Watershed Post: Fighting Shaolin monks bring kung fu to Fleischmanns

September 15, 2010

USA Shaolin Temple master Shi Yan Ming shaves a disciple's head during a ceremony to dedicate the new temple in Fleischmanns.By Lissa Harris

Fleischmanns just keeps getting more incredible. Delaware County’s most culturally exuberant hamlet is now the spiritual home of thousands of joyous kung fu fighters, members of the USA Shaolin Temple.

Followers of a Chinese branch of Chan Buddhism, the Shaolin are happy warriors, prone to yelling “Merry Christmas! More Chi!” in the middle of their famously grueling workouts. This month, the USA Shaolin Temple bought a former campground in Fleischmanns, and Shifu Shi Yan Ming has big plans for the site:

His dream of building a new Shaolin Temple for the entire world is quickly solidifying into reality. On September 3rd, 2010, Shifu Shi Yan Ming received the deed to 80.88 acres of land in Middletown, Delaware County, New York, that will become the permanent home of Chan Philosophy or Shaolin martial arts in the United States.

True to their reputation, the Shaolin moved fast. On Sunday, with the ink barely dry on the deed, they celebrated their new upstate home by holding their annual ceremony for new disciples on the grounds.

The property on 383 Breezy Hill Road in Fleischmanns, near Belleayre, needs a lot of work. The kung fu warriors are raising funds to build the new temple, and will have many hours of hard labor ahead of them. Blogger and USA Shaolin Temple member “sucheela,” a self-described “kung fu dork,” is looking forward to it:

Over the weekend, I had a glimpse of what is to come. We spent two beautiful days cleaning up the lawn and a couple of buildings. I am looking forward to many more amazing days making the place our own temple.