QigongThe qigong exercise is not a 'technique' in a true sense. It involves the process of aligning the body movements, breath and awareness for the purpose of exercise, meditation and healing. The phenomenon of 'qi' is described as the energy which flows through all the living beings.
There are different styles of kung fu, classified on the basis of schools, sects and families. These styles have developed over a long period of time and are considered to be important forms of self defense. The different kung fu styles and techniques can be broadly classified into internal and external ones. External kung fu styles focus on the development of muscles and improvement in cardiovascular health. Internal styles manipulate the 'qi'.
Different Styles and Techniques of Kung Fu
The important kung fu fighting styles are explained in the following paragraphs. These techniques form the basis of the different forms of Chinese martial arts.
Monkey StyleThe techniques in the monkey style involve monkey or ape-like movements. These techniques are altogether known as 'Monkey Fist'. Specialty of the monkey style is that a variety of weapons are used while practicing it. The important techniques of monkey-style kung fu are 'Hou Quan' and 'Tai Shing Pek Kwar'.
The Hou Quan technique is characterized by acrobatic movements like front flips, sideways flips, back flips, hand stands, back handsprings, forward lunges, walking on hands, spinning on the butt, backward lunges, etc. Hand strikes include clawing (monkey-fist) and slapping. Different monkey expressions are also included in this technique.
Tai Shing Pek Kwar
The variations of 'Tai Shing Pek Kwar' technique are mentioned below.
- Stone Monkey: In the stone monkey technique, you get prepared to receive blows on the body in exchange of the opportunity to target the weaker spots of the opponent. Attempts are made to look out for weak spots without falling for the temptation of hitting at open spots.
- Standing Monkey: This technique is also known as tall monkey and emphasis is placed on keeping the body upright. Hitting at pressure points is also a feature of standing monkey.
- Lost Monkey: The essence of the lost monkey technique is that you deceive the opponent by acting like you are confused and 'lost'. You should retaliate when the opponent is least aware of the moves you are going to make.
- Wooden Monkey: Anger and ferocity are the qualities depicted with the help of this technique. Bringing down the opponent by means of grappling is an important move made in this technique.
- Crafty Monkey: This technique is similar to the lost monkey, however, it should be studied separately. In this technique, you fake your emotions in order to lure the opponent to launch an attack. Only when the opponent drops his guard, should attacks be made.
Praying MantisThe praying mantis techniques are categorized as 'Northern Praying Mantis' and 'Southern Praying Mantis'.
Northern Praying Mantis
This technique evolved in Shandong, a northeastern Chinese province. The Northern praying mantis involves the techniques of deflecting attacks that are perpendicular, with circular or whip-like movements. The praying mantis hook, made with 1-3 fingers is used for attacking the eyes and also for blocking the attacks of opponents.
Southern Praying Mantis
It was created by the Hakka people who belong to southwest China. This technique is different from the Northern Praying Mantis and lays emphasis on close-range fighting. The use of low kicks is limited and hand movements are given more importance.
Dragon StyleQuick and powerful moves form an important feature of the dragon style of kung fu. The different techniques involving clawing, fist and palm are given importance in comparison to jumps and kicks. The dragon style, which is also known as 'Lung Ying' employs different techniques for crippling the opponent to such an extent that he is not able to fight anymore. Damaging the joints of opponents also is one of the important techniques of dragon style. A dragon symbolizes internal strength. The Dragon style thus, combines internal strength with external strength in order to make extremely powerful strikes.
Snake StyleSnake style techniques are used to bring fluidity in movements. This fluidity which resembles the movements of snake is useful in entwining the body around that of the opponent's. It helps in defending ourselves in a better manner. The attacking moves can also be made from different angles by adopting this technique. In the snake style, one doesn't use closed fists while fighting. Not closing the fists allows making more effective finger strikes and chops.
Tiger StyleThe main features of the tiger style are acrobatic movements, a wide stance, extensive footwork and a unique fist position. In this fist position, the thumb should be curled just like other fingers of the hand. Generally the thumb is wrapped around fingers; however, in this position it should just be curled. Palm strikes along with fu mei geuk (tiger tail kick) form the specialty of this style. This technique brings performers of kung fu to realize their internal power; however, it can be achieved only after enough practice. The tiger style is all about force and power. There are certain kinds of sounds made by the kung fu practitioner in order to get rid of carbon dioxide from the system; such kind of sounds help in replacing the carbon dioxide with oxygen. In this style, one has to target the opponent's face, neck, wrists, arms and groin.
Crane StyleThis kung fu style was developed by Fang Qiniang, a female martial artist. Intricate hand techniques and close range fighting are the important features of the crane style; these actions resemble the movements of pecking birds. The flying crane technique employs flapping movement of wings.
Leopard StyleThis style of kung fu is known for lightning fast movements. Therefore, your footwork should be quick. In the leopard style, the fist plays an important role in targeting the throat, groin and solar plexus region. Along with quick footwork, firm stances are needed for making the required moves.
Pangai-noonIt is a kung fu style known for soft blocks and hard strikes. The Uechi-ryu karate technique is based on Pangai-noon. Shu Shiwa was the founder of the Pangai-noon style of kung fu.
The kung fu techniques mentioned in the article give us an idea about the highly effective methods of self-defense used in Chinese martial arts. These styles require a lot of practice and dedication to master.