Various Chinese Boxing Styles
Chin Na is referred to as the seizing art of Kung Fu. It is known for its value in personal self-defense. The history of Chin Na dates back to the Shaolin Temple around 960-1279. The Shaolin Monks decided to develop this art due to its belief of non-violence and compassionate response to an attack.
The main elements of Chin Na include grappling, pressure on key areas and striking certain sensitive body parts. Unlike other Kung Fu styles, Chin Na has no set forms. A practitioner of this style spends many years understanding the way a human body works. They analyze the way the body’s whole nervous system works. This allows the Chin Na practitioner to use the least amount of energy when time comes to paralyze an opponent.
Training in Chin Na is through partner practice with emphasis on developing the control and sensitivity necessary to render an attacker helpless but uninjured. Students of Chin Na are also taught to always have control in a fighting situation. It is important for them to position themselves where the opponent is using their own force to in-flick pain to themselves.
Many experts consider Chin Na to be an internal system. It does not use strength versus strength but rather it uses the force of the opponent by redirecting it back to the opponent.
Chinese term describing techniques used in the Chinese martial arts that control or lock an opponent's joints or muscles/tendons so he cannot move, thus neutralizing the opponent's fighting ability. Also chin na su, literally translates as technique of catching and locking in Chinese. Some schools simply use the word na to describe the techniques. Chin Na features both standing and ground based grappling techniques.
Some Chinese martial arts instructors focus more on their chin na techniques than others. This is one of the many reasons why the chin na of one school may differ from that of another. There are over 700 traditional techniques in the White Crane style of Chin Na alone and even more present in other styles. Many Chin Na techniques resemble those found in other grappling based arts such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Depending on the school and instructor, Chin Na is assembled in different ways. Some Chin Na systems resemble Brazilian Jiu Jitsu due to their focus on ground grappling. Another may be more similar to Judo due to their focus on standing Rou Dao (the soft techniques of Chin Na). The next school may appear more like Hapkido due to their focus on wrist and small joint locks. Currently, there is no universally accepted systemized form of Chin Na. Instead, each school varies due to the instructor's training and/or personal preference of focus.
While techniques along the lines of chin na are trained to some degree by most martial arts worldwide, many Chinese martial arts are famous for their specialization in such applications. Styles such as Eagle Claw (Yīng zhua quán )which includes 108 different chin na techniques, Praying Mantis (Tánglángquán) the "Tiger Claw" techniques of Hung Gar and shuai jiao are well known examples.
Chin na can generally be categorized (in Chinese) as:
- "Fen Jin" or "Zhua Jin" (dividing the muscle/tendon, grabbing the muscle/tendon). Fen means "to divide", zhua is "to grab" and jin means "tendon, muscle, sinew". They refer to techniques which tear apart an opponent's muscles or tendons.
- "Cuo Gu" (misplacing the bone). Cuo means "wrong, disorder" and gu means "bone". Cuo Gu therefore refer to techniques which put bones in wrong positions and is usually applied specifically to joints.
- "Bi Qi" (sealing the breath). Bi means "to close, seal or shut" and qi, or more specifically kong qi, meaning "air". "Bi Qi" is the technique of preventing the opponent from inhaling. This differs from mere strangulation in that it may be applied not only to the windpipe directly but also to muscles surrounding the lungs, supposedly to shock the system in to a contraction which impairs breathing.
- "Dian Mai" or "Dian Xue" (sealing the vein/artery or acupressure cavity). Similar to the Cantonese dim mak, these are the technique of sealing or striking blood vessels and chi points.
- "Rou Dao" or "Rou Shu Dao" (soft techniques) which generally refers to the techniques deemed safe for sparring and/or training purposes.
Chin means to seize or trap, na means to lock or break, and while those actions are very often executed in that order (trap then lock), the two actions can also be performed distinctly in training and self defense. This is to say, a trap isn’t always followed by a lock or break, and a lock or break is not necessarily set up by a trap.
There is quite a bit of overlap between chin na theory and technique with the branches of traditional Chinese medicine known as tui na as well as the use of offensive and defensive qigong as an adjunct of chin na training in some styles.
Shuai Chiao, or Chinese Wrestling
Shuai Chiao, or Chinese Wrestling, is one of the oldest martial art of China dating back two thousand years ago. This art focus strongly on throwing techniques designed to disable an opponent with the shock of impact. It also includes joint lock techniques in it’s training.
Striking techniques such as kicks and punches are also taught to Shuai Chiao students for real world self-defense. Shuai Chiao practitioners strive to unbalance their opponents without losing their own balance. With dedicated training and practice, a weak and smaller person can overcome a larger and stronger opponents.
There are two types of competition of Shuai Chiao, traditional and combat. In traditional Shuai Chiao competition, only throws could be used. Combat or Full Contact competition allows kicking, punching, and throwing.
The purpose of every move in Shuai Chiao is to take down an opponent quickly using any means necessary. The main emphasis though is to destroy an opponent’s balance by utilizing various body parts such as feet and legs as supports.
San Soo is a southern style of Kung Fu that originated in Kwan Yin Monastery in Guandong Province in China during the 1700s. It is a pure fighting style. San Soo techniques are based on a combination of punches, kicks, strikes, and blocks done in perfect rhythm and directed to vital points of the body.
A San Soo student develops agility, balance, confidence in one’s self, self-discipline, and strong respect for others. Practitioners of San Soo do not rely on muscle strength. Instead, the student learns how to use their complete and total body weight to offset their attacker’s balance.
San Soo utilizes the hard and soft, linear and circular, internal and external, mental and physical. Techniques learned in San Soo can be changed instantly to suit the situation and do not necessarily follow a set pattern. A student of San Soo also learns how the organs, organic systems, nerves and skeletal frame are situated in the human body to make various strike points easier.
Practice of San Soo does not limit oneself by specializing in one concept. It is a well balance style in all aspect of combat. San Soo is not a sport and must be used only in life threatening situation.
Nan Quan, or Southern Fist
Nan Quan, or Southern Fist, is a composite modern style of kung fu Wushu created in the early sixties. It is a combination of different Southern Styles such as Hung Gar, Mok Gar, and Choy Li Fut. The essentials of the different postures of the various Southern Schools were systemized and summed up, resulting to the creation of Nan Quan.
Nan Quan concentrates on arm and full body techniques, with less emphasis on the high, acrobatic kicking elements found in Chang Chuan or Long Fist. Nan Quan emphasizes on squatting stances with low center of gravity and steady footwork. Its fist blows are forceful.
Power in Nan Quan is generated through breathing and sound articulation. The movements are powerful and energetic with combating tricks. Combinations of short moves with few jumps characterize its techniques.
Forms in Nan Quan are very powerful and intense. It enables every part of the body to be fully toughened. Practicing the Nan Quan daily gives one great benefits.
Tai Chi Chuan
Tai Chi can be thought of as meditation in motion. It combines aspects of movement, breathing, and contemplation in its exercises. The exercises in Tai Chi, or 'sets' consist of a sequence of movements in different directions and stances, and combine both fast and slow movements. While Tai Chi's roots are in Chinese martial arts, the focus of Tai Chi would not be considered martial, but rather as a meditative form of exercise for the body. One of the goals of Tai Chi is to promote the circulation of 'chi' within the body. 'Chi' is the energy in our bodies that gives us vitality and gives our bodies and spirits strength. The meditative aspect of Tai Chi helps foster a peaceful mind through focusing on executing the forms with precision. As with most forms of martial arts exercises, such as karate's kata, or Tae Kwon do's forms, Tai Chi's exercises help develop balance, control, a solid foundation, and a greater body mind awareness. Forms also help develop memory and pattern recognition. Some Tai Chi practitioners engage in a competitive form of Tai Chi called "Push Hands". In this application the two competitors engage hands and engage in a slow form of combat where each person tries to sense their opponent's 'chi' and are able to channel 'destructive' energy away from themselves, and try to push their opponent off balance and disrupt their 'chi'. Tai chi emphasizes redirecting attacks (kicks and punches) away from one's self in a direction which is no longer dangerous.Tracing the history of Tai Chi is very difficult because it is hard to distinguish fact from legend. With some certainty, however, we can trace Tai Chi's roots to about 4000 years ago to the practice of Yoga in ancient India. The martial art that traveled to China evolved and became known as Shaolin Chuan, or Shaolin boxing. In the 13th century, approximately 2700 years ago, a Chinese monk named Chang Sang Feng developed what later became known as Tai Chi. The different forms of Tai Chi are associated with different families in China. The Chen family developed the first tai chi style that all others were developed from. A man named Yang studied the Chen style of Tai Chi and later made modifications. His style became known as the Yang style of Tai Chi, and is currently the most common form of Tai Chi practiced today.
Chang Quan(Long Fist Boxing)
Chang Quan, also known as Long Fist Boxing, is referred to as the brave father of Kung Fu. Many indications show that many Kung Fu systems originated in Chang Quan. It’s roots can be traced all the way back to the Song Dynasty between 960-976. Unlike other Kung Fu styles, there is no one founder of this style.
Chang Quan emphasizes the use of speed to defeat an opponent. Practitioners of Chang Quan fight to the extreme of their arm’s length. They move fast, jump high, and combine hardness and softness. Their generation of energy is powerful and the origin and outlet of the energy are clear.
Unlike other Kung Fu systems, Chang Quan is not a specialized system. This style of Kung Fu has many different forms to learn and there is no special order in which to learn these forms. Chang Quan requires strong stances, straight backs, and relaxed supple waists and shoulders. High kicks are also practiced in the forms, but low kicks are used in real combat.
It is important to start training in Chang Quan in an early age due to its speed and agility exercises. Aside from its empty-hand forms, Chang Quan has various weapon forms. Like the empty-hand forms, they are practiced open, circular, and are beautiful to watch. Chang Quan can be easily identified because of its acrobatic and explosive movements.
Sijo. Dr. Udayan Acharya &