The Shaolin Temple in China has a long but relatively unknown history to those outside of the Shaolin tradition. It is the birthplace of martial arts and Ch’an Buddhism and developed many traditions through its history. Dedicated Buddhist and warrior monks have spread these teachings to the public, both in China and abroad, by continuously practicing and cultivating physical, mental and spiritual understanding.

Today the Shaolin Temple in China no longer accepts and trains students in Kung Fu or Ch’an Buddhism and only operates as a heritage site preserving the physical premises for tourism. The knowledge, history, philosophy, and traditions of the Shaolin Temple are currently only sporadically passed on through a small number of individuals, who had the privilege to be fully trained in the temple a few decades ago. Time is running out, as these teachers are growing older and today’s society structures make it difficult to pass all knowledge and practice on for future generations. With every passing master, some of the teachings and insights will be lost forever.

Martial arts culture has also a long history in the UK. The two main reasons for this are the integration of Chinese and oriental people into the UK’s communities, and the widespread adoption of martial arts (especially Chinese kung fu) in our popular culture thanks to movie stars such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh and many others during a time when Ch’an Buddhism was also becoming a more popular philosophy, with the teachings of Western scholars such as Alan Watts.

In the last decades, this has translated into a strong interest in the practical philosophy that stems from Chan teachings, such as mindfulness and practices like meditation. As neuroscientific research has advanced in this period, the benefits of such practices are increasingly evidenced by scientific study of the effect of such practices on the brain and nervous system. Finally, in this age of attention deficit, thanks to our addictive devices and fast pace of life, the disciplines of mind and physical training fostered by Shaolin practice have a particularly pertinent benefit to both individuals and society. Shaolin teachings, we believe, are every bit as important today – perhaps more so – than in the past.

Shi Yan Min and a lot of the UK Shaolin Temple’s members and supporters have dedicated their life to leave a legacy and pass all this knowledge and wisdom on to the next generations. Raising a central temple, where this legacy can be realised, is not possible for a single person without help. We need to take advantage of the given opportunity now and turn this possibility into a reality by helping to build a central temple to carry on the Shaolin tradition for our future generations. In doing so we will be able to share true Shaolin culture and continue this valuable heritage.


The Shaolin monk, Shi Yan Min first came to the UK in 1998 whilst performing in the first ever “Shaolin Wheel of Life” worldwide tour staring the monks from the Shaolin Temple in Henan province, China. He came to the UK again in year 2000 to teach Shaolin Kung Fu.

In the coming years, Shi Yan Min continuously developed his teachings and combined traditional Shaolin Kung Fu with the underlying Ch’an Buddhist Philosophy. He opened classes in Bournemouth, Southampton, Winchester and Portsmouth. Originally named the “Shaolin Temple School of Kungfu”, Shi Yan Min changed the name to “UK Shaolin Temple” in 2006, in order to teach and share the whole true Shaolin culture from its physical, mental and spiritual aspects to as many people as possible.

Interest in the classes was growing and after having organised a few annual trips to China, members and supporters of the UK Shaolin Temple became more involved into realising Shi Yan Min’s vision of a central place, where a deeper insight and more practices into the Shaolin culture and traditions can be provided.

In 2013, the “UK Shaolin Temple” became a charity. This opened a few doors for funding opportunities to help finding a central place and bring all classes and students together. Since April 2015 the UK Shaolin Temple opens its doors everyday to Southampton’s and wider community to learn about Shaolin culture and its benefits to mental, physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

As all members recognise, the move to the current temple location was a break through moment in the charity’s history. It enabled a far wider range of classes and activities that was possible whilst hiring venues for classes. And it means more people benefit from a dedicated training facility, tailored to the needs and spirit of the Shaolin arts.

All of this would not have been possible without the contributions of sponsors, donors, trustees and volunteers. We depend on this good will, and we hope to count on yours too – in whatever way you can help.


  • Built a peaceful place where Shaolin Culture will flourish, whilst also assisting with the strengthening of communities.

  • Built a temple for our future generations to enjoy. The wheel of life begins here.

  • Create a dedicated space to develop Great Skill Sports training based on the 72 chambers of traditional Shaolin Culture and to facilitate individual progress in a safe environment with personalised programmes

  • Create a sacred place, where people come together and share discoveries about our true nature and develop valuable insights for a happy and healthy lifestyle

  • Create a place to practice and study Ch’an Buddhism philosophy in the UK

  • Research topics related to Shaolin culture and its impact on individual’s health and wellbeing as well as creating thriving and healthy communities


Our mission is to build a Shaolin Temple in the UK, which will have worldwide recognition in the fields of Shaolin culture and heritage. The vision of everyone being able to “live well & develop all skills for a healthy and balanced lifestyle” has always been our guiding mission.

The “UK Shaolin Temple” will be a place where Shaolin traditions, culture and Ch’an Buddhism will be available for anyone who wishes to engage with them. The new temple will provide an open door to anyone, regardless of nationality, social status and religion. Every person that walks through the temple doors will be welcome to experience authentic Shaolin culture and practices and take away from the experience whatever they feel they need.


Our members and supporters are growing nationwide, as is our offer of activities. We have reoccurring activities, projects and a lot of ideas on maintaining, improving and developing new ways to benefit everyone involved. But we cannot make this happen on our own. We need the help of our community, supporters and YOU!

As is apparent by now, the UK Shaolin Temple aspires to be and do much more than just run a martial arts club. Our members are more akin to family than ‘customers’ and in the same way we strive to become an integral part of the fabric of Southampton – and the wider Hampshire – community.

Community-building and integration is about a sense of responsibility. The Latin root of the word responsibility carries the meaning, “the ability to act“. But this meaning is often forgotten in modern-day society, in which responsibility often equates to thoughts of blaming those “in power”, or the insipid reactions of the disengaged that surface as “not my problem“-attitudes.

True community is more about the giving than the benefitting. In this spirit, our temple campaign aims to extend both an invitation and a challenge. Our invitation is to dream with us about a better community, and our challenge is to be a part of making it happen.

And this is how YOU can contribute:

  • You own or know of the perfect location, land, premises available for our activities and purposes? Please get in touch and speak to our team!
  • You know of funding opportunities, have expertise, contacts or a good network that can bring us closer to our target? Please get in touch and speak to our team!
  • You want to give a large donation towards the realisation of our central temple campaign? Please get in touch and speak to our team!
  • You want to give a small donation, as every little bit helps us on our way to our final vision? Please visit our mydonate page and help us instantly!

THANK YOU for taking action now – your contribution will make a great difference.

Visit our event page on BT MyDonate

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