Chinese Martial Arts – Tai Sheng Men, Pao Chui, Ba Faquan
Tai Sheng Men
This system is named after the monkey king, Sun Wu Kong, a mythological figure who features in the book Journey to the West. Developed by Kau Tze while he was serving a prison sentence for murder, legend has it that he observed a colony of chattering monkeys from his prison-cell window. He watched their fighting and playful tactics in the trees, incorporated their characteristics into his own knowledge of tei tong, and created tai sheng men. The five personality types of monkeys as observed by the creator still exist in the movements today, and are called: tall monkey, wooden monkey, lost money, stone monkey, and drunken monkey.
Pao chui is a pounding Chinese martial art known for its powerful fist punch, which has been compared by some to hung quan. According to legend, the style originated from the “Three August Ones”—three demigods in ancient Chinese mythology—who used their magical powers to improve the fortunes of Chinese people.
Virtuous and kind
It is believed that these gods were successful in achieving their goals and ruled over a period of great prosperity and peace in China. Although their actual existence is hard to confirm, these three wise demigods are mentioned in the Shi Ji—the first recorded Chinese historical text—and were known as the “Heavenly Sovereign,” the “Earthly Sovereign,” and the “Human Sovereign.” In honor of these immortals, chen-style taijiquan —one of the four major schools—includes a pao chui routine in its training syllabus.
Li Be Mao, who was a practitioner of chang chuan, fan zi, xing yi, pigua, tong bei, and tan tui, combined these systems toward the end of the Qing dynasty in the early 20th century. The system he created came to be used by militia when they were engaged in organizing and training rebel armies (particularly in the northern Shaanxi province) to overthrow the unpopular Qing government.
The system was simplified as a hand-to-hand combat training program, designed to be an effective killing art, and to instill confidence in the militias. Many of the techniques were designed for use on either foot or horseback, and training with the spear, sabre or broadsword (all weapons with which the militias would have been familiar), featured heavily in the system.
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