History of the Shaolin Wu-Yi Institute
The histories of the Chinese arts taught at the Shaolin Wu-Yi institute have their origins in China during the Liang dynasty in the year 527AD. At this time a Buddhist monk named Da Mo traveled from India to Honan province in Northern China to spread his teachings. Upon arrival the emperor did not favor the teachings of Da Mo so the Monk sought out a nearby Buddhist Temple located at the foot of the Shao Shih Mountain, called the Shaolin Temple. Upon arrival at the temple Da Mo found that the monks were very weak due to many hours of meditation without any physical exercise. In order to improve the level of spiritual cultivation Da Mo left the temple and went into seclusion nearby where he spent the next nine years in deep meditation pondering the difficulties of the monks. When Da Mo returned he had created a set of exercises to greatly improve the physical health of the Shaolin Monks as well as lead them toward deeper meditation and spiritual cultivation. This set of exercises can be divided into three forms. The first form is called the “Shi Ba Lohan Shou” or Eighteen Hands of the Enlightened One, this form consisted of eighteen different positions designed to strengthen the body as well as increase flexibility, coordination and focus. The next form was called the “Yi Jin Jing” or Muscle & Tendon Conditioning Set. The Yi Jin Jing was a Chi Gung form which consisted of a series of hand and arm movements done in coordination with deep breathing and intense concentration. The Yi Jin Jing greatly improves the external strength as well as the health of the internal organs. The last set was called the “Shi Sui Jing” or Bone Marrow & Brain Washing Form. The Shi Sui Jing was the most advanced and complex form left by Da Mo, its purpose was to use the energy built up through the previous two forms in order to reach a deep state of meditation in order to raise up the spirit during meditation and reach a state of enlightenment. Da Mo died in 539AD and was recognized as an enlightened being.
Over the next thousand years from (600-1600) the Shaolin Martial Arts evolved and expanded from the Eighteen Lohan Hands into 63 forms then 170 forms. Next the Shaolin Five Animals system was created followed by many other Shaolin styles. During this time the Shaolin Monks developed internal and external power, meditation, various bare hand and weapon techniques, healing massage methods and herbal treatments. From the year 600AD on Shaolin Martial Arts were recognized as the most authoritative and complete system of martial arts in China and the rest of the world.
In 1644 the Manchurians invaded China and founded the Ching Dynasty. The Ching army soon began repressing the Shaolin Temples due to their support of the previous Ming Dynasty. In 1760 the Manchurian army burned the Shaolin Temple and killed many of the monks. The surviving monks scattered throughout China in order to hide from the Ching soldiers. It was during this time that Shaolin Kung Fu began to be taught widely outside the temple. One of the Shaolin Monks who escaped the burning of the temple was a Master named Shi Lai Ming. Shi Lai Ming sought refuge in Shandong Province where he encountered Fan Yu the ancestral grandfather of Grandmaster Fan Chi Sau. Fan Yu befriended Shi Lai Ming and gave him food and shelter during the turbulent times. In return Shi Lai Ming taught Fan Yu his system of Shaolin Martial Arts, of all the skills taught to Master Fan he was especially skilled in Northern Hung Chuan or “Red Fist.” During this time the Fan Family operated a bodyguard & protection company which was hired by merchants and the wealthy to protect their goods and themselves as they traveled throughout China. During this time the country was very dangerous as large groups of bandits and criminals roamed the countryside robbing and killing. The Fan Jia Protection Company was known for its excellent reputation and skill having never been defeated. These skills were refined and passed down in the Fan family for more than seven generations and were taught to Grandmaster Fan Chi Sau by his grandfather beginning in 1915.
Around the year 1930 during the early years of the Republic of China, Grandmaster Fan was accepted as a student at the World Famous Nanking Central Kuoshu Institute. The Central Kuoshu Institute had been formed with the top martial arts masters teaching side by side the highest skills in existence in China. Master Fan studied at the Institute between 1930 and 1935. While at the Institute Master Fan learned from the top Masters including Chiang Jung Chiao & Wang Zi Ping among others. After graduating from the Institute in 1935 Master Fan Joined the Army in order to fight the Japanese who invaded China in 1937 during WWII. Master Fan was an excellent soldier and was promoted to the rank of Major. After WWII during the Communist takeover of the mainland Master Fan was appointed to the Iron Guard which was an elite bodyguard unit assigned to protect the President, General Chiang Kai Shek. Master Fan left the mainland around 1949 with the army of the Republic of China as the Communists gained control of the mainland and established the Communist government of the Peoples Republic of China. Master Fan spent the remainder of his life in Taiwan, Republic of China.
It was in Taiwan in 1976 when Master Chen Shuei Tsai met Master Fan. Master Chen had already been training in Shaolin Kung Fu for fifteen years when he discovered that Master Fan lived nearby. Master Fan was well known as the top sword master in China and a living treasure of Chinese martial arts. Master Chen quickly requested to become Master Fan’s disciple and after much persistence Master Fan accepted him as a student and passed on the treasured teachings of Shaolin. Master Chen would later become the top disciple of Master Fan and the Chief Master of the Taipei Chinese Kung Fu Association, under the direction of the President of the Association, Grandmaster Huang Sian Teh.
In the early 1980’s after over 10 years of martial arts training a young Master Silvio Azzolini made the decision that in order to find a highly skilled kung fu master he would need to go to China, so in early 1984 Master Azzolini got on a plane and moved to the other side of the world and began his search for the best teacher of Chinese kung fu in the Republic of China. Master Azzolini asked a local resident for the names of the top three masters on the island and began seeking them out. While Master Azzolini was amazed at the high level of skill he observed in all of the masters he met, it was the third master he encountered that he was truly in awe of. That man was Master Chen Shuei Tsai, Master Azzolini quickly requested to become his student but Master Chen refused to waste his time teaching a westerner who would probably soon leave. Master Azzolini was not deterred and he joined the group class at the Taipei Chinese Kung Fu Association. Master Chen quickly noticed the skills and determination of Master Azzolini and said he would accept him as a disciple on one condition, that Master Azzolini accept the commitment of training diligently six days a week for six hours a day and that he pledge to uphold the Shaolin tradition of humility, respect, righteousness, trust and loyalty. Master Azzolini accepted the rigorous conditions and began his difficult and intense training of Shaolin Kung Fu. While training at the Association Master Azzolini was asked to become the only non-Chinese member of the Taipei Chinese Kung Fu Association Demonstration Team and soon became the Captain of the team. In the winter of 1986 Master Azzolini had completed his training with Master Chen and had been appointed advisor to the World Kung Fu Championships held yearly in China. Master Azzolini then returned to the United States and upheld his promise to spread the Shaolin teachings by founding the Chinese Martial Arts Institute on November 20, 1986. Master Azzolini built the Institute into one of the top Kung Fu schools in the area, training thousands of students over the years. In the winter of 1989 Sifu Alschbach at the age of twelve began his search for a Chinese Kung Fu teacher and after visiting many schools he came to the Chinese Martial Arts Institute and met Master Silvio Azolini. After talking to Master Azzolini and observing the school and its students he immediately began his training in Northern & Southern Shaolin Kung Fu. Sifu Alschbach’s dedication and skill were soon recognized and he was appointed assistant Instructor in 1992. In 1993 Sifu Alschbach earned the rank of 1st Degree Black Belt from the World Chinese Martial Arts Association, certified by Grandmaster Huang Sian Teh. Sifu Alschbach continued his training and teaching and in 2002 earned the rank of 2nd Degree Black Belt from the Taipei Chinese Kung Fu Assocoation & World Chinese Martial Arts Association certified by Grandmaster Ron Lee & Grandmaster Huang Sian Teh. In 2006 Sifu Alschbach earned the rank of 3rd Degree Black Belt from the Taipei Chinese Kung Fu Association, U.S.A. certified directly by the President of the Association Grandmaster Ron Lee and the Director Master Dr. Silvio Azzolini. Sifu Alschbach has served as Captain of the Chinese Martial Arts Institute Demonstration Team, Advisor to the North American Kung Fu Championships and Senior Board Member to the Taipei Chinese Kung Fu Association, U.S.A. In 1999 Sifu Alschbach joined the Dallas Police Department as a police officer and has received numerous awards for his performance and skill.
In the fall of 2006 Sifu Alschbach founded the Shaolin Wu-Yi Institute with the goal of preserving and spreading Traditional Chinese Shaolin Kung Fu. The Shaolin Wu-Yi Institute is a professional school of martial arts that was founded on the Shaolin traditions that began over 1,500 years ago and continue to be practiced by skilled and dedicated students today.
“From ancient times, deep learning and valor have been the two pillars of the path. Through the virtue of training, enlighten both body and soul.”