Shaolin kung fu refers to a collection of Chinese martial arts that claim affiliation with the Shaolin Buddhist Monastery. Of the tens of thousands of kung fu wushu styles, several hundred have some relationship to Shaolin; however, aside from a few very well known systems, such as Shaolin Five Animal, the 108 Movements of the Wooden Man Hall, Enchanted Staff, White Eyebrow, and so on, it would be almost impossible to establish a verifiable connection to the temple for any one particular art.
Internal vs. External Arts
Huang Zongxi described Chinese martial arts in terms of Shaolin (external arts) versus Wudang (internal arts) in 1669. Since then Shaolin in popular term Shaolin has been synonymous with what are considered the external Chinese martial arts, whether or not the particular style in question has any connection to the Shaolin Monastery.
Some say that there is no differentiation between the so-called internal and external systems of the Chinese martial arts, while other well known teachers have expressed differing opinions. For example, the Taijiquan teacher Wu Jianquan stated: Those who practice Shaolinquan leap about with strength and force; people not proficient at this kind of training soon lose their breath and are exhausted. Taijiquan is unlike this. Strive for quiescence of body, mind, and intention. More>>