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Elizabeth Reninger

The Tao Of Kung Fu

By December 13, 2008

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Kung Fu TV Series

YinYangNature has put together a lovely play list of 1-2 minute video clips from David Carradine's Kung Fu TV series. The selections are little gems of Taoist wisdom - well worth checking out! For instance: here is one whose dialogue is drawn directly from Laozi's Daode Jing (which verse?).

The Kung Fu series aired for three seasons, from 1972 through 1975. For those of you who don't already know, its setting toggles back and forth between China's Shaolin Monastery and various "wild west" American towns, ranches, etc. -- which makes for some truly strange and quirky dialogue and visual effects. Nevertheless, there is an authenticity to the transmission of Shaolin wisdom and values that still holds great appeal for those of us interested in such things.

It was just last year that I actually rented a DVD with several of the Kung Fu episodes, and immediately I was hooked. I took the plunge in part because I had just learned that it was Dr. Kam Yuen - a qigong healer I recently had met - who had been the technical advisor for the original series. At the time when the series was being conceived, Master Yuen was teaching Shaolin Kung Fu, and in fact was David Carradine's Teacher.

At any rate, check in out - and let me know what you think!

July 31, 2011 at 3:50 am
(1) Basho says:

Shaolin was Chan (Zen) Buddhist, not Daoist. Still American TV cant be expected to know that…

February 19, 2012 at 7:25 am
(2) Naumadd says:

Ch’an is a mixing of buddhist and daoist philosophy, silly.

October 15, 2013 at 11:36 am
(3) Sifu Bok Se Teung says:

Actually, both of you are wrong. Chan or Ch’an is the Chinese form of Zen Buddhism, a branch of Buddhism brought to China by Tamo in the 6th century. Shaolin is a monastic expression of that form of Buddhism. At its peak there were many Shaolin temples and not all of them were Chan (Buddhist) temples. Some were purely Taoist, such as the great medical temple at Wudang where acupuncture was developed. Others contained a mixed philosophy. By the 20th century with the temples under attack and with most destroyed the monks eventually ended up in one or two temples and bringing with them their different beliefs. Shaolin Chan Buddhism took on a definite Taoist flare. When Shaolin monks migrated to America in the 1920′s and ’30′s they brought this blended form of Shaolin with them. The tv series had two different bona fide Shaolin monks as advisors. Their forefathers were of the blended Shaolin philosophy which is why many of the sayings in the tv series have a Taoist ring to them.

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