This is another photo from Wudang Shan. This taoist was performing a set of martial arts for a cine-grapher in one of the many Taoist Temples in Wudang Shan. I happened along and took the picture.
Below is a photo of one of the many incense burners in one of the many temples in Wudang Shan.
As a by the by, temples in China do not allow the burning of incense sticks inside the temples by the public. All incense and offerings are to be burned/ignited in the forecourt of the temple. I believe this is a safety/fire precaution act.
In the same trip that I visited Wudang Shan, I visited Shaolin Temple.
The joke I tell my audience is that I planned to bring a small knife to Wudang Shan and a small spade to Shaolin Temple. When I visit Wudang Shan, I would use the blade to nick my finger, and drip a few drops of my blood on the stone that proclaimed "Wudang Shan." When I reach Shaolin Temple, I would use the spade to shovel a bit of the earth in there. Why?
血洗武当， 掺平少林(wash Wudang with blood and flatten Shaolin) - a quote from Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre.
Anyway, back to pictures from that trip. This is the main entrance of Shaolin Temple, where Xiao Feng would had knelt for 7 days in an attempt to meet his father.
Below is a photos of the Stele forest, where the ashes of many monks' are kept. Yes, I did try to see if there are names to identify the monks, but I could not find any among the ones I looked.
It was said that a Qing Dynasty emperor tried to arrange for the steles to be counted, but he was unsuccessful. If memory serves, the Emperor assigned a soldier to each stele, and then tried to count the number of soldiers but somehow the numbers got confused. That is why, until today, it is said that the number of steles remains indeterminate.
I took these photos in 2004 with a film camera - did not have a digital camera then. What you see now are scanned copies of the old photograph from that may years ago. Apologies for the quality.
The famous room with murals where the Shaolin Martial Monks had practiced. It was being renovated when I visited in 2004. The renovations should be completed by now! I hope they have left the impressions of the foot stamps intact.
It was said that so many monks over the many years had stamped on the ground in their martial arts practice that the ground had indentations, leaving impressions of the positions that the monks stamped their feet.
In one wing off Shaolin temple was a section with many carved statues demonstrating particular martial arts moves/strokes. I looked, but could not find the 14th move of Yen Shi-san (Yen the 13th).
Personally, I feel that Shaolin Temple had been over commercialised. The last photo of the martial arts moves/postures are unnecessary and perhaps even inappropriate in a temple. However, to be fair, when I was there, this area was more an annex of the temple than the temple itself.
For those thinking of going to Shaolin Temple to practice martial arts, here are some of my photos. Do bear in mind that what I witnessed was from 2004. I hope things have changed for the better by now.
Many of the locals practice or learn martial arts en mass. I think one would have to pay quite a bit to have private tutors. Anyway, these Jet Li hopefuls do have to work hard, and they train here in the open in late summer.
In another stable (I chose this term because this term is used in relation to Sumo Wrestlers) even younger martial arts students can be found. This picture was taken during their lunch break. It is a not a bed of roses - each have a beaker of water and one huge bowl for their food. Observe - no chairs not tables. Everybody is squatting down to eat their food. At least, they are not required to stand in the horse stance through out the lunch break.
The red characters on the right hand side pillar on the building at the back of the picture extorts the students not to waste food. The characters on the left pillar urge them to be thrifty.
I presume the food served is not quite French cuisine.
This is a photo taken inside the Tiger Subduing Temple (I think). I was seeking traces of Zhou Zhiruo, but I could not find any. I have another photo showing the nun's washing (and under things) drying in the sun but it seemed too rude to display it here..
Hauliers carrying things up and down E'mei Shan... I did wonder if their surname is Zhang - in Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre, Mistress Exterminate made Zhou Zhirou swear that if she marries Zhang Wuji, all their male offsprings will be slaves, generation after generation...
Observe the footwear of the haulier in the foreground. They were carrying away the ends of joss sticks and candles etc. from the temple.
You're right about Shaolin. It's too commercialized. I went there to Shaolin in 2009, but too bad that my friend's camera was stolen. So we lost all of the pictures there But when I went there, those who learn martial arts in Shaolin already had a proper dormitory. And they had a good proper dining hall
Anyway, any beautiful nun in E-Mei? in HSDS era, pretty sure they had a lot of good looking nuns. That Yang Bu Hui's mother was one of them!
So far, I have covered Wudang, Shaolin and E-Mei, these being the main clans of the Martial World. I suppose it would not be possible to cover the Beggar Clan because their gatherings are more ephemeral and do not really have a main site.
These are photos from Mount KongTong. KongTong Clan was mentioned in many of Jin Yong's novels.
Having visited both KongTong Shan (of KongTong Sect fame), and WuDang Shan, I preferred KongTong Shan simply because it is smaller and more accessible. Still, it was a hard climb from the mid-level of the mountain all the way up.
Kongtong Sect was mentioned in the film, "Reign of the Assassins." The Master-Student/Husband-Wife couple were from there. Kongtong Sect was also mentioned in Jin Yong's "Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber" as part of the Six Mainstream Sects who set out to eliminate the Ming Cult.
I took the bus from the foot of the hill to the mid-level. After that, everyone has to walk - no sedan chairs for hire!
This picture as taken from the rear of KongTong Shan, after I descended, with the view of the cluster of temples on top of Kongtong Shan from the South side, embraced by clouds..
This is one of the many flights of steps up... Also seen in the picture are labourers hired to physically carry sand and slabs of stones and building material up the mountain. They were standing there catching their breath before making the assault on the flight of stairs.
I don't know if I should be astonished or I should be in awe that they are still physically transporting the materials up the mountain this day and age.
I did speak to some people on this, and they explained that most of these human transporters - ku li 苦力 from which we get the word coolie - are the locals who are not well educated. If they do not sell their labour, there is not much else they could do that could give them an income.
Some more steps. This picture was taken not quite from the top - I think I had to climb another 15 steps to the top landing. The red dot in the picture is that of a lady who is not quite at the foot of the flight of steps. It is indeed one heck of a climb.
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