Welcome to the Shaolin Academy, Kung Fu Network Library page. Here you will find all matter of information relating to the art of traditional Kung Fu techniques, forms and principles. This information is freely available to any martial artists we just ask that when it is reproduced, used or shared that the Shaolin Academy and Sijo Robert Z are credited. Any questions? Just e-mail us. We are happy to help any martial artist from any style!
|Fists||Claws Hands||Open Hands||Animal Hands||Fingers||Elbows||F'arms & Shins|
|Long Fist||Kicks||Knees||Sweep & Interfere|
|Systems||Routines||Self Defence||Core Tactics||Kung Fu Forms||Theory Essays|
|L1 Gray Sash||L2 White Sash||L3 Yellow Sash||L4 Orange Sash||L5 Green Sash||L6 Red Sash||L7 Purple Sash||L8 Blue Sash||L9 Navy Sash||L10 Black Sash|
|Foundation Levels to Red Sash, Temple Kung Fu||Intermediate Levels to Black Sash, Animal Kung Fu|
|Foundation Levels to Red Sash, 72 Fist Kung Fu||Intermediate Levels to Black Sash, 72 Fist Kung Fu|
Yes, in a real situation you may not have the time and opportunity to prepare your mind and body but in day-to-day life you do not want to create the damage that an unprepared real situation could cause. The pre-training warm-up is the number one way of improving your stretching, preempting damage and accidents and testing yourself how you feel and checking how your energy level is to match it with the intensity of your training.
Your Kung Fu can only be as good as your foundations and that is meant in both ways; how good is your Earth connection through your stance and posture and how well learned are the principle techniques. In this and the next level, the Stance are both, Principle techniques and very significant in how well you connect to your Earth (chi). If you learn nothing from these pages, at least learn the 5 Principle Stances. Three of which are covered here. AND if you want to learn anything about Shaolin and Kung Fu, learn about these stances! If you don't believe what you are reading, ask any Kung Fu, Chi Kung or Martial Art Master. Most will agree that your foundation is the key to your future success and progress.--
The best way to win is surprise but as Shaolin is a non-attacking system for the most we say, the best way not to loose is to either not to be there where you were expected to be or have such a good guard that the attacker has to work hard.
Although there are many, many very interesting Guard Hand Positions, we have chosen 28 of the most interesting in addition to the preferred Guard posture, the Center-line Guard.
Our natural way or the most common way of moving is forward and the most common reaction to an attack is to move back. This is predictable and thus a good Kung Fu practitioner will have a Tool Box of Movement ways both for attacking and defending. In a situation where you are being attacked, often retreating directly backward is a disadvantage. You are slower moving backward than your are moving forward. This gives advantage to the attacker and puts you at the disadvantage of moving onto unknown footing behind you, possibly even being driven towards a wall or obstacle. In Kung Fu this natural forward-backward movement is acknowledged and formalized at the beginner level but after that the Kung Fu practitioner progresses through a further 4 levels or Attacking and Evading movement styles.
There are many ways to move from point A to point B. Most of us do this by waling, running, scuffling, ambling, limping, lurching, meandering, prowling, skulking, staggering, striding, strolling, tottering, waddling, jumping, skipping and a whole lot more ways to describe a human moving forward. In Kung Fu there are 10 distinct ways to move and each of these types of movement have their distinct advantage and disadvantage in Kung Fu terms. Each of these 10 methods is extensively described on the Stepping Methods, details page.
Blocking is a real skill that should be quickly mastered and are an essential compliment to a strong Guard Position. Here we introduce you to 30 of Kung Fu's finest Blocs in the form of the 5 great Systems; Iron Shield Blocking, Upper Gate Butterfly Blocking, Lower Gate Crane Blocking, Iron cross Blocks and the almost impenetrable Iron bar Blocks. In addition to this you also will see the three most essential leg Blocks! Many of these you may not have even know existed.
We have been hitting each other for a few million years and it is not surprising that we have invented to a large variety of ways of doing this. Yet, all said and done, all punches fall into three simple categories, Straight, Round and Flicking/Whipping. But that is where it all starts and not ends.
Shatter Punching, Long Fist, Fast Fist, Mirror, Asymmetric and Symmetric are all different ways to apply these three simple motions to give a huge variety of possibilities. And then of course, we also have the Speciality Fist shapes.
Being able to punch like a truck on the freeway is all nice and good but also very crude and can cause a lot of unwanted damage. To truly practice Kung Fu the 'art' not the martial is to have knowledge of Pressure Points, the appropriate angles and the tool with which to apply these.
Kung Fu Fists are part of this 'Tool Kit' together with Finger Strikes, Claws and Open Hands. This is the Masters Art and rarely is one well versed with more than just one of these. Often in the past a Master would only present one of these fist to one student at a graduation, the most worthy.
Claws have a certain uniqueness in Kung Fu. Usually, a whole system was built around the use of just one Claw as it could take up to 10 year of training to develop both the strength and the attitude required to be able to use it. Unfortunately, Claws for the most are very damaging (with exceptions) and thus are not really for the 21st Century.
Claws are usually found in Tiger, Panther and Eagle Systems or these systems best know how to use a Claw. Although not all claws originated so. At least one of these Claws started in an Elephant System, that in a Changed form is still thought to exist today!
In many ways Chinese society was very much ahead of the world in some ways. Most Dynasties forbade Weapons to be had by anyone other than Government Officials. To be caught with a Weapon and not be an official would mean immediate imprisonment. Many of the Dynasties also forbade the use of the Fist. Anyone seen 'Fisticuffing' (Boxing) could also be imprisoned or punished in some other way. Yet the beating of Slaves and Children was not forbidden but must be done with an open hand. It is in times like these that Martial Art schools sought to capitalize on this 'loop hole' and teach open hand and finger techniques. Although many did not know this, open hand techniques when applied to the right place can be as effective as fists, clause less damage to the hand and not leave an obvious mark.
Looking at the Animal Strike techniques you could be forgiven for thinking that they could also be included in the open hand, finger and fist classifications. Yet, each of these techniques is at the core of an Animal Style of Kung Fu and needs to be seen sperate to the other Open and closed hand techniques. Some of these techniques are so specialized that they only have one way of being used and only one target; and often this one strike was the finishing technique. Sometimes these techniques were referred to as ZhuShe ( 執行 ) or Execution skills. Now days we use them in totally different ways of course as you would not want to learn your Kung Fu from an Executioner.
There are many, many Kung Fu styles, possibly many already forgotten as successive Dynasties have forbidden the use of Kung Fu and the training or martial arts to the common people. Thus there will also be many, many more Animal Hands out there. IF you know of such a technique, please let us know so that we can add to the ever growing library of Kung Fu.
Finger techniques were often very rare to find and even more difficult to find a teacher. Often these technique requited a great amount of dedication and training, similar to the Animal Claws. Feats of strength such as the one described in the text found in 1934 off a person doing 1 finger push-ups, with their feet in the air. He even demonstrated balancing his whole body on just one finger of one hand.
Not all text can be believed just because they were written but we know that one-finger-strikes are real when practiced correctly.
Not just a play on Words but a real concern. The Elbow (and Knee and Forearm) techniques can be devastating, even more than kicks and punches. But there is a great deal of skill required to make them really usable. They are of particular value against Grapplers that try and jam you up and get you to the ground. To use them effectively in defence you need to know the precise strengths and weaknesses of each before you can really make use of them. Many styles choose to focus on only one or two of these and be very effective in them. For most this is the right strategy.
The art of distancing is truly a Masters art. Being able to choose the right distance for you but the wrong distance for the attacker is the skill of detail and precision; for those you prefer the 'Arts' aspect of Martial Arts. There is great satisfaction to be had to making a sparring match even a conflict a multidimensional affair rather than just a whack-em. Fore-arms and Shins are the distance after a punch bit before an elbow and exceeding powerful in their way, if you know what you are doing.
Many consider that there are only two categories of Kung Fu, Short and Long Fist also sometimes called Southern and Northern Styles. Yet, the Long Fist is a style all upon itself with very unique way of stepping, striking and kicking. It even has an almost total lack of blocking in favor of hard, immediate and exceedingly powerful attacking. Yet, with a land as large as China, there are even more than one style of Long Fist; so here we just look at the Long Fist way of Punching.
In traditional Kung Fu, your Ground connection is vital, your Mobility is Vital. Limiting this connection and mobility for any period of time, you want to make sure that what risk is worth the reward and has a good measure of success. Kicks are not to be taken lightly and used sparingly, as the technique that end the attack.
This first set of front kicks are deliver directly from the center and usually to the center.... but not always and not always as expected.
The Round House is arguably the most popular of all kicks. It does not really require a lot of precision, with its speed and/or momentum it develops enough force to do damage most anywhere. Usual targets are Legs, Floating Ribs and Head although the latter can be a bit too dangerous for both the kicked and the kicker.
When correctly executed with the use of Ground Chi and strong leg work, these are the most powerful of the kicks able to deliver Earth Power for those who know how to tap this resource. As with any direct kick, the distancing and timing are crucial, as most of these kicks develop their maximum power only in the sweet-spot. They are also excellent 'stopping' kicks, mostly.
Crescent Kicking is more of an art than most other kicks. They are not based in Power like the Direct Kicks or in Sheer Speed and Force like the Round Kicks but are more of a delicate touch, at the right time in the right place. This is the full family of Crescent and Axe kicks including the marvelous Butterfly Kick and Flying Crane Combo.
Facing away from your attacker usually means one of two things, you are full of it or you are occupied with other matters. These kicks can be quite a surprise when applied correctly even to the point of allowing them to be used as part of a strategy where you seem to allow your attacker to overwhelm you; to draw them out, to make them commit. But all said and done, these kicks are for the true expert, who trained them again and again and again or for emergencies.
Many different styles specialize on different distances, short range, long range, close in and full-body contact. It is almost impossible to master all the distances but it is essential to master a few and learn to manage the rest. As with the elbows, the knees are also essential for defence when you do not wish your head to end up under someone sweaty arm-pit.
Hitting someone in the face is not self defence; it is just hitting someone in the face. Most people are enlightened enough to know that this is not the way to do things. By all means, be prepared for an 'a-hole' who will want to hit you in the face and be able to manage this situation without needing to draw blood or cause severe trauma. Kung Fu Self Defence is when you are being attacked by something other than a kick or punch; by a grab, choke or even a weaponed attacker.
So, what is the difference between Strategies and Tactics? About the same difference as between a Ship and a Boat; A Ship may carry Boats (ie. Life Boats) but a Boat does not carry Ships. Same with Strategies and Tactics, Strategies may contain several Tactics but Tactics are stand alone.
There are many, many tactics and each person will ultimately develop a set of their own. Each of the Shaolin Academy levels from Red Sash onwards focuses on three such Tactics which each member is encouraged to try out for fit and function. Up to Red Sash we have the overlying key Tactic, Safety Fist, but from Red Sash, you start working on some very specific Tactics.
There was a time when the Kung Fu form contained everything you needed to know about the style. The forms ranged from just a minute length or even less to several minutes even up to 10 minutes. There are still some styles doing this but it is rare. Most modern Kung Fu recognizes the need for both the detailed development of the individual technique as well as how they work, flow and are used together.
So you see, just know the form and the 'What and How' is not enough, you also need to know the detail of each technique, foot step, body position, and hand form to really know a Kung Fu form. But most importantly you need to know the Why of the form and techniques. And this is often a lost art.
|Advanced & Senior Temple Kung Fu Forms||Advanced & Senior Animal Kung Fu Forms|