In explaining what Shou' Shu' is I typically use the three rules.
It is a fighting art that:
- Coordinates the body in such a way that it generates flowing focussed chi
- Takes the opponents centerline in the first motion
- Blocks all possibilities
Typically when I hear other people explain what it is I hear them say that it is a Beast Art. But truly that is the how not the what. The fact that we come to the three rules through the motions of the seven beasts is immaterial. Could we discover an effective 8th beast who's motions fit into the three rules? Certainly, it already exists in the Leopard. We have a touch of leapard used in Shou' Shu' but it is not developed out as a complete system. Simply because doing so would not bring enough gains to be worth the effort. So we just take a few bits here and there where they are useful.
So truly, the beasts are the how, not the what.
So how does the how work?
Well, it is quite simply a beast synthesis. Combining seven disparate fighting systems into one. And like a symphony synthesizes the sounds of instruments into one beautiful whole, as a Shou' Shu' practitioner we synthesize seven fighting systems into one beautiful whole.
The difference is that we play every instrument.
That means that to truly create the beauty of Shou' Shu' we must play each instrument well. We practice each instrument individually and master that instrument as if it were the only instrument we were going to play.
That is what Shifu's do.