8. Skill Of Light Body
Jin Shen Shu
Though the “Skill of Light Body” has become a popular mythos in martial arts films, it is a very real Shaolin practice. Shaolin testaments make reference to men of 100 “jins,” or 50 kilograms (110 lb) resting on branches like butterflies or bees—even gliding like sparrows. This is a truly fascinating practice of Shaolin, complete with a very unique and seemingly impossible training routine.
The training begins with a massive clay bowl filled with water and a student walking along the rim carrying a weighted backpack, perhaps with lead soaked with pigs blood. Students will walk along the rim of this bowl every day for hours. On the 21st day of each month, a “calabash-sized” dipper of water is removed. Additionally, more iron (or bloody lead) is added to the backpack. While the water initially prevents the bowl from tipping and swaying, it becomes increasingly difficult and awkward for the student to navigate the circumference without falling in, out, or over.
The apprentice must continue this until the backpack weighs a total of 5 JINS (2.5kg), and the bowl is entirely empty. When the student can master this, the process is repeated, the large clay bowl is replaced with a large wicker basket filled with iron chips. More weight is added to the backpack, and one must repeat the training until the basket is entirely empty.
These are just the first two steps. Advanced training methods include walking across grass without crumpling it. Further training is exclusive knowledge passed orally through generations. In 2014, a monk managed to run atop a lake on sinking plywood planks for over 385 feet (118m)