At the peak of Shaolin prowess

Performing death-defying gongfu stunts with sabres and spears against the edge of the cliffs of Songshan mountain is all in a day's work for these legendary Shaolin monks.

These practitioners, seen here leaping and running along a narrow walkway carved into the cliff face, seem oblivious to any danger - a testament to their renowned bravery, strength and acrobatic skills.

Songshan is one of the Five Sacred Mountains of China and has 36 peaks stretching 60km, with the highest peak at about 1,500m above sea level.

The area is home to the Shaolin Temple of Dengfeng in Henan Province, made famous by legends and films about Shaolin.

Disciples of the martial art form are put through gruelling practice, at times lasting from dawn to dusk, with the jaw-dropping manoeuvres on the mountain face being part of that intense training regimen.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2016, with the headline 'At the peak of Shaolin prowess'. Print Edition | Subscribe