Shaolin monks have always been known for their ability to push the limits of the human body. From doing splits with their heels on beer bottles to dangling upside down by their toes like a bat, nothing seems to be impossible for the famous order of martial artists.
But how about running on water?
Well, at least one monk is pretty darn good at that. Earlier this week, Shi Liliang from the Quanzhou Shaolin Temple sprinted across a river, running over 125 meters (over 400 feet) of water on nothing but loosely suspended plywood boards. You can check out the video after the jump.
The monk has been doing this since 2005, and has repeatedly broken his own personal record. The trick, he says, is to focus weight into the toes, move quickly, but don’t take long strides. He is doing this, by the way, to raise money for underprivileged students.
Needless to say, this is an interesting feat. Running across water is a common stunt on game shows like Wipeout!! and Takeshi’s Castle, and speed and unshakable balance have long been the trick to success when traveling across floating objects. That said, moving over planks is a substantially stiffer test, making Liliang’s record-breaking run all the more impressive.
As stated, Shaolin monks have a seemingly impossible training regimen, and are known for their martial skills. Those abilities in combat helped to redefine martial arts in Asia, and have made the orange-robed order pop culture icons for decades.
While the monks are widely believed to be pacifists, that is not actually true. The Shaolin monks were a brutally effective paramilitary force in the 1500s, savagely combating a pirate scourge that plagued China’s coasts.
Liliang will likely return to the reservoir to challenge his record again in the near future. He will almost certainly break it!
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