Monk Warriors' Art an Ancient Tradition

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 15, 2003 | Go to article overview

Monk Warriors' Art an Ancient Tradition


Byline: Matt Lindemann, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Interview/review by Matt Lindemann, age 12, Home-schooled, Northern Virginia

For hundreds of years, monks from the Shaolin Temple, located in the Henan province of central China, have been training in the ancient art of kung fu. The monks train for years and years from very young ages.

They perfect their skills using more than 20 different weapons, through personal sacrifice and tremendous commitment. The monks demonstrate this learned art by performing in shows throughout the world.

Take Zhang Yont Heng, for example. He's a 9-year-old monk-in-training, who has been at the temple since he was 5. His father answered his intense interest in kung fu by taking him to the Shaolin Temple. It was a 13-hour trip from his home in the Anhui Province, taken with the hope that he might be accepted as a monk. Many boys dream of becoming one of these monks, but few ever achieve the honor. It's a lifetime commitment that's made at a very young age.

At first, Yont Heng missed his family very much, he said through an interpreter during an interview by phone. Yont Heng, who lives at the temple, only sees them once a year (for a two-month visit). I think it must be very difficult to be separated from your family and friends like this.

To Yont Heng, however, though the sacrifice is great, his desire to learn the secrets of kung fu is also great. He is a member of the Shaolin Warriors, masters of awe-inspiring martial arts and acrobatics combined with ancient Chinese traditions, who perform today and tomorrow in the District at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium. …

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