Leopard Kung Fu
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It was supposedly created by Jue Yuan with help from Bai Yufeng and Li Sou. The emphasis of leopard is speed and angular attack. The leopard does not overwhelm or rely on strength, as does the tiger, but instead relies on speed and outsmarting its opponent. The power of the style derives from its aggressive speed. The leopard practitioner will focus on elbows, knees, low kicks, and leopard punches. Leopard kung fu is a hit, damage and run style designed to overcome superior forces with inferior resources. Counter attacks are sudden, indirect and short, with the aim of landing a debilitating technique.
The goals of Leopard style are to:
- develop muscle speed for external strength.
- teach patience.
- use the leopard punch for penetration and lower body springing power.
The leopard style was founded on the creators' observation of the movements of the leopard in the wild, and therefore practitioners of the style imitate these movements. Leopard style techniques are geared towards single, two or three technique combinations that cause a lot of damage, disorientate or even blind the attacker. Blocking is wasted in Leopard - the style can be summed up with "Why block when you can hit?" It does not rely on rooted stances, and would only assume a stance while in attack in order to launch at the opponent. This hit and run technique of the leopard, something especially effective against larger opponents, is unique to the animal.
The primary weapon is the leopard fist, which can be likened to a half-opened fist. The primary striking surface is the ridge formed by folding the fingers at the first phalangeal joint; the secondary striking surface is the palm hand. Strikes include the phoenix eye, which is a punch to pressure points including the eye and temple. It is formed by lifting only the index finger's knuckle while the rest are kept in a usual fist form. The leopard fist can also be modified by slightly lifting the fingers to form a claw. The leopard claw can be used to rake, claw, and rip at the face and throat of an assailant.
The leopard style is thought to be a midway point between the Tiger and Crane styles, the strength and height.
An interesting technique of the leopard is the ability to simultaneously block and strike the opponent. This is not commonly used in the harder martial arts (like the other Shaolin styles, for example). The sheer speed of the leopard is a defining characteristic of the style. In popular culture the Leopard style is used in the Mortal Kombat series. Darrius uses the art in Deception and the character Nitara also uses the style in both Deadly Alliance and Armageddon.
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