The Chinese Shaolin Duanwei System is a hierarchical system.  It is used by Chinese Shaolin Wushu Association to evaluate the professional level of Shaolin Wushu practitioners.

Hellenic Wushu Kung Fu Federation and Chinese Shaolin Wushu Association organized the first Seminar and Examination in Greece. They held the official Chinese Shaolin Dunawei grading. Shifu Shi Yan Jun was in charge of the official grading for Chinese Shaolin Dunawei.

At the Seminar participated about 15 Kung Fu Coaches and Assistant Coaches. They were split in 3 different groups. Each group had specific examination.

The 1st Duan group were taught by Shifu Grigorios Stamatopoulos which holds 5th Shaolin Duanwei.  3rd Duan group were taught by Shifu Konstantinos Mathiopoulos which holds 7th Shaolin Duanwei. The above levels (from 4th to 6th) Duan were taught by Shifu Shi Yan Jun which holds 8th Shaolin Duanwei. The results of the examination will be published in two weeks from this date on our News page.

Through the participants was present Chris Gounaras which trained at Songshan Shaolin Traditional Wushu Academy in China. He participated at 3rd Duan group.

There is a set of agreed standards which guide the practitioners in mastering the skills of Shaolin Kung Fu. The evaluation consists of Wushu Ethics and Etiquette, Theory, Techniques and Skills. Higher level of Dunawei requires high achievements in Shaolin Wushu Theory and contribution to the development of Shaolin Wushu.

The grades are classified as follows:

• Primary Duan (Level 1 to 3) • Middle Duan (Level 4 to 6) • Advanced Duan (Level 7 to 9) • Honorary Duan (Level 10 to 12)

The standards between levels are very important. The technical standard includes: traditional practice form (single practice), Dui Lian (dual combat) and real world application. Each level has a different form. First, the student has to perform it on its own then followed by fighting with a partner. Finally each move in the form has to be explained for the real world martial application.

The essence of Shaolin Wushu is the combination of practice, fighting, techniques and understanding their meanings.

Each Duan level is standardized in respect to the techniques, number of movements and difficulty. The difficulty is increased. There are five technical elements: kick, punch, grasp, position and wrestle.

The technical elements of the first five Duan Wei grading are increased level by level. The technical content of the 6th Duan is a comprehensive application of the five technical elements. As an example, the punch is the only technique of attack and defense in the 1st Duan while in the 2nd Duan, the kick is added.

Technical element of 1st Duan – punch Technical elements of 2nd Duan – punch, kick

Technical elements of 3rd Duan – punch, kick, grasp Technical elements of 4th Duan – punch, kick, grasp, position

Technical elements of 5th Duan – punch, kick, grasp, position, wrestle Technical elements of 6th Duan – combining all of the above

The degree of difficulty of the movements is steadily increased. Punch is the simplest and most widely used technical element in Shaolin Wushu. It is a common technical element in all Duan. However, when we say punch we include the straight punch, cutting strike, push, upward cut, upward push, and downward swing punch in four directions. The movements are graded from simple to complicated and divided into six levels. In this way different degrees of difficulty are added to each movement as the level increases.

The standardization in the Chinese Shaolin Wushu Duanwei System lays the foundation for a smooth implementation of its examinations, and also contributes to the development of Shaolin Wushu and its spread in China and abroad. In addition, standardization is a basis for diversification.

Dr. Rhea Du

Dr. Rhea Du

International Shaolin Cultural Exchange Ambassador of Shaolin Temple Yunnan