The Shaolin Monastery is a Buddhist temple located in the mountains in eastern China. It is known world over as the home and birthplace of the martial art known as kung fu. The temple was build over 1500 hundred years ago, and today still houses many “warrior monks” who practice for years or even decades to master the tenets of this martial art as a show of their faith.
Thanks to Hollywood’s fascination with kung fu movies, and particularly the nearly “magical” feats that some high trained martial artists can achieve, Shaolin warrior monks enjoy a reputation for bodily wizardry, as can be seen in this video.
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This video purports to be a test of “lightness” for a Shaolin monk, and shows a monk running across a lawn, crouching, then jumping and rotating in the air several times, to finish by landing on a wall. Wow—can the man fly?
Unfortunately, this viral video, though impressive, is nothing more than a case of trick photography. What is happening here is that the video is being played in reverse. It’s really a shot of a man jumping off a high wall, turning several times in the air, and landing in a crouch before stumbling backwards few steps. It’s still an impressive move, but it’s hardly supernatural.
Still, what the monks in this temple can train their bodies to do is seriously impressive, even without the help of camera tricks. It’s said that kung fun was not originally developed as a means of protecting the monastery and surrounding villages, but rather as a way of strengthening body and resolve for their long meditation sessions.
But meditating doesn’t make for such interesting video.