There is a Wing Chun Maxim that states ‘every step is a kick and every kick is a step’. Add to this that we all know that our kicks [sic] are ‘no shadow’ kicks.

In the last post I omitted some important information, I have shared it before, many times although usually when talking about stances but in truth it is Chum Kiu information.

The fundamental knowledge of our kicking is in Chum Kiu, or rather the fundamental knowledge of our Jamming is in Chum Kiu.

Wing Chun very rarely kicks in the way that most other Martial Arts think of kicking.

After all we are a ‘Counter Attacking, Close Quarter Fighting System”.

Kicking is long distance and always concerned with ‘balls out attacking’.

It is easy to lose this fundamental truth when training to kick pads that someone that would prefer not to get hurt is holding for us and as such does not try to get a piece of us, and even if it is not deliberate tries to be out of range.

What we do is ‘JAM’ our opponents kick with our foot or ‘JAM’ our opponents body movement with our shin, knee or foot.

This is what a ‘Counter Attack’ does.

Our opponent feels as if we kicked them, it is just that they supplied the grunt.

There is a Wing Chun Maxim that states ‘every step is a kick and every kick is a step’.

Add to this that we all know that our kicks [sic] are ‘no shadow’ kicks.

No shadow = no back lift.

No backlift = no overt movement.

No overt movement = no attack.

No attack = no kicking.

No Shadow Kicking, non telegraphed movement is at the heart of our “Fist Logic” that states Wing Chun does not fight.

Wing Chun becomes a great deal easier to understand and operate when we truly understand what “Counter Attacking” means.

It does not mean simultaneous Attack and Defence.

It means firstly stopping the attacker, and then becoming the attacker.

I really do understand that this can cause moral issues with people.

Get over it or get done over.

Develop your own version of Trunk Monkey.


The first commercial is the Trunk Monkey we need to become.





It is your journey and your choice.

Richard asked if I could put a post up to cover as much of Chum Kiu as I could, I am pretty sure it will be of use to a few of you.

First off, when listening to anyone about any Form from any style stay aware of the fact that a Form is nothing more than a structural framework that allows the concepts to be laid out in a way that makes sense to the right person at the right time.

In due course we will all interpret the information [any Form] in a way that fits the way we think and compliments the way we move.

Remain mentally flexible.

Let’s get to it.

What is the best way to approach Chum Kiu?

We can approach Chum Kiu in as many ways as we can think up, it can be super simple such as “How many new moves are the in Chum Kiu that I need to understand”?

The answer to this is just 2?!

Pivoting and Shifting.

Or we can dig deep into every nuanced interpretation and now there are millions of ways.

The best is, as with everything, start small and grow, from the super simple to the insanely complex.

It is your journey and your choice.


There are some personal picks from the archive below that will help your journey and save you making a detour into the past posts department.


Here are some earlier posts that will help with the work and the training of the aspects we explore with Chum Kiu.

I recommend reading the text to the posts as it sometimes adds clarity to the context of the video, but if you are stuck for time, as we all are, just watch the vids.

This is a pretty complete overview of the Chum Kiu application from the perspective of vectors, but it is quite long, Video duration 18 minutes.

This is a medium length video that helps understand the transition from Crazy horse to Chum kiu. Video duration 09 minutes.

This pivoting primer that is one of the best videos I have done for information transmission that can be easily used. Video duration 11 minutes.

This post will also aid with pivoting. Video duration 07 minutes.

This post is mostly about punching but it has good instruction on Core Winding. Video duration 05 minutes.

This post is about the often overlooked aspect of sinking and Rising. An inherent part of all movement. Video duration 07 minutes.

This post covers the summation of forces. The heart of Chum Kiu. Video duration 03 minutes.



Do you know your weaknesses, more importantly, do you know how to avoid them?

Let me remind everyone that I am a Martial Artist that does Wing Chun, I am not a Wing Chun disciple.

This is in no way meant to be demeaning to Wing Chun, quite the opposite, I choose Wing Chun because I think it works as well if not better for me than my previous training.

I have a wide and varied fighting skill set that encompasses Boxing, Judo, Military C.Q.C. plus traditional European and S. East Asian weapons training, still, I choose to stay connected to Wing Chun.

Full disclaimer that needs to be factored in, I am 68years old and semi disabled, if I was ever knocked down it would be near impossible for me to get back up quickly, this greatly affects how and what I teach, how and what I train.

Do you know your weaknesses, more importantly, do you know how to avoid them?

How can we plan for something that we do not even know is going to happen?

Let’s start with the worse thing we can think of, it will be different for all of us but be honest to yourself, there is no need for anyone else to know, we all have one darker fear and if we are ever slipping towards it, we will panic big time if we have not at least played it out in our minds a few times.

My favourite military maxim that should always be considered is …. ‘no battle plan survives contact with the enemy’.

This is not about being real, it is about being semi-prepared, engage your imagination, if in doubt about what would happen in a real situation pick the worst option you can think of.

I will use my worst fear as an example, but it is just the thought process that is important, develop, ask and answer your own questions.

My biggest worry is that I am on the floor!!!

Question #1. How did I get here?

Did the Bad Guy knock me down? Did he catch a kick I attempted and threw me? Did I trip over my own feet?

Most fights that end up on the floor are there because people fall over much more than someone does Ju-Jitsu.

Whatever we decided caused this problem becomes an area for involvement in our training, develop a style that kicks less, stay out of reach of your partner, develop a better, more well-balanced movement.

Question #2. Could I have prevented this?

If it was something the Bad Guy did what happened that allowed him to be in a position to do that? Was it his skill and speed or was it a case of me being inattentive or late to respond?

Either way, this problem was caused by not being in control of my personal space and something I can take into training is the question “what does it mean to control my personal space”?

As a training exercise in Chi Sau get a friend to continuously press you and work on maintaining the same shape, position and distance from them at all times.

Ask yourself can I control my personal space by standing in the one spot while my attacker is mobile, there is no correct or incorrect answer here, just a specific personal idea that we can train to be more natural.

Question #3. Was he fast or was I slow?

We can always work on our speed, especially the speed we think, our body only ever works at the speed of our thoughts, to a very large extent being quick is about having fewer choices to deliberate on.

Do not waste valuable mental processing time on trying to develop or use ‘Mind Force’, be deliberate and only think about things you can do that will actively help.

If we do not know how to transition from one situation or one position to another we will be stuck in both time and space and an easy target.

Again as a Chi Sau drill work on changing shapes, stances, and positions in space.

Create a drill in Chi Sau where one partner applies a strong forward drive, the other partner tries to find a way to get behind the aggressor, do not be nice to each other, make it a win / lose game.

In training we usually tend to just do as we are told, often there is no genuine connection to what we as students think may happen, what we may need, very rarely is there any student input to reflect a personal worry or experience.

As Instructors we should encourage this type of engagement, as students, we should force ourselves to ask questions, even when we think they may be stupid.

Nearly everything we do in Wing Chun falls under the umbrella of simultaneous attack and defense, in so many street situations this is a practical impossibility. The IDEA is sound, but how close can we get to it?

In street situations the attacker has no time to try to find the best shot, there is no feinting, no dodging and weaving patiently seeking a better position, it is just a flurry of whatever and it is instantly in our face.

Most street violence that Wing Chun would engage with, the average mugging, for instance, is over in less time than it takes to read this sentence.

I am serious, if we lose control of the first 4 or 5 seconds it is lights out and go home.

If we do not see it coming we are not going to stop it from happening, this is an alarming thought, but it is what it is.

There is a saying in the Boxing World, “it is the punch you do not see that knocks you out”!

Question #4. Why was I unprepared?

No one can teach functional situational awareness because the situation changes from day to day and place to place, because of this most situations we find ourselves in will appear to be ‘almost out of nowhere’.

Unpreparedness is our default position, get used to it, train it.

If our regular training does not include ways to regain a good position from a bad position then the prognosis will be terminal, do not fall for the fantasy that Biu Gee teaches emergency techniques, find a way to make space and regain balance.

Question #5. How did this situation arise?

The only way to avoid potential problems is to see them as they evolve, and leave before conception.

Most people that fail in a violent situation do not fail because of a lack of skill or ability, it is usually a lack of trust, a lack of confidence all made more destructive by the shock inherent in being attacked.

There are hundreds if not thousands of violently effective people who have no training at all in our world, but they are courageous to the level of foolhardiness, they will walk into our fists, we have a huge advantage if we can only bring it to the fore.

Think. Plan ahead. Survive. This is what all training should be. Any other approach is leading to the wrong choice at the wrong time.

Work on your weaknesses, play to your strengths.



Force summation of a rower. (source: sportsmedbiotech, 2009)

Up goes the cry ‘Wing Chun does not use strength”.

Guess what? Conditioning and fitness are not just about strength!

This is a reposting from 18 months ago, but this is a vital piece of the puzzle. Rule #1 if you wish to win a blue, be a better human.

I want to spend a few weeks looking at various types of and approaches to conditioning to make the most of our training, this may sound off-key but there is a great deal more to being effective at Wing Chun than just learning Wing Chun.

Fighting is a physical experience, so surely there needs to be a physical element to the training.

It makes no difference what so ever if we do ‘Internal’ or ‘External’ Wing Chun.  If we depend on ‘Thought Force’ or ‘Physical Force’

If our body is not up to the task of performing as the blunt instrument needed to deliver our force of choice we could be in serious trouble the day we need to use it.

Hands break when they hit faces, this is the real reason Boxers wear gloves.

Talking to certain sections of the Wing Chun community about the need to introduce strength and fitness is as difficult and fruitless as talking to an Australian Liberal politician about the need to phase out coal.

Up goes the cry ‘Wing Chun does not use strength”.

Guess what? Conditioning and fitness are not just about strength!

It is just as much about building mobility to get out of the way, improving our VO2 Max so we do not gas out in 5 seconds or developing the resilience to not fall in a heap if we fail to get out of the way and get hit in the head.

Wing Chun very strangely does not have specialised training regimes such as Chi Kung of other T.C.M.A.

I have no idea why this is, it makes no sense.

But perhaps it does, perhaps we have just stopped identifying them as such, upgraded them to something else, helped of course by the post-war Hong Kong entertainment industry.

If we had not all fallen the romanticised exploitation of Chi Kung and Kung Fu that was perpetrated by the Shaw Brothers beginning in the early 1950s perhaps we would have realised that Chi Kung was a precursor of today’s sports science and maybe, just maybe Kung Fu would not have slipped into obscurity and disregard compared to Modern Combat Sports.

The idea of a genteel scholar defeating thugs was such a breadwinner for the Shaw Studios it was pretty much the theme of every movie, perhaps unintentionally it allowed weak unfit people to think they could compete if they just played Kung Fu.

Many still do.

Many are still wrong.

What conditioning do I think we need?

This is a very difficult question to answer, it all depends on what type of trouble we think we will get into.

I am sure we all think different things.

Do we need to be steady, stable and strong?

Do we need to be mobile, quick and adaptive?

Can we be both?

If we can begin to see all of the Forms as being conditioning exercises, at least at a base level, we are at least starting from a sound base.

By all means, keep seeing them as ways to circulate Chi if that is your approach but first let them be simply physical.

In my last post, I mentioned the ‘Stretch Reflex’ and how in some situations it can have a negative impact on our actions.

That does not mean that the ‘Stretch Reflex’ is always negative, there are many situations where it can be used to our advantage.

Understanding the ‘Stretch Reflex’ and how we condition our body and our thinking to work with it, and of great importance understanding that we cannot influence it in any way.

No matter what some people may say or even claim, we cannot train a reflex. Training is a conscious action, reflexes are unconscious actions.

To think otherwise is to pursue a fantasy.

But once we identify, understand and can predict the effect of a Stretch Reflex we can adapt our training so that it has less of a chance of working against us.

So that we have less of a chance of working against ourselves.


There are a lot of people that say Wing Chun does not work on account of some very sad YouTube fights, the simple truth is that a hobbyist, a weekend warrior, no matter how skilled or capable will always loose to a full-time combat athlete.

Survival of the fittest is not a cliche, neither in the ring or on the street.

If we wish to do better we must become more athletic, more dynamic, more physical, the whole IDEA behind the do not use strength argument is a misrepresentation, it should be “do not depend on strength”, which really is just another way of saying trust your skill first, however, if your attacker is smaller and weaker there is nothing wrong with using strength, it will work.

The popular sales pitch representation that doing Wing Chun will “level the playing field” against a stronger, bigger, faster, fitter opponent only works if the opponent has no skill, only brute strength.

Being faster, fitter, stronger does not guarantee a win, but it helps.

Get fitter, get stronger, get faster, get conditioned, and of course, keep improving your skill.

Learn how to walk and chew gum.





A finger pointing at the moon.

Nothing we do in training is what we are trying to learn.

I retired from the workforce in 2015, the extra time that freed up allowed me to indulge in my favourite pastime of trying to better understand the ever-widening field of modern science.

The head stuff such as General Relativity, the Quantum Sciences and Neurophysiology, and the body stuff like BioMechanics, Kinesiology and Sports Science, our access to information is astounding.

What has all this pseudo study taught me?

Everything in the universe has changed since I left school in 1970.

Dai Sigung Ip Man died in 1972.

What we once thought to be carved in stone turned out to be written in sand.

Our understanding of the Human Condition is always changing, to stay in touch we need mental flexibility.

Especially once we start to talk of concepts, strategies or ideas.

Which is the very heart and soul of Wing Chun in a nutshell.

Without mental flexibility the best we can hope for is confusion.

Here is a good place to test that flexibility.

Nothing we do in training is what we are trying to learn.


What we are trying to learn is the thinking that brought about the things we do in training.

This is once more venturing into the non-physical aspect of our training, some of these things initially appear nonsensical, new thinking always does, but that’s O.K.

Given time they will change everything we do.

In the First Form we talk of a triangle bordered by our two arms with the apex rising from our sternum {this line very often gets mistakingly called the centerline} and a circle with ourselves in the centre, these are early concepts to aid us in exploring more refined and complex IDEAs, later on, the First Form is just the view from 30.000 feet, a Global IDEA made up of large brush strokes.

In Chum Kiu we see the IDEA of that one equilateral triangle split into 2 right-angle triangles with our 2 arms becoming the hypotenuse of each triangle and the apex of the previous triangle being the opposite side of this right-angle triangle.

The apex of these two triangles can move independently, when this happens it could be thought of as being anchored to the shoulder point and not the sternum point.

In Biu Gee, the extra rotation brought about by the manipulation of the shoulder girdle effectively turns these two triangles into cones.

If we take a slice through a cone we get a circle or disk, if we turn this circle/disk from horizontal to vertical and back we get the function of a Ball.

These are just concepts, thought exercises.

What is a Centreline?
A Centreline is a real or imaginary line through the centre of something, especially one following an axis of symmetry. for instance, a centreline of a body.

It cuts the body into two halves.

As nothing exists between ourselves and an opponent except space there can be no centreline between us as there is nothing to cut in half, thinking that there is a centreline between 2 people creates major problems when trying to deal with the more refined ideas that populate Chum Kiu and Biu Gee.

I get it that all this talk of Physical and non-Physical is a bit whacky but the payoff can be huge, you will just need to trust me on this.

A finger pointing at the moon.

All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small. 

Lao Tzu 



it is like thinking that 6 different patterns combined in an ornate carpet are somehow 6 different carpets

Hi guys, I am at last getting around to updating the Information on the Forms page, they are quite outdated when you think of how we train now, hopefully, it will not take me too long, the IDEAs posted below are just a starting point, there is a tonne of things we can find and explore in the Forms.

The main goal for all of us is to make Wing Chun a personal expression of our knowledge.

Then any information can be valuable information.

When we surf the Internet we find many different opinions on what Wing Chun is, this is completely fine and we have no need to worry about it, the difference is only in the training approach which may or may not relate to the learning outcome.

At times like this we do well to remember that all roads lead to Rome.

For my guys, all rivers eventually reach the ocean.

And take their twigs with them.

Wing Chun is usually described as having 6 forms, I do not like this description, it is clumsy and suggests a separation that simply does not exist, it is like thinking that 6 different patterns combined in an ornate carpet are somehow 6 different carpets.

I prefer to regard Wing Chun as having only 1 Form, which is of course the Sil Lim Tao, presented in the way of 3 attitudes, the first Form [that usually retains the S.L.T.title], the Chum Kiu Form and the Biu Gee Form.

And 3 processes, Mok Jan Jong [dummy], Baat Cham Dao [knives] and Lok Dim Boon Kwan [pole] that allow us to combine and explore the 3 individual attributes.

Do our own research.

A more contemporary way to perceive this is to see the First Form, the Chum Kiu Form and the Biu Gee Form as 3 separate yet related theories that we test in the 3 processes of Dummy, Knives and Pole with the goal of discovering ‘our own’ Unified Theory of Wing Chun.

This is the code that grants us access to the Sil Lim Tao.


First Form Theory. A method of how to set up an upright neutral body, how to move the arms without disturbing this neutral body and finally how to positively charge this neutral body to become a powerful single unit.

Core learning objective. Unify/stabilise an [Upright] STATIC FRAME.

Related research process. The Mok Jang Jong.

Second Form Theory. A method for supporting the arms with the body on contact with incoming force, how to coordinate the movement of the arms with the movement of the body, an introduction to the hierarchy of movement and sequential acceleration in a linear orientation.

Core learning objective. Unify/stabilise a MOVING FRAME.

Related research process. The Lok Dim Boon Kwan.

Third Form Theory. A method of focusing attention to specific points of the body, develop an understanding how to enlist the powerful core muscles, an introduction to weight shifting within the bounds of the frame in a rotary orientation.

Core learning objective. Dynamically empower a unified/stabilised MOVING FRAME.

Related research process. The Baat Cham Dao.

While there are established Forms for the Dummy, Pole and Knives they should be seen as good places to begin testing the theories and not as essential patterns.

A unified theory of Wing Chun resides inside each and everyone of us, the big question is can we get it to come out?






Everything physical in Wing Chun already existed in the other styles.

If you research just about any Kung Fu, for each style you will find several books, diagrams and instructions dating back many generations.

But not Wing Chun.

Why is this?

This is speculation, based on good research but never the less still just me reading between the lines.

We know without a doubt, that Wing Chun was formulated [not created or invented] around mid-1850 in Foshan, by Doctor Leung Jan, a doctor, bonesetter and herbalist.

Dr Leung worked with the local opera troupe in a position I imagine much the same as modern-day sports teams have physios and physical therapists.

His knowledge of anatomy and his experience working with active Martial Artists would have deeply influenced his thinking.

Dr Leung was himself a Martial Artist of some merit but his earlier style was not recorded, smart money would bet on it being a Shaolin style, but there is also a decent argument for Xing Yi, Wing Chun shares many movements and ideas with Xing Yi.

Through his work with the troupe, he would have seen at first hand which of the movements/shapes caused the most injuries [ this would be due mostly to poor alignment] and which movements/shapes appeared to be structurally sound.

It does not take a huge leap of the imagination to think that he would have naturally amended the art he practised to fit his findings.

Foshan in 1860 would have been a very tricky place to live, and an even trickier place to be well off financially, this is just me imagining things but it would be no surprise if we found that he had been the victim of several attempted muggings and he may have found the classical Kung Fu not fit for purpose in those situations.

So he embarked on a journey to change what he knew.

He jumped in the river.

Everything physical in Wing Chun already existed in the other styles.

Dr Leung combined his knowledge and intelligence with the physical aspects of his previous training into what became Wing Chun.

We should not overlook that Dr Jan had no intention to invent a new style.

It was Dr Jan’s approach and thinking that formed the core of today’s Wing Chun.

From the outset, there were no original movement, postures or techniques, just a new way of thinking about existing movement, postures or techniques.

Depending on our frame of reference Wing Chun has either no actual movement, postures or techniques, or it encompasses all movement, postures and techniques.

I prefer the latter option, and as such we are not only free to employ this thinking to any new development of movement, postures or techniques but are expected to make this connection, advance this progression.

To stay in the past was the very thing Dr Jan moved away from.

Our first task is to decide which house we choose to live in.

Remain in the past, in effect in the thinking and ability of the late 19th century, or to go boldly where no man has been before and try to resolve Wing Chun’s Fist Logic with up to date thinking allied to the ever-changing landscape of Human movement.

How well we understand something is determined by how well we can act upon it, how well we can act upon that knowledge.




“Reality is what we take to be true,” 

pioneering physicist David Bohm

To be able to deeply understand Kung Fu we have no option other than suspending reality in an attempt to see deeper into what it is we are doing.

I am not trying to go all NEO and the MATRIX here but there is an element of that.

Our training needs to dip its toe into different realities, the outcome we are seeking is to change our perception of what it is we are doing, in fact what it is we are.

This is not as whacky as it sounds, neuro scientists and physicists have held the opinion that the universe is a hologram for decades, we have no need to go that deep but this is the way.

“Reality is what we take to be true,” pioneering physicist David Bohm asserted in 1977. “What we take to be true is what we believe… What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.”

I was working on this with James on Monday evening the following video may look a bit sus but this was very advanced training, and training that transfers very well to increased physiality.


If nothing else this next few months should be interesting and amusing.





The idea that Shaolin monks would seek enlightenment and then go off to war is a Wuxia invention, a Hong Kong Movie Industry Myth.

Now that we have begun exploring along the lines of the Subtle Body we mustn’t wander off {mentally} and think that it is something that it is not, namely MINDFULNESS.

There is nothing wrong with mindfulness or using Kung Fu shapes to practice mindfulness.

Although it should be obvious that when you are using Kung Fu shapes to practice mindfulness you are practising mindfulness and not Kung Fu.

Working with the IDEA of the Subtle Body is very much a part of physical training for physical Kung Fu, albeit psychophysical/psychoneural/psychomotor, perhaps just plain PSYCHO!

Mindfulness practice has no place in fighting and cannot aid with the physical aspects of training, what we in the west refer to as mindfulness came about due to a Medical Professor named Jon Kabat-Zinn, who created an 8-week course for terminally ill cancer patients to relieve pain, anxiety and stress, he called it Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

Mindfulness is a powerful tool when used as intended

The 9 Attitudes of Mindfulness according to Jon Kabat-Zinn

  • Non-judging.
  • Acceptance.
  • Patience.
  • Beginner’s mind.
  • Trust.
  • Non-Striving.
  • Letting Go.
  • Gratitude.

I think it is quite clear that none of the above attitudes are of use in physical training and even less use in a violent situation.

Mindfulness should be an aspect of our holistic training and I will cover that in a later post.

The idea that Shaolin monks would seek enlightenment and then go off to war is a Wuxia invention, a Hong Kong Movie Industry Myth.

Do not fall for it!

The work we are heading towards is influenced by some of the giants of neuroscience the late Prof. Karl H. Pribram, the late Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais and the very alive Dr. V.S. Ramachandran.

Look them up and get a head start on training.

Stay tuned, stay in touch, there is much more to come and as I get a better handle on explaining things it may even begin to make sense.








It is not possible to meditate in the grips of the ‘Fight or Flight response.


Greater minds than mine have pondered this experience.

A ‘subtle body’ of sorts has been part of humanities perception from the dawn of civilisation, we come across it in such diverse instances as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Tibetan book of the Dead, Buddhist meditation, Taoist alchemy, Tantric Yoga, the Jewish Kabballah, the esoteric writings of Gurdjieff to the magic of Alister Crowly and the ‘Order of the golden Dawn’.

Nobody knows what it is but all of us have experienced it or something akin to it at some time or another and many of us have a sneaking feeling that it could be real.

Try this.

Sit in your favourite chair, close your eyes, relax.

Imagine that there is a knock at the door, still using your imagination get up and answer the door.

Who got up and opened the door?

It was the ‘Subtle Body’.

We cannot and indeed should not separate Kung Fu from the people that formulated it, the Shaolin Monks, it was their lived experience that created Kung Fu.

The constant danger of attack from bandits was a central part of their lived experience.

Training hard every day was a central part of their lived experience.

Practising Dhyāna/Chan/Zen was a central part of their lived experience.

Unfortunately, we cannot trust any of the histories that are put forward about the Shaolin monks, the monastery was on many occasions razed to the ground and all authentic written histories lost.

What we can safely accept is that they did train hard every day and they did practice Dhyāna/Chan/Zen every day.

If we apply modern sports science/sports medicine thinking to these two facts alone we find that hard training creates an abundance of Cortisol in the body.
Cortisol hangs around for a long time, more than 24 hours and the monks trained every day.
Cortisol is a stress hormone similar to adrenalin and is a precursor to the ‘fight or Flight’ response.
If all the monks did was to train hard they would be permanently in a ‘Flight or fight’ mindset.

Dhyāna/Chan/Zen is a practice that is known to decrease Cortisol.

Despite Kung Fu movie depiction, Shaolin Monks were spiritual people living in violent times, their main goal was meditation fighting was an ugly but necessary evil {usually, but not always, performed by a secular section of the order}.

It is not possible to meditate in the grips of the ‘Fight or Flight response.

The practice of Dhyāna/Chan/Zen, or what today is often referred to as ‘Mindfulness” was not an aid to the monks Kung Fu, on the contrary, it was an antidote to the monks Kung Fu.

The more secular monks no doubt found that their Dhyāna/Chan/Zen practice had mental benefits to their physical practice so some cross-pollination becomes inevitable.

It is also inevitable that some of the monks would have lost limbs in clashes, so the lost limb syndrome, although it would not be seen as such at that time, could well account for the manifestation of the subtle body to the less spiritual monks.

Food for thought.

Your mileage may vary.