COMBAT SEQUENCES OF TIGER-CRANE SET
Editorial Note: About 45 years ago in the 1970s, the most authoritative Chinese kungfu magazine then, “Xin Wu Xia” (“New Martial Hero”), published a series of articles with Sifu Wong's commentary on the Tiger-Crane Set. The series consists of four articles, namely:
- Similarities and Differences of Tiger-Crane Sets
- Combat Sequences of Tiger-Crane Set
- Miscellaneous Techniques of Tiger-Crane Set
- Training Methods of Tiger Claw
This article on “The Combat Sequences of Tiger-Crane Set” is the second of the series. The sentence structure in this English translation follows that in the original Chinese version.
Combat Sequences of the Tiger-Crane Set
After learning the Tiger-Crane Set, one must develop its force and practice its application. Many students merely learn the set but do not have its force or know its application. This is a mistake. If one only can perform the set but has no force or application, then the set becomes “flowery fists and embroidery kicks”, only suitable for demonstration but not suitable for combat. Hence one must practice its force and application after learning the solo set.
Each of the 36 patterns in the Tiger-Crane Set has its special combat applications. A teacher must explain the combat applications of each pattern and their principles to his students. One good method to learn combat application of the set is to practice its “tui lien” (“dui lian” in Mandarin) or combination set. There are six combat sequences in the Tiger-Crane Combination Set. Here I explain the first two sequences, illustrated by Yow Ba, one of my earliest students, and me. (The photographs used for illustrations below were taken about 30 years ago.)
In the illustration above, Yow Ba and I observe each other. Yow Ba uses “Single Tiger Emerges from Cave” and I use “Two Tigers Guard Mountains”.
Yow Ba moves in with an “arrow-step” and attacks with “Black Tiger Steals Heart”. (This is the right-leg mode of "Black Tiger Steals Heart" and is called "Fierce Tiger Speeds Across Valley".) I respond with “Tiger Leans Against Wooden Door”.
As I attempt to grip Yow Ba's attacking hand, he turns his body and kicks at my chest, using the pattern “Golden Cockerel Stands Solitarily”. I avoid the kick by using the pattern “Tame a Tiger with a String of Beads”.
Yow Ba immediately turns around and executes a Tiger-Tail Kick with the pattern “Lazy Tiger Stretches its Back” to my abdomen. I retreat a step and strike at the kicking leg with the pattern “False Leg Hand Sweep”.
As Yow Ba pulls back his leg, I shoot forward with “Night Tiger Emerges from Forest” to attack his “mingmen” vital points (at the kidneys).
NOTE: When I learned from Uncle Righteousness, this pattern was called “Night Tiger Emerges from Forest” although the hand forms are two Leopard Fists. Later when I learned from Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, this pattern was “Double Leopards Speed Through Forest”. “Night Tiger Emerges from Forest” referred to another pattern. Now I use the name “Double Leopards Speed Through Forest” for this pattern, and “Night Tiger Emerges from Forest” for another pattern.
Yow Ba turns around and uses a pattern called “Beggar Asks for Food” to ward off my attack.
Immediately Yow Ba strikes my solar plexus with a Phoenix-Eye Fist, using a pattern called “Phoenix-Eye Steals Heart”. I cover Yow Ba's hands with my left hand, use a feint attack at his eye with a Crane Beak, but kick inauspiciously at his groin with a Organ-Seeking Kick, using the pattern “Single Legged Hungry Crane”.
Yow Ba uses “Two Dragons Rush for Pearls” to attack my eyes. I slant back and ward of his attack with a “leaning” hand.
Yow Ba grips my wrist with a Tiger Claw. Immediately I use “Release Hand” to neutralize his qin-na (gripping technique).
Then I use a “shadow hand” to distract Yow Ba, and kick his front knee with a “Clutch Kick”.
Yow Ba moves his body backward to avoid my Clutch Kick. At the same time I lower my stance and apply “Old Tree with Roots” to grip his leg to fell him.
Yow Ba apply the pattern “Crocodile Turns Body” and sweeps at me with a Crocodile-Tail Kick.
I neither dodge nor block. Before the Crocodile-Tail can reach me, I shoot forward with Butterfly Palms sending the opponent falling forward. This is the tactic of “Straight against Circular”. Before a circular attack has arrived, use a fast, straight counter-attack.