Five Ancestors Fist

Five Ancestors FistDuring the 13th century a Shaolin monk named Bai Yufeng, combined the five Shaolin styles into one syllabus to develop his own system, known as “Five Ancestors Fist” (Wuzuquan or Ngo-cho Kun). This Southern Chinese martial art uses:

  • the breathing techniques of Iron body of Bodhidharma
  • the agility and footwork of Monkey
  • the hand techniques and the complimentary softness and hardness of Fujain White Crane
  • the posture and dynamic power of Luohan Quan
  • the precision and efficient movement of Emperor Taizu

The combination of these five styles and their characteristic techniques were during the creation of the Five Ancestor System, strengthened by a sixth influence; Xuan Nu also known as Hian Loo ‘The Lady in the Green Dress,’ who introduced the most deadly of its techniques Dim Mak lethal strikes to the pressure points of the body.

The style is also known for its various improvised weapons, like the use of chopsticks, rice bowls, umbrellas and even opium pipes.

One of the primary characteristics of Five Ancestors is its reliance on the Sam Chien (literally “three battles”) stance and the corresponding hand form of the same name, which it obtained from Fujian White Crane. The “Three Battles” philosophy educates the practitioner the methodology to achieve victory in battles: combat preparation and training; combat techniques and tactics; and combat approach, all of which must be mastered in order to attained a good level. The Three Battles concept also relates to the inner three battles a practitioner faces in life: the conceptual battle, the physical battle and the spiritual battle.

Sam Chien can also be said to allow development of the eight Five Ancestor principles and so, is considered the most important form in the style. Indeed, it is said that this form contains all the principles of the Five Ancestors system. Thus it is the first form taught to junior students, so that they may explore the essential points of Five Ancestors from the start of their training.

Although the exact method depends on the school, Five Ancestors is known for its large variety of power generating methods. Due to the distinct character of each ancestor, these methods change depending on the power required. Some schools teach tension forms that develop power, of which there are about ten, and fist forms that train technique, of which there are dozens. Others stress a relaxed body instead seeking maximum transmission.

References and sources for this Five Ancestors Fist Article
The Way of the Warrior: Martial Arts and Fighting Styles from Around the World 15 Sept 2008
by Chris Crudelli