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We may never know the definitive answer to this one, but was hoping someone could shed some light in terms of educated opinions and/or factual evidence that points in a certain direction.

Here's what I know:

  1. There are lots of Southern styles of Kung Fu which appear to be of Shaolin origin
  2. The government of the People's Republic of China formally acknowledged the existence and destruction of a Southern Shaolin Temple
  3. An archeological excavation unearthed artifacts and monuments that point to Fujian province as the original source
  4. At least the following cities/towns contain ruins of temples which they lay claim as being the site of the destroyed Southern Shaolin Monastery:
  5. I heard that for economic reasons, the Chinese government is officially saying Quanzhou because it is less remote and thus more accessible (within a few kilometers of the city) and will thus appeal to more tourists, but that the archeological findings point to Fuqing. Also for economic reasons they are now going ahead with a so-called "Western Shaolin Temple" which I've personally never even heard of, may be a money-grab?

Oh, and of course there's also the infamous Chinese saying: "Northern kicks, Southern fists" as an ideal combination of fighting styles (or what to beware of when facing an opponent from each region), because of each region's strengths, indicating a difference of styles by geographic region and thus reinforcing the idea of a Southern Shaolin Temple and of course the accepted Northern Shaolin Temple in Henan province.

We may never know the exact truth, but hopefully someone here knows more than me.

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I suggest narrowing your question down to a specific one. You are asking for a lot of information in this question. –  Matt Chan Jul 3 '13 at 17:36
The question is large in scope and could do with being broken down into several. However, it is a nice question! +1 –  Sardathrion Jul 4 '13 at 6:41
I had no idea there was more than the Henan temple, but I do see five mentioned here. –  user1217 Jul 5 '13 at 14:21
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1 Answer

My Kung Fu teacher sent us a video of a Chinese TV show making an article on Shaolin Kung Fu, and if I got it right, they actually go to the Shaolin Temple to see how the monks live and train.

I can't tell you for sure that this is the same Shaolin Temple that generated Kung Fu as we know it, but here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhH1hMX55Iw

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