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White Crane Kung Fu

White-crane kung fuis one of the five animal styles found in the Shaolin martial arts. However, other styles of white crane have arisen independently of Shaolin.

After Ah Dat-ta became a Buddhist lama monk in 1450s Tibet, he retreated to the mountains and created a style of white-crane kung fu based on what he learned from watching a fight between a white crane and a large ape.

In the mid-1700s, Fang Chi-niang created Fujian white-crane boxing after she attacked a white crane and observed how it evaded her jabs and pecked at her.

Fan Shi-pei (1862-1874) created jumping white-crane kung fu based on his white-crane observations. He was also inspired by watching a shrieking partridge shake a tree.

The white crane’s long wings and legs create distance from an opponent. As the wings distract, the white crane’s legs can stomp on the opponent while its beak strikes at vital points. Humans can imitate the crane’s behavior by adapting their legs for sweeping, stomping and evading low strikes. They can then use their fingers to “beak” up an opponent, while a flexed down wrist simulates the white crane’s neck and head.

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