Tag Archives: shaolin kung

What is the Best Shaolin Kung Fu Style?

Defining the best Shaolin Kung Fu is a tough question, considering the high quality of this martial art. I mean, people don’t teach it just to make money, they teach it for passion and love of art. Still, we should be able to focus in on how to isolate the best gung fu.

First, we can usually cross such arts as Lohan Quan off the list. The reason for this is because they come mostly from Wushu practices. Wushu is actually a martial art created, or at least altered and pushed by, the communist government of China, and one does not feel like learning something for correct political behaviour, and from which the self defense has been deleted.

So we stay with the old versions of Chinese Gung Fu, the versions that leaked out of China before the cultural revolution. These were the styles passed down through the generations, given from family member to family member to create a true martial arts lineage. These are the Kung Fu styles in which the fires of true self defense techniques were stoked liberally.

Many of these old Gung Fu schools trace their lineage to the Shaolin Temple, but there is no real proof that can be verified. Still, people accept certain martial arts styles as legitimate when it comes to these claims. Thus we end up with three specific martial arts which can claim good lineage, and present such high quality of Shaolin technique that they can be considered as a possible answer to our question.

There are two types of Praying Mantis styles, the north and the south, and these can further be broken down into styles. The main feature of this style is the hooking and clawing movements, which enable one to keep an opponent trapped long enough to dispatch him. This is a strong contender, but tends to be a bit specialized.

There are also many styles of Wing Chun, which is the art made famous by Bruce Lee, and which features the close in handwork of the Sticky Hands exercise. Sticky Hands has possibly the best method for developing ‘closed eye’ intuition. It does have several weakness, such as immobile stances, workability concentrated in on specific distance, and so on.

The strongest kung fu, but lacking some of the close in work of the previous arts mentioned, is Hung Gar. Hung Gar is also taught as Choy Li Fut, Fut Ga, and so on, and it is considered the quintessential shaolin martial art in China. For all it’s strength, however, it does have certain stylistic problems, as the techniques don’t always relate to real life situations.

Now, of the three arts, I believe Praying Mantis may be the strongest. However, this is a personal opinion, and one should really study all three and focus on the points which are of most personal benefit. Really, in the final analysis, the best Shaolin Kung fu is going to be that kung fu which has been personalized, and which fits the person studying it the best.

For an interesting look at what can be done with Shaolin Kung fu, click on over to Monster Martial Arts and take a look at the Shaolin Butterfly.

The Secret Technique Inside Shaolin Kung Fu Fighting Systems

This secret technique is actually inside karate fighting systems, as well as kung fu fighting systems, or just about any martial art you want to name. The reason for this is because it is a basic motion of the arms. This basic motion, once understood, will give rise to virtually all the techniques of the martial arts.

Stand naturally, feet shoulder width and extend the arms straight out in front of the body. Bend the arms slightly and circle the arms in front of your body in a clockwise direction. The circles should be about three feet in diameter, and should overlap by about a foot.

As you do these circles you will travel through a series of blocks. At one point your right arm will be a high block and your left arm in a low block. As you continue the clockwise circle of the arms you will suddenly find your right arm in an inverted low block (back of the wrist protecting the groin) and your left arm in a palm block (protecting the face).

Anybody who strikes at you will encounter one of these blocks, or fall into the swirling motion of your arms. You can angle the blocks and cause all manner of deflections and manipulations simply by adjusting the footwork. Take a step, turn the hips, pivot, all will change the angle of the circles in front of you, and you will find other types of blocks.

If you maintain distance and focus the circles you can make the blocks hard and bruising. If you step into a person and circle the attacking arm you will find a lever and a joint manipulation or a throw, as in Gracie Jujitsu. Tighten it up and charge at a person and you will end up with the Bruce Lee blasting technique.

Thus, this circling of the arms is inherent in any art, and most students will play with it at some time in their careers. Unfortunately, they don’t usually explore it to the degree necessary to understand the basic conceptual nature of the circles. Yet, a few decades into the art, an accomplished student will invariably realize the fundamental usefulness of the arm circles.

I discovered this move in Pan Gai Noon. The wa-uke circling block is a variation of this fundamental motion. It wasn’t long before I saw it in the various kung fu fighting systems, and then the kenpo fighting art and all the karate fighting systems. I was quick to make it the pivotal point of my own Shaolin Butterfly Kung Fu home study course.

In closing, let me say that this arm motion opens the door to countless fighting techniques. If you reverse the direction of the circles, or reverse the direction of one of the circles, you will find virtually every martial arts technique in existence. Try it, examine your martial arts forms, and you will find that this little concept is at the heart of every martial system, and not just Shaolin Kung Fu Fighting Systems.

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