Prepare to have your mind absolutely blown. Here are 18 extremely candid and up close black and white photos of Shaolin monks in training. The pictures cover their physical training and meditation sessions, including one shot of a monk walking on walls. Each image is an intimate portrayal of the Shaolin monks' almost magic-like abilities. The pictures are part The Matrix, part Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and fully worth checking out.

People generally consider Shaolin part of the external Chinese martial arts that do not necessarily have to be associated with a monastery. The Taijiquan teacher Wu Jianquan said, "Those who practice Shaolinquan leap about with strength and force; people not proficient at this kind of training soon lose their breath and are exhausted. Taijiquan is unlike this. Strive for quiescence of body, mind and intention." Here are photos that perfectly demonstrate this mindset and technique:

1. Cutting through water energy

2. Showcasing almost magical flexibility

3. Meditating and stretching

4. The more heads the better

5. Limbo!

6. Friends

7. Hey, no splashing!

8. They have brick-busting strength

9. A intense form of training

10. More crazy stretching

11. Even balder heads

12. More mind training

13. This guy is good

14. They are not bats, but can hang like them


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15. Just a typical morning stretch

16. One-legged focus

17. Some upside down relaxing

18. This man is walking on walls and is totally cool about it