Martial Edge Interview with Shifu Shi Yan Ming
September 21, 2008
Shifu Shi Yan Ming was interviewed by Lesley Jackson of Martial Edge. Here are some highlights.
Training the Body and Mind
“Flexibility in your physical training leads to a flexible mind. Flexibility makes it possible to practise for your whole life. The basics, like the foundation of a building, are very important. If you have a strong foundation, you can build up 10 floors or 100 floors, you can build upon those foundations continuously. The basics are the top and bottom of martial arts, the top is the bottom and the bottom is the top.
When you are training physically, you are also training your mental ability. For example, I demonstrate and talk a lot about extension. When you kick or strike, extend your body, you extend your mind as well. When you stretch your body, you also stretch your mind. Why are people into Yoga in the 21st Century? Because we have a fast life in a modern world. Life is beautiful; life has the best of everything be it bitter, spicy, sour or sweet. A lot of people cannot balance their beautiful lives, so I wrote a book to try and use a different way to present this idea. I explain how to maintain their bodies and minds, how to balance their lives, how to be honest with themselves and to express their beautiful life 100%. I am doing this in my lifetime to help as many people as possible. I love to talk to people face to face; they feel me and I can feel them.”
The Journey to America
“I started the USA Shaolin Temple in New York City because it is the capital of the world. The first USA Shaolin Temple was in Chinatown, 96 Bowery. There was no electricity, heat, or hot water. It was December of 1994 and when teaching class I would turn on flashlights that I had taped to the walls for light. As soon as class was over I shut off the flashlights. I taught all day, sometimes for 18 hours really seriously to try and get students. At night it was very cold, I had to wear many socks on my hands to stay warm. I had no washing machine; there was no time to wash clothes or water, so I had over 400 pairs of socks!
I was performing in the biggest Chinese restaurant in Chinatown to raise money for children and the elderly and I also gave free lessons and spoke about philosophy in the Open Centre on Spring Street. People saw that and they came. The USA Shaolin Temple grows, not only as a success in the US, but I now have branches in Johannesburg South Africa, Vienna Austria, Mexico City, Trinidad and Chile. Soon I am travelling to Argentina to open another branch. Next we are working to buy land to build an authentic Shaolin Temple in upstate NY. We are going to bring Shaolin Temple to the 21st Century!”