The tiger plays a great role in Chinese history and mythology, so it is only fitting that the beast should be chosen as one from which to develop a fighting art, Tiger Kung Fu. The ferocity, wisdom and tenacity are legendary. So it is that we study the king of the animals in order to be taught “tenacity and power”.
Tiger kung fu dates back to the time of Dr. Hua T’o and constituted some of the original kung fu exercises taught for health. As a fighting art, it traces its roots to Burma and the ancient methods of bandasilat. Among the Shaolin Temple styles, on Tiger Kung Fu was a necessity for study because it encompassed all aspects of armed and unarmed combat.
For the most part, tiger utilizes a hard, external approach to combat that meets force with force and is very likely to maim or kill an opponent because of the nature of the counterattack. Its primary hand weapons are the closed fist and the tiger claw while kicking maneuvers are usually low to middle range kicks of great power.
One studies Tiger Kung Fu to develop bones, muscles and tendons. The emphasis, as befits the beast, is on strength and dynamic tension, culminated in short, hard, snappy moves. As in all styles of kung fu, one becomes the animal.
The Tiger kung fu family, although a low system, encompasses an enormous range of subsystems that span levels from low to low high. The members of the family, listed in their traditional order, are as follows:
– pa kua
– hung gar
– hong tiger
– s’hu tiger
– white tiger
– snow tiger
– imperial tiger
– white dragon
– black dragon
– white eyebrow
Of these, Tiger Kung Fu comprises 85% of the family’s techniques, pa kua 1%, eagle 1%, leoaprd 5%, monkey 5%, white tiger 1%, dragon 1% and white eyebrow 1%. Hong tiger, eagle, leopard and monkey are sufficiently diverse that they may be considered independent subsystems.
Tiger Kung Fu also has remnants of offbeat hard styles as well as northern varieties, such as Black Tiger. Lion kung fu was an unusual style which was enveloped by Tiger Kung Fu. Its influence can be seen in the lion dance that was traditionally taught first to Tiger Kung Fu practitioners.
Shaolin Tiger Kung Fu contains within it the entirety of hung gar, s’hu tiger, and hong tiger. Its weapons are spear, tiger fork and daggers. Tiger forms are as follows:
– 5 Points of the Star (key form)
– Tiger and Old Man: an old man studied tigers and became accepted into their society. When he and an old tiger died, they were reincarnated as a single being, a demigod in the form of a man.
– Tiger vs Crane
– 7 Pushes
– Longbow & Arrow
– Tiger Bares Its Claws
– Tiger’s Revenge
In Tiger Kung Fu, we encounter for the first time the concept of time and system–that is, which system is best suited for when. Because of the diversity of Tiger Kung Fu, we have systems for most occasions; it is simply a matter of experience to determine when they are best used.
Monkey kung fu and leopard kung fu are especially useful at night, when the blinding hand and foot movements are invisible. Movement is accomplished far faster than the eye can compensate for in reduced light.
Tiger kung fu is useful during daylight and on hills but is difficult on wet ground. Go back to leopard kung fu in that situation.
White eyebrow kung fu is excellent in hot weather, when frustration is easily created in an opponent. The speed and economy of movement are too much to handle under such conditions.
Tiger kung fu itself and its close relatives (hong tiger, hung gar, white tiger) are best suited to shorter, muscular men. White dragon and white eyebrow kung fu are for skilled practitioners, regardless of sex. There is something for everyone in tiger kung fu, although the women’s choices will be best limited to monkey kung fu, leopard kung fu, white eyebrow kung fu and the dragon kung fu.
Tiger claws are used as if grabbing a bag of BBs. All fingertips strike first, then the claw grabs so that the area between the fingertips and the 1st knuckles break the target. Chi projection will allow you to explode a target by putting massive amounts of energy into 5 small areas.