On a recent trip to China we were north of Beijing driving from one city to another for meetings and we passed a sign in English that said “Shaolin Temple X-kilometers.” THE Shaolin Temple. You know, the home of Kung Fu and the setting for all the bad chop-suey martial arts movies that filled the Saturday mornings of my pre-pubescent youth – after cartoons and The Three Stooges aired. My co-workers were shocked that I “knew” about Shaolin (??) and made it a point for us to stop by after the meeting was over the next day so I could take it all in.
It was a huge and sprawling complex with thousands of students and visitors – very cool. Some pictures are below, but my favorite is of one of the tree trunks. The divots are from student’s fingers. They will wake up early each morning and strike the trees to toughen their digits. Some of those trees are over a hundred years old and are peppered in small round pock marks.