What is the martial application of eating glass?

Posted Sat Jun 03, 2006, 21:13 PM by Tracy

Still trying to work that one out after seeing the Shaolin monks demonstrate mad kung fu and qigong (pr. chee-gung) skillz last Wednesday night.

Kung Fu Kitten scored a killer pair of tickets in the third row, middle section and invited ME to join her. Check her post “Smile and say Qi.”

We started the evening with sushi nibbles at Dragonfish. KFK had Ravenswood Zin and I had bitters & soda, working on day 2 of a three-day headache. Avoiding alcohol is helping make it manageable.

I saw the monks a few years back in Olympia WA. It’s a different show and it is a show. Not so much of the kung fu, lots more showmanship. A lot of demonstrations of Qi: balancing on a blunted spear-point, breaking sticks over sensitive body parts. They also incorporated a Chinese Quick-change Mask act. One performer was either from Chinese Opera or circus. He had hair. On his head.

Although the young monks (average age 19) were impressive with their quick moves and weapon handling, the highlight for us martial artists was watching the senior monk do forms. Not so flashy for the general audience, but the grace and fluidity of his movements truly embodied the Shaolin tradition more than any showmanship.

About the eating glass? That was one of the demonstrations. There was also fire eating. Sorry, but that’s not qigong, that’s a circus act.


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About Mo Duk Pai

Mo Duk Pai kung fu is a modern American eclectic system of martial arts, combining hard- and soft-style techniques Mo Duk Pai, which translates to “Martial Ethical Way”, was founded by Professor Frederick D. King. For more information, to see photos or inquire about training, visit the Mo Duk Pai web site, which I also maintain. I have been training since 1996 and currently hold the rank of brown-black sash.


Sifu (pr. see-foo [Cantonese] or shur-foo [Mandarin]) is a Chinese term for Teacher. It also carries the connotation of Father (teacher-father), referring to a tradition of teaching martial arts within the family, as well as being a title of respect. In America the title sifu is given to both men and women. In Mo Duk Pai the title is awarded to 2nd degree black belts at their teacher’s discretion.


Qigong (pr. chee-gung) is the practice of Chinese exercises incorporating movement and posture, breathing and visualization. Qigong exercises focus on maintaining health by energizing and balancing one’s qi, or energy.