Shifu Shi Yan Ming Returns to Mexico

Thursday morning, July 15th, 2010, Shifu Shi Yan Ming boarded the plane at JFK airport heading towards Mexico. Since the establishment of the Mexico branch of the USA Shaolin Temple in 2004, Shifu has been invited back annually to share the Chan philosophy with the people of Mexico. This year Shifu did two events, a 3 day seminar in Guadalajara and a 3 day retreat in Cuernavaca.

Upon arrival in Guadalajara, Shifu was given a warm welcoming ceremony by the school hosting the seminar, Wushi Daodi. At the welcoming ceremony, the students of Wushi Daodi paid their respect to Shifu and put on a performance demonstrating their Shaolin skills.

For the next three days, 43 participants met Shifu each morning at Quinta la Californiana, a garden outside of Guadalajara City where the seminar was held. The mornings began with Shifu instructing Qigong then Taiji. After lunch, Shifu continued with instruction in Kung Fu, starting first with Shaolin basics, followed by Da Pao Quan (Big Cannon Fist). Da Pao Quan is one of the most important forms of Shaolin Temple History. Shifu remarks, “The fist looks straight, but not straight; looks bent, but not bent; twist in, twist out,” is the philosophy of Da Pao Quan. Each day concluded with a Chan lecture by Shifu reminding everyone that the martial arts training and Chan philosophy are one and the same, there is no difference. The seminar concluded with a certificate ceremony and closing events.

Next stop, Acapulco for some rest and relaxation. Shifu enjoyed the beautiful beaches and delicious fresh conch fish. After a few days under the sun, Shifu moved on to Mexico City.

In Mexico City, Shifu was greeted by the Shaolin Templo Mexico. They all paid their respects and put on a performance at the welcoming ceremony. Then it was off to Cuernavaca to the Benedictine Monastery where the annual retreat was held.

The 140 participants from all around the globe, including Ecuador, Cuba, Germany, Switzerland, New York, and of course Mexico, checked in for the retreat on Thursday evening and then filed in for Dinner where Shifu, again, was embraced with a warm welcoming. The mornings began at 6am with training in either Kung Fu, Taiji, or Qigong led by one of the Templo Shaolin Mexico instructors. After training, everyone enjoyed breakfast to replenish their bodies and get ready for the next phase of training. The first day, the rain was coming down outside, discouraging participants from training outside. Shifu reminded everyone that, “We should be thankful for the rain because God wants us to wash our bodies.” Everyone was excited with this encouragement and they responded “let’s go to the rain!” Even though people were slipping, falling, and covered in mud, everyone was happy.

Each day Shifu lead the group in Yi Jin Jing, a Qigong form created by Bodhidharma to enhance the physical conditioning for the monks after hours of sitting meditation. Then followed Taiji. Afterwards, the group took a break for lunch to refuel for Kung Fu. This year, Shifu taught Feng Mo Gun, Crazy Devil Staff Form. Each day concluded with a talk on Chan Philosophy. This year Shifu included a discussion about how the staff is one of the favored weapons of Shaolin because it gives people a second chance to do good.

After the rain on the first day followed the sun for next two days of the same regimented schedule. At the closing ceremony, participants were awarded their certification and the Templo Shaolin Mexico offered Shifu a wood carving of Damo standing on the reed crossing the river as a gesture for Shifu’s teachings. Although three days of training may not seem like much, one participant who wrote a blog under the name “Kid Buddha” commented that by the third day, he “felt renewed and much stronger and balanced” and though he did not want to return home, he gained a new approach to his life that he could bring back home with him.