Authentic Five Animal Style

Dragon techniques is a nutshell are going to be grabbing techniques. That take a similar shape as if you are grabbing your own forearm. The other part of dragon is whipping motion. Strikes that whip follow the dragon concepts.
Thanks I've seen some slight variations in the dragon Claw technique it's pretty cool but they all get the job done. I'm surprised there doesn't seem to be alot more dedicated to the style. I haven't done research in a while but at the time it wasn't layed out in the same way say Wing Chun is where you understand the general concepts of the style and such
 
I dont really care for the internal/external classification as I do not believe it represents an accurate distinction. Tibetan crane has a set called Needle in Cotton that is quite long and is done slowly and relaxed, somewhat similar to Taiji. It is sometimes called Tibetan cranes taiji. But it is not Taiji and I do not believe it is a similar training. It is slow and methodical, teaching one to pay attention to the minor details. Full disclosure: I have not learned the set but I have seen my Sifu and the senior disciples do it many times.

Tibetan crane is a long arm method and is very physical and athletic. It is based on a simple concept of full body unification for generation of maximum power and we have a unique method for developing that trait.
I agree there's it's fine to generally classify things but for deep discussions it's not really that good.

That sounds cool! I think I once saw a monkey form with Tai Chi in it pretty cool stuff.

I have heard similar for some other crane styles. Not the more "external" ones but I'll definitely have to look more into Tibetan white crane as well.
 
I guess I challenge the notion that Hung Ga or a direct tiger method like Fu Jow Pai is for strong people or that its practitioners have a higher percentage of strong people. If the method requires a level of strength above the general population, then in my opinion it would be a poorly designed system. Proper practice of the method should develop ones strength and fitness and overall health as a side benefit and that would help to improve ones ability, but that would not be unique to Hung Ga. It is important to understand that I am not implying that becoming stronger enables you to muscle through the techniques and force them to work. No martial method should rely on strength to force successful technical application, even though it is often possible to get things to work in that way. However, when technical skill is high and efficient application is understood, then overall physical strength and athleticism are helpful. Ones overall abilities become more robust, without directly muscling and forcing the application to happen.
I'm not to sure on the specifics I do remember atleast it being said that people who are bigger/stronger do better due to how the system is designed. If Tiger and Hung Gar are more strength reliant styles compared to say Tai Chi or Wing Chun that uses tendon strength it makes sense but yeah I don't think it was a requirement now that I remember but I agree it would be not to good if it was.

Very good points I agree. I'm trying to learn more tendon based methods and we'll stick to the principles rather than anything else
 
Thanks I've seen some slight variations in the dragon Claw technique it's pretty cool but they all get the job done. I'm surprised there doesn't seem to be alot more dedicated to the style. I haven't done research in a while but at the time it wasn't layed out in the same way say Wing Chun is where you understand the general concepts of the style and such
I'm just guessing but things eventually are very similar and it's probably a lot of material on it, but it's not recognized as dragon anymore. Other systems do similar grips and just don't refer to is as dragon.

Chinese martial arts trying to keep itself a secret was the worst thing they could have done.
 
I dont feel these kinds of generalizations are accurate, or at best are only accurate in limited context. Your example of crane is a good place to start. The Tibetan crane method is very aggressive. When it fights, it takes the fight to the attacker and drives in until the job is done. Striking in Tibetan crane is very powerful and does not simply sweep away an attack, at least not without some seriously damaging follow-up. We make very little use of the crane beak strike with the fingers, preferring to use regular fists for the most part, although we strike with different parts of the fist. While a crane, like any animal, wants to be left alone and never simply looks for a fight, they can be quite aggressive when defending the nest and have been known to stand down water buffalo in Africa. That is one hell of an impressive accomplishment and paints a picture of an animal punching far above its weight class.

I know very little about Fujian crane, but what Ive seen tells me it is different altogether from the Tibetan method. I have heard of an Omei crane, but the source I heard it from makes me uncertain if it is a real thing. It is possible that other methods have their own interpretation of the animal. One example is Hung Ga and its famous Fu/Hok Tiger/Crane form. Much of the crane material comes from the Tibetan method (that is historically documented), but there is stuff in there that I do not recognize. It is possible that it comes from the Fujian method, but it is also possible that it is Hung Gas own interpretation of the crane. I suspect that other methods that may have some crane material within them have probably made their own interpretation as well and did not adopt Tibetan of Fujian (or Omei) material. At any rate, these various interpretations of the same animal, created by different groups of people living in different parts of historical China, certainly do not comply with one unified interpretation of the behavioral/spiritual qualities of the bird that would dictate how the animal is translated into a fighting method for humans.

Your comment on Tiger is another good example. While the tiger is an extremely strong and powerful animal, I have never seen a viable martial method that suggests one should rely on raw physical strength. Such a method would be useful to a very limited group of athletic people and only for so long as they are youthful and able to keep up that strength. Strength is always useful, but every martial method I have experienced has stressed efficiency in movement and good technique to maximize effect while minimizing effort. That is the opposite of relying on raw physical strength and I suspect that any such approach would be viewed as extremely crude in China, among other more sophisticated methods.

My experience in Tibetan crane tells me that the animal was seen as a source of inspiration that could translate into meaningful and useful movement to maximize efficiency in a human martial method. It is not seen as something to copy or otherwise become the animal. Practice of an animal style should not be about mimicry or acting like the animal. I suspect that any such displays are a modern re-interpretation for theatrical performances and entertainment.
As is usual for you, this is well written. If I may add a small detail to this, there are salutations that inform the viewer which animal is being represented.
 
As is usual for you, this is well written. If I may add a small detail to this, there are salutations that inform the viewer which animal is being represented.
This does not surprise me. I think the thing to remember is that Five Animals is its own thing, and is not a combination of otherwise existing Animal systems (at least as they exist today) that are combined into one connected method. So it is an interpretation of the individual animals that is relevant to the Five Animal method, and not relevant to other independently existing animal methods. Practices within the Five Animal methods would be potentially unique and could include such salutations that do not exist in an independent animal method such as Tibetan crane or Seven Star Mantis, for example.

To be honest, I know little about Five Animals. I understand that Five Animal material exists within other methods. Choy Lay Fut and Hung Gar have their own Five Animals material but I do not believe it would be an accurate statement to say that these systems are Five Animal systems. Is there a complete Five Animals method that stands alone, or is Five Animals always a subsection of a larger system? Honestly, I dont know.

Al Tracy, in his representation of his kenpo lineage, had some Five Animal information on his website. It described the qualities of the animals in how they behaved and the kinds of techniques or strategies that each animal would use. This was rather abstract, with little by way of concrete examples. Statements like the crane is graceful and uses evasive techniques and the tiger is fierce and powerful and direct, to paraphrase from memory. I could never perceive how these concepts influenced the curriculum of the Tracy lineage kenpo. My teacher had said that one of our sets was Snake material, but I dont know if that is true, nor how to verify the claim. It was a set that was always treated as one of the less-important ones, hardly a central powerhouse of the system. Im not sure if it originally came from Sifu Woo through Ed Parker (many other kenpo lineages downstream from Ed Parker also retained the form) or if it came in from another source, or if it was created by someone in Parkers circle, while he was developing his system. Ed Parker also trained for a time under Sifu Ark Wong, and I believe what Sifu Wong was teaching was considered Five Animals, but I know nothing concrete about it. So perhaps some of that training retained influence in what became Parker-lineage kenpo. If Tracy lineage kenpo believes that the Five Animals has some over-arching influence on the method as a whole, I am completely ignorant of what that is and cannot understand why that information was contained on Tracys website.

At any rate, it is the type of general representation of the animals that I see from sources like Al Tracys website (which was taken down when he passed away) and that I have seen from other sources (that I cannot remember at the moment) are what cause me to speak up and say wait a minute, that description of the animal may be accurate in a limited context, but is not accurate more broadly, outside of that context. I think people want to believe that these things are consistent in some absolute way, but it simply is not true.
 
I'm just guessing but things eventually are very similar and it's probably a lot of material on it, but it's not recognized as dragon anymore. Other systems do similar grips and just don't refer to is as dragon.

Chinese martial arts trying to keep itself a secret was the worst thing they could have done.
It's interesting with how I guess big or well known the animal styles are that they aren't more fully developed into their own systems like say Wing Chun or something.

Yeah I agree I see why and they had probably good enough reason to but in the end it's what caused more issues than help
 

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