All Martial arts around the world focus on different styles and types of techniques. At the School of Shaolin, we train in each of the following styles to provide a well-rounded set of self defense techniques. Please look around and find out more about each style we train in.
Northern Shaolin is part of the Shaolin Long Fist (Chang Chuan) family. Chang Chuan is considered to be the original Kung Fu system dating back thousands of years, and the most widely practiced system in China today. It is one of the five major systems developed in Northern China. They include Wa, Cha, Fa, Pao, and Hung or Shaolin. The School of Shaolin teaches the traditional Northern Shaolin System in its entirety. Northern Shaolin utilizes all conceivable ways of using one’s hands, feet and body movement. This system, known for its high kicks and swift footwork, specializes in long-range fighting techniques. The hand techniques are executed with quick tension and short focusing time that allows for fast, flowing movement and quick changes. More than other systems, emphasis is placed on agility, general flexibility, stamina, speed and aesthetics. The Shaolin practitioner is known for acrobatic, but devastating kicks. Classical form is very important to the Northern Shaolin system, arising form the belief that perfection of form will give you greater coordination and a freer execution of techniques.
At the School of Shaolin the Northern Shaolin curriculum includes many hand, weapon, and sparring sets.
The Praying Mantis system started when a Chinese Martial Artist named Wong Long needed to perfect his fighting ability. By chance he observed a praying mantis in battle. As he watched, he was amazed how well it fought and protected itself and also how it easily defeated a much larger opponent. He decided to study the mantis’ techniques, and developed the trademark of Praying Mantis, the Mantis Claw (gou),a grabbing motion that derives all of its power from the wrist and forearm. Wong Long also observed the manner in which monkeys move and from that created the Mantis “monkey step”, a quick and balanced method of footwork.
Seven Star Praying Mantis techniques stress that one hand should be used to defend at all times. The guarding hand is kept up and centered around the front and the other hand should remain free to execute the next move whether offensive or defensive. This means that two or three movements are happening at once. This is very effective for infighting techniques. The stances and foot movements along with the hand techniques can be intricate and demanding but with practice can be perfected. Classical form is also very important to the Seven Star Praying Mantis stylist.
The famous fighting master and founder of the Northern Praying Mantis system, Wong Long, had four disciples during the Ch’ing dynasty, each claiming superior innovations and each seeking to be released from the founding school. The master said their desires would be granted on one condition, that each disciple name his system after markings on the back of personally captured mantis. One had the appearance of the Yin-yang symbol (Tai T’si), another looked like a Plum blossom (Mei Hua) one with the marking of 7 stars (Tsi Tsing), and one with no marks at all called the Bare Back (Kwing P’an).
The Tai Mantis practitioner delivers most of his strikes with great internal power, using a penetrating strike rather than sub-surface impact. Power generates from the ground to the waist to the technique. Parries are used more often than blocks, including one unique defensive technique called the “trading off” theory. Here, the practitioner will slightly deflect an opponent’s technique by quickly twisting his or her body to the side, or he or she may even allow the technique to connect. In return, he or she is situated very close to his or her opponent and can strike back with a much more powerful blow, usually dead center to the opponent. Due to the emphasis on these parries and close proximity fighting, considerable effort is made to toughen the arms, legs, and body by hitting hard objects, and by two-man contact sparring. Indeed, it has been said, “If you spar with a Tai Chi mantis, every time you hit him, you’re helping him train.”
New Tai Chi Classes! More information will be available later on this style… Please check back.
Chin Na has taken a firm hold as a leading Chinese martial arts system ever since its emergence approximately 400 years ago during the Ming Dynasty. Chin Na is rooted in ancient wrestling and Tien’hsueh (attacking vital points), but can be traced back to the very beginnings of martial arts, when the first person was grabbed by another person and had to get away. Chin Na evolved in the early 1600s when government officials sought more restrained methods to subdue criminals without necessarily killing them. Chin Na was devised as a system of capturing and detaining. (Chin means “to capture”, Na means “to hold”). As refinements were developed in the subsequent Ch’ing Dynasty (A.D. 1644-1911), Chin Na became part of the basic training program for Chinese military personnel as well as policemen. Emphasizing seizing, twisting, and locking of the joints, Chin Na also employs short kicking, punching and striking techniques similar to those of many other styles of Kung Fu. The essential difference is that Chin Na does not have prescribed performance sets or long forms of movement to memorize and practice like most Chinese systems.
Shuai-Chiao, a combination of all fighting techniques, carries out time, speed, force, and angle to its highest potential, applying the free use of strikes, kicks, holds, sweeps, and locks to the end result of throwing or taking down the opponent.
Kung Fu San Shou is a form of free sparring based on five categories of techniques. The five include punches and kicks, leverages and throws, pressure points, the power of the mind over the body, and physical power. Kung Fu San Shou is not a sport or a game, but a warrior discipline based on punches, kicks, nerve attacks, take-downs, all executed in perfect rhythm. These techniques can be changed instantly depending on the situation and do not necessarily follow a set pattern.