About the 5 Animal Style
Animal styles are very common and very popular in kung fu; they are based on drawing inspiration from the movements and
character of a certain animal to develop a fighting style. Any animal style has various strengths and weaknesses particular
to that animal. What is unique about the Shaolin 5 animal system is that it draws together 5 quite differrent animal styles,
each with their own particular strengths, and integrates them into a larger whole which is more balanced and comprehensive
than a single animal style could be. Within the Shaolin five animal system itr is possible to fight in the style of just one
of the animals, or to combine them, moving continuously from one to another as the situation dictates. Each animal has a number
of techniques that are particular to it, but the five styles are more than just a collection of set movements. They each represent
a different philosophy and appraoch to fighting, a different way of generating power, and a differrent pattern of movement.
A diffierent mindset is necessary in each of the differrent styles - so if you are fighting in the style of the tiger you
must be aggressive and hone your instinct for when to go in for the 'kill'; you attack with 100% commitment seeking to end
the fight with that attack. But if you are fighting in the style of the dragon then aggression bwould be a hinderance, as
you must be very calm of mind to use this style effectively, and in thius style you are much more likely to take a reactive
rather than an active approach, soft rather than hard, reacting to your opponents movements to get around their defences and
use their strength against them, rather than just bludgeoning your way through their defense.
Here are the characteristics of each of the Shaoilin five animals:
Tiger: The tiger style is composed of ferocious and powerful movements. It uses the tiger claw fist. The tigers
power often comes from a quite muscular and 'external' kind of strength.
Leopard: The great strength of the leopard style is the speed of its movements. It has many rapid combination strikes
using the leopard fist.
Snake: The snake style is more internal than the two big cat styles. It uses an open palm snake hand to strike with the
fingers to vital areas and pressure points.
Crane: The crane style is composed of very graceful, flowing movements. It generates power from the harmonious
movements of the whole body and uses the crane beak to strike unexpectedly to vital areas
Dragon: The dragon is the most internal of the styles. It contains long sweeping and swerving motions and has very effective
counter-attacks Strikes are often made with the palm rather than the fist.