The fluid and adaptive strikes of the snake entwines and devastates an opponent’s defense. In contemporary times, the serpent strategy resides in Shaolin methods of Baguazhang, Bajiquan, and Taijiquan. Armored Shaolin monks in the Ming Era defended empires, using the Long Snake Formation in battle. Feudal body methods/ close-in fighting of Bajiquan are often characterized as snake-like. Great stories exist of ancient masters observing fights between birds and snakes in the synthesis of Taijiquan. Moreover, both disciples of Dong Haichuan are characterized by snake attributes in one way or another… Be that as it may, the King of Snakes is no other than Ming General Qi Jiguang- who fought with REAL snakes during combat. In the year 1561, Qi Jiguang and 500 soldiers of the Qi family (also known as Yiwu soldiers) were stationed in Taocheng City, with the mission to eradicate invading pirates. Thousands of pirates sieged the capital city on a regular basis, causing much fear and disruption among its citizens. In response, Qi Jiguang strictly ordered the sergeant to strengthen the garrison and upon inspection of the city walls, discovered many slithering beasts in the area. During the summer months in Zhejiang, snakes were frequent… and there were many venomous snakes, especially a specie of brown viperous snake. Qi and soldiers devised a plan offering brocade boxes of gold with heavy cloth bags of silver (concealing pissed-off snakes) to the pirates. Later upon taking the bait, the savage snakes entangled and bit the limbs of the pirates, ending many of them on the spot while scrambling others. Even more masterful, Qi Jiguang and troops stormed the retreating looters out of the city, attacking them with graceful martial artistry, cannons, and spears. After some fighting, hundreds of pirates were without lifeforce, including the unethical leader who was beheaded by Qi Jiguang.
Qi Jiguang’s ‘The Best of Boxing Classics’ states: “Go in and fight with your elbows, and your elbows will protect your heart, cross your elbows, squeeze your shoulders, and seal your crotch. Close quarters will be difficult, and you will remain short and close… use your knees and elbows… it is difficult to prevent the elbow from hitting the Quartet; kicking long-distance and playing with interlinking hands, leaning against the body with nowhere to go “. Feudal kungfu commonly uses a deductive approach in striking- segmenting various short-range attacks from a single long-range structure. Qi Jiguang illustrates the importance of segmented attacks, using all joint parts of the body flexibly.
Lethwei or Burmese boxing is a full-contact combat sport from Myanmar that utilizes brutal elbow strikes along with various headbutts and clinching techniques. Lethwei is considered to be one of the most aggressive and brutal martial arts in the world- known as the Art of Nine Limbs. The unique close-range striking of Lethwei is reminiscent of those of Bajiquan, both descending from stick/polearm methods of feudal dynasties.
The method of clenching fists in Bajiquan is unlike standard boxing in origin. The four-finger curves and hollows, in a shape similar to a “palladium” or fork-like instrument. The ancients named it “Palladium Fist/Baziquan” during the Ming Dynasty. The system excels in close-in boxing, stick melee/polearm applications and shares technology similar to Yin Style Baguazhang (Phoenix Curling-In) and Escrima (Snapping Strikes). The fist hollows and clenches in intervals, or with a whip-like fashion before impact- designed for speed, rapid succession, and delivery of power with polearms or batons.
Certain historians believe the unarmed structures of western boxing evolved from the quarterstaff. The angles of the guard and strikes in that era are reminiscent of the exotic postures seen in many Kungfu styles. Modernization of boxing/empty-hand fighting has gradually altered the original polearm structures- inherent in the east and the west. [John L. Sullivan in pic]
Dong Haichuan’s Baguazhang footwork shares ancestry with Ming-era systems in Hebei Province, including Bajiquan. The T-step (also called T Square) is well documented in Ming General Yu Dayou’s ‘Sword Classics’, with emphasis on polearms in origin. The reversing T step describes escaping backward, then taking advantage of an arched position in counterstrike. The T method immediately turns the back and attacks the opponent with a square geometry. Treatise: the t-square step can be used for regression, but also for progression; it may retreat; can be advanced in an arc, it can be rotated forward, or it can enter at a curve; Use every possible way to discover and apply the principal.
By the 20th century, Internal Martial Arts became reimagined by reformers and teachers striving to preserve Chinese culture, or to strengthen the Chinese nation against foreign oppression. The martial arts context of today evolved into a nationalized project that had state backing. The feudal intent of Chinese Martial Arts is urban with biomechanics beneficial to the average professional or person. It is largely impractical for a citizen to train self-defense in preparation against unarmed Combat Sports Champions in real-world situations. The Kungfu vs MMA debate is a symptom of inaccurate historical documentation and modernized goals.