THE EIGHTEEN LOHAN ART
"Green Drsgon Charges at Face" is an effective pattern to train "fa-jing" or explode force
As kungfu became widely practiced at the Shaolin Temple, the Eighteen Lohan Hands which were originally practiced as chi kung exercises, took on a more martial flavor. Eventually a new set of chi kung exercises evolved and was called the Eighteen-Lohan Art, or Sap Pat Lor Hon Kung in Chinese (Cantonese).
The exercises in Eighteen-Lohan Art are quite different from those in Eighteen Lohan Hands. While the Eighteen Lohan Hands focus on promoting good health, the exercises in Eighteen-Lohan Art focus on developing internal force.
This answers an intriguing question that may have puzzled many kungfu researchers, namely "How did Northern Shaolin practitioners develop internal force?". While Southern Shaolin practitioners practiced with sand-bags, wooden poles and stone-locks to develop such force like Iron Palm, Iron Arm and Iron Fist, Northern Shaolin practitioners generally did not use such methods. How did they become powerful if they did not use such training methods? The answer is that they used the Eighteen-Lohan Art.
However, due to various reasons the essence of the Eighteen Lohan Art is now almost lost. Even its external forms are seldom seen. An insidious consequence is that many Northern Shaolin practitioners today merely practice their kungfu forms for demonstration. It might also have led many Southern Shaolin practitioners to turn to external methods like hitting sand-bags and striking poles.
We in Shaolin Wahnam are very lucky that in response to Sifu Roland Mastel's request, Grandmaster Wong transmitted the essence of the Eighteen-Lohan Art at the Praying Mantis Course in Switzerland in August 2010. You can read a discussion of the course here . Hopefully the essence of Eighteen-Lohan Art as well as the sophisticated combat applications of Praying Mantis will be preserved and passed on to posterity via a Praying Mantis project in our school.
The Eighteen-Lohan Art was not exclusive to Praying Mantis Kungfu. It was also practiced by other Northern Shaolin styles like Tantui, Lohan, Eagle Claw, Tai Zu, Chaquan and Huaquan. Eagle Claw Kungfu probably derived its special Eagle Claw internal force training method from a pattern, "Golden Leapard Trains Claws", of the Eighteen-Lohan Art.
The 18 internal force training patterns of the Eighteen-Lohan Art are listed below. The patterns may be practiced in different ways. One may, for example, train the whole set of 18 patterns, or a selection of them in any order, or choose some specific exercises for training.
Needless to say, the pictures below show only one point in time of the external forms. One must understand their chi flow and other internal aspects to develop internal force, and this must be learnt personally from a competent teacher. For example, many course participants at the Praying Mantis Course in Switzerland expressed amazement at the benefits from the first pattern, "Lohan Worships Buddha". But merely looking at the picture cannot give any clue to how these benefits are derived.
1. Lohan Worships Buddha
2. Reverse Hanging of Double Hooks
3. Double Hooks Hanging on Wall
4. Shake Head Wag Tail
5. Rhinoceros Looks at Moon
6. Big Boss Lifts Bronze Vessel
7. Big Bird Spreads Wings
8. Old Monk Grinds Rice
9. Golden Leopard Trains Claws
10. Father and Son Together
11. Shoot Spear at Mystical Gate
12. Green Dragon Charges at Face
13. Hungry Tiger Charges at Prey
14. Iron Bull Ploughs Earth
15. Open Window to Look at Moon
16. Old Monk Takes off Shoes
17. Night Guard Tests Sea
18. Swallow Flies through Clouds