TIGER KUNG FU
1. WHAT IS TIGER CLAW KUNG FU? ... 3
2. POSTURE ... 5
3. POWER ... 8
4. THREE COMPONENTS ... 9
5. DEVELOPMENT OF FA QIN ... 10
6. TIGER CLAW TECHNIQUES ... 12
7. PUNCHING TECHNIQUES ... 28 8. KICKING TECHNIQUES ... 32 9. ELBOW TECHNIQUES ... 37 10. KNEE STRIKES ... 39 11. STANCES ... 41 12. TRAINING EXERCISES ... 44
13. FIERCE TIGER FORM – STEP BY STEP FORM ... 45
1. WHAT IS TIGER CLAW KUNG FU?
Ferocity of the tiger
Tiger Claw Kung Fu is inspired by the ferocity of the tiger in attacking its prey, leaping action and agility. The
techniques of the style have significant offensive and defensive applications. It is a popular style of Kung Fu in Southern China and Hong Kong.
Tiger Kung Fu practitioners harnesses the spirit and
dignity of the tiger in the forms and using the tiger’s ferocity and intensity as a source of inspiration to drive their actions. The techniques of the style are ferocious, especially the focus on tearing into the opponent and going for his eyes and throat. The fire in the eyes of Tiger Kung Fu practitioners resemble that of a dangerous tiger stalking its prey’s every move.
The Tiger is one of the Five Animals commonly practiced in Kung Fu, the others being Dragon, Leopard, Snake and Crane. The emphasis of Tiger Kung Fu is on strengthening the body’s skeletal structure, namely the fingers, hands and forearms.
The Tiger Claw should be conditioned to be like iron. It should be capable of absorbing any hit as well as being able to exert great force when gripping or attacking.
Using the entire body to generate power
Every move should be done using the entire body into the strike. Power comes from turning of the waist transmitting the power from the feet to the hands and finger tips. This results in a tough but elastic power that carries a “whipping” power with every strike.
All actions in Tiger Kung Fu have dignity, purpose and power. They are never half-hearted or hesitant. The eyes are angry like that of the tiger. The tiger strikes with no mercy and only with the intent to kill.
Tiger Kung Fu relies mainly but not exclusively on the versatile Tiger Claw, with an emphasis on conditioning the fingers to seize as well as to main.
The Tiger Claw can grip the opponent in an iron grip such that the Tiger Kung Fu fighter can pull the opponent in any direction at will. The Tiger Claw can also dig into the flesh of the opponent to draw blood or paralyze the limb to which it has a hold on. For more advanced fighters, the Tiger Claw can be used to target pressure points or cause blindness.
Besides gripping, the Tiger Claw can also be adopted to hit with great force. The back of the Tiger Claw can whip the opponent. The ridge of the finger-joints can be adapted to strike as the Leopard Paw against narrow targets.
Less emphasis on high kicks
The Tiger Kung Fu fighter relies mainly on his hand techniques to carry the fight. Kicks rarely go above the waist, and are used mainly to distract or trap the opponent.
Each breath must go to the Dan Tien. Exhale on hitting or applying force. Inhale when parrying or absorbing the force of the opponent’s attack.
Tiger Kung Fu has specific requirements in relation to the different parts of the body.
The head should be upright, as if pressing upward against an object. The head should not drop down or wobble from side to side. An upright head leads to an upright posture for the rest of the body. However, being upright does not equate to being rigid. The head should not be stiff but should flexibly adapt to what the body has to do.
The eyes should look to the front, with the unwavering strength of a tiger. The eyes should be aware of everything that is happening to the front and sides.
The lips should be tight. Keep your mouth closed with the teeth clenched lightly. Exhale through the teeth when exerting force. Inhale through the nose. Don’t open your mouth wide. Bring the teeth “closes the circuit”, so to speak, and allow for better circulation of energy flow in the body.
The neck is upright and not soft. The neck of a Tiger Kung Fu fighter is strong but not rigid, and able to adapt to the situation.
The shoulders, together with the wrists and elbows, form the three main joints of the arm. Every technique in Tiger Kung Fu involves either the transmission of force from the hands to the body or the order way round in defense or attack. The shoulders should be relaxed so as to allow power to flow freely.
The elbows should be sunk and slightly pointing outward for maximum power transmission from the shoulders to the wrists. The distance between the two elbows should be just slightly greater than shoulder length. Relax the elbows and don’t let the elbows end up touching the body in any manner – This is to maximize freedom of movement when it comes to swinging the Tiger Claw and applying other techniques against the opponent.
The wrist joint is the most flexible joint in the entire body. It has the greatest degree of movement. The wrists must remain highly flexible. The purpose of Tiger Kung Fu
training is to make the wrists as hard as iron, but also as flexible as silk so that the wrists can switch from parrying a hit, to seizing an opponent to digging the Tiger Claw into the opponent at a
moment’s notice. When applying the Tiger Claw, the wrist should be slightly (not fully) bent so that power can be transmitted more easily into the finger tips.
The back should be slightly hunched so as to give the impression that the chest is tucked in. Relax and let the muscles along your back “sink” downward. This position allows for greater attacking power and speed over time.
Because the back is hunched slightly, the
impression is that the chest is tucked inward. The shoulders are relaxed and point forward-inward slightly in order to tuck in the chest. The effect of this is that it helps the lungs draw more oxygen from each breath, giving better stamina.
The key is to have a solid abdomen. This does not mean a rock hard abdomen but a well trained Dan Tien that can generate great power and withstand blows. The Dan Tien is considered in Kung Fu to be the reservoir of Chi (internal strength) within the human body.
Like other styles of Kung Fu, Tiger Kung Fu requires each breath to sink to the Dan Tien. The
abdomen rises with each inhalation, and sinks with each exhalation. Over time the abdomen becomes highly flexible, elastic and strong enough to withstand blows. It also becomes capable of generating great explosive force into each strike.
The waist is the motor that allows the transmission of power from the lower body with the upper body. It is the source of much of the explosive power in Tiger Kung Fu. The waist should be upright and stable (but not stiff) so that you remain in control of your center of gravity, and not over commit into each strike or defense and lose balance. Push the waist into each hand strike for added power.
The torso covers the hips, buttocks and groin and is the weakest part of the human body. In Tiger Kung Fu, the buttocks should be tucked in so as to not allow energy to dissipate.
The legs are the pillars of the body and incorporate three joints, namely the hips, knees and ankle/foot. Each plays an important part in maintaining mobility.
• The power of the waist in fighting is linked to the suppleness of the hips. The hips should remain relaxed at all times so that the waist and legs can move freely and quickly
• The knees can inflict some of the most useful techniques in Tiger Kung Fu such as the knee strike and knee block. The height at which you fight is linked fundamentally to the degree to which your knees are bent. For this reason the knees should likewise be as relaxed as possible. The knees should never go beyond the feet so as to maintain a stable center of gravity.
• The shape of the ankle and foot determines the effectiveness of your footwork and stance. As elaborated in the Stances section below, different stances require different feet positioning and distribution of body weight to be effective.
Power in Tiger Kung Fu consists of two parts – unleashing power against the opponent and anticipating the power from the opponent.
While Tiger Kung Fu imitates the ferocity of the tiger in its actions, the power within the style is strong but not rigid. Each technique carries with it a blend of hardness and softness such that it can serve both offensive and defensive purposes at the same time.
An example is the straight line Tiger Claw strike. The Tiger Claw digging into the opponent’s flesh is as strong and unrelenting like a steel hook. Yet the bent elbow delivering the strike also inherently denies the opponent easy access to your own midsection, and the shape incorporated within it the potential to deflect counter-strikes. The bent wrists and elbows also carries within it the ability to inflict further strikes such as palm thrusts or punches should the need occur.
The key to unleashing power is therefore being able to adapt to the hardness and softness of the opponent’s technique and situation. If the opponent deflects your initial Tiger Claw strike (i.e. a manifestation of softness in his part) you adapt your Tiger Claw into a thrusting palm and carry on relentlessly with additional strikes (i.e. a manifestation of hardness on your part).
On the other hand, if the opponent parries your Tiger Claw and counter-strikes with a punch (i.e. a manifestation of hardness on his part) you can adapt your Tiger Claw strike to parry and protect your vital targets (i.e. a manifestation of softness on your part)
The relationship between hardness and softness is therefore dynamic and ever flowing. However, the key to being able to understand how it works is the ability to sense the ebb and flow of your
4. THREE COMPONENTS
The three building blocks of effectiveness in Tiger Kung Fu are absolute strength (the concept of “Qin” in Chinese), speed and technique.
A bullet can cause damage even though it may have a small mass simply because it travels at a great speed. Speed is an important component to Tiger Kung Fu because the force of the entire body is often focused at the finger tips through the Tiger Claw. Speed can come only from the proper unleashing of absolute strength (i.e. “Fa Qin”, explored below).
Strength means how much power can be projected through your muscles and relates to both absolute strength and stamina. If the speed and technique between two people are the same, the one with the greater strength and stamina will always prevail.
The other component of course is technique. By practicing the techniques of Tiger Kung Fu repeatedly, your muscles would be conditioned to use such techniques as second nature, thereby adding to the speed of your attack and defense.
5. DEVELOPMENT OF FA QIN
Hold hands by side of waist in Horse Stance, feet shoulder-width apart. Relax your entire body. Bend knees. Inhale through nose. Exhale through mouth. Let the breath sink into the Dan Tien.
Visualize your feet as being planted to the ground.
Draw up the Chi and visualize pushing the energy downward from the waist into the ground through the feet. Outward appearance remains unchanged
Rise slowly. Visualize recycling the energy back from the feet into the upper body.
Extend both hands to the front, fingers apart as Tiger Claws. Visualize letting your energy flow into the mid-finger-tip and dissipating from there outward into the other finger-tips.
Repeat the above exercise as often as possible. Over one to two years, you should be able to sense a strong energy flow into your finger-tips with the last push.
It is important that with every Fa Qin your feet feel extremely stable and planted to the ground (but not stiff). The legs are the platform upon which power is released. If your legs are stable, so would your center of gravity and you can count on an even, unceasing force being released. If not, your center of gravity would fluctuate and give rise to a less focused power.
In combat, the release of power is preceded by a highly relaxed muscle state. As you are about to project power tense up your mood like that of a ferocious tiger about to tear into its prey. This incites an adrenalin rush that combined with your Fa Qin would generate added power into each strike. At advanced levels, you should be able to feel your joints snapping with the surge in power.
6. TIGER CLAW TECHNIQUES
The Tiger Claw is the signature hand technique of Tiger Kung Fu. It is formed by spreading the fingers, with each curled inward at the mid-section. The uses of the Tiger Claw are elaborated below.
The Tiger Claw can be used to grasp the opponent and inflict great pain in itself. The grasping of the opponent’s hair can cause intense pain. Because the head is an integral part of the human body, if it is seized the entire body can only follow.
The human arm is divided into 3 key joints, namely the wrists, elbows and shoulders. Because the arm is an essential element to a person’s defense, grasping the wrists will cause the opponent to submit to your blows.
Suddenly grasping the opponent’s clothes can lead to the opponent being momentarily distracted and lead to openings for follow-up attacks.
Reference: Figure 4 and 5 of the Form
Example 1 – Punch and parry
Blue parries and seizes Red’s punch then immediately follows up with a Tiger Claw to dig into Red’s face.
Example 2 – Kick and parry
Blue parries and seizes Red’s kick then immediately shuffles forward to hit the knee of Red’s supporting leg with a low Side-Kick.
2- Seize and pull / Locking
The seize and pull technique is an extension of the grasping concept above and is applied to pull the opponent off-balance once a solid grasp has been made. The pull could be made in any direction.
Where the hair has been seized, the seize and pull could tear the tear and scalp off the opponent’s head causing intense pain and destroying the opponent’s impetus to fight. It could also cause the opponent to lose his balance and fall into a follow up strike.
Pulling where the wrist has been seized would cause the opponent to fall over, or lend itself to a powerful strike such as a kick to the ribs.
The concept of locking in Tiger Kung Fu means to squeeze inward using all fingers of the Tiger Claw, including the thumb. When applied at the throat, it can cause asphyxiation and death. Where the groin is targeted it can destroy the opponent’s will to continue the fight. Because it can be hard to be very accurate in the heat of battle, it is used mainly as a feigning move to mask a subsequent attack.
Reference: Figure 14 and 15 of the Form
Example – Hitting from the side
Blue has initiated an attack by feigning to lock Red’s throat. As Red hesitates and lifts his hand to protect himself, Blue then hits from the side with a Hook Punch to bypass the situation to the front and knock out Red with a strike to the temple.
Reference: Figure 11 and 12 of the Form
1 (Fig. 11) 2 (Fig. 12)
Example – Hitting high and low
In this example, Blue has locked or attempted to lock Red’s throat. While Red’s attention is distracted as he attempts to break free, Blue snaps out a low kick to Red’s mid-section.
3 - Covering / Masking Claw
The use of the Tiger Claw to cover or mask the entirety of the opponent’s face is to inflict blindness by digging in the index and mid fingers into the opponent’s eyes. The force of the palm hitting the face can also be used to break the opponent’s nose. Alternatively the fingers can dig into the flesh to cause scarring.
The focus of covering is on causing injury rather than control; although naturally it lends itself to follow up moves, especially those that target the lower body areas since these would be left wide open as the opponent’s attention is drawn upward.
Reference: Figure 8 and 9 of the Form
1 (Fig. 8) 2 (Fig. 9)
Example – Covering claw attack
Blue seizes Red’s arm with his left Tiger Claw. He then pulls inward and hit Red’s face for a Covering Claw attack. The index and mid fingers are aimed at the eye-sockets, and the face of the palm strikes hits at the opponent’s nose. This is a vicious attack used to deliberately maim the opponent, and so should only be used with great reluctance. It also requires a deal of accuracy to get right – If wrongly applied, you could just as easily injure your fingers by hitting them against the opponent’s skull.
Reference: Figure 22 and 23 of the Form
1 (Fig. 6) 2 (Fig. 7)
Example – Continuous masking claw
Blue attempts to seize Red’s face with a Masking Claw. Red instinctively raises his hand in defense. Blue continues to seize Red’s face with his other hand. By repeating this process Blue seizes the initiative and denies Red any opportunity to counter-attack effectively.
Reference: Figure 33 and 34 of the Form
1 (Fig. 34) 2 (Fig. 35)
Blue feigns by trying to mask Red’s face with the Tiger Claw. As Red tries to block, he becomes momentarily distracted and Blue swiftly capitalizes on this with a chopping Tiger Claw to the side of Red’s head.
An alternative attack would be to hook inward with Blue’s right fist to hit Red behind the ear, delivering a similarly powerful strike. Blue could also have hit low with a groin kick while Red was momentarily distracted with the initial strike to the face.
Besides the neck, the opponent’s hair and clothes can also be seized for the pull inwards. Be flexible and adapt according to the circumstances of the fight.
4 – Pushing / Stabbing
The Tiger Claw can be used to push upward (using the base of the palm) at the opponent’s jaw to cause dislocation. A successful application of this technique would cause intense pain and deter the opponent from attacking further. A proper application of pushing can also cause the opponent to fall over.
The Tiger Claw can also be adapted used to stab at the opponent’s eyes. In this case the fingers are bent such that only the mid-joint of each finger (excluding the thumb) protrudes. This type of hand shape is also known as the Leopard Paw.
When applied against the eyes, it can cause blindness. If used to hit at the opponent’s throat it can break his windpipe causing asphyxiation. The Leopard Paw can also be used to hit at the groin causing massive pain.
Reference: Figure 22 and 23 of the Form
1 (Fig. 22) 2 (Fig. 23)
Example – Stabbing the throat
By pushing Red’s head backwards after seizing it, Blue opens up Red’s throat for a quick stabbing strike to the throat with the Leopard Paw.
Example – Feign a stab to the eyes to lead into an attack to side of head/ear
Blue and Red faces off against each other. As Red is on guard, it is hard for Blue to land a hit easily. Blue feigns a stabbing Tiger Claw with his left hand at Red’s eyes, causing Red to flinch and
become momentarily distracted. He then follows with a right chopping Tiger Claw to hit Red’s ear.
Example – Feign a stab to the eyes to lead into a low side-kick
Kicks in Tiger Kung Fu are aimed low at the opponent’s shin or knee, or at the mid-section. This is to allow for easy recovery should the kick be unsuccessful. Kicks aimed at the mid-section also have a wider target area, and so has a higher probability of success.
In this example, Blue feigns high with a stabbing Tiger Claw attack to draw Red’s attention, before hitting low with a shin kick.
5 - Whipping
The back of the Tiger Claw can also be used to whip at the opponent. A convenient target is the nose, which doesn’t take much to break. Because the force is generated at short distance, a whipping attack against the nose would often take the opponent by surprise especially if the opponent has already been distracted.
Because people can only defend against what they can see, a whipping strike to the groin below the opponent’s line of sight would often be undefended and allow for further attacking combinations.
Reference – Fig. 37 and 38 of the Form
6 - Chopping
The Tiger Claw can be used to chop vertically or horizontally at the opponent. The technique could be used offensively or defensively.
In terms of attack, common targets include the neck, nose and ear. If the nose is hit, the force of the strike could dizzy the opponent or render him unconscious outright due to its proximity to the brain. If the ears are hit it could lead to deafness.
Chopping with the Tiger Claw is applied defensively in terms of blocking or deflecting against a punch or a leg. In both cases, the idea is to follow up quickly with a counter-attack and seize the initiative from the opponent.
Reference – Fig. 75 and 76 of the Form
Example – Using the whipping attack to gain an advantage quickly
Blue whips Red’s face with the back of his left Tiger Claw. The whipping strike is made with the lead hand because it is the closest to the opponent and thus can reach its target fastest. Even if Blue fails to seize anything it still has the effect of distracting Red and disrupting his impetus, allowing for a quick Straight Punch or Tiger Claw attack as a follow up.
In this case Blue then seizes and presses outward to open up the side of Red’s neck to a chopping strike with the right Tiger Claw. Because the neck is one of the most fragile parts of the human body, this attack could easily be fatal or at least render Red unconscious.
7 - Downward-Parry
As its namesake suggests the parrying claw is used mainly to parry offensive strikes from the opponent. It consists of a flowing downward strike that steals the energy from the opponent’s attack and dissipates it. As such it could be used against kicks and punches from the opponent.
Reference – Fig. 14 and 15 of the Form
1 (Fig. 14) 2 (Fig. 15)
Example 1 – Using the downward parry to move and attack the opponent’s head from behind
In this example Blue parries Red’s punch downwards then exploits the opening created in Red’s upper-level by stepping to Red’s outside periphery and hitting the back Red’s head with a chopping Tiger Claw. The shock of the attack could easily render Red unconscious or be otherwise fatal.
Example 2 – Using the downward parry to set up a straight punch
Blue parries Red’s kick downwards. He then shuffles forward to hit Red in the face with a right Straight Punch. The key is to move forward the moment the parry is made to deny Red any time to recover his impetus and continue attacking.
8 - Upward-Parry
This is similar to the Downward-Parry except the force of the opponent’s attack is parried upwards instead of downwards.
Where a more active effort is made to push the opponent’s hand upwards, it is known as a Lifting Claw. This can be used against the opponent’s forearms and/or legs, and would be combined with follow on techniques to topple the opponent’s center of gravity, causing him to fall.
Reference – Fig. 9 and 10 of the Form
1 (Fig. 9) 2 (Fig. 10)
Example 1 – Upward parry and kick
In this example Blue parries Red’s punch upwards then exploits the opening created by hitting Red’s leg with a low side-kick with his front foot at lightning speed. NB: The attack could have used the secondary back foot, although this would have taken longer since it is further away from the target.
Example 2 – Upward parry and attack to mid-section
Blue parries Red’s arm outwards, exposing Red’s mid-section for an attack with Blue’s right hand. The key here is to engage Red’s attack as quickly as possible with the lead hand and then follow up quickly.
7. PUNCHING TECHNIQUES
In Tiger Kung Fu, the fist is formed by curling the four fingers inward toward the palm face, with the thumb gently pressing over the index and mid fingers. Contact is made with the index and mid knuckles. Common targets include the head, heart, groin and ribs. Because it travels in a straight line it has the added advantage of being very quick. As such it is commonly used as a feigning move
to distract the opponent’s guard and open up opportunities for other strikes.
1 - Use as opening strike
Reference – Fig. 47 and 48 of the Form
Example – Straight Punch attack
After seizing Red’s neck, Blue pulls Red inward for a Straight Punch. The Straight Punch can be aimed at the opponent’s eyes, nose or mouth, depending on the nature of injury you wish to inflict. As the Straight Punch travels in a straight-line it is the fastest of the follow up attacks. However, because an opponent is likely to raise his hands in an endeavor to break free, the Straight Punch may also therefore not be readily available in most cases.
Be flexible – Besides seizing the neck, Blue could have seized Red’s wrist and pulled him inwards for the strike too.
Example – Straight Punch feign with Uppercut
In this case, Red maintains a frontal guard that would make it hard for a Straight Punch to get through on its own. Blue feigns the Straight Punch, then follows up with an Uppercut to hit Red in the mid-section.
2- Hook Punch
The Hook Punch traverses in an arc along the horizontal plane. Contact is made with the index knuckle and targets the temple and ears of the opponent. Because it has to travel a relatively longer distance than the straight punch, it is best used after the opponent has been sufficiently distracted or immobilized.
Reference – Fig. 50 and 51 of the Form
1 (Fig. 50) 2 (Fig. 51)
Example – Hook Punch after distraction
After seizing Red’s neck, Blue pulls Red downwards. Sensing danger Red instinctively covers his face. Blue therefore launches a Hook Punch to hit Red from the side, bypassing his frontal guard.
3 - Uppercut
The uppercut swings to hit the opponent in an upward arc. It hits at the jaw, heart, groin and ribs. It is commonly used as a knock-out blow once the opponent has been sufficiently distracted or
immobilized. If used as an initial attack it carries the risk of being countered easily.
Reference – Fig. 42 and 43 of the Form
1 (Fig. 42) 2 (Fig. 43)
Example – Uppercut after feigning to draw out opponent’s guard
Blue feigns with a Tiger Claw to Red’s face. As Red tries to block Blue immediately seizes Red’s wrist with his left Tiger Claw, and opens him up for an Uppercut with his right fist.
8. KICKING TECHNIQUES
1 - Groin kick
The groin kick is made in an upward motion, with toes point up. Contact is made with the tip of the shoe and hits the soft targets such as the groin and abdomen. The idea is not to hit at hard targets as it could result in injury.
Reference – Fig. 62 and 63 of the Form
2 - Side-Kick
The Side-Kick transmits the power from the turning of the waist and feet into the heel of the foot as it snaps out at the opponent’s mid-section (hitting at the heart, ribs and lungs) or shin. Kicks in Tiger Kung Fu rarely go for the head due to the need to maintain a stable center of gravity.
Because considerable movement is involved, it should be used only when the opponent’s guard has been sufficient distracted or opened – otherwise you would easily open yourself to counters from the opponent.
In a defensive context, the Side-Kick could be used to intercept the opponent before his kick. It could also be used as an opening move to put the opponent out of action before the fight has started.
For beginners and novices, much of their attention is spent guarding their upper body thus a sharp and crisp Side Kick would often catch them by surprise.
Reference – Fig. 65 and 66 of the Form
Example – Hitting high and low
1 2 3
Blue feigns with a punch to distract Red, then pulls and kicks at Red’s midsection at the same time. Because Red’s attention had been distracted by the seizing of his arm, he would have been surprised by the sudden low strike. This is a quick and effective way to end a fight quickly.
Example – Hitting low then high
1 2 3
Red maintains a defensive guard position that would be difficult for Blue to break through. Blue initiates with a low shin kick – This causes Red to become momentarily distracted, which Blue exploits by following up with a Whipping Strike with the back of his Tiger Claw. The kick could have been also been groin kick – The key is to draw Red’s attention low then hit high.
3 - Front Kick
Reference – Fig. 67 and 68 of the Form
1 (Fig. 67) 2 (Fig. 68)
The Front Kick is made with the front of the foot to hit at the opponent’s knee or mid-section. At low levels it is even less detectable than the shin kick since technically it can be made without turning the body. As such it is ideal as an opening move although greater effort has to be made to focus the strike since the hitting area is smaller than the Low Side Kick.
Example - Use as an opening strike, with feigning punch as cover
1 2 3
Blue seizes Red’s arm with both hands, then pulls and snaps out a Front Kick at Red’s abdomen at the same time. The forward leg is used because it is closer to the opponent, and can be snapped out to reach its target quicker.
4 - Stomp
The Stomp drives the power of the body weight downwards and stabs it at the flat of the opponent’s foot, causing intense pain and shock. However it is rarely used because it carries too much action and needs greater attention to accuracy than the similar Shin Kick.
Reference – Fig. 67 and 68 of the Form
1 (Fig. 67) 2 (Fig. 68)
Example – Use of the stomp
Blue seizes Red’s arm with both hands, then stomps downward at Red’s foot. Because Red would have been distracted by the seizing of his arm, he is unlikely to be able to defend against the subsequent stomp. The whole of your body weight should be placed into the strike so as to cause paralyzing pain that renders the opponent unable to fight.
9. ELBOW TECHNIQUES
1 - Upward Elbow
The Horizontal Elbow is swung upward and is used as an upward close range attack against the opponent’s jaw or chest. It is especially useful if you are rising from a lower position to that of your opponent, or if your opponent has a higher center of gravity than you, in which case you can knock him off balance.
Reference: Fig. 30 and 31 of Form
1 (Fig. 30) 2 (Fig. 31)
Example – Using the elbow strike to counter close range
After blocking Red’s kneeing attack, Blue swings upward with his Upward Elbow to Red’s face. Because of the extreme short range, Red would have little room to escape the strike.
2 - Thrusting Elbow
The Thrusting Elbow strikes at extreme close range, usually aimed at the opponent’s head. Because of its power and extreme short distance, it is extremely accurate and fast, making it one of the most popular strikes in an up close and personal encounter.
Reference: Fig. 31 and 32 of Form
10. KNEE STRIKES
Like the Elbow Strikes, Knee Strikes can be used offensively and defensively. It can be used to hit upward at the groin, or combined with a grab – The opponent can be pulled downward for a knee smash to the head or mid-section. Because it hits from a close range the Knee Strike is highly accurate.
In defending against a kick the raised knee can cushion the blow from the opponent as well as allowing you to snap out with a kick of your own with little warning.
Reference: Fig. 35 and 36 of Form
1 (Fig. 35) 2 (Fig. 36)
Example 1 – Use of Knee Strike
After seizing Red’s neck with both hands, Blue forcefully pulls Red downwards for a Knee Strike to the face. The use of both hands gives a stronger grip and a more forceful downward movement. It also results in better balance as the Knee Strike is made from the One-Legged Stance.
Because the force is applied from opposite directions, as well as the fact that the knee strike is made at nearly point-blank range, the opponent has little opportunity to evade. Further, the application of the upward-downward motions acting in tandem means the force of the impact is significantly increased.
If the opponent doesn’t yield fully to the downward pull, the knee strike can aim for the mid-section / abdomen, causing perhaps less serious injury but ending the fight equally quickly.
Stance training plays an important part in Tiger Kung Fu. Even if your hand techniques are strong, if you cannot move yourself quickly enough into position in time to exploit the opponent’s weaknesses you would have let the best opportunities slip from you. As such, stance training should be given greater priority than technique training early on.
The Horse Stance is the most common stance in Tiger Kung Fu. You can easily advance or retreat, making it ideal for defense or offense. There are two types, namely the Frontal Horse Stance and Side Horse Stance.
Frontal Horse Stance Side Horse Stance
The upper body faces forward. Bend both knees slightly and point the knee-cap and feet forward, in the direction the head is facing.
Turn the upper body is turned to the side. The knee cap and foot of the leading leg should point in the direction the head is facing. The knee cap and foot of the back leg should point to the side.
The Forward Stance is mainly used for attack. The leading leg is bent at the knee, with the entirety of the foot on the ground, toes pointing forward. The supporting back leg is straight with the foot pointing outward.
This is similar to the Forward Stance, except the supporting back leg is bent as well – Thus the body’s center of gravity is lowered into a
“kneeling” position. Only the toes of the back foot touch the ground.
The front leg is bent, with the toes touching the ground slightly. The weight of the body is distributed 60:40 between the back leg which is bent and the front leg.
The raised leg is bent at the knee, while the supporting leg is entirely straight. Despite its seemingly vulnerable state, for skilled practitioners this can actually be both a defensive and offensive technique, as a kick can be snapped out quickly while the thigh is also raised to guard against any kicks to the groin or mid-section.
12. TRAINING EXERCISES
With your hands on the ground in the Tiger Claw position, crawl forward on the ground. Over time, this has the effect of strengthening your fingers, making them able to hold your opponent in a vice-like grip.
Another way to strengthen the fingers is to do push-ups using the Tiger Claw. Lower your entire body to the ground, without actually touching. Then push
upwards from the Tiger Claw until the arms are complete straight.
Practice this using both hands, than one hand, and at different speeds your fingers. Once you are comfortable, gradually move towards 3 fingers then 1 finger. The idea is to condition your fingers to grip with crushing force. An alternate way to train is to hold the push-up in a static position for a significant period of time. Both ways would have the effect of increasing the strength of your Tiger Claw.
Besides strength training, your fingers and hands must also be conditioned to have a feel of how to grip real moving objects. Fire your Tiger Claw repeatedly every day to crush sandbags of different sizes. This would give you a feel of how to apply the grip against real targets.
In addition, accuracy and speed is essential to mastery of the Tiger Claw. Practice throwing different sandbags into the air, then catch them quickly with your Tiger Claw applying maximum power into each catch in the process. Visualize the sandbags as different targets of your opponent’s body.
13. FIERCE TIGER FORM – STEP BY STEP FORM
When practicing the form the temptation is always there for beginners to go too fast and aim to do too much. The initial focus should always be on performing the form slowly so that your movements are accurate and controlled.
Tiger Kung Fu transitions between slow and fast in the blink of an eye in actual practice. Slowness doesn’t mean lethargic hollow action devoid of force or meaning. Rather it is merely a transient stage that sets the stage for the subsequent “fast” attacking phase and is used to tense up the muscle for release into very quick and lethal strikes. In the “slow” (or building up) phase, let your breath sink into the Dan Tien and visualize your feet taking root in the ground beneath it. This may only be a fleeting moment. In the “fast” (attacking) phase, unleash your energy with explosive purpose so that every hit is aimed to inflict injury.
All Sifu and instructors will emphasize that accuracy and correctness in technique is by far the most ingredients to success. It can be very hard if not impossible to correct bad habits so every effort should be made to make sure your initial form is right. Take the time to understand the meaning behind each movement. Every action has a defensive and offensive component. Understand how each technique can be adopted for a defensive means before using it offensively.
Powerful “knock” out strikes should only be used sparingly and only after you have tested the opponent’s abilities. Such strikes could easily make you over-commit and lose balance, and can be turned against you.
Yang Palm - References to the Yang Palm refer to an upward palm facing the sky. Ying Palm - References to the Ying Palm refer to a downward palm facing the ground.
References to direction
The practitioner moves along the 4 points of the compass with the camera looking in from south, relatively speaking. These directions are represented below with the eight points of the compass, North (N), East (E), South (S), West (W) as well as the four midway points NE, NW, SE, SW where applicable.
1 (“Opening”) 2 3 4
Stand with feet together. Hands by side, palms pointing downward. Look
Open right foot to Horse Stance. Raise palms facing upward as Tiger Claws to
Push out both Tiger Claws to the front at shoulder-height, elbows straight
Turn left while in Horse Stance. Seize outward with left Tiger Claw while
guarding with right Tiger Claw
5 6 7 8
Shift forward to left Forward Stance. Thrust out right Tiger Claw and retract
left Tiger Claw to armpit at the same time
Turn and sink to Horse Stance. Thrust out left Tiger Claw at shoulder-height, elbows straight. Retract right Tiger
Claw to armpit
Stride right foot E to right Horse Stance. Thrust out right Tiger Claw and retract
left Tiger Claw to armpit at the same time
Stride left foot E to left Horse Stance. Thrust out left Tiger Claw at shoulder-height, elbows straight. Retract
9 10 11 12
Turn to form left Forward Stance. Thrust out right Tiger Claw and retract
left Tiger Claw to armpit at the same time
Sink to Horse Stance. Swing left Tiger Claw downward and outward. Raise
right Tiger Claw upward past head
Raise left knee to One-Legged Stance. Raise left Tiger Claw to shoulder height, bent at elbows. Lower right claw, facing
Kick out left foot to the opponent’s heart region. Keep toes pointing upward
13 14 15 16
Land left foot to Forward Stance. Thrust out left Tiger Claw to opponent’s head. Retract right Tiger Claw to guard chest
Sink to Horse Stance. Swing left Tiger Claw downward and outward. Raise
right Tiger Claw upward past head
Swing out right Tiger Claw in an arc to the front, with the palm facing inward
Snap out right groin kick. Bend right knee slightly. Swing right Tiger Claw
17 18 19 20
Land right foot to Horse Stance. Thrust right Tiger Claw downward. Bend elbow slightly. Guard head with left
Step left foot forward to form left Crouching Stance. Thrust out left Tiger
Claw (palm inverted). Retract right Tiger Claw to guard chest
Bend upper body rightward to form right Crouching Stance. Roll left Tiger Claw over to hit out again. Right Tiger
Claw is unchanged
Turn upper body right into right Forward Stance. Whip outward with
back of left Tiger Claw to whip at opponent’s face
21 22 23 24
Sink backward into Horse Stance. Retract left Tiger Claw, facing outward. Recover right Tiger Claw to guard front
Lean forward to Left Forward Stance. Thrust out left Leopard Paw to hit
Stance remains unchanged. Thrust out right Leopard Paw to hit opponent’s
Raise right knee into right One-Legged Stance. Thrust out left Leopard Paw to
25 26 27 28
Turn body right. Land right foot W into Horse Stance. Thrust right Tiger Claw downward. Bend elbow slightly. Guard
head with left Tiger Claw
Stride left foot forward W. Hit slightly downwards with the left Tiger Claw. Draw back right Tiger Claw to guard
head at the same time
Turn to left Forward Stance. Thrust out right Tiger Claw while pulling left Tiger
Claw past head at the same time
Turn body right. Sink into Horse Stance. Thrust left Tiger Claw downward. Bend elbow slightly. Guard head with right
29 30 31 32
Lean forward W into Forward Stance. Whip out back of left Tiger Claw to hit
at face level, arm slightly bent. Guard chest with right Tiger Claw
Turn right. Snap out left Side-Kick at hip level, toes pointing right. Turn left Tiger Claw downward to guard front.
Land left foot forward W into Horse Stance. Hit upward with left elbow, level with shoulders. Guard chest with
right Tiger Claw
Lean forward to Left Forward Stance. Stab outward at the opponent’s heart
33 34 35 36
Seize and pull left Tiger Claw backwards by side of head. Thrust out right Tiger Claw at the same time
Turn body right. Sink into Horse Stance. Thrust left Tiger Claw downward. Bend
elbow slightly. Guard head with right Tiger Claw
Shift into Forward Stance. Knock downward with right Tiger Claw, facing
upward, and hitting with the side of the palm.
Seize and pull hands to chest as Tiger Claws. Snap right knee upward
to hit at opponent’s groin. Toes point downward.
37 38 39 40
Land right foot W into Horse Stance. Thrust out right Leopard Paw at the
Shift into right Forward Stance. Whip outward to hit at opponent’s face with back of right Tiger Claw
Turn body right to form Horse Stance. Thrust right Tiger Claw down to hit at opponent’s groin. Bend elbow slightly.
Guard head with left Tiger Claw
Recover left and right Tiger Claws to Guard Position, stance unchanged
41 42 43 44
Push out both fists in opposite directions at shoulder-height from Horse Stance, to
hit at incoming enemies from both directions simultaneously
Turn left to form left Forward Stance. Swing up right Uppercut to the opponent’s heart region and swing left
fist backward, arm slightly bent
Turn right to recover Horse Stance. Swing up left Uppercut to opponent’s heart and swing right fist
Turn left to form left Forward Stance. Swing up right Hook Punch to the
opponent’s ear and swing left fist backward, arm slightly bent
45 46 47 48
Turn right to recover Horse Stance. Swing up left Hook Punch to opponent’s
ear and swing right fist backward
Snap out left kick to the opponent’s heart region
Land right foot into right Horse Stance. Thrust out right punch to attack the opponent’s heart or head. Guard chest
with left hand
Turn to right Forward Stance. Thrust out left punch at shoulder height to hit at opponent’s head or chest. Draw right
49 50 51 52
Sink into right Horse Stance. Thrust out right punch to opponent’s head or heart
region and retract left fist
Turn to left Horse Stance. Thrust out left punch to opponent’s head or heart
region and retract right fist
Form left Forward Stance. Swing up right Hook Punch to opponent’s ear.
Swing left fist backward
Recover into Horse Stance. Thrust up left Uppercut and swing right fist behind
53 54 55 56
Turn left to form left Forward Stance. Swing up right Hook Punch to opponent’s ear. Swing left fist backward
Snap up right side kick to hit at the opponent’s mid-section
Stab right kick downward to target the opponent’s shin or foot
Turn right. Stride left foot W then stab downward to target the opponent’s shin
57 58 59 60
Snap out right groin kick, toes pointing up
Land left foot into Horse Stance. Swing up right Hook Punch to hit at
Immediately turn into right Forward Stance and thrust out right elbow to hit
at the opponent’s face or mid-section
Turn into Horse Stance. Thrust out both hands as Tiger Claws downward
61 62 63 64
Turn left. Raise left knee. Parry out left Tiger Claw and hold right Tiger Claw
by chest to guard
Stab left foot downward to hit at the opponent’s knee or shin
Immediately follow with right groin kick
Land left foot then immediately follow up with shin kick
65 66 67 68
Land left foot forward E into Horse Stance. Thrust out left Tiger Claw at shoulder-height. Recover right hand as
Tiger Claw to right chest
Turn upper body right and thrust out left Side-Kick to the opponent’s mid-section. Push out left Tiger Claw to
guard / complement the attack
On landing the left foot, snap out right Front Kick to hit at the opponent’s
Turn upper body left. Stab downward with right foot to hit at the opponent’s shin or knee and landing into Horse
69 70 71 72
Keep the existing Horse Stance. Thrust out right elbow horizontally to strike at
the opponent’s mid-section
Turn to right Forward Stance. Thrust out right Tiger Claw at shoulder height.
Keep left Tiger Claw by side
Seize and bring right Tiger Claw back. Thrust up left knee strike at the same
time, toes pointing downward
Immediately follow up with right knee strike to hit the opponent’s groin
73 74 75 76
Snap out right Front Kick without landing the foot from the previous knee
Swing up left Circular Kick to hit at the opponent’s upper midsection.
Land left foot into Forward Stance. Whip out the back of left Tiger Claw, facing inward, to hit at the opponent’s
Seize and bring left Tiger Claw back to side. Wipe out to swing right Tiger Claw
into opponent’s face
77 78 79 (End)
Sink to Horse Stance. Swing left Tiger Claw downward and outward. Raise
right Tiger Claw upward past head
Swing both hands as Tiger Claws past the back of the body
Bring right foot to left foot, and raise both Tiger Claws (facing up) to the
57 14. DISCLAIMER & COPYRIGHT
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activities are suitable for his/her particular medical condition. This is a general reference document only. Different schools and instructors may have individual variations and interpretations.
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