A Buddhist monk from India named Bodhidharma traveled to
the Shaolin Temple during the 5th century CE to spread Chan
Buddhism, a form of Buddhism with an emphasis on
meditation. He observed that the Shaolin Monks lacked the
stamina to perform basic meditation techniques. To train the
monks, Bodhidharma introduced a set of exercises that would
form the foundation for Shaolin Kung Fu. The monks later
used Shaolin Kung Fu to defend the temple and save the future
Tang Dynasty emperor, Li Shimin, in 618 CE. The Shaolin
Temple grew famous for the great feats of its warrior monks.
Despite their mastery of martial arts, the Shaolin Monks were
bound by a code of ethics that promoted compassion and peace
over shows of force.