White Crane

The form of White Crane Kung fu was originated by Tibetans. The history of the art dates back to an elderly man who was constantly in deep thought around a pond. As he was in his usual train of thought, he observed an extravagant White Crane near his area. Unexpectedly, a gorilla emerged from the forest and the man feared for the bird, despite the physical differences, but to his amazement the bird was capable of fending for itself. It defeated the gorilla through evasive, striking movements, making contact with the pressure points with its beak. Later on in his life, two thugs attempted to rob him, but he had with the intuition of the Crane and dispatched of them. Afterward, he meditated upon what he'd done and came to the realization that he had fought as the Crane, and continued to advance this technique.

The White Crane Kung fu style consists of long ranged strikes, which are its most relied upon characteristic. The Crane's beak is a striking mechanism created by the hand that places the tip of each finger and the thumb into contact with one another for precise blows. The crane's wings are likened to parries utilized to take advantage of the opponent's momentum and toss them off balance. Once off balance, the point is to take advantage and strike them as they attempt to recover. "Ch'in Na" is used to clinch and throw opponents to create space or force them backward. The maneuverability of the crane is critical too as the form is designed to not take a still stance, the combatant constantly moves and hopes to remain moving and spontaneous. The footwork of the Crane makes use of the bottom of the foot to perform strong kicks to strike anywhere on the opponent and stomps to damage grounded opponents, usually produced at close range with great force. The purposes of the other kicks are to unbalance the opponent and shift their momentum against them. The main philosophy of the art is defense. The fighter is to use the crane's evasive maneuvers defensive capabilities to advance upon flaws of the opponent and tire them.

"White Crane kung fu." White Crane kung fu. Shaolin Gung Fu Institute. 23 Jul 2007 <http://shaolin.com/wh_crane_martialarts.aspx>.