9. Striking With Foot
Zu She Gong
If someone has ever told you to “go and kick rocks,” it probably was not in a pleasant way. That exact activity, however, is step one to this Shaolin discipline. Anyone who has, accidentally or otherwise, lost the inertia battle to a heavy object knows the toe-shattering pain it can cause. Zu she gong belongs to the hard force of yang, and students will begin training this technique by kicking small rocks like soccer balls—in bare feet.
The purpose of this mastery is to develop the strength and resilience of one’s foot, until kicking a pillow would feel the same as kicking a boulder. In combat, it is said in Shaolin texts that one will be able to kick an opponent as far as the stones one trains with. Such a hardened, developed kick to the lower portion of the body immediately shatters the opponent’s balance. A kick such as this to the head could easily be deadly.