Martial Arts Culture Tuesday
Identifying types of fighters
Many people have heard of the five animal styles of shaolin kung fu, tiger, leopard, snake, crane, and dragon. These animal styles can be almost universally used to identify and counter different types of fighters regardless of art. A tiger is someone who is typically well built. They can withstand many hits and fight in a straight line, their size and power allows them to easily roll over other opponents. For example Mike Tyson would be a tiger. A leopard is someone who smaller and capable of moving quickly. Unlike the tiger they tend move more at the angle to get around an opponents guard. Mohammed Ali would be an excellent leopard. If someone is a snake it means that they focus mainly on soft targets and like to wrap up their opponents with joint locks. Snakes come in a variety of sizes but are typically small and lean. Ninjitsu and wing chun practitioners fight like the snake. Crane fighters are always easy to identify, they are thin and lanky giving them great reach. The have good balance and will use blocks to conceal strikes. Finally dragons are the most difficult to identify, they have no general body type. They will fight with linear circular movements. Bruce Lee is the perfect example of a dragon, he even earned the nickname little dragon. Most fighters will fall into one of these categories regardless of what art they practice. To counter a tiger move at angles, stay off their center line. To counter a leopard cut them off with linear movement. To counter a snake fight like a crane and vice versa. Dragon and tiger will counter each other. Being able to identify the type of fighter you are going against will give you a greater advantage over your opponent.
So I’m pretty fast but I don’t for soft spots in fights
My training makes me move in circular movements and linear movements.
I’m not exactly skinny or lanky. I’m not well-built either.
I’m definitely not Bruce Lee…
I’m not conscious about how I move as far as foot work, I often try to go around my opponent but at the same time I try to hold my ground blocking and countering at the same time with the same body part.
WHAT AM I???
Most martial artists learn and practice techniques from all of these categories, although some martial arts tend to one animal more strongly. However, I think the point is that sort of fighting style you personally tend towards, when it’s just you and your opponent.
For example, Cuong Nhu draws from seven other major martial arts, so I have learned and practiced techniques from every animal. But when it comes down to it, I don’t think like a tiger fighter. While I can take hits, I much more naturally tend to go around. I would rather use a side kick than a front kick. I also am a big fan of joint locks and pressure points, but I’m not usually good at feints. So although I have learned many techniques, my own natural fighting style falls mostly into snake and leopard.