Let’s face it, it’s hard to separate truth from legend. Shaolin monks appear to be part of a miraculous world, a world where everything is possible and human limits are exceeded at every turn.
Yet, what does being a Shaolin monk mean? Can every ordinary person make those amazing moves? Do they take some magic dust, something cooler than your multivitamins? Or is it only a result of special effects for the show?
It’s not like in the movies, but these people really reach some impressive performances. Let’s see take a quick look at what their lives are like!
It’s very hard to find someone who hasn’t heard of the Shaolin monks. Just ask, some will hasten to say “karate” and then they will correct themselves and remember that, actually, it’s kung fu. “Same thing, right?”, others will smile, “it’s about a good fight”, after which they will mention Bruce Lee and will give you examples of even newer films like “The Matrix“. (Remember Neo? His fighting techniques were “uploaded” from a computer directly into his brain.)
We continue the survey. The religion of these monks is a more difficult attempt: “Hm, a religion in Asia…” – some will say. “Something Japanese” – others will fail to guess. Some will guess it’s Chinese; but with a little help, will reply quickly, “yes, Buddhism, I am sure.”
And behold, slowly, the details of the lives of these legendary characters will charm with their spell any group fascinated by the mysterious warrior monks.
I will get you acquainted with this world, born in the temple on top of Shaoshi, Sacred Song Mountain, temple that took part of the name of the mountain, “Shao”, and the suffix “Lin”, which translates into the woods. Shao-lin Temple. With its renowned monks.
Humans keep learning as long as they live. (Or at least they should…)
As you reach maturity, you search for the most renowned mentors and teachers, read books about personal development, and attend professional improvement trainings. Between all these endeavors, you forget about the simple things and the purest happiness that they give to you. Don’t you think so?
Did you know that wildling tribes ate their opponent’s brains for the same reason that we, civilized people, go to school? Exactly: to become more intelligent. They thought that after such a meal, cleverness would emerge and, in time, they would improve their methods of killing their enemies. Consequently, they had more brains at their disposal and became smarter! But that proved to be just a story. People realized that intelligence is either acquired or existent from birth. And you don’t need to be extremely smart to realize that!
This was how school appeared. This institution, agonizing and boring, had to prove its results. Were you becoming smarter by going to school? How could you prove it?
The first attempt was made by measuring one’s actual head circumference. Results were uncertain, either due to lack of precision instruments, or simply for the obvious reason, the skull does not expand as easy as the brain increases its volume.
Until one day, one of the smartest men applied himself a face palm and went off to invent the IQ test.
But enough with the stories; in what’s following, I’ll tell a true story about intelligence. One with a twist that you would never imagine.
Films for teenagers are full of lasers and other oddities that stick to you, can pass through the strongest shield, can change your molecular structure, or turn your brain into jelly.
But one day, a story appeared on screen from fantasy times. A ring, whose bearer gains evil strength, must be destroyed. “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was the one who broke the monotony, and I’m sure that it was liked by all: children, adults, elderly. Many walked out in love with the beautiful elf, others laughing at the funny dwarf, but I think most of them went home and dreamed that night of how arrows flew from the bow of Legolas, the young elf, handsome and extremely skillful in battle. Legolas was shooting arrows like no other. He was shooting at close range and from a distance. He was shooting from running horses, while on foot, and even while jumping. He was shooting in every way possible, reaching multiple targets. Without fail.
I’m sure that you asked yourself, “can a normal man reach such performance?” The answer is here.
He has a Danish name: Lars Andersen. He is the Legolas of today, man in flesh and blood, not a fictional character. He shoots with a bow in a style that would make him accepted in any “Brotherhood of the Ring” – in the idea that the heroes of Tolkien’s great stories were real in our time. (However, we expect heroes because there are so many “evil rings” to destroy.)