Tantui, the Essence of Northern Shaolin -- Part 1
THE TWELVE SEQUENCES OF SHAOLIN TANTUI
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Would you believe that irrespective of whether your opponent is attacking or defending, whether he is striking, kicking, gripping or felling, whether he is blocking, deflecting, dodging or retreating, whether he uses Northern or Southern Shaolin, Taijiquan, Baguazhang, Praying Mantis, Eagle Claw, Wing Choon, Hoong Ka, Monkey Style, Karate, Taekwondo, Boxing, Kick-Boxing, Muay Thai or any other martial art, by applying Sequence 1 of Tantui, you can effectively press him against a wall? This is hard to believe, but it is true.
We are, of course, assuming that you and your opponent are of similar level of skills, or even if your opponent is of a slightly higher level of skills. If he is overwhelmingly more skillful, it does not matter what he uses or what you use, he will defeat you.
“Tantui”, or “Spring Kicks”, is the essence of Northern Shaolin Kungfu. There are 12 sequences, hence the set is called “Twelve-Sequence Tantui”. The first sequence is the essence of the set.
Tantui was first developed at the Long Tan Temple in Shandung Province of North China. “Long Tan” means “Dragon Pond”. Long Tan Temple was a subsidiary temple of the northern Shaolin Temple in Henan, and the monks practiced Shaolin Kungfu. The version of Shaolin Kungfu practiced here was famous for its kicks. “Kicks” in Chinese is “tui”. Hence this style of Shaolin Kungfu was known as Shaolin Tantui, which is a concise way of saying “the style of Shaolin Kungfu practiced at Long Tan Temple famous for its kicks”.
“Long Tan” is in Mandarin pronunciation. In Cantonese it is pronounced as “Loong Tham”. Hence, “Tantui” in Cantonese pronunciation is “Tham Thui”.
In Mandarin pronunciation, “tan” can also means “spring”, though the written words are different. Hence “Tantui” may also mean “Spring Kicks”, as the type of kicks in this style springs or snaps from the knee. In Cantonese, “spring” is pronounced as “than”, so “Tantui” meaning “Spring Kicks” is pronounced as “Than Thui”.
The twelve sequences of Tantui are demonstrated in video clips below by Sifu Michael Chow of Canada. Sifu Michael Chow won a few gold medals in international Northern Shaolin and Wushu competitions.
that you can download the video clips onto your own computer and view them at your leisure. Place your computer pointer at the picture or one of the links, and right click. Choose “Save Target As”. Select the directory or sub-directory where you wish to keep the video clip. Click “Save”.
Tantui is presented in the video clips below as separate sequences. Presuming that the practitioner starts facing "north". each sequence runs from "east" to "west". When performing Tantui as a set, the sequences are normally performed from "east" to "west", then from "west" to "east" etc, with the end-pattern of one sequence continuing as the start-pattern of the next sequence, as follows
Sequence 1 - east to west
Sequence 2 - west to east
Sequence 3 - east to west
Sequence 4 - west to east
Sequence 5 - east to west
Sequence 6 - west to east
Sequence 7 - east to west
Sequence 8 - west to east
Sequence 9 - east to west
Sequence 10 - west to east
Sequence 11 - east to west
Sequence 11 - west to east
Note 2 :
Traditionally, the twelve Tantui sequences are technically named. For example the first sequence is named “Thrust Punch” after the principal technique in this sequence. Due to its long history, there are some variations in these technical names. Sequence 4, “Thread Palm”, is also named “Hook Thrust” which refers to another technique in this sequence, and Sequence 10, “Stretch Body Fist”, is also named “Side Fist”, which is another name of the same technique. (In the list below, we have changed to the two new technical names.)
These techniques are implemented through patterns, which are more poetic. The same technique “Thrust Punch” can be implemented by different patterns like “Big Boss Offer Wine” as in the Tantui Sequence 1, and “Black Tiger Steals Heart” as in Sequence 1 of our Basic Sixteen Combat Sequences. The poetic names of the techniques in the Tantui Twelve Sequences are also given below.