Shifu Shi Yan Zi is a 34th generation Shaolin master and one of the chief disciples of the Abbot of the Shaolin Temple in China (Shi Yong Xin). In 1983 Shi Yan Zi was trained at the Martial Arts College of Shaolin and became a disciple of the Abbot in 1987.
Shaolin Kung Fu refers to a traditional system which was born from Ch’an Buddhism. Amongst the various types of Kung Fu, the Shaolin system is believed to be the founding style of all martial arts. This tradition began around 1,500 years ago.
Yan Zi came to London in February 1998 and set up Shaolin Temple UK, a martial arts school, after six months of arriving. The temple is a centre for study of the Shaolin culture, in particular kung fu (Gong Fu-Ch’an), Qigong and Ch’an Buddhist Meditation. The temple is located in Tufnell Park, North London.
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Questions & Answers
- What's your first memory of London? My first memory of London was the amount of green spaces and the air was quite good.
- What do you miss when you're away from London? I miss Shaolin Temple UK and the students, as I'm responsible for teaching them about the Shaolin culture. I want to make sure they learn the right things.
- What's your favourite neighbourhood? Tufnell Park, Shaolin Temple Uk's neighbourhood. Also China Town.
- What's your favourite building? Shaolin Temple UK.
- What's your ideal day out in London? Going to a park, or any green space with my family and being in nature.
- What's your ideal night out in London? Having a party at the temple with my family, friends and students.
- What's your most hated building? I don't have one.
- What's your favourite open space? Green Park, Hyde Park and Hampstead Heath.
- What's your favourite bar, pub or restaurant? YiPin Chinese restaurant in Islington.
- What's your favourite place to hang out? At Shaolin Temple UK.
- What's been your most memorable night out in London? On the 10th October 2014, the Abbot came to visit my school, along with some politicians, as part of the Shaolin Cultural Festival. The Abbot blessed the school.
- How would you like to spend your ideal day off in London? With my family, either in nature, or eating dinner together.
- Where would you take someone visiting from out of town? I would take them to the temple or to China Town, to show them Chinese culture. I would also take them to Big Ben and the Tower of London, to show them British culture and London.
- What's the worst journey you've had to make in London? I don't have one. With Buddhism everything is as it is.
- If you could travel to any time period in London, past or future, where would you go? It is not possible. What is important is to appreciate your life now and be in the moment.
- For you, who is the ultimate Londoner? Anyone that does good honourable and righteous things. Everyone is my favourite.