Brand new BBC documentary series Earth From Space wowed viewers last night (Wednesday, April 17th) with some rather spectacular scenes.

Although there was adorable animal footage of elephants and penguins, the most staggering images from space came from human activity.

This was in the form of the Shaolin monks in training in Dengfeng, China.

Read on to find out more about this ancient Kung Fu school and the beautiful formations they make, seen from above.

Earth From Space, E1.

Who are the Shaolin monks?

The Shaolin monks practice Chinese Chan ‘Zen’ Buddhism.

It is an ancient religion which became popularised around the sixth century in China.

The Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng – which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is at the heart of this school of Buddhism and had been standing since 495 AD!

The monks live, train, and dedicate their lives to this religion and the practice of Kung Fu.

Where do they train Shaolin Kung Fu?

Shaolin Kung Fu, also known as Wushu, is also an ancient practice.

It takes years of training to perfect the meticulous moves and viewers were amazed by the Wushu performances seen in Earth From Space.

The Shaolin monks in training seen in the BBC programme study Kung Fu at the Tagou martial arts school, the biggest of its kind in China.

Early morning training at Tagou.

The best images from above!

The intricate formations of the monks whilst they perform are captivating from the ground, but even more captivating when seen from the sky.

Here are some of the most amazing patterns created by the Shaolin monks captured by the Earth From Space cameras.

Patterns from above.

Shaolin Kung Fu display.

Shaolin Kung Fu display.

Where else can I see them perform?

These scenes were also the focus of the 2008 documentary, The Real Shaolin.

This award-winning docco follows two Chinese students and two Western students as they dedicate themselves to the art of Kung Fu and journey to the Shaolin Temple.

If you loved episode 1 of Earth From Space, you’ll love this!

 

WATCH EARTH FROM SPACE EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 9 PM ON BBC ONE.

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