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Chángquán (simplified Chinese: 长拳; traditional Chinese: 長拳; pinyin: Zhǎngquán; literally: "Long Fist") refers to a family of external (as opposed to internal) martial arts (kung fu) styles from northern China.
The forms of the Long Fist style emphasize fully extended kicks and striking techniques, and by appearance would be considered a long-range fighting system. In some Long Fist styles the motto is that "the best defense is a strong offense," in which case the practitioner launches a preemptive attack so aggressive that the opponent doesn't have the opportunity to attack. Others emphasize defense over offense, noting that nearly all techniques in Long Fist forms are counters to attacks. Long Fist uses large, extended, circular movements to improve overall body mobility in the muscles, tendons, and joints. Advanced Long Fist techniques include qin na joint-locking techniques and shuai jiao throws and takedowns.
The Long Fist style is considered to contain a good balance of hand and foot techniques, but in particular it is renowned for its impressive acrobatic kicks. In demonstration events, Long Fist techniques are most popular and memorable for their whirling, running, leaping, and acrobatics. Contemporary changquan moves are difficult to perform, requiring great flexibility and athleticism comparable to that of gymnastics.
Long Fist's arsenal of kicks covers everything from a basic front toe-kick to a jumping back-kick, from a low sweep to a tornado-kick. Specifically, typical moves in modern Changquan include: xuanfengjiao (旋风脚; "whirlwind kick"), xuanzi (旋子; "butterfly jump"), cekongfan (侧空翻; "side somersault"), and tengkongfeijiao (腾空飞脚; "flying jump kick").
Traditional Long Fist
The traditional Long Fist had a very small amount of techniques that were learned quickly once one had mastered the three common Long Fist stances of Horse, Dragon and Snake. With the Winding Roundhouse Punch, Meteor Fist Punch, Long Uppercutting Punch, Reverse Fist Punch and the Twin Gorilla Punch all the hand techniques were covered. Adding the Winding or Whirling Roundhouse Kick the original style was complete. The only variation on this allowed Long Fist practitioners to also strike with their fore-arm and shins, not just feet and fists, though still using the same techniques and movements. There are no blocks in Long Fist, although the execution of Long Fist techniques allowed the 'brushing' aside of attacks whilst delivering the powerful techniques.
Practitioners of the Long Fist trained their style on live trees, hardening their limbs, improving their foundation and stances; and practicing to break bones.
History of Long Fist
The core of Changquan / Long Fist was developed in the 10th century by Zhao Kuangyin, founding Emperor of the Song Dynasty (960–1279). His style was called Tàizǔ Chángquán, which means "the Long Fist style of Emperor Taizu." In semi-legendary "classic" writings transmitted by Taijiquan's Yang family, their martial art is referred to by the name Chángquán in one of the received texts. These texts can only be reliably dated to the second half of the 19th century. The Long Fist of contemporary wǔshù draws on Chāquán, "flower fist" Huāquán, Pào Chuí, and "red fist" (Hóngquán).
Widely perceived to have a strong Shaolin influence, traditional Long Fist was promoted at the Nanjing Guoshu Institute by Han Qing-Tang (韓慶堂）, a famous Long Fist and qin na expert. After the defeat of Chiang Kai-Shek and subsequent closing of the institute, the new People's Republic of China created contemporary wushu, a popular artistic sport inspired largely by traditional Long Fist. However, this new evolution of changquan differed from the old style in that it was exhibition-focused. Higher, more elaborate jump kicks and lower stances were adopted, in order to create more aesthetically pleasing forms. Applications were then reserved for the sport of sanshou, which was kept somewhat separate from the taolu (forms).
Subtypes of Long Fist
- Pào Chuí (Chinese: 炮捶; literally "cannon punch") pre-Tang Dynasty;
- Chāquán (Chinese: 查拳; Cha Yuanyi style) Tang Dynasty (618–907);
- Tàizǔ Chángquán (Chinese: 太祖長拳; "Emperor Taizu (Great Ancestor) long fist") Song Dynasty (960–1279);
- Fānziquán (Chinese: 翻子拳; "tumbling fist") Song Dynasty (960–1279);
- Hóngquán (Chinese: 紅拳; "flooding fist") Song Dynasty (960–1279); and
- Huáquán (Chinese: 華拳; "China fist") Tang Dynasty (618–907).
A sample Long Fist curriculum
Northern Shaolin Long Fist Kung Fu Includes:
- Barehand Forms
- Qin Na Dui Da (Joint Locking skills & sets)
- Two Man Fighting Routines
- Self Defense Applications
- Iron Palm Training (Internal)
- Lian Bu Quan (連步拳) - Consecutive Linking Step Fist
- Gong Li Quan (功力拳) or Power Fist Form
- Tan Tui (潭腿) or Springing Legs
- Yi Lu Mai Fu (一路埋伏） or First Road of Ambush
- Er Lu Mai Fu （二路埋伏） or Second Road of Ambush
- 20 Methods Fighting Form or Er Shi Fa Quan （二十法拳）
- Duan Da Quan - Fighting In Close Quarters Boxing/Short Hit Boxing
- Hua Quan - First Set Of China Fist Yi Lu Xi Yue
- Hua Quan 2 - Second Set Of China Fist Er Lu Xi Yue
- Hua Quan 3 - Third Set Of China Fist San Lu Xi Yue
- Hua Quan 4 - Fourth Set Of China Fist Si Lu Xi Yue
- Hua Quan 2 2 Man - Second Set Of China Fist Two Man Fighting Set Er Lu Xi Yue
- Hua Quan 4 2 Man - Fourth Set Of China Fist Two Man Fighting Set Si Lu Xi Yue
Hand forms explained
- Lian Bu Quan （連步拳） - Consecutive Linking Step Fist: the most basic Shaolin Long Fist form containing over 70 applications.
- Gong Li Quan （功力拳） or Power Fist Form: the second basic form using dynamic tension at the end of each technique which develops muscles and tendons. Contains over 70 applications.
- Tan Tui （潭腿） or Springing Legs: contains spring-like kicks.
- Yi Lu Mai Fu （一路埋伏） or First Road of Ambush: an intermediate form that is considered the "foundation" of Long Fist. Contains subtle techniques designed to trick opponents.
Stances used in the Long Fist system
- Ma Bu （馬步） (Horse Stance)
- Deng Shan Bu （登山步）/Gong Jian Bu (Mountain Climbing Stance/Bow and Arrow Stance)
- Jin Ji Du Li （金雞獨立） (Golden Rooster Standing on One Leg Stance)
- Xuan Ji Bu （玄機步） (False/Cat Stance)
- Zuo Pan Bu （坐盤步） (Crossed-Leg Stance)
- Fu Hu Bu (扶虎步） (Flat Stance)
- Si-Liu Bu （四六步） (Four-Six Stance)
- Tun Bu （吞步） - similar to False Stance, but with toes up and heel on the ground
- Half Horse Stance (Lead foot turned forward)
- Long Staff (Gun)
- Broadsword (Dao)
- Double Edge Sword
- Spear (Qiang)
- Chain/Nine Section Whip (Bian)
- Dragon Phoenix Sword
- Straight Sword (Jian)
- Double Sword (Shuang Jian)
- Double Broadsword (Shuang Dao)
- Meteor Hammer
- Hook Sword
- Fundamentals of High Performance Wushu: Taolu Jumps and Spins by Raymond Wu, ISBN 978-1-4303-1820-0. Training book on classic long fist moves. Free downloadable companion training guide can be found on the site.
- Shaolin Long Fist Kung Fu by Yang Jwing-Ming, ISBN 978-0-86568-020-3. Training book on Long Fist history, applications, and sequences.
- Shaolin Long Fist