They Won't Be Kung Fu Fighting

Shaolin monks will skip Beijingmartial arts fest in '08
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2007 2:06 PM CST
The abbot of Shaolin Temple.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Monks of central China's Shaolin Temple, renowned for their kung fu abilities, will not attend a major martial arts competition to be held alongside next year's Beijing Olympics, citing the discipline's emphasis on qi, or spirit. Their withdrawal prompted jeers from secular fighters: “We are the best wushu competitors. The monks in the temple do it as a hobby.”

Others tell the Wall Street Journal that lucrative shows staged at the temple suggest another motivation, though abbot Shi Yongxin says the temple makes little money and the shows “spread Buddhism and its spirit of universal love.” Asked if the monks are afraid of losing, one laughs, “We could win that. But we don't want to hurt anybody."