The Chinese Fighting Arts have been practiced by the Chinese for many thousands of years and was the cumulative result of years of military conflicts during the various dynasties that were constantly seeking to become the absolute ruler of China. Owing to the military requirements of that time, many systems of fighting arts were developed into extremely effective forms of self-defense. Shaolin temples played a significant role in the development and recognition of Chinese Fighting Arts.
Emperor T’ai Tsung
Legend maintains that the Shaolin temple at the foot of the Song Shan mountain was built around 495 AD by the royal decree of the emperor Hsiao-Wen. Two hundred years later the emperor T’ai Tsung appealed to the fighting monks to help him defeat the usurper general Wang-Shih-Ch’ung. The Shaolin monks aided the emperor and together defeated Wang. In recognition of their meritorious deeds the emperor conferred upon Shaolin the title "Number One Monastery Under Heaven".