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Martial Arts Guide

Style: Eagle Claw

Description: Yingzhao Quan, or Eagle Claw boxing, is one of the traditional animal imitating styles. Like most other animal styles, it incorporates the movements, techniques and methods of the eagle with traditional martial arts movements.

The traditional routines of Eagle Claw boxing are said to have been created by the Song dynasty general Yue Fei. Yue's style was eventually mastered by Li Quan, a monk of the Ming dynasty who was attributed with incorporating tumbling boxing into it. Li then taught the transformed style to monk Fa Chang, who later passed it on to Liu Shijun of Xiongxian county in the Hebei province.

Liu Shijun was born into a poor family. When he got older, he made a meager living from selling tobacco, but found

happiness and strength in practicing kungfu. One day, Liu had visited a small inn and decided to stay there for the night. As he was practicing his martial arts, monk Fa Cheng, who happened to be staying at the same inn, was woken up by the sounds of Liu's movements. Fa Cheng quietly observed Liu training and when the tobacco seller was done, shared a few pointers with him, telling Liu that that though his routines were an effective means of maintaining good health, they would not be good for fighting an enemy. Liu was very annoyed by the monk's remarks, to the point that he challenged him to a fight. In the spirit of teaching, the monk accepted to fight a practice bout with Liu.

Eager to win, Liu launched three ferocious attacks in a row, all of which were easily deflected by Fa Cheng. As Liu went in to make his fourth attack, the monk employed his eagle claw style to catch Liu's wrist. Despite his best efforts, the astonished Liu could not shake off the monk's hand. Fa Cheng then applied pressure to a pressure point on Liu's back, sending consecutive jolts of shock and numbness across his entire body. Liu just fell to the ground. Humbled, realizing that his opponent was vastly superior at martial arts than he was, Liu begged the monk to teach him! Liu made it his mission to follow Fa Cheng and learn Eagle Claw.

After three years of hard training and learning, Liu became proficient enough in Eagle Claw to instruct, finally leaving his master to spend the rest of his life teaching martial arts. At one point he served as an instructor at the barracks of the imperial guards in Beijing during the Qing dynasty. It was at this point that he taught Eagle Claw to Liu Dekuan, Ji San, Ji Si, and his nephew Liu Chengyou. Liu then passed on the art to his sister's grandson, Chen Zizheng (1873 - 1933) who departed to the northeast of China, Shanghai and Guangzhou to teach.

Today, there are many branches of Eagle Claw boxing including the eagle claw fist play which imitates all the movements of an eagle, the eagle boxing which stresses both the claw and the flapping and fanning of wings, and the rock eagle boxing which imitates the eagle flying up and down a rock cliff. There is also Ying Zhao (Eagle Claw) Fanzi Quan, a mixture of Yue-style-boxing and tumbling boxing, which was created by Chen Zizheng.

Source: From Shaolin Temple to Bruce Lee - 100 Kungfu Styles of the Past Millennium by Gene Ching and Martha Burr, Kungfu Qigong Jan 2000 (C) 2000 Kungfu Qigong Magazine &, used by permission. 2001