The 72 Shaolin Secret Arts are methods of preparing the body and the mind for action under extreme conditions (first of all, in conditions of real-life hand-to-hand combat). If you train only hand-to-hand techniques and do not pay attention to special training, you will never achieve the highest mastery and your movements will lack the real force. “The fists are like flowers, and the legs like embroidery needles”, laugh the old masters at such “techniques”. The 72 Arts of Shaolin are the foundation of the utmost mastery in all styles of Kung Fu.
“Seventy-two precious arts are kept in a brocade bag, they are kept like a great treasure. Eighteen of them are the essence of the famous treatises on pugilistic arts. Eighteen other arts describe in detail training methods with the use of special tools and training equipment. Wonderful methods of attaining the flexibility of the breath-chi, exercises in obtaining hardness and lightness, clenching methods are written with the blood of monks in books that are kept like a treasure in the brocade bag. One can seldom meet those who really want to do exercises with zeal: to become a real hero, one must often feel bitter taste of hard labour.” /Secret Shaolin Treatises on the Pugilistic Art/
Seventy-two types of the Shaolin Arts represent an example of personal experience of monks from the Shaolin Monastery in the Songshan Mountains. This experience was obtained by hard exercises in combat arts during many epochs. The best samples of those seventy-two arts are such effective methods as qi gong (chi kung), breathing exercises chi, exercises to obtain hardness ying gong and lightness qing gong, acupoint massage dian xue, clenching arts qin na (chin na), the art of setting dislocations and bones and others.
“In all practices of the Seventy-two Arts at first the basic theory is studied and only then exercises are done. At first those who practice the arts train the softness of their sinews and bones and try to make agile all their joints and articulations. Then they set into motion the main breath ZONG LI, strengthen the internal organs FU, improve blood state, consolidate body strength, control the cinnabar field and concentrate energy in it, overcome their desires and requirements. The strength spreads on the four extremities and the hundred joints and articulations, now a fighter is in command of unlimited power and he can move off one thousand jins. Your arm weighing only ten jins can move a thing weighing ten thousand jins with a stroke. Your arms are a head, your legs are a tail. Everything is permeated with a single movement, the body moves like a dragon. Teachers said: “Shaolin exercises develop forces of the whole human organism, all joints and bones; you are capable of striking with all parts of your body.” There is one more saying: “The fist is the source of all arts and the leg is the base, the root of the fist.” Ordinary practice of pugilism consists of seventy percent of leg training and thirty percent of fist training. If you acquire pugilism, you can use eighteen types of weapon. If you resort to all ruses of pugilism, you can fight against ten thousand fighters.” /Secret Shaolin Treatises on the Pugilistic Art/
72 Secret Arts of Monks from the Shaolin Monastery:
1. Method “Diamond Finger” (Yi Zhi Jingang Fa).
2. Exercise “Twin Lock” (Shuang Suo Gong).
3. Exercise “Striking with Foot” (Zu She Gong).
4. Exercise “Pulling out a Nail” (Bo Ding Gong).
5. Exercise “Ringing Round a Tree” (Bao Shu Gong)
6. Four-Part exercise (Si Duan Gong).
7. Exercise “One Finger of Chan Meditation” (Yi Zhi Chan Gong).
8. Exercise “Iron Head”(Tie Tou Gong).
9. Exercise “Iron Shirt” (Tie Bu Shan Gong).
10. Exercise “A Series of Blows” (Pai Da Gong).
11. Exercise “Sweeping with an Iron Broom” (Tie Sao Zhou).
12. Exercise “Hand – a Bamboo Leaf” (Zhu Ye Shou Gong).
13. Exercise Jumping Centipede (WU GONG TIAO).
14. Raising a Weight of 1000 JINs (TIE QIAN JIN).
15. Celestial’s Palm (XIAN REN ZHANG).
16. Method of Hardness and Softness (GANG ROU FA).
17. Cinnabar Palm (ZHU SHA ZHANG).
18. Exercise Lying Tiger (WO HU GONG).
19. Swimming and Diving Skill (QIU SHUI SHU).
20. Sluice Shutter weighing 1000 JINs (QIAN JIN ZHA).
21. Covering with a Gold Bell (JIN ZHONG ZHAO).
22. Exercise Finger Lock (SUO ZHI GONG).
23. Luohan’s Exercise (LUOHAN GONG).
24. Lizard Climbs the Wall (BIHU YU QIANG SHU).
25. The Art of Lash (BIAN JIN FA).
26. Exercise “PIPA” (PIPA GONG).
27. “The Pole of a Falling Star” (LIU XING ZHUANG).
28. “Poles of Plum Bloom” (MEI HUA ZHUANG).
29. The Art of Stone Padlock (SHI SUO GONG).
30. “Skill of the Iron Arm” (TIE BI GONG).
31. “Fist like a Bullet” (DANZI QUAN).
32. Exercise “Soft Bones” (ROU GU GONG).
33. Exercise “Frog” (HAMA GONG).
34. Exercise “Piercing the Curtain” (CHUAN LIAN GONG).
35. The Force of Eagle’s Claws (YING ZHAO LI).
36. Technique “Iron Bull” (TIE NIU GONG).
37. Skill of Eagle Wings (YING YI GONG).
38. Arm of Sun Rays (YANG GUANG SHOU).
39. Exercise for Groin (MEN DAN GONG).
40. Exercise “Iron Bag” (TIE DAI GONG).
41. Method that Reveals the Truth (JIE DI GONG).
42. Skill of Tortoise Back (GUI BEI GONG).
43. Skill of Deft Jumps (CUAN ZONG SHU).
44. Skill of Light Body (JIN SHEN SHU).
45. Exercise “Iron Knees” (TIE XI GONG).
46. Technique of Jumps (TIAO YAO FA).
47. Palm of Iron Sand (TIE SHA ZHANG).
48. Pulling a Silk Thread (YI XIAN CHUAN).
49. Method of drawing in YIN (XI YIN GONG).
50. Technique of “Rubbing and Thrusts” (MO CHA SHU).
51. Exercise “Stone Pile” (SHI ZHU GONG).
52. Skill “Neither Lances nor Broadswords Can Wound” (QIANG DAO BU RU FA).
53. Gong Fu “Flight” (FEI XING GONG).
54. Hand of Five Poisons (WU DU SHOU).
55. Skill of Water Separation (FEN SHUI GONG).
56. To Fly Up to the Ridge and to Walk on a Wall (FEI YAN ZOU).
57. Skill of Somersaulting (FAN TENG SHU).
58. Pole of Cypress (BAI SHU ZHUANG).
59. Ba Wang’s Elbow (BA WANG ZHOU).
60. Exercise “Pinching a Flower” (NIAN HUA GONG).
61. Exercise “Pushing a Mountain with Palm” (TUI SHAN ZHANG).
62. Technique of Horse Saddle (MA AN GONG).
63. Skill of Nephrite Belt (YU DAI GONG).
64. YIN Fist Method (YIN QUAN GONG).
65. Skill of Sand Bags (SHA BAO GONG).
66. Skill “Piercing Through Stones” (DIEN SHI GONG).
67. Skill “Pulling Out a Mountain” (BO SHAN GONG).
68. Claws of Mantis (TANGLANG ZHAO).
69. Skill “Bag” (BU DAI GONG).
70. Palm of Guan Yin (GUAN YIN ZHANG).
71. Skill “Raising a Pot” (SHANG GUAN GONG).
72. Rubbing Palms (HE PAN ZHANG).