CinaVicina Festival | Gongfu Monk Group of the Shaolin Temple

The Festival of Chinese Culture, organised by the Fondazione Musica per Roma in association with the People's Republic of China's Ministry of Culture, continues at the Auditorium with theatre, music, dance, circus acts, art and literature. On Sunday evening there was a spectacular display of traditional Shaolin Kung Fu by the Gongfu Buddhist Monk Group in a packed Sala Sinopoli. Shaolin Kung Fu was first developed during the Tang dynasty, both as a form of exercise to keep monks fit between long periods of meditation and as a means of defence against aggressors - the Emperor Li Shimin even maintained a troop of warrior monks who put down a revolt with their fighting skills. This present group of performing Shaolin Monks was formed in 1987 by Shi Yongxin, the abbot of the Shaolin Temple, to help spread knowledge of this traditional skill worldwide. Sunday's performance was certainly a testament to the enormous physical and mental training and discipline required - a stunning display that was applauded by an enthusiastic audience. In the ten minute interlude there was even a brief lesson in Shaolin Kung Fu for the children present in the theatre who were invited on stage to practise their moves under the tutelage of a real Shaolin maestro!