The Legendary Animal Styles of Shaolin Kung Fu
written by: Bruce McCorry's Martial Arts
Learning is always the widening of horizons, opening up of new experiences. If you are ready for some new, interesting modes of training that would enliven your martial art learning, then you can check out the animal moves of Shaolin Kung Fu. They are not just a varied set of styles, but also a potent mode of training that can bring to you the essence of the instinct and strength of the animal world.
The Five Legendary Animal Styles and Shaolin Kung Fu
Kung Fu is perhaps the art that can boast of the proudest heritage. This ancient Chinese martial art grew up parallel to dynasties, monasteries and histories of China. The animal combat techniques found its way to Kung Fu at its sacrosanct monastery, the Shaolin Temple, during the age of the Ming Dynasty.
Classical masters of Shaolin Kung Fu found out that what is foundational to their practice of Kung Fu - what they called chi (life energy) - was best manifest in animals. They observed the insight, instinct, wisdom and strength that made animal life quintessentially special. In animal world, the inner and the outer, the animal and the nature was always at balance. Their attempt to tap this potential resulted in the incorporation of animal styles to Shaolin Kung Fu.
Snake, Crane, Tiger, Leopard and Dragon: Pillars of Shaolin Kung Fu
The Snake Style: Snake is an animal of sensitivity, speed and flashing attack. The snake style emulates the bodily movements of a snake. One primary move is the snake hand, in which you use your pointed fist to strike like a snake. There are other moves using head, neck and body. Snake form of Kung Fu helps to sharpen reflexes and maintain focus.
The Crane Style: The crane is a bird of both peaceful meditation as well as swift and powerful attacks. In Chinese tradition, crane is the union of Yin and Yang. The crane form in Shaolin Kung Fu therefore involves both peaceful defense as well as strikingly sharp attacks on the enemy. Defense on a single leg and attack using a beak-like fist formation is central to this style.
The Tiger Style: As immortalized literature, tiger is the animal of both strength and stealth-like silence. To the ancient Chinese, the tiger is the king of animals. Tiger-style Kung Fu is therefore powerful, graceful and strong. Tiger form involves rigorous training, and stances and positions that involve the entire length of the body. Tiger claw is the central fist move in this.
The Leopard Style: The keywords that define the animal leopard as well as the leopard form of Shaolin Kung Fu are speed, calculated moves, tactics and sudden attack. The thin precision of a leopard's striking is emulated in Kung Fu using knuckle punches. This form enhances observation skills, reflexes and reasoning capacity.
The Dragon Style: Dragon is essentially the Chinese emblem of superhuman strength and larger-than-life nobility. Dragon style is hence grandest of the Kung Fu styles, unpredictable and calm. A widely shaped claw-like fist called the dragon claw is the core move. This style also uses a leg like the tail of a dragon to balance and launch the body.
Fight like an Animal and Study Kung Fu at Bruce McCorry's
Kung Fu is central to the martial art training at Bruce McCorry's Academy. Right from the inception of the academy, Kung Fu had been a core program at the academy, and it is also the major specialization of Master Bruce McCorry who once performed at the Shaolin Temple.
Bruce McCorry at the Shaolin Temple
Learning Kung Fu at Bruce McCorry's is the experience of learning an art from its genuine masters. Never lose the chance!