Our History

UK Shaolin is a one of a kind organisation that has undergone enormous transformations since its inception in 2003. It began as the brain-child of a Shaolin Monk but has evolved into a vibrant, community-centred organisation that is dedicated to sharing, promoting, and preserving Chinese culture through educational and physical activities. UK Shaolin began life as a martial arts school but it has since evolved into an establishment for cultural education. The following timeline includes some of our seminal milestones and fun highlights.

2021 February

Our first virtual Chinese New Year Celebration was aired internationally. It involved many artists from all around the world, coming together and celebrating Chinese New Year in a time of exceptional circumstances, where people were unable to meet and celebrate in person. We brought the celebrations into everyone’s living room and brought communities together virtually.

2020 October

We celebrated our first virtual Midautumn festival in Cooperation with Southampton Chinese Arts Association, the Garden Restaurant in Southampton, the Yao Bros Chinese Supermarket and the UK Shaolin Temple. The virtual celebrations include Chinese Dancing, traditional Chinese Music, Martial Arts performances and stories and traditions on how the Moonfestival is celebrated all over the world.

2020 June

We launched our new Online Platform with many instructional Video content to learn Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Sanda in the safety of your home and from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

2020 March

We started our regular Shaolin Talks Production, sharing stories, ideas and activities to inspire our audience. We invited guests from all walks of life to share their experience and knowledge on cultural, business and wellbeing topics.

2020 Febuary

We celebrated the end of the Chinese New Year Celebrations with a Lion and Dragon Parade for the Chinese Lantern Festival. Our lit up Dragon and Lion danced on the Guildhall Square in Southampton and paraded through the City Centre. We had many photo opportunities and cultural workshops on the Square.

2020 Febuary

We celebrated Chinese New Year with a spectacular Chinese New Year Gala in Southampton at the O2 Guildhall and the Guildhall Square. The show included traditional lion and dragon dance, martial arts performances, Chinese Singing, Dancing and Musical performances, as well as local artists from various communities, such as Indian Dancing, performances from University Students, local comedians and Japanes drummers from London.

2020 January

We held our first Lantern Competition with local schools in cooperation with Southampton’s Nuffield Theatre and John Hansard Gallery. Children from local schools had to make their own Chinese Lanterns and present them on stage in a 5 minute performance with a topic of their choice. Judges came from the Southampton City Council, the Chinese Arts Southampton and the Confucius Institute.

2019 February

We celebrated Chinese New Year in Portsmouth Gunwharf Quays and brought traditional Lion and Dragon Dance, Chinese Dance and Martial Arts performances and a workshop for children on to the centre square for a whole weekend.

2019 February

We put together a Chinese New Year Gala on the Guildhall Square in Southampton, bringing local communities together showcasing their artistic skills and cultural activities, such as Lion and Dragon Dancing, Martial Arts performances, various dance and musical performances from Arts Asia, the local universities, japanese drummers and Beijing Opera performers from London. We also worked together with John Hansard Gallery and the Confucius Institute to hold Chinese Arts workshops such as Calligraphy and Paper Cutting.

2018 November 

We hosted the European Chinese Martial Arts Competition at the UK Shaolin Temple in Southampton, with participants from the UK and Europe. We saw exceptional skills in Sanda / Chinese Kickboxing and Kung Fu Forms.

2018 September

Red Sun Productions filmed the Short Kung Fu Fighting Film “Nowhere to Go” at the Docks in Southampton. Actors, production and editing team live in the area.

2018 March

Southampton City Council awarded funding towads our Tai Chi Project to help elderly people get more active. The project is due to start September 2018.

2018 March

Team Wushu & Team San Da training begins in preparation for National, European, International competitions. A select number of students undergo intense training to compete against British champions and other Chinese martial arts schools across the Britain.

2017 December

Tea Club Opens – Funded by Southampton City Council the UK Shaolin Tea Club aims to combat lonliness in the Southampton region. Club members enjoy tea ceremonies; drinking a range of authentic Chinese teas, Chinese cultural activities, Tai Chi and Qi Gong exercises.

2017 November

10th UK Shaolin Competition Marital Arts – UK Shaolin hosted a national competition, inviting competitors and clubs from all over UK to participate. The competition featured a new category called ‘Great Skills’, which included timed handstands and Ma Bu. The judging panel included guest judge Shaolin Master Shi Yanxin from the Republic of Ireland.

2017 October

Autumn Holistic Fayre – A new kind of fundraising event comprised of an array of workshops including mindfulness, Tai Chi, massage, holistic audio therapy, and physiotherapy. The fair also hosted stalls from local artists, therapists, and the UK Shaolin  members; offering holistic items, facepainting and cakes for sale. The event also hosted special guests Rowan Cobelli – Yogi Instructor and Frank Perry who performed a phenomenal Sound Bowls Concert comprised of over 100 Tibetan singing bowls.

2017 July

UK British Chinese Martial Arts Championships. UK Shaolin members competed in numerous categories including San Da, Tai Chi,

Traditional Kung Fu, and Traditional Weapons categories against many competitors. Thanks to the dedicated, and intense training of its students UK Shaolin members were awarded a host of medals. UK Shaolin took home 4 gold, 7 silver, and 1 bronze medal.

2017 April

1st Celebration of  World Tai Chi And Qigong Day at the Temple. UK Shaolin hosted a free Tai Chi and Qigong event in its new facility. UK Shaolin helped to raise awareness of the benefits of Tai Chi to the guests, who also enjoyed a Tai Chi taster session.

2017 February

Gunwharf Quays Celebrate Chinese New Year – UK Shaolin plans and performs the Chinese New Year celebrations at Gunwharf Quays Portsmouth. Hundreds of spectators lined the square to enjoy UK Shaolin’s dragon and lion dances, and a spectacular Kung Fu show. The show featured stunning Kung Fu routines, with weapons, and feats of great strength and power as wooden sticks and metal bars were broken across the performers bodies.

2016 December

UK Shaolin 1st Christmas Party in its new Temple home. UK Shaolin members, and their friends and family, came together to celebrate the festive period together. The evening featured a children’s acrobatics performance, festive buffet food and drinks, and the traditional raffle prize draw. A Christmas film topped off the evening.

2016 November

9th UK Shaolin  Marital Arts Competition– The wider aim of this tournament was to help raise awareness of Chinese martial arts within the UK and to raise funds to help UKST improve their premise and training programs for students. The competition saw entries from across the UK and hosted a panel of esteemed judges from the Chinese martial arts community.

2016 August

Kung Fu Summer school. UK Shaolin hosted its first Summer School in its new facility. Students from across the UK came to take part in a traditional Kung Fu summer camp and experienced all-day – 5am-4pm Kung Fu training. The students learnt traditional Kung Fu routines, sampled a weapon form and practiced in traditional training methods. Aside from this, students also took part in other Chinese cultural activities such as tea ceremonies and Mandarin lessons.

2016 May

First Official Grading at Temple – UK Shaolin students completed their first belt examinations in the Temple’s new facility. A record number of students undertook their first, and second level belts in Kung Fu. These gradings marks an important milestone in the students’ study of Chinese martial arts.

2016 April

9thApril 2016, the UK Shaolin’s first dedicated premises finally opens. After many exhausting years, UK Shaolin opens its dedicated facility to the study of Chinese Martial Arts. Many guests attended the celebrations including The Lady Mayor of Southampton, who also officially opened the Temple. Other guests included representatives from the Chinese Embassy in London, former Hampshire Police Commissioner Simon Hayes, amongst other local councilors and dignitaries.

2016 February

UK Shaolin performs at two big Chinese New Year celebrations in Portsmouth., including the Kings Theatre and Portsmouth’s Guildhall. The celebrations included Lion Dances and Kung Fu performances.

UK Shaolin presents its first Shaolin Kung Fu stage production: Wisdom of Shaolin. The show was executed entirely by amateur performers but all exhibit authentic Shaolin Kung Fu. Alongside them are many local artists bringing their take on Chinese and Shaolin art. The show was written and directed by UKST founder Shi Yan Ming, who weaved together an original story and punctuated it with Kung Fu routines.

‘UK Shaolin Temple’ became a registered incorporated charitable company in England and Wales. UKST broadened its mission, and redefined itself; expanding beyond a martial arts club to become a organization dedicated to Chinese cultural education. The underlying aim of the charity is to promote, and preserve Chinese culture in order to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the UK.

August 2013

UK Shaolin collaborates with the Tian Kai Buddhist Temple in Beijing, China as a Ch’an Buddhist partner organisation. The collaboration resulted in a number of cultural exchange programs, which allowed Westerners to visit the Temple for a Buddhist retreat, and to learn more about Buddhist practice.

The UK Shaolin Production released its first original documentary  ‘North Shaolin Temple’. The feature describes the history and contemporary challenges facing the North Shaolin Temple, which is a Buddhist Temple in China that has historical ties to the original Shaolin Temple in Henan. The films was released in the UK in 2013 and is available to view online.

UK Shaolin students have the honour to present their skills and talent’s to HRH Prince Edward in their Portsmouth class. Prince Edward was delighted by the extraordinary skills of the young members of the group.

Shi Yan Ming, 34th Generation Shaolin Warrior Monk, opened a Kung Fu schoolbased in Bournemouth. Following the initial class, his timetable expanded to teach classes across Hampshire, and Dorset. He taught Chinese martial arts. At this time, the club was called ‘Shaolin Temple School of Kung Fu’.

Shi Yan Ming featured alongside the Shaolin Warrior Monks performing on the Royal Variety Performance in the Royal Albert Hall, London. The Shaolin Warriors showcased spectacular feats of the Shaolin Monks to the world’s stage.

Shi Yan Ming toured with the ‘Shaolin Wheel of Life’ performance troupe presenting the skill and power of Shaolin and Ch’an Buddhism to many people across the world.