Traditional  Buddhist  Gongfu

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Staff Classes on Saturdays
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Buddha Zhen the Master Spear Maker

Staff Classes on Saturdays

Disciple Barry with Shaolin White Wax Wood Staff Shaolin Chi Mantis offers staff classes to students of the Shaolin Chi Mantis, Buddha Kung Fu, and Tai Chi Youth programs. Classes are semester oriented with a midterm exam.

Students must pass the midterm exam to continue the current semester they are enrolled in. Each semester must be passed to enroll in the subsequent Staff Class. There are three 4-month semesters of the SCM Shaolin Staff Class. Every student that has graduated these three classes has turned out to be an amazing martial artist, and more significantly, an amazing person.

Buddha Zhen has created these curriculums with handouts, and required readings to promote mental and spiritual development with each weapon he teaches.

"If you want to learn Chinese sword, you must first learn Chinese staff," explains Buddha Zhen. "I have tried to teach Black Belts of Japanese and Okinawan styles the straight sword and broadsword only to realize that without staff training: their upper body is too weak to control the sword and without the 12 Tantui, their stances were too weak for any weapon."

Shaolin Monk Spade at Liberty ParkSo, FIRST: get your 12 Tantui, which are taught in our Kung Fu classes one per month, or in our Kung Fu Bootcamp at one Tantui per week.

SECOND: Get your Staff Basics and Yang Style Tai Chi Form mastered.

THIRD: Get the "Water Staff" of "Fire and Water 2-Man Staff Form."

FOURTH: Get the "Fire Staff" of "Fire and Water 2-Man Staff Form."

THEN: You are ready for "Luohan Ground Demon Staff Form of Shaolin Chi Mantis." This is the ultimate staff Form. I have never seen a better or more complete staff Form in the past 30 years.

Current class schedules at / classes



 SCM101    White Wax Wood Staff

White Wax Wood StaffsThis is your first weapon.
Shaolin Monks were famous staff bearers. One Shaolin Monk on the battlefield was equal to ten saber wielding soldiers. That was the rule of thumb for most Chinese Generals of the last 1,000 years.
Our students train using the same White Wax Wood Staffs, grown in Northern China, that the monks still use at the Shaolin Temple.
Each staff is the entire tree. It somehow adds some spiritual power or strength to the staff, because even Karate stylists in Utah would come to me for my staffs and were aware that they were somehow better than any of the mahogany or oak staffs (called "bo" in Japanese).
The "bo" is tapered on both ends so that it is thicker in the middle. This may have been a result of trying to imitate the original "rat tail" staffs of China. In a couple of ancient books I read, I noticed the White Wax Wood staffs being mentioned as "rat tail" staffs because they are always thick at one end (the bottom of the tree), and thin at the other end (the top of the tree).
DO NOT VARNISH your staff. They're not called 'waxwood' for no reason. They seem to have an oil that with use will harden into a wonder hard luster on your staff, that looks like varnish.
Take pride in your staff, it is an extension of your body. As you master the staff you will balance your upper body posture, develop upper body strength and flexibility, and widen your perspective of your universe.
 SCM-102        White Wax Wood Spear

Chinese Gongfu Spear
White wax wood spears are the traditional spears seen in most Chinese movies, when they aren't using bamboo staffs. Using the White Wax Wood for the staff of the spear they have amazing flexibility combined with incredible strength.

The thinner spears are most flexible and impressive in tournament competitions. The heavier staffed spears are less flexible and best suited for practice and combat.

I have several white wax wood spears. When I am traveling in other people's cars I carry my 6' spear. This Short Spear is easier to get in and out of cars with and doesn't poke holes in the ceiling upholstery.

I also have a really thin long spear that I can whip around like a wet noodle. It looks cool and I can twirl it super fast.

The spear behind my front door builds up my strength...

Do not varnish Chinese white wax
Each staff will darken and become practice.
Each spear includes a red Chinese
Sizes vary from 70" to 84."

Each weapons is inspired by a different Chinese Kung Fu animal. The spear is most often a snake as recoils to block then strikes like an arrow at its' target.

SCM148         Snake Tongue Dragon Spear (Double Crescent Spear)

Snake Tongue Dragon Spear

I have a large collection of spears and staffs.

During my years of sword making and spear building, I had to learn how to use these old-fashioned rivets.

The ends are mounded with rivets (thick nails without heads). The washers look like little metal flat flowers. The rivet is inserted through and the tapping begins.

Tapping is more appropriate than pounding since you want to create a 'nail-head' on each end of the rivet so it can't fall out of the staff. Through trial and error I realized that pounding to fast and too hard resulted in weaker nail-heads...

This and my hand-made monk spade have served as my tree trimmers for the past dozen years.

Shaolin gardening. Hmmm.

I love to spin these around chop up shrubs with them. My biggest challenge is knowing where the blades are at all times.

Although I can feel the blades when I grip the handle, they can change angle when spinning changing hands, so I've developed some tricks like...

SCM150         Shaolin Monk Spade

Shaolin Monk Spade
The monk spade is my favorite spear.
I've carried my monk spade to many classes and built several cases for shipping it on planes or carrying it in cars.
The monk spade pictured is the ready-made spade that I import from China. After years of pounding my hand-made monk spade against the staffs, spears, and swords of my students, it seemed wise I get another monk spade before I chop my hand-made spade to toothpicks.
Originally, the Shaolin Monks carried spades without the crescent on the other end. Being Buddhist Priests, the Shaolin warriors were behooved to pray for and bury the dead, wherever they traveled. As they became warrior monks, the need for a better balanced weapon became necessary.
Learning this weapon was very difficult since none of my Los Angeles Kung Fu Masters had been trained in this weapon.
Not even my Shaolin Masters in San Francisco were trained in this weapon.
So, I collected Kung Fu videos from all my students and Kung Fu friends around the world. I studied all the videos looking for clues as to how to use this weapon and studied all the techniques I could discover.
Then, in 1996, a Shaolin Monk defected from China after running away from his traveling teammate monks while they were touring the United States. He sent me a video of him performing the Monk Spade.
Unfortunately, the Shaolin Monastery in China is run by the government more than the Abbot of the Monastery. So business has become more important that tradition or spirituality. The Kung Fu of the current Shaolin Temple is a conglomeration of every Kung Fu style in China. This is good, but bad for the original Shaolin-style. This results in the Kung Fu being altered to suit the interests of the public instead of the intentions of the Kung Fu Past Masters.
So, with more knowledge but not enough to complete my training I kept studying hundreds of videos.
Then, one day I noticed a short film of a Shandong Shaolin Monk practicing the Monk Spade. The more I watched him the more my back tingled as I realized this guy really knew how to use the spade and knew what it was for.
By combining this Shandong Monk's Spade Form with some of the moves I found useful from the videos -- I was able to create the Shaolin Chi Mantis Monk Spade Form. I look forward to teaching it to my students.
SCM154                   Dragon Head Guan Dao

Dragon Head Guan Dao
Whereas the Shaolin Monk Spade represents the highest levels of NORTHERN Shaolin Kung Fu, the Dragon Head Guan Dao represents the highest levels of SOUTHERN Style Kung Fu.
One my Chinese importers pointed out to me back in the early 1990s that, "Every Gung Fu school should have a Kwan Do at it's altar."
"Gung Fu" is a southern style Chinese dialect version of "Kung Fu." The current proper way to say it and spell it is "Gongfu." The mandarin dialect of China, instituted by Mao Tse Tung to unify China also altered "Tai Chi Chuan" into "Taijiquan."
On this website, I still mix them up so people will better understand what I'm saying. 100 years from now, Kung Fu will probably be spelled Gongfu by everyone.

The weapon's name is a tribute to it's creator, General Guan (or General Kwan in Cantonese). He used it primarily on horseback, so perhaps I would appreciate it more for that usage.Dragon Head of Kwan Do

The butt-end of the spear servers primarily as a balancing weight, however, the head is so heavy that martial artists still grip the staff close the head when using it.

The Guan Dao is a sword mounted on a staff. It is referred to as a Dragon-head Guan Dao because of the fancy mount the sword blade is connected to.
Although I've taught this weapon to my students, I prefer the Monk Spade. Despite the practice of most schools to have this Guan Dao as the symbol of their school, the Monk Spade is the symbol of Shaolin Chi Mantis.



 SCM-110         Chrome Saber w/case

Zhen Song-Dao with sword
Your sword can also serve as a box cutter.
This is the sword I recommend to my students as their first sword. It is slightly heavier than the Dragon Well sabers, which makes it better for developing your strength and control.
The swords are shipped with dull edges and I instruct all my students to keep them dull.
Sharp swords are not allowed in tournaments. These chrome swords won't hold an edge anyway. They are not tempered.
Note: The only injury I've received from a sword in the past 26 years of swordplay, was self-inflicted when I was 'showing off' for a girl. I didn't let on that I'd injured myself, but a year or so letter I confessed my inflated male-pride and showed her the scar that still remained from my 'show-off' injury.
Sometimes it is difficult to find the motivation to 'show-off' and display your skills.
Sometimes it is difficult not to 'show-off' if you're doing it for the wrong reasons.
My challenge currently, is getting my senior Tai Chi students to 'show-off' at all. I've been giving them for homework the assignment to, "Perform your Tai Chi Form for someone and impress them."
Each week, only one or two out of each ten senior students fulfill this assignment.
It would appear, that unless someone like me forces students to perform for other persons, that most people will live out their entire life without ever impressing anyone. I'm not trying to make a world of 'show-offs,' but I've learned that 'shyness' is a mental weakness that can only be overcome by performing.
 SCM-112         Dragonwell Saber  (w/case)
Dragonwell Double Sabres
Both sabers fit into one wooden case.

The first ten years I practiced with these were fun but I didn't appreciate the feel of the half-handle sword handles. When they reside in the scabbard together, they appear to be one sword.

When I began selling swords to students in the early 1990's, I began customizing swords for my students. I used to be a tennis player so I started collecting tennis handle wrap tapes and experimenting with cheese cloth underwrap...

I accidentally became a sword reseller and started selling customized swords on the internet. From 2002 to 2006, I made more money selling custom spears and swords to martial artists all over the world than to my students. I was even supplying weapons for Cirque Du Soleil.

The belt harness system on this sword was developed after building it for many students. Noticing all the subtleties of how the weapons hang and swing and get in the way as you walk through doors and get into cars -- the design above is simple but practical.

SCM121         Chinese Straight Sword
Rosewood Straight Sword
This is my original shoulder strap sword harness. I carried the sword in this picture to class for 8 years. Since I walked to class a lot, I wore this sword while wearing either my single of double sabers on my waist, and carrying either a staff, a spear, or my monk spade.
The people of Utah got so used to seeing me in my warrior gear that I never felt awkward or out of place.
Just looking at this picture has inspired me to play with my swords. I'll be back in a minute.
That was nice! Sometimes we need to take a break from housework, paperwork, and all the jobs that take up the time of our life. When I play with my swords I am reminded of who I am, and my power to succeed.
I enjoy teaching my students to have a 'spiritual warrior' life, to some extent. It gives life a purpose and keeps us going in the right direction.

SCM135         Twin Tiger Hook Swords

Twin Tiger Hook Swords of BZ
These are an advanced sword weapon.
After learning Shaolin Double Daggers
(note the daggers on the butt-end of the sword),
and after learning Double Edged Chinese Straight Sword
(note the blades are straight swords),
and learning Double Sabers
(note: these are a yin weapon, the sabers are a yang weapon),
then the student can learn how to use the hand crescents,
learn tricks of the sword hooks,
and hope they don't chop their own body up with all the different directions you can strike with these swords.
One of my main Shaolin Shifu didn't like this weapon. He called it a, "girls' sword." Further evidence can be seen in Kung Fu tournaments where you'll see mostly women competing with this weapon.
This is a Yin (feminine) weapon, compared to the broadsword, a masculine Yang weapon. Even the Figure-8 motion of these swords is best performed from the underhand Yin direction as opposed to the powerful overhand Yang Figure-8 motions of the sabers.



SCM172        9-Section Whip Chain

9 Section Whip Chain
This is a weapon that has protected me for many years in many places.
I have many stories to tell of this weapon since I trained with it for over 16 years.
The whip chain pictured is a LIGHT-WEIGHT whip chain which is good for learning and performing.
Note my handle-wrapping.
Martial artists from around the world have ordered my customized whip chains for a decade. This increases their usability, comfort, power, control, and accuracy.
The Whip Chain Form taught in Shaolin Chi Mantis is from the Tai Chi Praying Mantis lineage of Chiu Chuck Kai. All those moves you see in the movies where they lie on the back and spin it underneath, the neck spins, and foot deflections are included in this Whip Chain Form.
Once again, the lessons learned with this ancient Kung Fu weapon can turn a belt with a buckle into a formidable modern weapon.
Laws keep changing as to what is legal to carry in your pocket, or even ship in the mail, so I'm less inclined to sell this to anyone except my disciples and serious martial artists.

SCM190         3-Section White Wax Wood Staff

Another bizarre weapon from China: the 3-Section Staff.3-Section White Waxwood Staff
Each section is twice as long as a nunchuk stick. As you can see by the nicks on my 3-Sectional, it has served me well in blocking swords, and spears.
Once again, I really enjoy the feel of the white waxwood. The rattling of the chains is enhanced with extra links to make it rattle even more. The pieces are fastened by the same rivets used for the other halberds and staffs, without the flower washers.
This is a user-unfriendly weapon. During my years of training at Tai Mantis in California, I watched many students get bloody noses from this weapon. One floppy end is plenty to worry about, however, with this weapon you must 'feel' the one end and move the staff accordingly, but this also affects the other floppy end -- so this requires the user to make each movement power two separate weapons simultaneously in two opposing directions.

In Utah, I was compelled to learn this weapon better. I carried it to class and wherever I went for two years so that it would become natural to me. Sometimes I would have to leave it at the front door of a government building with the security guards. I don't think I've ever seen a news report of one of these being used in a crime yet.

I have several of these 3-sectionals and made one of them into my 'ninja 3-sectional.' Although it is quieter without extra chain links, this weapon is best suited for the battlefield. I can clear out a 20' diameter area with this weapon and get AROUND any type of weapon block. This makes this weapon almost invincible and hazardous to my students. Most weapons are easier to control and stop before they make contact. This weapon wraps around blocks and weapons and doesn't stop until it hits something.

2-ended techniques are a lot of fun as you use it like a triangle to block and trap.

Buddha Zhen the Master Spear Maker

BZmonkSPADEI have enjoyed building staffs and spears for many martial artists over the past decades.

Thank you for your support and business.

With the 911 security enhancements to post offices and airlines, shipping costs have increased dramatically. For some people in the USA, it costs more to ship one of my staffs than the price of the staff.

Because I do not have a carpentry workshop anymore I am also without machines that could speed up the process of spear building. Think of a spear as a pencil. I have to sharpen it first, then put the spearhead on.

Since I was originally building spears for students, I didn't mind sitting down and hand whittling each staff with a knife in one hand. Over the years I've trained a few of my customers how to make their own and how to repair them also. Even the ready-made spears that come from China usually need to have the heads unmounted and remounted so they are more secure. Then I would add a second mounting screw to every spearhead for safety purposes.

This is tedious, especially on a one-by-one basis, requiring drilling, shaping, gluing, realigning, and then tassel-tying...

Whether you purchase a spear from Shaolin Chi Mantis or elsewhere, pay attention to the spearhead mounting screws. None of my spears have ever come apart, (although I have chopped a few in half with my monk spade during class practices...). But I have seen other students of others schools spin their spears only to have their spear heads fly off their spear when practicing or competing.

Once, I was standing in Tai Mantis when one of the senior students was practicing his spear Form. The head flew off and if I had not instinctively moved my head, I could have been perforated by that flying projectile.

On another occasion, I saw a Wu Shu artist lose his head, (his spearhead), during a San Francisco Kung Fu Tournament. It flew right between the legs of one of the judges. What shocked me even more was that they allowed this Wu Shu artist to restart with another spear. I would have disqualified that artist from that event and strongly reprimanded him for his negligence.

Our Shaolin Weapons are to protect the public, not to intimidate anyone or promote fear.

When a Shaolin Chi Mantis student carries a weapon in public they are instructed on proper manners and etiquette on each weapon so that anyone seeing my students will immediately recognize them as a Kung Fu ARTIST, not a thug.

All Shaolin Chi Mantis students are also required to proclaim, "I will protect you!," every time they practice their weapon to further instill the concept that Shaolin Kung Fu is for the protection of society.


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Zhen Shen-Lang
Patriarch of Shaolin Chi Mantis

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