Legend has it that in 495 A.D. the Indian monk Ba Tuo came to China teaching a form of Buddhism know as Xiao Sheng Buddhism. He was given land at the foot of Songshan mountain, in the Henan Province, situated in the northern part of China, by Emperor Shao Wen and founded the Shaolin Temple on this land.   About the same time as Ba Tuo was setting up the Shaolin Temple, a legendary south Indian prince named Bodhidarma born Bodhitara, the third child of King Sugandha (ruler of the region in South India) in 470 A.D.  He spent his childhood years in Kanchipuram, a small Buddhist province south of Chennai. He received his training in Buddhist meditation from Master Prajnatara (27th in the lineage), who was responsible for changing the young disciple’s name to Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma was an excellent student and soon surpassed his fellow students. With little interest in a life of politics, he was dedicated to his Buddhist meditation training and by middle age was already considered a Buddhist Master.  Under the request of his master, upon his passing Bodhidharma was to travel to Zhen Dan (the name for China at the time) to bring the teachings of Chan Buddhism, part of the Mahayana (Da Cheng) school. Bodhidharma crossed through Guangdong Province into China.  During his journey to China, he came across a variety of animals which he studied the movements and breathing techniques of these animals. The monkey, tiger, leopard, crane and snake were the five animals he observed which later were instrumental in influencing the creation of katas, exercises and breathing techniques to foster physical health and strength.  Later these five animals would become the symbolic five animals of Goju Ryu.  At the time Bodhidharma first arrived in China it was the year of Emperor Leong Mu in the period of South and North Dynasties. When he arrived in the south, he was invited to visit the Capital in Chienkang for an audience with Emperor Wu of Liang who was a keen supporter of Buddhism. At their meeting the emperor asked Bodhidharma how much merit he had accumulated for his immense support of building temples, printing scriptures and his donations to the buddhist community. Bodhidharma replied “no merit at all”, this surprised and infuriated the emperor and Bodhidharma was banished from the capital. After which Bodhidharma travelled north and crossed the Yangtze River on a reed.  The eager monk’s mission was to spread Chan Buddhism. He specialized in the preaching Chan/Zen theories of “2 Entries and 4 Practices”.  This began the origin of Chinese Buddhism. Bodhidharma became the 28th in the lineage and the first patriarch of Chan Buddhism in China and the founder of Shaolin Kung Fu.  The latter happened around 527 A.D. when Bodhidharma arrived at the Shaolin Temple yet was refused entry. Instead he retreated to the mountains and was known to meditate by facing the cave wall for nine years. When he finally was admitted to the Shaolin Temple, he found the monks at the temple were weak which made them vulnerable to attacks from bandits. As well, their poor physical condition inhibited their ability to make progress in meditation. Bodhidharma began to train the monks in breathing and strengthening exercises and fighting drills called the 18 Hands of Luo Han (Shi Ba Shou Luo Han). T hey served as the core of future martial arts training at the Temple.  WARRIOR SPIRIT CIRCLE Dianne Hadad, Wellness & Energy Coach, CPC 647-203-4882 |  dianne.hadad@gmail.com @warrior.spirit.circle The WARRIOR SPIRIT CIRCLE creates conversations and courses for kids, parents and martial artists to discover their true self and embody their warrior spirit. Our mission is to share the practical wisdom, virtues and philosophies of the classical martial arts to inspirit resiliency, confidence and vibrancy.