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Master The Ultimate Party Trick: The Two-Fingered Handstand

Masters of one of the oldest forms of Chinese martial arts, the Shaolin Monks of the Henan province have honed their Kung-Fu skills over 1500 years. A combination of martial arts and Zen Buddhism, the training allows each warrior monk to break iron bars with their head, bend their body into unnatural contortions and kill a man with a single, iron-fisted blow.

Naturally, the Shaolin Monks have brought these talents from the monasteries of China to London's Peacock Theatre (just near Holborn tube station) in order to entertain the masses.

We caught up with Shaolin Master Wong during rehearsals backstage where he took us through the most difficult trick of all: the two fingered handstand...

You can't expect it to happen overnight.

"It takes a long, long time to get to this level. According to Chinese philosophy, you have Œinner air inside you that you can channel to generate power, called ŒChi. You have to use your mind to control this Chi, and channel it to certain areas of your body, such as your fingers.

It's not a trick everybody can do.

"It's a combination of physical and mental conditioning. Every day you need to do a lot of tapping to strengthen the fingers.

The training is a little bit, err, weird.

"When we train to do this we start by pushing our fingers into a container of dried sweet corn to strengthen them. Then you move onto soya beans, then green beans, then you can use rice. After this you use sand, then iron filings. Each time the resistance is getting greater and your hands are getting stronger. This is how you strengthen your fingers for the handstand.

The benefits of this training, however, are potentially limitless.

After all of this training you should be able to do a handstand on two fingers. You will also be able to kill someone with one blow. Your hand will be like metal and will seriously injure your opponents inner organs with one swipe.

So, now you know. Er, probably best not to try this at home, on your own. Or if you do, it's at your own risk.

SHAOLIN _ is released on DVD and Digital Download from 30 November _

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