Clan Feature: The Shaolin
Editor's Note: This is the first of six exclusive articles on the six starting clans of 9Dragons.
I am going to start with perhaps the most famous of the clans - The noble monks of Shaolin Temple.
The Shaolin are of course, white clan disciples, serving as advisors to The Imperial Court, who have vowed to reform evil wherever they find it. Disciples are Buddhist monks and one thousand years of demonstrating righteousness and mercy in all of their deeds has earned them the title of, “The Noble Clan”.
Integral to the philosophy of the Shaolin is the belief that one should not take life, nor take delight in death. Therefore, to ascend the heights in Shaolin, one must cleanse one’s self of all egotistical and selfish thoughts, and commit to walking The Noble Path.
Shaolin’s fighting style also reflects their peaceful view of the world. Their fighting techniques should not be used to take life, merely to disarm and disable. They do not utilise edged weapons, preferring instead their own “praying mantis” style Kung Fu. However it should be noted that they are a pragmatic clan as illustrated by a quote from The Immoral Monk, “We cannot elevate the people to heaven without putting ourselves through hell. Sometimes we have no choice but to break the precept against killing…”
Their praying mantis style of Kung Fu has its origins in the Shantung Province. It was here that a monk named Wang Lang witnessed a fight between a tiny Praying Mantis and a Cicada, which was many times its size. Against all odds the tiny praying mantis emerged victorious, and Wang Lang decided to dedicate his life to studying its movements and gaining a better understanding on how to defeat more powerful enemies. Since Shaolin adopted Praying Mantis, many devout disciples have produced exceptional variations on the style, including Plum Blossom, Seven Stars, Secret Doer, Jade ring and Dragging Hand techniques.
Don’t make your choice of clan just yet, as we will be introducing you to the Wu-Tang Clan next. However, if you respect others and look for the good seed in every living thing, then Shaolin may be the clan for you. As the Shaolins would say, “Never forget that all life is precious.”
-By Ken Johnston and Steven-Elliot Altman
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