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Monkey Style Kung Fu Characteristics and Techniques

During the Song Dynasty (960 A.D. – 1279 A.D), the Great Emperor Tai Zi created Long Fist and a monkey style(Hou Quan). Yan Ching attached monkey techniques to his Mi Zhong Yi or lost Path style. Also, Jin Tai a famous martial artist from Shandong invented a style of boxing that was based on the movements of the golden monkey.

Monkey Style

Monkey Style

By the Yuan Dynasty (1260 – 1380), Bai Yi Feng pooled monkey style with four other arts to form 5 Ancestors Fist. Additionally, a Chinese army General Chi Ji Guang of the Ming Dynasty (960 – 1279), mentioned monkey as a current style in his treatise “New Book of Discipline and Effectiveness”. In 1564 Governer Zheng Ruo Zeng gave credit, in his book “Posting as Governor South of the Yangtze River”, to an entire chapter on the “The 36 Tactics of the Monkey Style”.

Other styles have adopted monkey techniques or flavor into their style. Chen shi Tai Chi has Bai Yuan Xian Guo (white ape presents fruit). Praying Mantis incorporates monkey foot work into its style. Tai Shing Pek Kwar from the Qing Dynasty is a combination of Axe-fist and Great Sage, which is based on the story of Kou Sze. Chinese opera also has a monkey style, and modern performance wushu has a monkey set.

The style of monkey that is taught at Meridian Gate Kung Fu Center is the one passed down by Jin Tai from the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279). Jin Tai was from liang Shan (very famous martial art place in Shandong Province). He was a master of many different styles including Ba Gua Quan. A man from India challenged everyone in China to fight his top fighter. Surprisingly, the fighter from India was not a human, but a monkey. Many fought against him and lost. Jin Tai invented a style of boxing that was based on the movements of the golden monkey to defeat the Indian monkey. The first time he fought the Indian monkey he lost, so he took an already known style Xiang Yao Quan which is translated closely as Taming the Demon (Goblin, evil spirit) boxing, did it as a monkey and thereby, Jin Tai ended up beating the Indian monkey, thus brining honor to China.

Hou Quan is a very pure form of monkey boxing, that does not take influence from other styles. Hou Quan fights, moves, acts, attacks and defends how a monkey would. In learning Hou Quan it is not just about learning how to fight with it, you have to learn how to do everything like a monkey, the strength of the style is in you really being a “monkey”. The key to being a good monkey boxer is to stop being a human being and truly believe you are a monkey. Not just someone mimicking the movements and mannerisms… There are no set mannerism in Hou Quan, you do what comes natural (once you believe then the rest is easy)

The style is composed of many skills; rolls, jumping, skipping, scurrying and it uses mainly gross motor skills in its attacks. It is fast, with many directional changes along with height changes. Monkey boxers use quick explosive energy, to overcome stronger opponents, while evasion and agility are their primary defense.

After this style is learned and one believes that they are a real monkey, then the student should be able to do any style of martial arts as if they were a monkey learning, instead of as a human learning.

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