Over 1,500 years of martial arts history, right here in Canada

By: Suria Mujadidi

STQI Toronto

      Whenever martial arts are mentioned, many people immediately think of movies featuring Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme, or Bruce Lee. There is still a lot to discover, Martial arts have a long and rich history. 



Now, Master Shi Chang Dao is regarded as a Shaolin master. He is remarkable for his ability to transcend traditional martial arts and use them not only for his own self-development but also for the improvement of his community. His belief that martial arts can be used to cultivate physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being and build a sense of community is what drives his unique and creative style of teaching, which revolves around meditation and the principles of martial arts at his Shaolin academy, where he teaches thousands of students.

Kung Fu Kun Generation 2008

His Journey?

Master Shi Chang Dao is a Shaolin Master who faced many challenges to get where he is today. At a young age, he moved to Canada from China. Growing up he was more in tune with himself than most people, asking questions like “Who am I really?" How come I'm crying? "How come I can't stop crying in certain situations?" when he was just six years old. As he continued to grow the influence of his family and friends had an impact on his decisions. However, he realized quickly that life was much more complex than what he was being taught. The answers he sought could not be found in books or by his family members. He was driven to explore his own inner self, to search for answers within himself, and to uncover the truth of life and its mysteries. 

Finding this path wasn’t easy, as it was confusing and a sense of being lost many times. His journey led him to Shaolin.

Source: STQI

Shi Chang Dao was a young man looking for spiritual enlightenment. He was searching for a way to connect with the divine and find inner peace. Studying and practicing the martial arts of Shaolin gave him the discipline, focus, and mental clarity he needed to reach his spiritual goals. He has developed and continues to practice his abilities for over 17 years. For him, at every turn in life, the answers to his questions have been found within Shaolin.

He believes that becoming a monk is the best way to respect his tradition and to continue their legacy. Becoming a monk allows him to live a life dedicated to his faith and to ensure that his traditional values and beliefs are carried forward. Additionally, it is a way to show respect and gratitude for his beliefs and sacrifices. he opened his club in the fall of 2011 in downtown Toronto under the guidance of Master Shi Guo Song, who trained at the Shaolin Temple in China to help pass on …

Source: STQI

How to become a monk?

The training to become a Shaolin monk is rigorous and often involves more than twenty five years of intense physical and mental training in martial arts and meditation. It is a spiritual journey that requires dedication and discipline to reach the highest levels of inner peace and knowledge. According to Master Shi Dao, in order to be ordained as a monk in China, one must go through a special temple. This includes following the path of spiritual practice and seeking to deepen his understanding and connection to the teachings. He is on the path and already living a monk lifestyle, a simple life with fewer material possessions. There is also a physical aspect where one must follow a philosophy that dictates one must remain vegetarian unless for survival, as harming animals is sacrilege. This is often reflected in the way that the martial art is practiced, with the principle and techniques used in the martial art being meant to convey a deeper meaning or message about the importance of the spiritual or philosophical beliefs of the practitioners. 


Serves as a symbol of giving up worldly ego and fashion

He has dedicated his entire life to the principles taught to him, making significant sacrifices and abstaining from many of the pleasures that are accepted as normal to follow the Shaolin path. One such symbol is the shaving of the head: "You don’t have to style your hair or worry about how you look; your external appearance does not matter."

 “What I feel is missing in our society is a philosophy to teach us about who we are, and to try to understand our environment and the world that we live in.”

A day in the life of a Shi Chang Dao Shaolin master typically starts with one of the Shaolin arts. This is followed by martial arts practice which helps to improve the master's physical and mental strength, as well as increase their focus and concentration. After that, they practice Shaolin Kung Fu, which is the ultimate expression of the human body for physical and mental strength, and Shaolin Qigong, As part of these exercises, you can practice breathing techniques to improve circulation. Shaolin Tai Chi, which is the practice of breath, as well as Qigong, concludes the day with prayer and gentle martial arts techniques to improve general wellness.

Source: STQI

He teaches classes for all ages. These actions allow him to be fulfilled at the end of the day. This allows the master to stay connected to their spiritual practice, and to continue to deepen their understanding and mastery of martial arts and philosophy. Practicing these arts can lead to a path of enlightenment, which is what monks strive for. His main objective now is to help other people achieve peace and happiness. "My school aspires to help people of any age, any ethnicity, and any religious background.”

Source: Suria Mujadidi

In 2018, over 50 countries around the world, including the Canadian Shaolin team, went to the Wushu festival and tournament located near the Shaolin temple itself in China, where they won many medals and made a name for themselves. In 2019, his school created its own tournament where they hosted the Inaugural Shaolin Team Canada Wushu Festival and Tournament with the help of donors around Canada. Teams from different provinces all came out to Toronto to compete amongst themselves. He hopes to continue the competition to attract and educate more people about the principles of Shaolin. His classes are available for people of all ages.





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