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Shaolin Academy Graduate Kung Fu Levels

Graduating to Black Sash is like graduating High School; much is very different after this.

On this Page . . .

Shaolin Monks recognized a long time ago that to keep a habit of life long health and fitness, you need to have an activity that keeps your mind and body interested; an activity that adapts to your needs as you mature and maintains your body as it has different needs. Although the fundamental habit of training and skill had to be established; once you achieve Journeyman Level, it needs to change. The attitude with which you achieved you Red and Black Sash needs to grow and change.

Sijo Robert Z, Owner/Manager Shaolin Kung Fu Academy


Hi, I am Sijo Robert Z and i will tell you about post-black sash options at the Academy. First a bit of Background!

Shaolin Kung Fu was developed as a Health, fitness and well-being style using martial art techniques. The Shaolin required an art that allowed a life long usability from a very young age of 13y to the more senior years of 80y and 90y. They needed something that allowed them to stay healthy, fit and able bodied as accidents and mis-use could mean the end of you life. Although they had heelers and physicians, good ones when you were out and about and would injure yourself it could be your death. Their training and training habits had to be such as to keep them in top health first and allow them to defend themselves second. This meant that the training needed to be first Smart and Safe, then Hard and Effective. But most importantly, as they trained daily for several hours, it needed to be interesting and allow for individual options. You are now at the point where you have earned the right to move in a unique and specific to you direction. And there are a few of these!


Well, if you haven't already, you can try your hand at a number of world class competition circuits running in Australia offering a wide choice of options. These again fall into two general categories, Sparring and Style.

Sparring Options
Style Options

Non contact sudden death sparring; well suited to test your speed and adaptability.

Touch Contact very similar as the above but requires a higher degree of accuracy as you need to 'touch' your opponent to score but you are not allowed to hit them.

Protected Full Contact allows for the full use of strength of technique but limits contact areas away from joints, groin and head. If you are a bit of a tough-nut or want to be, this is a good live way of sparring.

Full Contact is the ultimate form of sparring for the full-on martial artist. Same as above including the same or similar no-hit-areas.

Grappling including Shuai Jiao (Chinese Wrestling), Brazilian, Greco-Roman, Catches-Catch-Can, Judo, Jujitsu and even Show Wrestling. These have a great variety of rule based options.

These are the main fairly safe forms of sparring. What you say, full contact safe? If you want to do something hard you will and this is the best option, under supervision and with some rules!

Form Display is where you demonstrate you style and it's uniqueness though a detailed and exact set of movements. These are called forms or Kata and show the quality of Style, Teacher and Martial Artist to a panel of well experienced judges.

Free Form is where you have a form that simulates a situation or the style but it has been developed by you and possibly your instructor. This is a demonstration of your abilities and has no limitation on movement of technique.

Show Forms have in the recent few decades made a splash both in Chinese and Japanese martial arts. The skill of this form is show and entertainment often adding music and even special effect to the demonstration. this is judged on Quality, Difficulty and Entertainment value.

Self Defence Forms feature a defence scenario or even a whole fighting sequence, with multiple participants, as you may see in the movies. It may be a realistic fight scenario or a interesting and amusing Jacky Chan style display. Again, entertainment or reality is together with difficulty and quality of execution are the major win criteria.

Synchronized Forms are usually traditional or Show forms executed by three or more persons. they are again judged on Quality of synchronicity, difficulty of combinations and martial art technique. A great workout with friends. These can also be with or without music

Weaponry Forms can now almost double the forms listing as all the above apply; Style forms, Free Form, Show Forms, Self Defence and Synchronized Form work.

From the above you can see that the majority of options, even in the general world of martial art, focus on Style work rather than fighting. It is the fighting which get's the exposure but it is the style that gives you style! As mentioned above, this will entertain you for a few years and keep you focused on fitness but then you may need to move on to something new.

Kung Fu vs Weaponry

There are two parallel streams in the Shaolin Academy, the Shaolin Kung Fu levels and the Shaolin Weaponry levels. Each is a complete stream with a syllabus up to Black Sash and with post Black Sash specialization options. If you have achieved a Kung Fu Black Sash you may now want to go through and achieve a Weaponry Black Sash or visa-versa if you have achieved a Weaponry Black Sash you can also complete the Kung Fu stream and achieve your 2nd Degree thus. Sihing Daniel & Sam had both achieved their Weaponry Black Sash and Daniel is now on Brown Sash for his Kung Fu Black Sash.

Again, with weaponry there are two choices, Style and Self-defence. With the style aspect you focus on the Weapon and learn how to use it for show and exercise purpose. In self-defence you also learn to use the weapon but then you learn how to manage being attacked by that weapon. So, you are learning to defend against a weaponed attacker with bare hands. This is an exiting and interesting but also safe option much like working the path of Style. And the shaolin Academy has quite a few weaponry styles to choose from! Let us show you just below;

Long Weapon Styles
Traditional Chinese Weaponry, Shaolin Iron Staff Traditional Chinese Weaponry, The Sun and Moon Saber Traditional Chinese Weaponry, The 'Bar Guest's' Chair Defence Form Traditional Chinese Weaponry, Fatale Flute, Whipping Staff Form Traditional Chinese Weaponry Recreational Routine, The Thief and the Vagabond, a staff duel Traditional Chinese Weaponry, Red Eagle Spear Traditional Chinese Weaponry, Ghost Spear
Traditional Chinese Weaponry, The 'Bar Guest's' Chair Defence Form Traditional Chinese Weaponry, The Sun and Moon Saber Traditional Chinese Weaponry, Tiger Trident Traditional Chinese Weaponry, Shaolin Monk's Spade Traditional Chinese Weaponry, The 1st of the Wood Chopping Long Axe Forms, Mad Monk Axe Traditional Chinese Weaponry, Duan Da Dao, Long Handled Broad Sword Kwan Dao, Yan Yie Dao, Quan Dao the Polearm of General Gwan Yu, the Red Faced General
Short Weapon Styles
Traditional Chinese Weaponry, Shaolin Tiger Broad Sword Traditional Chinese Weaponry, The 'Bar Guest's' Chair Defence Form Kwan Dao, Yan Yie Dao, Quan Dao the Polearm of General Gwan Yu, the Red Faced General Traditional Chinese Weaponry, The Confusing Whilring Dancing Chinese Broad Sword Traditional Chinese Weaponry, Wudang Straight Sword Traditional Chinese Weaponry, Two Handed Chinese Battle Broad Sword Traditional Chinese Weaponry, Twin Broad Sword Form Hawk Wings
Unique Weapon Styles
Traditional Chinese Weaponry, The 'Bar Guest's' Chair Defence Form Traditional Chinese Weaponry, Shaolin Monk's Spade Traditional Chinese Weaponry, Deceptive/Drunk Walking Stick Martial Art Weapon Skills, the Alimunium Ladder
Show & Student Demonstration Forms
Traditional Chinese Weaponry Recreational Routine, The Thief and the Vagabond, a staff duel Traditional Chinese Weaponry Recreational Routine, The Thief and the Vagabond, a staff duel Traditional Chinese Weaponry Recreational Routine, The Thief and the Vagabond, a staff duel Traditional Chinese Weaponry Recreational Routine, The Thief and the Vagabond, a staff duel

There are more but we have not been able to record all of our Styles as we need someone to be the person starring and demonstrating. Could it be you who will specialize in the Fire-Wind Wheels, the Chinese Butterfly Knives, Mother and Son Hammers or the Monks Beads for example? There is a lot more to be done, explored, recorded and presented.

Journey Time

A bit like the Mormons give their 16 year olds a year off to experience the world, the Shaolin had the Journey Years as part of the Shaolin Monk development. Somewhere around the age of 21 or so, they were sent out into the world to experience life outside the monastery. As they were very well educated in Reading, Writing, Numbers, Healing, History and Martial Arts there were a lot of options for them to find work and become prosperous citizens. Many did this; they remained budgets but chose to become a teacher, healer or even open their own Buddhist temple and or martial art center.

This is also another possibility for you to have your own teaching venue. Not as a way of being at an end but as a way of being part of the journey to Mastership. There is almost nothing as educating as teaching for finding what you don't know or cant do. When you have to explain and show you students what you are teaching you will find your limitations and where you need to work on. So in Shaolin, teaching is not the end, it is part of the journey. After afew years of doing this, you maintain your venue and start working on a true specialization. Maybe a weaponry style, or defending against all sharp weapons. Or one of the many bare hand styles?

Temple Kung Fu Shaolin 5 Animal Kung Fu Levels
Emei Shan Kwantung Fukien Wudang Shaolin Tiger Kung Fu Panther Kung Fu Crane Kung Fu Snake Kung Fu
Gray Sash Level 1, Emei Shan Temple White Sash Level 2, Kwantung Temple Yellow Sash level 3, Fukien Temple Kung Fu Orange Sash Level 4, Wudang Temple Kung Fu Green Sash Level 5, Shaolin Temple 5 Animal Kung Fu Advanced Level Kung Fu, Shaolin Tiger Style Advanced & Specialist Level Kung Fu, Demon Claws Advanced Level Kung Fu, Shaolin Panther/Leopard Style Advanced Level Kung Fu, Shaolin Crane Style Advanced Level Kung Fu, Shaolin Snake Style
Advanced & Specialist Level Kung Fu, Iron Body


A lot of possibilities can be confusing but let's get back to the core. This is about maintaining a life long health and fitness regime! The key to this is variety and possibilities. And as you can see, we have plenty of these. plenty to teach, plenty to compete, plenty to study and plenty to do. They say variety is the spice of life; well this is spicy, no?

But, from the 'all is possible' let's go to some real life examples using past members. Since the founding of the Shaolin Academy in 1992 we have had a number of remarkable members with remarkable achievements. Their stories (in short) in Kung Fu may be a better way to exemplify what is real and possible!

Sifu Wayne N

Wayne was one of the first to embrace the concept of specialization. He felt a strong affinity with the Shaolin Tiger to the point that he had the Shaolin Tiger tattooed onto his right Shoulder Blade. He chose the sparring and fighting aspect as a specialization and competed in almost every competition he could to become a goof fighter and competitor. He also continued to work on the form of his choice to achieve that feel and style that is the Tiger. He achieved both, winning a national championship in forms and sparring at the ripe age of 35. After this he branched off and started his own club, Chinese Tiger Kung Fu and brought many of his students into the Tiger Spirit and Skill. He continues to train dabbling in many styles and seek solid hard training. With his competition experience he has achieved a very senior and respected position in the National All Styles

For a practical, just do type of personality, the Shaolin Tiger is perfect allowing more action and adventure for the practical inclined practitioner but does not limit to further development such as Sifu Wayne now using his experience to be an exceedingly effective National Technical Director.

Sifu Vanessa C

Vanessa had the perfect body for the Crane and the perfect attitude for the Tiger. As she explored he abilities, Skill and Attitude in the Shaolin Kung Fu she was able to adapt to any of the Animals Styles and was successful in all. She also chose to enter many competitions and it was the exception when she did not win or place in Bare Hand Forms, Weaponry Forms and Sparring. Vanessa completed two Black levels and graduated as a Shaolin Academy 3rd degree before life and other needs caught up to he. She became a very successful Fitness Entrepreneur after which she migrated successfully to the corporate world.

Sifu Vanessa blitzed the competition circuit for a period of 5 years, just to try it our, winning most everything there was to win. She won so many trophies and awards that she donated most to the Shaolin Academy and only keeps the National Championship 1st place trophies.

With a flair for style, grace and show, the Shaolin crane was the exact style for Vanessa to achieve the very best from Shaolin Kung Fu

Sifu Chris S

Chris's start was unremarkable for the first few years but then he virtually exploded. After completing his Black Sash Chris played around with various forms of Kung Fu including Weaponry, Drunken Style before deciding for Panther Kung Fu. And he aced it to such a degree that when the Academy was in China he was invited to stay, on a cost free scholarship in Xian's main School of Kung Fu and Wushu. Chris showed an incredible ability to make the techniques and form work, not just through talent but also through hard work and persistence.

Just like Vanessa, Chris achieved many titles and championships in competitions and using his focus became a professional massage therapist working for a chain of Hotels. This allowed him to travel and work almost at will.

The Panther style is perfect for this. Unlike the singular Tiger, Panther has many, many options both physical and metal (strategic) and allows users to develop both physically and mentally.

Sifu Sarah S

Being a petite size and having the spirit of the Tiger, Sarah preferred the practical side of martial arts. She also entered every possible competition and showed some brilliant sparring and moves. Her small size and weight worked against her and it took her a long time before she started seeing success. And size does matter, as can be seen in boxing competitions where the division can differentiate by as little as 3 pounds or less than 1½ kilo. On achieving Black Sash Sarah's inclination was towards Tiger but she was not physically strong enough, determined, single minded yes; but size does make a difference. On completing here 2nd Degree Sarah joined a Muy Thai club and worked for 5 years on her Black Singlet, full contact fighting in the ring.

With a fierce spirit and an unrelenting focus she overcame her trepidations and became successfully full contact fighter.

The Tiger in Shaolin requires a strong and large powerful personality, Sarah had a powerful presence and personality but at 70 kilo, she was not strong enough. Fortunately, small Tiger Stylists can specialize in the Shaolin Eagle, which was exactly developed for people like Sarah and another example of the ingenuity of Shaolin Kung Fu.

Sifu John P

John was an incredibly precise and exact martial artists with a remarkable IQ. He was also very much into the Strategy and Style of Panther and that is what he specialized in after achieving Black Sash. With many, many achievements to his name including competing a Karate Black Sash in 18 months with a reputable club he re-discovered his love for practical detail and dived into all styles of grappling. After 5 years he knew them all from obscure (to us) catch-as-catch-can to the main stream principles of Gracie jiujutsu. John was perfect for this and even sent in one of his students into a competition where he 'kicked ass' in his first bout.

His abilities as a teacher were also second to none. Aside from specializing in Grappling he was able to train up absolute novices for competitions and allow them to be successful. A brilliant mind and excellent martial art teacher.

Shaolin Kung Fu has many aspects including the Snake Style Hold-and-Control techniques. Perfect for a person with a reasonable strength, good intelligence and a love for detail.

Sifu Sam S

Sam showed a flair for both detail and ... flair from the very beginning. His goal was to both explore his physical and performance abilities. His Bare Hand Kung Fu was very good but he excelled even more at Weaponry Kung Fu, especially there where he could add his own flair. He was the first to achieve his full Black Sash in traditional Chinese Weaponry and was close to his second degree when life stepped in. He developed the Shaolin bench form to a very high degree, like no other before using a full weight and full size portable bench. he developed his control and skill to become a master of traditional Chinese Weaponry if he so chooses.

Shaolin Kung Fu helps with you physical and metal being. Many people report that their posture, balance, confidence and feeling of well-being greatly improve. Many also see that what may seem impossible may be possible and it opens them to many new options in life and .. other.

Many, many options.

Unlike most martial art styles, Shaolin Kung Fu has not only one or two purposes. Yes, you can become a professional security person like Sifu Danny G who's skill was such that in a mass conflict he was able to disarm and subdue a machete wielding drunk, without causing harm to the drunk or others. You can learn to develop your people management style through teaching as one of our 1st instructors Sifu Audrey K did. Shaolin Kung Fu is also usable for acting with the wide variety of techniques, styles and forms. There are many, many options.


Journeyman/woman is where you achieve a Black Sash/Belt/Singlet or equivalent with another style; with a reputable and registered martial art style. (Students who come to us from other styles who already have achieved an equivalent rank will have this recognized upon achieving Shaolin Academy Black Sash.)

Animal Kung Fu is vastly more than just learning the Shaolin Animal styles. It is about learning yourself, who you are and other people in relation to you. Shaolin 5 Animal Kung Fu specialization is our speciality, our super power. Have a quick look Animal Personality Styles and then at Animal Kung Fu.

Self Defence is where you specialize in becoming a protector or people such as you may need to be a professional security person or body guard. This would include fighting skills, protection skills, human control skills, Weaponry control skills and the like.

Historical Kung Fu is the way to go if you like recreations and the feel of warriors when you are training. With over 1000 know styles of Kung Fu, there are many options of researching, redeveloping and bring a Kung Fu style back into the world. This is one of the more involved and difficult options, yet, even now, there is a person on a quest to revive a very old and not well know style.

Traditional Chinese Weaponry can be used in movies in the guise of Light Sabers, Energy Torches or Micron Whips. Historical re-enactments or just simple weaponry sparring has become one of the true contact sports of the world. TCW for exercise, re-enactments, sport, movies, action or just interest... Or you can just get a fantastic workout with something different every 6 months to a year.

Teaching Kung Fu is learning Kung Fu. Some say if you can't do you teach but that does not work in martial art usually. The proper term is if you have done it all, pass on the wisdom; else, teaching is another way of learning and being interested and giving back.

Just for Fun and Fitness is actually one of the best reason to train Shaolin Kung Fu using all the possibilities and variants and options to keep a sport ever fresh, interesting and mentally stimulating, whilst maintaining health, fitness and sanity. it is a sport that you will enjoy at age 13y and will still enjoy at age 83y, even if it may be a bit slower and gentler... but also smarter and more efficient.


With the some 100 combined years that the Shaolin Academy Masters have in martial arts and related, there are more options, but these are better understood when you have some Shaolin Experience. These above should be enough to show the vast possibilities that open to Shaolin Academy Graduated Black Sashes.

Meet the Professionals who make the Shaolin 5 Animal Kung Fu Academy!

Sijo Robert Z
Chief Instructor
Sibok Dagmar
Inst Tai Chi
Spec Meditation, Relaxation
Sifu Anthony
Inst Kung Fu
Special Forms & Weaponry
Sifu Martyn
Inst Temple Kung Fu,
Manager Camberwell Venue,
Manager Vic AMAC
Sifu James
Inst Temple Kung Fu
Koala Kids
Sifu Douglas
Assist Instructor
Kung Fu & TCW
Do you fit in here?
Call us to find out!
0417 KUNG FU
0458 742 654

Black Belts

If you are a full Black Belt/Sash/Singlet from another style and you would like to try the Shaolin Academy Black Sash Assessment you are most welcome; without prejudice. We hold open Assessments every year, 2nd weekend in December. As a rule, anyone can grade, for any level including Black Sash, even if they are from other Martial Art Styles. We even have a 'booster program' which lasts 10 months for Black Belts at the end of which they grade for the Shaolin Academy Black Sash. When they pass a full Shaolin Academy Rank, Certification and Black Sash are awarded!

Personal Coaching

Master Robert Z, was the National Manager for Professional and Personal Development for a large Australian organization. The training and experience he received there is far beyond the current '6 week Life Coaching courses' that many people are put through. As a Master of martial art with almost 50 years experience, your physical, mental, professional, life and spiritual developmental needs may receive a boost with a couple of coaching sessions. Currently he has several regulars but this always changes once the target has been achieved.

Quality of Style and Delivery

We are a small and professional organization and do not do the McDonald's Martial Art System. We provide small classes, with exceedingly well qualified instructors and some personalized training. The Shaolin 5 Animal Kung Fu styles, aside from being over 1000 years old is one of the worlds most advanced (not easiest) martial art style with many facets and surprises. It is best suited to people who prefer more than just a bash'em style of martial arts with a view to life-long-training.

More Info

We are happy to hear from you and answer you martial art, health and developmental questions. If you wish to train with us, the first 3 sessions are free. It is best to try these before making any commitment. If you have any other questions or would lust like to explore some possibilities, you can;

Links to relevant pages on the Shaolin Kung Fu Academy WEB site.