36 Chambers of Death: The Energy Centers of the Ancient Shaolin Martial Arts

Kung Fu Shaolin

36 Chambers of Death: The Energy Centers of the Ancient Shaolin Martial Arts

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) was the name of the 1993 debut album by American rap group Wu-Tang Clan, which not only set a new standard for hardcore hip hop during the 1990s, but it brought New York City’s rap scene onto the international stage. The album’s title, 36 chambers, references the 1978-Shaw brothers’ Kung Fu movie, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, also known as The Master Killer, which follows monk San Te, acted by Gordon Liu, struggling through 35 learning environments (chambers), finally forming a new ‘36th’ chamber; an academy of martial arts teaching young, non-monastic, farming people how to defend themselves in the impending rebellion to overthrow the repressive Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1912).

Map of the Qing Dynasty in 1820. (Includes provincial boundaries and the boundaries of modern China for reference (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Map of the Qing Dynasty in 1820. (Includes provincial boundaries and the boundaries of modern China for reference (CC BY-SA 3.0)

While this classic Kung Fu movie is generally celebrated for its relentless action and training scenes, the number ‘36’ is an archetypal Chinese symbol within martial arts and this special number is associated with the innermost secrets of the oldest and deadliest fighting systems of the Shaolin.


Become a member to read more OR login here

Ancient Origins Quotations