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Martial Arts Guide

Style: Snake Fist

Description: The actual origin of She Quan, or Snake Fist, is unknown, though this form of imitative boxing does have two distinct schools: one from the Shaolin Temple and another that is from southern China.

Both schools share three universal characteristics. Firstly, Snake Fist is strong, yet soft in such that the fighter imitates the suppleness of a snake's body in order to achieve powerful attacks. Secondly, the Snake Fist fighter's body represents the snake in the following manners: the fist represents the snake's head, the fingers are the snake's tongue, and the legs are the snake's tail. In both schools there is an emphasis upon finger (i.e. snake tongue) strikes to the eyes and other vulnerable pressure points of the adversary. Thirdly, Snake Fist is based upon speed. Attacks are extremely fast, mimicking the natural speed of an actual snake's attacks.

The most common tactic of snake fist can be summarized by a passage from Sun Tzu's The Art of War, "Attack with the head when the tail is attacked, attack with the tail when the head is attacked, and attack with both head and tail when the body is attacked."

Today, Snake Fist is most commonly practiced in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Sichuan, and Taiwan.

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