Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

Taijiquan patterns are as elegant as they are deadly

Taijiquan is often regarded as a scholar's martial art. It is gentle and graceful, and its patterns are poetically named, like “White Crane Flaps Wings”, “Jade Girl Threads Shuttle” and “Push Open Window to Look at Moon”. But it is highly combat efficient.

A Taijiquan exponent needs not be rough and tough, yet he can be powerful and deadly if he wants to, but he usually spares his opponent from injury. The secret of accomplishing this yin-yang harmony of being gentle yet powerful, being elegant yet combat efficient, lies in the cultivation of chi and the application of internal force.

The video series here gives some examples of poetically named patterns applied elegantly and effectively in serious combat.

Please click the pictures or the captions below to view the videos

Breaking Ankle as Kick is Spent

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

What can “Needle at Sea Bottom” be used for? One effective application is to counter the deadly organ-seeking kick. You dislocate the opponent's ankle or break his leg as his kick is spent.

Circular Movement to Release Hand Grip

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

Another application of “Needle at Sea Bottom” is to release a grip on your arm when the grip is just applied on you. If the grip has been established, you can release it with a small circular movement of your hand before you bring it sharply down.

Felling an Opponent who Grasps You

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

A participant asks how a certain Taijiquan movement can be used for combat. This movement is not found in most styles of Taijiquan, and is similar to “Black Tiger Guards Door” in Shaolin Kungfu. It can be used to fell an opponent who tries to grasp you.

Following the Opponent's Momentum

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

The movement to fell an opponent is shown in slow motion so that participants can see the fine points involved. Rotating the waist to follow the momentum of the opponent is important.

Jade Girl Threads Shuttle

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

How is the pattern “Jade Girl Threads Shuttle” used in combat? As an opponent attacks, float his attack with one hand and simultaneously strike him with the other hand. If an opponent holds your arm, you can release it by floating, and strike him with the other hand at the same time.

Floating and Not Blocking

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

Here is a common mistake students make when applying “Jade Girl Threads Shuttle”. It is not a block but a floating technique. When an opponent chops down on you, if you block the chop, your arm may be fractured. You should float it, preferably at his elbow, and simultaneously strike him with the other palm.

White Crane Flaps Wings

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

“White Crane Flaps Wings” is as elegant as it is deadly. If an opponent grips your two hands, you can release the double grips and kick at his groin at the same time. If he attacks you with a strike, you deflect the strike with one hand, strike him with the other hand, and kick him below.

White Crane All the Way

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

You apply “White Crane Flaps Wings” on an opponent, who also counters with “White Crane Flaps Wings”. Yet, you respond with “White Crane Flaps Wings” too, striking your opponent's leg as he kicks. The third “White Crane” is a variation, using the False-Leg Stance instead of the Single-Leg Stance.

White Crane is Not Just for Show

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

Isn't it fantastic to find so many applications of “White Crane Flaps Wings” when many people who practice only external forms think that this pattern is only for show? As your opponent executes a knee strike using “Jade Girl Kicks Shuttle”, you can respond with a deadly “White Crane Flaps Wings”.

The Completeness of Grasping Sparrow's Tail

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

“Grasping Sparrow's Tail” can be used against all types of attack. This video clip shows the “peng” or “ward off” technique against a middle strike. Body-movement is important in neutralizing an opponent's force. In Wahnam Taijiquan this part of “Grasping Sparrow's Tail” is called “Immortal Waves Sleeves”.

Releasing Double Holds on Both Hands

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

When an opponent holds both your hands, you can release the hold with the “lu” or “roll back” technique, follow with a strike using “li” or “press forward”. These two parts of “Grasping Sparrow's Tail” are known in Wahnam Taijiquan as “Double Dragons Play with Pearl” and “Push Boat According to Flow”.

Reducing Two Movements to One

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

The two movements in the previous video clip can be reduced to one to release your both hands from being held, followed by an arm strike to your opponent while covering his hands to prevent him from counter-attacking. This is the “li” or “press forward” technique, and the pattern is known as “Push Boat According to Flow”.

Black Bear Sinks Hips

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

When an opponent holds your waist or legs as in the shoot, you can fell him using the “cheng” or “sink” technique. In our school this pattern is called “Black Bear Sinks Hips”.

Push Open Window to Look at Moon

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

The “an” technique, which actually means “place on” in the sense of being in contact although it is often referred to as “push”, is useful for “closing” or “taming” an opponent, making it difficult for him to attack. In our school this pattern is called “Push Open Window to Look at Moon”.

You can view all the above videos here


Review of the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course in Sabah in March 2007

Click here for an Overview of the entire course

  1. The Basics of Shaolin Kungfu Training
  2. Fundamental Combat Skills
  3. Defeat you Hand to your Opponent, Victory you Create Yourself
  4. Avoiding Disadvantages and Seeking Advantages
  5. Basic Principles and Tactics of Combat
  6. Skills derived from Sparring can be Rewardingly used in Daily Life
  7. Some Secrets in Practicing Genuine Kungfu
  8. Various Ways to Move into an Opponent

  9. Applying Combat Sequences in Sparring
  10. Linking Sequences to be More Combat Efficient
  11. The Secrets of Continuous Cannons
  12. The Mechanics of Continuation
  13. Marvelous Techniques Beget Marvelous Techniques
  14. Perfecting Forms and Developing Force
  15. Applying Tactics in Combat
  16. Objectives of Form Training in Solo

  17. Being Fluent in Kicking Techniques before Applying them in Combat
  18. Using Tactics in Kicking Attacks and Defences
  19. Different Levels of Sophistication in Sparring and Fighting
  20. The Legacy of Uncle Righteousness: Secret of Continuous Cannons and their Counters
  21. Benefiting from the Experiences and Teachings of Past Masters

  22. Poetic Patterns Can be Very Deadly
  23. Moving Back One Step when in Diffiuclt Situations
  24. Linking Sequences to Form a Kungfu Set
  25. Felling Techniques in Kungfu are Different from Judo and Wrestling
  26. Butterfly Palms and Hiding Flowers are Excellent in Countering Felling and Gripping Attacks
  27. Let Mercy Flow from the Hands

  28. Benefits of Solo Set Practice — Combat Sequences 13 to 16
  29. From Pre-Choice Sequences to Free Sparring
  30. Applying Shaolin Patterns Correctly and Spontaneously in Free Sparring
  31. Shaolin Kungfu against Boxing and Kick-Boxing
  32. Shaolin Counters against Wrestling Shoots
  33. The Secret of Grandmaster Ho Fatt Nam
  34. Why Shaolin Kungfu is Technically Faster than Boxing
  35. Shaolin Techniques, Tactics and Strategies against Boxing
  36. Revealing Secrets of Past Taijiquan Masters
  37. Overwhelming Opponents with Just One Pattern
  38. Poetry and Elegance in Effective Combat

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