forever. Of course this isn't true and the problem with writing it is not so much that it is wrong as wishful.

Nonetheless, for a Northern Shaolin practitioner, a useful book to own. What makes this book valuable is the political, cultural, and historical background on both the temple and the generations that followed.

Order Lam Shifu's Volumes 1 and 2 for a 10% Discount (discount shown in shopping cart)


Eagle Claw Kung Fu

SC333 Shaolin Fan Zi Boxing (Tumbling Fist)    with VCD
Compiled by Lu SuLing
91 pages, photographs, softbound
$18.95 Simplified Chinese/English with VCD (Chinese/English)

Originally called "Ba Shan Fan" or Eight Turning Evasions, this is a famous boxing style in Northern China. Fan Zi, or Tumbling Boxing, is a powerful, tight, explosive style with turns and fast solid striking. It specializes in evasion with forceful counter-attacks. It emphasizes strong legs and stances. I am writing this on the Fourth of July and recall the descriptive phrase for Fan Zi: "Both fists strikes like a string of firecrackers." Such is synchronicity. It is also characterized by being "swift, violent and powerful." I think this is one of the better forms in this series of 'en face' (Chinese/Englsih facing pages.) The practitioner is strong and his movements definite and fierce. Though the movement and flavor in this Shaolin branch version is athletic, there are no fancy or extraneous actions here. Around 48 techniques to the whole form.


Eagle Claw Kung Fu

SC239 Shaolin Rou Gong: Soft Boxing Vol.#1     with VCD
Mao JingGuang
91 pages, English/Chinese text, and English/Chinese narration.
$20.95 Simplified Chinese/English with VCD (Chinese/English)
PLUS a picture-only flip book to help learn

What would Shaolin look like if it were played like Tai Chi? Here is a soft side to Shaolin and this is the major soft form of the style. There are notably some movements from Shaolin in Tai Chi Chuan (Strike Tiger for example) and this might in some way be some ancestor of Tai Chi. This series of movements takes many of the major actions of Shaolin and shows them in a slow, graceful format with occasional energy issuance. The text is accompanied by one VCD and a small pictoral review book. One of the most popular Shaolin forms we handle. NOTE: The VCD is marked #1. This is a stand-alone form. There is a second Rou Gong form, which can also be stand-alone, but this form is complete in itself.


Shaolin Internal and ExternalKS047 SHAOLIN: Internal and External Kung Fu
Five Element Fist with 2 two-man matching sets
Compiled and edited by H. C. Chao
$27.00, 367 pages, softbound, illustrations,

This is another of those McLisa editions, this time published by Meedea in Taiwan in 1989. Basically this is what some people call a mock up, an edition compiled from other sources such as little Chinese books on Shaolin. It has a certain charm in the sheer abandon where illustrations and sources sit next to one another like confusion cuisine. Nonetheless there are some interesting sections on the history of the style, redrawn versions of the famous five animals exercise, training methods for the arms, fingers etc. Also there are applications all draw in a style one might call just a step or two above stick figures. An interesting collector’s piece not entirely without merit.



The Shaolin Arts Masters AnswersKS018 Master Answers Series: The Shaolin Arts
Shaolin Kung Fu, Taijiquan, Qigong, Zen
by Wong Kiew Kit
$14.95, 252 pages, some illustrations

We feel as though we have an allied spirit here. In this volume teacher Wong Kiew Kit takes on the daunting task of answering the questions he receives through "e" and regular mail. He comments on such topics as Kung Fu, Taiji, Qigong and Zen. With astonishing patience he directs people toward the real understanding of these items. He continually returns to the core concept that, yes, there is something wonderful and quite amazing here and, no, the hard work part of its is not to be circumvented. As per our experience, it is sometimes astounding what people ask. Wong guides back from the fantasy to the even more exciting truth.


Shaolin Kung Fu by Li

KS019 Shaolin Kung Fu
Li Ying Jie
$12.95, 127 pages, Oversized, Published 1988, Photographs,

This large book starts out with color plates including those famous murals from the Shaolin Temple walls. The rest of the book is done in the "cut out" photo sequences popular in the Sixties and Seventies. It starts with basics then proceeds to a short Southern style Bridge Set. Next is a partner set which, according to the text, has the essences of Tan Tui, Mantis, Eagle Claw, and LuoHan. The major set given is Nian Shou Quan or "Sticky Hand Boxing". This form is said to have been handed down from Sun Yu Feng, a great master of LuoHan Shaolin. The moves, obviously emphasize contact between the two partners. Many photos.


Shaolin Kung Fu #5KM004 Martial Skill: Shaolin Road #5
by Rick L. Wing
$19.95, 216 pages, softbound, photographs

"There is an actual system known as "Northern Shaolin." The main proponent of this system in the Twentieth century was GM Gu Ru Zhang. The director of Plum Publications own heritage through Wing Lam is from this lineage. Another branch of the school is through the teacher Wong Jack Man, well known in San Francisco Chinatown. One of his students, Rick Wing, has produced a book on a key form out of the Northern Shaolin lineage: #5 or Martial Skill.

This is a good choice. First, it has never been exhibited in an English language edition. It comes from the "first half" of the system which is composed of sets around 40 movements long. But it is generally regarded as the most complex and interesting of this group. It is a great exhibition form and we've had a number of students win tournaments with it. It shows more of the Shaolin skills than a number of the other forms. Wing himself is enthusiastic about the system. He is also quite limber and that "sells" the Northern kicks a bit. He has a lot of style and shows a practiced skill with the sets. The book is laid out with form explanations shown in large and small photos. It shows both back and front views. He also discusses all the other forms in the core system and their practice and meaning.

There is a nice history in the front and applications in the back. There are also sections on Gu Ru Zhang and Yim Shan Wu. Notes on the arrangement and meaning of the famous "ten core sets" help to give a feeling for the plan of the Northern Shaolin system. There are historical notes that will be useful to those researching Shaolin. If you are an enthusiast of Bei Pai Shaolin then this is a good addition to your library. Our only real criticism is that the photographs are a bit small. The applications section, for instance, is really too abbreviated to show much detail.
See Rick Wing's book on the Northern Three-Sectional Staff


Complete Book of Shaolin Kung Fu

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KC043 The Complete Book of Shaolin
Wong Kiew Kit
$21.95 PLUM Price 18% off: 17.95, 340 pages softbound,

Wong Kiew Kit is so enthusiastic about Shaolin Boxing that he has written an article attempting to prove that it is the "best" martial art in the world - and he has a pretty good argument, too. This book is a definite for anyone interested in Shaolin and Kung Fu generally. The text is what we call "generous" handing all sorts of topics with openess and information which, from a teacher's point of view, is of a higher caliber than generally available. Teacher Wong goes over Iron Palm training, Creating opportunities to secure victory, subtle forces, marvelous technique, weapons and how they are used, chi kung Shaolin style, symbolism in Shaolin poetry, curing disease. This book really tries to live up to its title. Tell me about Sifu Wong Kiew Kit.


Moi Fah The Plum Flower Fist

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KM009 MOI FAH:The Plum Flower Fist of Shaolin
Kwong Wing Lam & Ted Mancuso
$8.95, 90 pages softbound,

Here it is, the first book from Master KWONG (with a "g") Wing-Lam and Ted Mancuso. Though some minor problems with the photograph order (as co-author this still bugs me) this was one of the first texts on the Northern Shaolin system and it captures one of the more graceful and interesting of the first level forms. The movements of the form are shown along with applications, some history and a method of understanding that footwork of the set which is fairly unique. (Unique Publications also lived up to their name by going through three editors, seven photo sessions, losing a section on Shaolin weapons, managing to spell Wing Lam's name wrong, re-arranging the pictures -here for the first time: #69 should be duplicates of #'s 56 & 57 -and even putting the Chinese out of order because "no one in the office of Inside Kung Fu reads Chinese.")


Secrets of Shaolin Temple Boxing

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KS012 Secrets of Shaolin Temple Boxing
Robert W. Smith, Editor
$9.95, 70 pages,

This is the first major book on Shaolin Temple Boxing in the English language. With this book Robert W. Smith, already a well known writer on Judo, established himself as a major authority on Chinese martial Arts. Actually a translation of a Chinese text on Shaolin, this book is abundantly and attractively illustrated with typical early Tuttle good taste and nice art direction. Not an instruction manual per se Secrets gives the true flavor of a Chinese boxing text. It contains, among other things, the 18 Shaolin Monk exercises, photos of a Chin Nah expert demonstrating basic hands and a little background on Shaolin history and philosophy. A fundamental book.


Consummate Skills of ShaolinK#015 72 Consummate Skills of the SHAOLIN Temple
Compiled by Wu JiaMing
Translated by Rou Gang, Revised by Yang Yin Rong
$19.95, 286 pages, softbound, illustrated

This book is a compilation of different training methods such as you might see in some of the early Jackie Chan films while the Shihfu is taking a small break and a nap. Some of these are tradition methods from the Shaolin Temple. Some may be the inventions of novelist from the Ming Dynasty. Some defy the principles of physics and some are excellent specialty training methods. The original sources for this book, pamphlets often distributed from Shihfu to student, copied down, redrawn and rewritten are famous throughout the martial world. This is where Iron Skull, Chi Projection, Whip Strength and other methods were first shown to the public.


Shaolin Long Fist

KS022 Shaolin Long Fist
Yang Jwing-Ming  and Jeffrey Bolt
$17.95, 238 pages,

Still a good, serviceable introduction to Shaolin Kung Fu and Wushu in general. Published twenty years ago this is one of the books I recommend for people entering the Kung Fu world. Oversized and thick it gives a lot of information for the money. While sometimes light on distinguishing legend from fact, theory from practice; it is nonetheless a compendium of information covering basics, exercises, general fighting theory and form. A lot of concern went into this book. It also sports a lot of forms for the price (FIVE), demonstrating and showing applications for Lien Bu Chuan, Gung Li Chuan, Mai Fu Chuan (Ambush Fist), Shih Tzu Chuan and Shawn Fu Ien. Though these are only generically Shaolin they do represent the general category (Mai Fu is associated with Mei Hua style as is Shih Tzu Chuan, Shawn Fu is a praying mantis form and both Lien Bu and Gung Li are off the rack training forms or "linked fists."). You can't get hurt with this one.



Shaolin Wooden Dummy HallK#003 108 Movements of the Shaolin Wooden Dummy Hall
compiled by Winnie Cheng
$19.95 for the set of two books, 238 pages, 

This is a translation into English of applications supposedly related to the famous Wooden Dummy Hall of the Shaolin Temple. This was handed from well-known Wing Tsun practitioner Leung Ting to compiler Winnie Cheng as a very old manuscript from his library. It is illustrated with simple line drawings showing applications against an opponent of 108 different movements like:
• Old Tree with Knotty Roots
•Peacock Opening its Tail Feathers
•General Reining His Horse

We strongly suggest buying both of these since they run in sequence.
A neat collector's item reproduction of an old manuscript.


$19.95 for the set, English: 94 pages each, softbound


Shaolin Luohan Kung Fu

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KS021Shaolin Lohan Kung Fu
compiled by P'ng Chye Khim and Donn F. Draeger
$14.95 PLUM price   $11.95, English: 169 pages each, softbound

For many years Tuttle was one of the finest martial arts and generally Japanese culture publishers on the planet. Split between Japan and their kitchen table in Vermont, this family- owned company uncannily produced great books while Ohara-Rainbow was reducing itself to formula publishing and Unique Publications was still a glint in Curtis Wong's eye. From this time great texts like this one on the Luohan system are still being republished. Basically anything by Draeger, whose main study was Japanese martial arts and who, we believe, developed an academic study of weapons known as Hopology, is worth collecting. Well thought out and presented.


OUT OF STOCK ...but we expect more! Please place me on your WANT LIST for this item.
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Shaolin Basic ExercisesKS032 Shaolin Martial Art Basic Exercises
by Tak Wah Eng
$6.50, 30+ pages, softbound

This small home-made pamphlet qualifies as a collector's item. It is Tak Wah's first book and an introduction to the Fu Jow system. A little collector's item of about 32 pages with illustrations and photographs this book introduced the Fu Jow to an unsuspecting world. The movements are nice and the applications are pretty good. We suspect that in the future these self produced booklets will be highly sought after because, in many instances, they record the hands on work of teachers and schools with no other goal than promoting their arts.


Shaolin Hong BoxingKCS002 Shaolin Hong Quan
by Wang Si Qian ( trans. Joseph Crandall)
$24.00, 33 pages with illustrations

Some students of martial history are claiming that Red Fist, Tai Tzu and Canon Boxing (Pao Chui) may be the group of forms from which Tai Chi was developed. The different Red Fists (Big and Small) are definitely considered basic and key forms of the Shaolin style. Both are translated in this text by Wang SiQian, student of Shi DeGen.



Shaolin Tiger Boxing

KS023 Shaolin Tiger Boxing
by Xu Ri-Chao
$11.95, 103 pages, photographs, softbound,

A very interesting book giving a couple of examples of Tiger Style Kung Fu. But, even of more note, this Shaolin form is handed down through the Beggar's style. Not that many people are familiar with this authentic branch of the Kung Fu family that specializes in beggar's and wanderer's Kung Fu. But historical sources reveal that Beggar's Fist might be one of the main styles contributing to the birth of classical Karate in Okinawa. This book not only expounds the Tiger Fist with 57 postures but also an Arhat Northern Kung Fu form. A neat little book in English and Chinese so you can study you language along with your boxing.