Master Shi Yanzi 釋延孜師傅


Date 16 April 2014 Interviewed by Sherri Wong
Language English Audio Edited by Ben Fielden
Venue Shaolin Temple UK, London     

Now a revered 34th generation fighting monk from the Shaolin Temple, China, Master Shi Yanzi arrived at the Temple gates as a young, eager boy of fifteen. He was drawn to the birth place of Kung Fu by its legends and hungry to learn. He diligently studied old manuscripts, analysed the fading murals of fighting movements, meditated and slept in the training halls of the temple, gradually learning their secrets. After sixteen years of study he emerged as a Shaolin master.

Having proved himself as a worthy member of the temple and becoming eight time champion at the Chinese national sanda championships as well as twice crowned World Champion, he was instructed by Abbot Shi Yong Xin to travel to the West to spread Shaolin culture.

He arrived in London in 1998 with only a handful of basic words in English and his Kung Fu skills as his means to communicate and not before established a small but loyal student base in London. His teaching style was very much 'do as I do'. He had a tangible presence that could fill a room; everyone would know he had entered even before they saw the flash of orange we all know as Shaolin. Through the sweat condensed windows of the Brixton based training hall passers-by would watch curiously, wondering why a hundred people would be punching, kicking and shouting in perfect military time. More and more people were inspired to join... And so Shaolin Culture began to steadily grow in London.

He went on to establish the first official European based Shaolin Cultural Centre, Shaolin Temple UK, in 1999 in Archway, North London. From his teachings there, two students have emerged as (sanda) world silver medallists, one European bronze medallist, a plethora of British national champions (including one who has been undefeated nine times).

After more than 20 years out of the ring, Master Shi Yanzi recently came out of retirement and stamped his Shaolin authority on the world arena once again early in 2014. Well into his 40's he has continued to inspire students and has proved that through a life dedicated to the practise of traditional Shaolin Kung Fu and Qi Gong his body has remained strong and athletic and his mind calm and focused.