Shaolin Kung Combat Application

Participants at the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course of October 2006 enjoying guided sparring

Very few kungfu practitioners of any style today can use kungfu patterns for sparring. The situation has become so bad that some masters even think that kungfu cannot be used for fighting!

Of course, kungfu can be used for fighting. Records clearly show that kungfu practitioners in the past effectively used kungfu patterns and skills for combat. Some members in our Shaolin Wahnam Family also used kungfu effectively in real fights. We do not glorify fighting, and would rather not fight if given a choice, but we can speak from experience that kungfu is effective for fighting.

We are very fortunate that we still have an effective sparring methodology that enables us to use kungfu for combat, and as part of our effort to restore the greatness of kungfu irrespective of its styles, we are willing to share some of the secrets with others if they are interested and deserving. Many of these secrets are revealed in this and other webpages.

This video series shows the early stages of our combat application training. After we have learnt some basic techniques and developed some combat skills, we apply them in pre-arranged sparring. Gradually our pre-arranged sparring evolves into guided sparring where course participants spar spontaneously using kungfu skills and techniques. The progression from guided sparring to free sparring will be shown in later video series.

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Shaolin Kung Combat Application An Encounter of Attacks and Defences

Peter initiates with a Black Tiger, and Max responds with a Single Tiger. Mac then continues to attack with a Black Tiger, and Peter responds with a Single Tiger. The repeat the procedure trice, then disengage. Their encounter consisting of a series of attacks and defences forms a sequence. We call this sequence “Black Tiger Steals Heart” after its most popular pattern.
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Shaolin Kung Combat Application Sequence 1: Black Tiger Steals Heart

Here Peter and Max perform the sequence “Black Tiger Steals Heaart” smoothly as if it is one long, continuous pattern. Although this sequence is very simple, it is much liked and most practiced by Shaolin students of our school. It is because it offers great opportunities to practice and deepen some essential combat skills.
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Shaolin Kung Combat Sequences Developing a Combat Sequence

After Max and James have completed the first sequence, Grandmaster Wong asks each of them to add an extra pattern, “Poisonous Snake Shoots Venom”. This forms the second combat sequence, which is a development from the first. To maintain uniformity for the purpose of training, the first Black Tiger is removed so that the sequence now consists of three attacks each composing of Black Tiger, Black Tiger and Poisonous Snake.
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Shaolin Kung Combat Sequences Sequence 2: Poisonous Snake Shoots Venom

Max and James now go over the second combat sequence, “Poisonous Snake Shoots Venom”, in a continuous flow. Notice the effective use of footwork for attack and defence. Later when you are more skillful, you can run a defence pattern and an attack together as if they were one continuous pattern instead of two separate patterns. This forms a smooth movement implementing the “swallow-shoot” tactic.
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Shaolin Kung Combat Sequences Weaknesses if Moving too Close

After Eugene and Padraig have completed Combat Sequence 2, Grandmaster Wong asks Eugene to add a low strike using “Precious Duck Swims Through Lotus”. However, in executing the added pattern, Eugene moves in too close. Grandmaster Wong demonstrates the resultant weaknesses, allowing a skillful opponent to strike him or fell him onto the ground. Grandmaster Wong explains that at this level, his sparring partner may not have such skills, but a good practitioner would not offer any weakness to his opponent irrespective of whether the opponent knows how to exploit it.
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Shaolin Kung Combat Sequences The Essential Tenet of Safety First

Grandmaster Wong demonstrates how to move in to attack without compromising our own safety. “Safety first” is an essential tenet in kungfu, and in life. In this case there are two considerations to ensure safety, namely footwork adjustment and coverage.
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Shaolin Kung Combat Sequences Sequence 3: Precious Duck Swims Through Lotus

Like Sequence 2, Sequence 3 is developed from the previous sequence by adding one pattern at the end and taking away one pattern at the beginning. When Eugene does not conclude the responder's mode with the last pattern which is a Black Tiger, Grandmaster Wong takes the opportunity to explain and demonstrates that for a skillful exponent, this concluding Black Tiger is almost a sure-hit against an ordinary opponent. This sequence provides good training for us to avoid such a sure-hit by enabling us to develop spontaneous footwork to retreat if necessary.
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Shaolin Kung Combat Sequences Sequence 4: Hang a Golden Star at a Corner

Likewise, Sequence 4 is a development from Sequence 3. Before the responder counter-attacks with a Black Tiger after a hand-sweep at the initiator's arm, the initiator circulates his hand around the sweeping arm to “tame” it, and follows up with a horn-punch. The responder intercepts and counters with a Black Tiger nevertheless. Grandmaster Wong highlights that it is essential to cover an opponent arm before moving close with a horn-punch, otherwise the responder would jab into the initiator's ribs.
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Shaolin Kung Combat Sequences Response According to Opponent's Move

Hwan King and Andy go over Combat Sequence 4. Sequence 4 and Sequence 3 are similar, except that in Sequence 3 the responder counter-attacks with a Black Tiger immediately after a hand-sweep, whereas in Sequence 4 the initiator follows up with a horn-punch before the responder counter-attacks with a Black Tiger. Hence, at the self choice stage, you may have planned to attack using Sequence 4, but if your sparring partner counter-attacks before you can follow with a horn-punch, you would have to defend againt the Black Tiger, which therefore changes your sequence to Sequence 3. This provides an opportunity for approaching free sparring.
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Shaolin Kung Combat Sequences All Typical Strikes within the Sequence

In this video clip Hwan King and Andy continue their practice of Combat Sequence 4, which is called “Hang a Golden Star at a Corner”. All the four basic strikes are found in this sequence. This means that when one is proficient in this sequence, he is able to handle all strikes! Even within a few minutes between the previous video clip and this one, there is discernable improvement in the performance of the sequence, especially in fluidity of movements and force applied.
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Shaolin Kung Combat Sequences Continuing with Another Sequence

When you can perform one sequence well, add another sequence. In the first example, Grandmaster starts with Sequence 1 and continue with Sequence 4. In the second example, he starts with Sequence 3 and continue with Sequence 3 too. Note the change of leg-mode in between sequences.
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Shaolin Kung Combat Sequences The Method of Continuation

One major problem many practitioners face when using kungfu patterns in sparring or real fighting is being hesitant due to not knowing what techniques to use next. You can overcome this problem by using the method of continuation as shown in this video clip. Don't worry if you miss one or two patterns in the sequence. Just continue spontaneously.
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Shaolin Kung Combat Sequences Guided Sparring

This and the following two video clips show participants using kungfu patterns to spar spontaneously. The movements are not predetermined, but it is also not totally free. For convenience we call it guided sparring, i.e. the combatants follow certain guidance which enables them to spar spontaneously using kungfu patterns. .
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Shaolin Kung Combat Sequences Sequence Continuation for Coherent Sparring

There are many guidelines or methods you can use to enable you to spar spontaneously without thinking of what patterns to use next, yet your attack and defence is coherent and fluid. The main method used here is continuation, making use of Combat Sequences 1 to 4. Can you tell what sequences the combatants use to continue from what other sequences?
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Shaolin Kung Combat Sequences Sparring can be Fun and Injury Free

The participants are not only not injured in their sparring but also have a lot of fun. They are able to maintain a coherent and fluid flow of sparring using kungfu patterns by following the method of sequence continuation. Anyone initiates with any one of the Sequences 1 to 4, and he or his partner continues with any sequence. If one or two patterns are missing or added, they make appropriate adjustments and continue without interruption.
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You can view all the videos above by clicking the picture or the caption below

From Pre-Arranged Sparring to Guided Sparring from Wong Kiew Kit on Vimeo.

Fundamental Shaolin Kungfu Training Programme of Shaolin Wahnam

1. Stances: the Foundation for Internal Force and Combat Efficiency
2. Footwork Secrets for Health, Efficiency and Elegance
3. Moving into a Same Direction using Different Ways to Gain Advantages
4. Picture-Perfect Forms and Flowing Movements
5. From Random Fighting to Patterns, and from Patterns to Sequences and Sets

6. One-Step Sparring to Develop Combat Skills
7. From Pre-Arranged Sparring to Guided Sparring
8. Using Techniques and Tactics in Sparring

9. The Five Basic Kicks
10. The Secrets of Side Kicks and Continuous Cannons
11. How You may Defeat Opponents Experienced in Random Free Sparring
12. How Would a Fragile Girl Counter a Powerful Sweeping Kick from a Muay Thai Fighter?

13. Shaolin Felling Techniques and their Defences
14. Safety First Before Executing Felling Techniques

15. From Combat Sequences to Free Sparring
16. Sixteen Combat Sequences and Five Kungfu Sets
17. Surprise your Attacker with a Counter-Attack

18. Working out Ways to Fight a Boxer
19. Effective Tactics and Techniques against Boxers
20. From Gross Outline to Fine Details
21. Exploiting Advantage to Clinch Victory
22. Variety of Kungfu Techniques against Boxers
23. Analysis of Techniques Used against Boxers
24. Using Shaolin Kunfu against Boxing in Free Sparring

25. Effective Shaolin Tactics and Techniques against Kick-Boxing
26. Shaolin Kungfu against Kick-Boxing in Free Sparring

27. How to Handle a Karate Exponent
28. How to Handle a Taekwondo Exponent
29. How to Handle a Wrestling Exponent

30. Understanding the Typical Attacks of Muay Thai Fighters
31. Grandmaster Ho's Secrets in Countering Muay Thai Fighters
32. First Avoid Defeat, Then Secure Victory
33. Counteroing the Elbow and Knee Attacks of Muay Thai Fighters


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