Eagle Claw (Chinese: 鷹爪派; pinyin: yīng zhǎo pài) is a style
Chinese martial arts
Chinese martial arts known for its gripping techniques, system of
joint locks, takedowns, and pressure point strikes, which is
representative of Chinese grappling known as Chin Na. The style is
normally attributed to the famous patriotic
Song Dynasty General Yue
Fei. Popular legends states that he learned martial arts from a
Shaolin Monk named Zhou Tong and later created
Eagle Claw to help his
armies combat the invading armies of the Jin dynasty. It was passed
down until the
Ming Dynasty when the monk Lai Chin combined the style
with another form of boxing called Fanzi. Thus, the style took on long
range strikes and aerial jumps. During the Qing Dynasty, the military
instructor Liu Shi Jun became known as the modern progenitor of Eagle
Claw and taught many students. His student Liu Cheng You later taught
Chen Zizheng who was invited to teach the style in the prestigious
Chin Woo Athletic Association during the Republican era. The style
spread as Chin Woo opened sister schools in other provinces. Today, it
is practiced around the world.
1.1 Yue Fei
1.1.1 Shape-Mimicking Fist
1.3 Qing Dynasty
1.4 Liu Shi Jun and Liu Cheng You
1.5 Chin Woo Athletic Association
5 External links
While the details of the history alter according to the teller, with
names and places shifting as they tend to do in any oral history, in
essence the story of
Eagle Claw began in the Shaolin Temple and in
Chinese military training, became a family tradition passed on from
parent to child for generations and eventually shed its air of secrecy
with the advent of public martial arts schools.
Main article: Yue Fei
The creation of the
Eagle Claw method is normally attributed to
Yue Fei (1103–1141) who lived at a time of conflict between
Song Dynasty and the Jurchen tribes of the Jin dynasty.
Despite being literate, young
Yue Fei chose the military path because
there had never been any tradition of full-fledged Confucian civil
service in his family history. However, the Yue family was much too
poor to afford military lessons for their son, so the boy's maternal
grandfather Yao Dewang hired Chen Guang (陈广) to teach the
eleven-year-old how to wield the Chinese spear. Then a local knight
errant named Zhou Tong (周同) was brought in to continue Yue's
military training in archery after he had quickly mastered the spear
by the age of thirteen.
None of Yue Fei's biographies mention him learning boxing as a child,
but martial researcher Stanley Henning states "[Yue] almost certainly
did practice some form of bare handed fighting as a basic foundation
for use of weapons." However, he doesn't venture to guess if either
of his teachers or someone else taught him boxing. Despite this, many
modern day martial arts masters have assigned Zhou Tong this position.
For instance, the internalist Yang Jwingming claims Zhou was a scholar
who trained at the famed
Shaolin temple and later taught Yue other
skills beyond archery, such as various forms of internal and external
martial arts. Yang believes this later lead to Yue's creation of Eagle
Claw and Xingyi, another style associated with the general. The
history that Yang presents does not mention the spearplayer Chen Guang
and erroneously casts Zhou as Yue's only teacher. Eagle Claw
proponent Leung Shum does this as well and goes so far as to claim
Zhou was a full-fledged Shaolin monk who trained
Yue Fei inside of the
temple itself. Leung believes Zhou taught him "Elephant Style"
which the general later expanded to create the "'108 Locking Hands
Techniques' or Ying Sao (Eagle Hand)." There is no evidence that
Zhou was ever associated with the Shaolin Temple, though.
The general's biographies are also silent about him creating any
styles of his own. The historian Meir Shahar notes Yue's
mention in the second preface of the Sinew-Changing Classic (1624) is
what "spurred a wave of allusions to the patriotic hero in later
military literature". He continues, "By the eighteenth century, Yue
Fei had been credited with the inventions of Xingyi Quan, and by the
nineteenth century the 'Eight Section Brocade' and weapon techniques
were attributed to him as well." The Ten Compilations on
Cultivating Perfection (Xiuzhen shi-shu) (c. 1300) assigns the
creation of the
Eight Section Brocade
Eight Section Brocade to two of the Eight Immortals,
Zhongli Quan and Lü Dongbin.
In Chinese, pronounced Xiàng (象) means "shape, form, or
appearance". 象形拳, Xiang Xing Quan, literally means "Imitation
Boxing" or "Shape-Mimicking Fist". It is a fighting technique which
emphasizes the imitation of the offensive and defensive actions of a
certain animal characteristic or celestial personage.
Xiang Xing Quan is an umbrella term for any martial arts that mimics
characteristic/ forms/ movement/ action from anything other than
human, and there are more than one school of kungfu practicing
imitation boxing. Example of the animal style: Dragon, Tiger, Panther,
Snake, Crane style (that falls under Hung Gar) Eagle Style Chin Na,
horse, Mantis Boxing and so on.
Main article: Shaolin Monastery
According to legend, in the late
Ming Dynasty Yue Fei's material is
said to have made a re-appearance at one of the sister schools of the
Shaolin temple. Lai Chin/Liquan Seng (麗泉僧), an expert in the
Bashanfan boxing method, encountered soldiers practicing the hand
techniques that was called Yue Shi San Shou (岳家拳). After taking
the time to learn and master these skills he undertook the daunting
task of assimilating them into his pre-existing Fanziquan sets. Some
earlier exponents nicknamed it "Ying Quan/Eagle Fist" due to the
numerous grabbing skills present.
In 1644 the
Ming Dynasty was overthrown and replaced by the Qing
Dynasty. The earliest mention of a traceable lineage of Eagle Claw
comes from the Liu Family of
Liu Shi Jun and Liu Cheng You
Liu Shi Jun (劉士俊劉仕俊（1827？-1910) (fl. 19th century) of
Xiong County, Baoding City,
Hebei is considered the Sijo
(founder/ancestor) of the yīng zhuǎ fān zi quán (鷹爪翻子拳).
He took up martial arts at an early age and studied under several
exponents of Shaolin kungfu, Fanzi, and possibly
Chuojiao and Liuhe
boxing which were around at the time. Around middle age, he learned
Yue Shi San Shouand
Fanzi from Fa Cheng - Fa Seng (法成僧) and
Dao Ji Seng (道濟僧). He later was appointed as the military arts
instructor for one of the barracks in the capital city of Beijing. He
taught the troops fist and spear skills. His most prominent students
were Liu Cheng You (劉成有), Liu Dekuan (劉德寬), Ji Zixiu
(纪子修), Xu Liu, Ji De, Li Zhengsheng (there were quite a few
Liu Cheng You (劉成有) first learned martial arts from his uncle
Liu Dekuan (劉德寬), who had been a student of Liu Shi Jun when
stationed in Beijing. He continued his instruction under other
prominent martial artist of the region such as "Dong Xianzhou (Ba Shan
Fan) and Yang Jingshan nicknamed "flying Legs". He later received
advanced training under Liu Shi Jun when he retired to his home
village. Liu Chen You turned out to be a very strict teacher and only
accepted a few students. The more well known of those were Liu Qi Wen
(劉啟文), Chen Zizheng (陳子正), Zhang Zhan Wen (张詹文) and
Liu Zhan Wu.
Chin Woo Athletic Association
Main article: Chin Woo Athletic Association
Chin Woo Athletic Association was fronted by the famed martial
Huo Yuanjia in Shanghai. Its purpose was the dissemination of
not only Martial Arts but sports and other educational systems to the
Eagle Claw system remained relatively restricted to the
Xiong County, Baoding City in
Hebei until Chen Zizheng was invited to
teach at the Chin Wu.
After initial success with the first School in Shanghai, Chen went to
his training brother Liu Qi Wen to offer his students careers as
Martial Arts instructors in the Chin Woo Association. In time, Eagle
Claw was being taught in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guandong, Futsan,
Singapore, Malaysia etc.
Eagle style kung fu.
There are three main
Eagle Claw lineages known that most
teachers/schools can trace their style to.
Liu Qiwen (劉啟文) (Lau Kai Man)
Chen Zizheng (陳子正) (Chan Tzi Ching)
Zhang Zhan Wen (张詹文) (Chian Jin Man)
Eagle Claw system is taught varies between each teacher's
skill and experiences. What is consistent of an
Eagle Claw Master is
their knowledge of the 3 core sets of the style.
Xing Quan (行拳) is known as the "Walking Fist." This set consists
of ten to twelve rows of techniques representative of what is today
known as Shaolin Fanziquan.
Lian Quan (連拳) is known as the "Linking Fist." A very important
set in that it not only provides the exponent with an encyclopedic
base of the various seizing, grappling and joint-locks of qinna, but
it also incorporates various
Qigong skills as well. Most have
nicknamed this set the "Dictionary of Eagle Claw" due to the content
containing probably 90% of the style's skills and techniques.
Yue Shi San Shou (aka Yī Bǎi Ling Bā Qín Ná 一百零八擒拿
– “108 Seize Grab" techniques) is considered the "heart" of the
Eagle Claw system. It is believed to be the original material passed
down by the style's legendary founder Yue Fei. This material has 108
different categories of skills/techniques that are trained to a level
of perfection with partners. One thing to remember is that each
sequence is only an example of that category which contains numerous
variations and offshoots.
^ Wilhelm, Hellmut. "From Myth to Myth: The Case of Yueh Fei’s
biography," in Confucian Personalities, ed. Arthur Wright and Denis
Twitchett. Stanford studies in the civilizations of eastern Asia.
Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1962, p. 149
^ Qian, Ru Wen (钱汝雯). Biography of Song Yue, Prince of E
^ Kaplan, Edward Harold. Yueh Fei and the founding of the Southern
Sung. Thesis (Ph. D.) -- University of Iowa, 1970. Ann Arbor:
University Microfilms International, 1970., p. 13
^ 周同 is the historical variant of Zhou's name. 周侗 is a variant
often appearing in forms of fiction and martial arts manuals (Hsia,
C.T. C. T. Hsia on Chinese Literature. Columbia University Press,
2004, pp. 448-449, footnote #31).
^ Henning, Stanley E., M.A. "Chinese General Yue Fei: Martial Arts
Facts, Tales and Mysteries". Journal of Asian Martial Arts. Vol. 15
#4, 2006, pp. 30-35, p. 32
^ a b Liang, Shou-Yu and Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming. Xingyiquan: Theory,
Applications, Fighting Tactics and Spirit. Boston: YMAA Publication
Center, 2002, pp. 15-16
^ Leung, Shum and Jeanne Chin. The Secrets of
Eagle Claw Kung Fu: Ying
Jow Pai. Tuttle martial arts. Boston: Tuttle Pub, 2001, p. 13
^ Leung: p. 15
^ Kaplan: pp. 10-12
^ Yue, Ke (岳柯). Jin Tuo Xu Pian (金佗续编), 1234 - Chapter 28,
^ Tuotuo. Song Shi. [Er shi wu shi, 20]. [Beijing?]: Zhonghua shu ju,
^ Shahar, Meir. The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the
Chinese Martial Arts. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2008, p.
^ Shahar, The Shaolin Monastery, p. 160
^ Fa Seng is recognized as a lineage holder of Bashanfan under Li
^ Dong Xianzhou was the classmate of Facheng under Li Gongran and
cousin to Bagua founder Dong Hai Chuan
History of Fanzi/Bashanfan. Satirio.com. Accessed 2/26/2010.
History of Ying Men Quan. Satirio.com. Accessed 2/26/2010.
Chinese martial arts
Styles of Chinese martial arts
List of Chinese martial arts
Joint lock (Chin Na)
Wushu taolu (forms)