Thanks to Brian Kearney for this information, obtained from Ed Parker's Infinite Insights Into Kenpo, #1 (which I didn't have at the time).
Tamo's travels took him to the Shaolin Monastery (called Sil Lum in Cantonese and Shorin-ji in Japanese) in the Hunan province which was built by Emperor Hsiao Wen during the Wei Dynasty (386-534 A.D.). He discovered the monks to be humble and reserved, but lacked the ability to concentrate on their religious duties due to constant harassment by bandits and warring tribes.
Tamo firmly regarded religion as the attainment of perfect enlightenment in this life and believed that the purification of the spirit was acquired by disciplining the body. His basic doctrine was that the body and the spirit are ultimately indivisible and that the doctrines of Buddha could only be incorporated by one who had achieved complete unity of body and spirit.
Through controlled meditation, the monks soon learned to understand what it was like to experience true enlightenment. Enlightenment was not easily obtained. Many fell asleep because of long meditation periods.
Disturbed by the inability of the monks to stay awake during meditation, Tamo remedied this tendency by introducing exercises to improve their stamina and health. He stressed hand movements to strengthen their bodies as well as their spirits.
It is purported that he created the original eighteen hand movements, used to defend or attack, which became the forerunner of Shaolin boxing. It is not known how systemized these moves were and history records that other boxing forms existed in China long before Tamo's arrival.
By the time the Yuan Dynasty (1260-1368 A.D.) emerged, vast improvements in the Martial Arts were apparent. Tamo's original eighteen hand movements had been added upon by a wealthy young man named Chueh Yuan, increasing them to seventy two. Then Chueh, teamed with Li Ch'eng and Pai Yu-feng, they jointly collaborated to increase the seventy two movements to one hundred and seventy.
I now plan to search out the 72 and 170 hand movements.
Forms & Sets
Notes Grappling Sticks/Knives