White Crane Kung Fu - báihè Chuan
The White crane has got to be one of the most stoic and beautiful fighting styles. It would be easy to underestimate the crane because fluid gracefulness but it is an extremely effective fighting style. The crane uses his razor sharp wings to defend and attack simultaneously. His shielding wings create immensely powerful blocks and strikes. He is known for woks, or beak strikes, and uses every part of the wing as a weapon. He can create power at any point in his circle or centerline transfer. Rather than having power at concentrated points in his motion, he has power throughout the entire motion and can strike at any point in the circle Being a beast of the air, he is known for evasive lofting and swooping motions. Because he can land on his opponent with one hundred percent of his weight his power to body weight ratio is the highest of the fighting beasts. He is the pure metal element. His Chi is cutting in nature and penetrates the body like a sword. As a matter of fact, white crane motion lends itself to the sword. Any crane technique can easily become sword work
Being a master of his centerline also allows him extremely fast kicking sequences. The fact that the white crane always fights from a grounded centerline position or as he lofts and swoops enables fast kicks projected from center at any point in his motion. The white crane has the fastest kicks of all of the beasts
In a bird, the strongest muscles are the pectoralis and the latisimus, the chest and the back. To fully utilize these muscles he must have a fully upright and erect posture. This perfect centerline gives the crane his signature look. A very proud looking animal, it is the same in the white crane style. A crane shifu has the most perfect of centerlines, a true master of balance. He is as strong and powerful on one leg as he is on two.
Legend has it that a monk created this style while watching a crane defend itself from a tiger. It is said that the crane deftly evaded the tigers attacks while skillfully striking and pecking at his eyes. Other accounts claim that the encounter was between a crane and a gorilla. There is yet another variation on the story that it was not a monk who witnessed it at all but a band of women warriors who created the style. Whatever the true origin, it is a powerful and highly skillful style in itself.
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