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The Complete Animal Guide to Martial Arts: Kung Fu, Karate, BJJ

The Goal Of This Resource For Martial Arts Animals

The list and explanation of animals used in martial arts are meant to serve as a resource for individuals of all ages.

For Parents Of Little Ninja Aspirants

As many of you who frequent this site are aware, the majority of the articles we write are geared on providing as much assistance as we can to parents who want to raise their children using martial arts and education as tools. In that spirit, I created this tool to aid parents in comprehending the usage of animals in martial arts.

These links are merely cosmetic in some fighting styles. Others take them so far as to imply spirituality. Making educated decisions is crucial for both parents and adult martial art students. I’m hoping that learning about animals in martial arts can help you make wise choices.

For Teens Or Adults Studying Martial Arts

This can be a terrific approach to become acquainted with how the study of animal motions and their positions in nature inform the various systems in the martial arts for adult students or martial arts enthusiasts.

Understanding a technique’s objective and direction is one of the finest methods to improve proficiency and the rate at which you pick it up. Any style or approach used outside of its original context will, at best, lose most of its utility. Any adult student of practically any art can benefit from knowing about these animal influences.

Please cite this page when writing on your own websites, blogs, or social media platforms if you find the material useful. The numerous days and months spent in its investigation should assist you in comprehending and elucidating the relationships between animal representations in martial arts and their natural sources.

Primary Animal Systems in Kung Fu Animals

The comical cartoon depiction of five of the key animals in Chinese martial arts is known as the “Fabulous Five” and can be found in the DreamWorks Animation and Universal Pictures film Kung Fu Panda.

The historical links made possible by Chinese astrology are one of the main sources of animal inspiration for movements and philosophy in the martial arts. There are numerous derivative forms derived from a wide range of animals. I’ll talk about several of them eventually.

Japanese snake Japanese snake tattoo design. Viper and chrysanthemums in Japanese style. Perfect for the posters, shirt prints, and many other. Martial Arts Animals stock illustrations

The eight primary Kung Fu animals—dragon, tiger, crane, leopard, snake, monkey, praying mantis, and eagle—are used to create technique and philosophy. Although different styles vary on which five of the eight to include, some systems only accept five as the primary Kung Fu animal systems.

Many of the others develop from these, either to address flaws in the original or to highlight its advantages. Let’s examine each of these eight primary Chinese martial arts systems separately to find out why it was created and how it is used in instruction.

The Five Primary Animals of Southern Kung Fu

These five primary animal fashion trends vary in popularity from school to school. The emphasis of each instructor’s Kung Fu traditions, which they themselves learned from their mentors, is passed on to students.

Let’s first examine the appeal of these fundamental animal systems in Kung Fu.

This ranking of popularity indicates nothing about the efficacy of any of these approaches. When used for the purposes for which they were intended, all styles are valuable in some way.

This demonstrates how instructors and students view the teaching, learning, and application of self-defense methods. We can see…

  • One of the most common fashion trends is tiger.
  • Second place goes to leopard print.
  • The crane fashion is firmly in the middle.
  • Snake style is positioned honorably in the middle.
  • The top five is finished off by dragon style. Even though it is less popular than most others, it is nonetheless superior.
  • Let’s now examine each of these key animal forms of Kung Fu to determine what their primary emphasis is.

Kung Fu in the Crane Style

What distinguishing characteristics set the Crane style apart from other Kung Fu animal systems? What outcomes might a student or parent enrolling their child in it hope to achieve?

The Crane style of Kung Fu was created to imitate the movements of cranes in the wild. It was derived from earlier Chinese boxing techniques. When hitting from a distance and evading, the physical emphasis is on maintaining balance and distance. It attempts to use inner chi energies through its spiritual essence.

The Crane style is as functional as other long-range sports and self-defense techniques. In addition to using distance management and longer-ranged blows, usually kicks in the case of TKD, in defense and competition, Korean Taekwondo also draws heavily from Chinese arts.

But unlike Korean Taekwondo, which moves in straight lines or at modest angles, Crane style moves in circles for both footwork and upper body techniques.

A form or kata (Japanese) that some Karate schools use in full or in part is another element that derives from this Chinese Kung Fu technique. The Okinawan-derived Uechi-Ry and Gj-Ry styles employ the Sanchin Kata.

Karate in the Dragon Style

Although the “Dragon Warrior” from the Kung Fu Panda films may have popularized the form, Dragon type Kung Fu has been practiced for hundreds of years. How is it trained, and what does it do?

The other four southern schools are claimed to have been combined to create the Dragon style of Kung Fu, according to supporters. Its techniques emphasize strength while rendering opponents helpless to resist striking opportunities. The fists, forearms, and foot blade are used in the physical techniques.

Although internal spiritual components are present in many Kung Fu systems, they are not as prominent in the Dragon style. It more closely resembles an adaption of the best physical aspects of the competing systems with special modifications.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t incorporate spiritual elements from the other works. The instructor’s focus during instruction will have a bigger impact on how much emphasis is placed on Chi energies.

Consult the class instructor if you’re a parent trying to determine whether this inner version of the Dragon style is appropriate for your child. The same is true for adult learners. Just make sure the instructor’s objectives align with your own.

Kung Fu in the Leopard Style 

Some people see the leopard style as a link between the Tiger and Crane styles. It more closely resembles the Crane because of its indirect approach, and the Tiger because of its decisive linear striking. What purpose does the training serve, then, in the leopard style?

The leopard technique uses elements of speed and angular movements in brief bursts, whereas the tiger style depends more on strength and force of will. For pupils of the leopard technique, feints and deceptions are preferred tools. It has largely physical parts and only the most fundamental inner spiritual components.

The Leopard style is more focused on self-defense than a strong and direct technique like the Tiger because of evasions and counterattacks. Although practitioners of the Leopard technique can make direct attacks, it is best applied in response to an adversary’s onslaught.

Leopard style favors countering off of adversaries over initiating, and blocking typically takes the form of evasion.

Kung Fu Snake Style 

The snake style comes in a variety of variations, which will be covered later. We need to understand how the snake style of Kung Fu is different from the other basic animal systems in this case. What distinguishes the Snake fashion?

The whipping movements used in the Snake technique maximize momentum. This makes Chinese weapon training to make the most of these forces possible. It is also regarded as the main approach for introducing students to their inner spiritual development. The breathing concentration comes first with this.

There is no doubting the historical and fundamental connection between Taoism and the majority of Kung Fu’s animal systems. Some people may underestimate the religious component of many animal martial arts.

TIger Side Kick A Karate Master is showing Side kick. Martial Arts Animals stock illustrations

Researchers from the Jan Dugosz University of Czestochowa claim in an article published by the Physical Activity Review in 2018 that the vast majority of spiritual and ideological viewpoints taught in Chinese martial arts are drawn from Taoism, a closely related religion to Buddhism.

Again, for many parents, it is crucial to talk to the class instructor about this spiritual aspect of the art. The instructor’s preferences greatly influence the concentration or intensity of the inner training. Make sure the objectives and methods employed in this area align with the moral and spiritual aspirations you have for your child.

Adult learners should take this into account as well. Not every martial art has spiritual and religious components in its teaching. Different levels of implementation are used by some.

One of the Chinese animal-based martial arts that is more spiritually oriented is the Snake style.

Kung Fu in the Tiger Style

Are there components in the direct and more well-known Tiger style of Kung Fu that resemble those in other linear martial arts systems found in Japan and Korea? What is it about the Tiger style that attracts so many Chinese Kung Fu students to study it?

The Tiger style of Kung Fu uses largely forceful hand blows and is the most direct system among the main animal forms. Many people find the aggression and simplicity of the direct force of will approach appealing. Less kicking is done and more boxing-style techniques are used.

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