There are many of different schools of Shaolin kung fu with different approaches. Even at the Shaolin temple, considered as its birthplace, training schedules have varied from era to era, and it also varies from lineage to lineage among the monks. Besides, different practitioners have different priorities and so they have different exercises and different timings. There is no single defined schedule. However, the main streamline of daily activities in Shaolin temple is well defined. Since the ancient times, daily life of the monks at Shaolin temple has included studying and practicing Chan Buddhism, studying and practicing kung fu, and engaging in temple affairs, such as cleaning the temple, working on the farms, guarding the area, etc. The typical daily training schedule is:

5:00: Rising from bed

5:15–5:30: Sitting qigong

5:30–7:30: Morning run and kung fu practice

7:30-8:30: Morning meal

9:00–11:30: Performing temple tasks, like working at farms, chopping wood, and tending to commercial affairs; monks who are elders or children attend Buddhist classes

11:30–12:30: Lunch
12:30–5:00: Afternoon kung fu practice: martial exercises and combat skills

5:10–6:40: Evening Buddhist lessons

6:50–7:30: Dinner

9:00–10:00: Personal Time

10:00: Going to bed

At the morning training session, basic skills are practiced. Morning training begins with empty stomach, by warming up, which includes loosening up the body via rotating the joints and then by stamina training via endurance exercises such as various kinds of running, jumping, push-ups, etc., for 15–30 minutes. Then the “child skills” such as flexibility and balance are practiced for about a half-hour. Flexibility training is done via stretching exercises, and balance training is done via keeping the body balanced in different childish skills postures for a while. Usually, morning training takes 1 hour, but monks may train themselves by doing more basic exercises and other exercises such as practicing combat drills and routines, etc.

Afternoon training session usually begins at about 2:00-2:30, and may even begin at 3:00 at hot summer days. At this session, mostly the combat skills are practiced. These are usually practiced for 1–2 hours. In between, they may have a few 15-20-minute rest times, and may do other kinds of exercises at this session, which make the session to last for 2–3 hours.


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