Even though monkey kung fu is recognized as being created by Kou Sze in the late 1800s in China, its roots can be traced back to the mi hou wu dance of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.). During his 10-year sentence for murder, Kou Sze watched a monkey colony from his cell in a forest-based prison. After studying the monkeys’ behavior, Kou Sze was able to distinguish specific characteristics in how they fought. He categorized the monkey into five personality types: tall, wooden, lost, stone and drunken. From this, Kou Sze developed a unique hopping-and-squatting defense system that incorporated the maneuvering principles of agility, grabbing, falling, lunging, light jumping and tumbling into his novel art of monkey kung fu. On his release from prison, Kou Sze was dubbed the monkey master.
Later, kung fu martial artist Lee Shao-hau would create mad monkey kung fu because of his observation that monkeys were timid until made angry. Mad monkey kung fu is also sometimes known as angry monkey martial arts.
To longtime readers of Black Belt, Steve DeMasco needs no introduction. A student of the martial arts since 1968, he’s been a fixture in the magazine since his debut in the February 1998 issue. Over the ensuing years, he’s espoused his views on the physical and philosophical sides of the Read More »