Luohan (martial arts)
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Luohan quan (Chinese: 羅漢拳; pinyin: lúohànquan, also known as rakan ken (羅漢拳) in Japanese), literally means "Arhat boxing". The traditional story of its creation states that Bodhidharma, while visiting the Shaolin Temple taught the monks a series of exercises. By observing and imitating the forms and expressions of each Arhat statue in the temple, meditation and practice, the exercises evolved into a form called "eighteen hand movements of Arhat", which consisted of eighteen combat skills and techniques. Through this, 24 new movements were then created for advancing and retreating during combat.
Arhat Boxing or Luohan Quan has in total 108 different movements; from six different forms of fist movements, two forms of palm movements, four forms of locking and grappling. Each movement in the art of Arhat Boxing is simple and straight. Each movement represents the simplicity and beauty of the expressions of the Arhat Statues. Each powerful attack is hidden through the movements of Arhat forms.
Happy, Angry Luohan Quan
In today's usage, Luohan Quan has expanded into many various forms. One of those forms is called Xi Nu Luohan Quan which literally means Angry Happy Luohan Quan.
Here is a quote from Xi Nu Luohan Quan:
Shi De Qian from Henan Shaolin Temple in China, wrote the history of Shaolin and included Xi Nu Luohan Quan; Angry Happy Luohan Boxing, in the (Shaolinsi wushu baike quanshu) Complete Encyclopedia of Shaolin Temple Martial Arts, volume I & II. Only 18 of the 108 postures were documented in the book.
Scattered around this page and the other pages of this are many pictures in, for some people, unusual and strange postures. This is Xi Nu Luohan Quan; Angry Happy Luohan Boxing. I was told that Sek Koh Sum knew he was passing and arrange for a photographer to shoot the full 108 postures of his beloved Luohan Quan for future Shaolin disciples.
It is one of the highest levels of art and includes attributes of emotions and sounds (thus the facial expressions).
This art was said to have been practiced by only 4 of the original 18 disciples (of the Shuanglin Temple Singapore); it is said that common students such as those in Indonesia or Malaysia did not learn it. At the moment only 1 person knows it as the rest already have sadly passed on.
In fact most students/disciples did not learn the entire Luohan tradition because Sek Koh Sum taught different skills to different students. That is why over 30 schools of the Shi Gao Can tradition appeared in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia over the years.
- "Shaolinquan" uses Luohanquan as part of their training.
- "Jingangbashi" is a new form that was created by combining Luohanquan and Bajiquan.
- "Xingyiquan" uses similar forms that are from Luohanquan.
- Honan Bei Shaolin Mei Hua Chuan is a style with a strong Luohanquan curriculum