Before the performance,
hype surrounding the monks' show, described it as a unique style
of martial arts that requires incredible physical and psychological
They were not
said they could do was true. Things like shattering wooden staves
against their arms, breaking iron bars against their heads and balancing
the entire weight of their bodies on spears.
people turned up to see the show at Colston Hall, and judging by
the applause they seemed to be impressed.
It's true the
Shaolin Monks have developed their skills over 1,500 years, but
their show today has been modified to tell their story in a contemporary
wasn't just amazing set pieces of kung fu that followed one another,
it was a theatrical production that both engaged the audience and
The show told
how centuries ago the monks were threatened by invasion and so developed
a unique style of martial arts to protect their existence.
the ultimate masters of kung fu - Buddhist soldier monks who refined
defensive body movements to a rare standard.
By touring across
Europe and the UK, the "Wheel of Life" show is delivering remarkable
feats of physical endurance, to audiences which are only going to
be staggered by what they see.
Wei and Shi Yan Xi
performance at Bristol's Colston Hall, two of the monks spoke to
me about why they decided to devote their lives to one of the oldest
disciplines that exists.
Shi Yan Wei,
27, became a monk when he was aged 12: "It is the very best
environment to exist and train in," he said.
Arts improves the body, health and makes you strong. I will stay
at the temple for the rest of my life."
Shi Yan Xi,
22, joined the Shaolin Monks aged 15. He said it is part of his
spirituality: "The martial arts helps express my basic will
fu and the Buddhism go hand-in-hand and this gives you an 'inner
The tour has
the blessing of the Fangzhang (First Abbot) of the temple, the Venerable
Shi Yon Xin.
the show as an authentic illustration and celebration of the order's
history, religion and physical prowess.
from the tour goes towards the upkeep of the temple in China, and
helps to support the monks during their stay there.