Long History of Eagle Claw Kung Fu


Shaolin is considered to be the Grand Father of the fighting arts of Asia, as almost all styles of martial arts can be trace its roots to the Shaolin Temple. Developed by monks as a means of self discipline, physical conditioning self-defense, Shaolin Kung Fu evolved into a total fighting art. Shaolin Kung Fu developed its full potential during the rule of the Manchurians (Ching Dynasty). The Shaolin temple was considered a safe haven for all revolutionaries. This caused many skilled masters of Kung Fu to seek refuge and develop Shaolin Kung Fu to help in the revolt against the Chings.

Shaolin Kung Fu is considered a long range fighting style, using full extension of the arms and legs for penetration and maximum speed, also waist rotation to generate power. Its blocking techniques are circular to deflect and control, and can also be used as a simultaneous block and strike. Shaolin Kung Fu encompasses both beauty and skill, to be a total fighting art.

History of Eagle Claw

General Yue Fei (1103-1141) is credited with the founding of the Eagle Claw system. He was born in Yunhe Village, Tangyin county, Xianghou. He became one of China’s most famous war heroes, opposing the jin forces invading China during the Northern Song dynasty, using an army renowned for its discipline.

Yue Fei was well versed in literary and martial skills due to training given to him by his Master, Zhou Dong, who is also said to have passed a legacy on to Yue Fei known as The 108 Fighting Techniques. These techniques were composed of a system of Chin-Na Hand Strategies which were refined and perfected by Yao Fai. These techniques were eventually incorporated into the Eagle Claw system through a long line of descendants.

Eagle Claw is a powerful and aggressive form of pugilism. Developed for the battlefields by General Yue Fei, and proven by the defeats of all armies that opposed his soldiers in combat. The complete title for this Kung Fu style is: Ji Ying Jow Fann Tzi Mun or Eagle Claw Somersault Boxing System. This unification of styles was created by a Shaolin Monk by the name of Lai Chin, who was an accomplished Master of the Fann Tzi system and learned Eagle Claw, then later combined the two. Eagle Claw is consisted of locking, tearing, manipulating, controlling and throwing techniques. Coupling this with pressure point attacks and aggressive kicking techniques, it makes this system a very complex and vicious form of self-defense. Movements of the Eagle Claw style are constantly changing from hard (Yang) to soft (Ying) energy. Foot work is a very important part of Eagle Claw training, as all techniques are done with maximum speed and power. To master Eagle Claw one must have perseverance and a calm mind.

Inherent in Eagle Claw is a fascination with opposites. The movements are elegant and graceful, and each one implies two or three violent strikes. The strikes themselves travel lightly and quickly to the point of impact, and there they suddenly become intense grabs or punctures seeking nerves and blood vessels as their final targets. To hit the targets accurately requires a knowledge of human anatomy as sensitive and intimate as that of a medical practitioner; the pressure point behind the ear that stuns can also soothe a headache. One develops an appreciation for the human body similar to that of an artist; the interesting curve formed by the styloid process of the radius in the wrist makes a convenient notch for one’s thumb when one is attempting to pull that wrist joint apart and lock the elbow above it.

There is a caginess to Eagle Claw; the power is not direct. Grab becomes pull becomes a simultaneous push, juglar grab and throw. Eagle Claw tries to make its opponent forget where he came from and where he wanted to go. It distracts and then hits where and when the opponent is not looking. This element of relying on wits and technique instead of strength to defeat an opponent particularly appeals to those who are neither large nor strong.

Northern Shaolin Eagle Claw

Bak Shaolin Ji Ying Jow Pai was founded by Grand Master Lung Chi Ma over twenty years ago in Asia. This association was formed with the intention to promote Northern Shaolin and especially the Eagle Claw style of Kung Fu. This title of Grand Master was passed down to Sifu Leung Lee Fu, who like his predecessor is passing on the knowledge of the Bak Shaolin Ji Ying Jow Pai. In 1978 the first Bak Shaolin Eagle Claw school was opened and is the only one of a handful in the USA to teach Eagle Claw. This school was promoted by Grand Master Leung Lee Fu with acknowledgment and blessing of the Hong Kong Chinese Martial Arts Association.

Chin Na in Ying Jow

Eagle Claw contains a wealth of Chin Na. Chin Na is one of the basic arts of Chinese grappling, specializing in joint locking, muscle and bone splitting, and pressure point strikes. It is a system based on medical knowledge of anatomy, and emphasizes smoothness and fluidity of motion so as to catch one’s opponent unawares when the devastating lock or split is applied.

Eagle Claw Kung Fu sports club at the University of Wisconsin, Madison