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Old 10-15-2005, 11:13 AM
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Default Martial Arts.

The purpose of this thread is to further explain martial arts, different techniques, and expand our understanding of ourselves and the world around us through their use.

"On the face of it the study of martial arts appears a contradiction of Buddhist principles of non-violence. However, in Shaolin tradition, the practitioner of martial arts is never an attacker. Rather, understanding violence makes a person better equipped to avoid conflict. Failing that, a Buddhist who refuses to accept an offering of violence (i.e., an attack) merely returns it to the sender. The martial artist does not respond with the most devastating defense in all situations. The Kung Fu expert may choose to parry an attack, or even to run away. However, if an assailant is persistent, skilled, and determined to cause harm, a more definitive response may be required. The more violent the assault, the more devastating the defense in return. Buddhists are not, in this philosophy, seeking to hurt anyone; they “merely refuse delivery of intended harm.”

Over the centuries war and conflict reach the original Shaolin temple in Henan and sometimes caused Shaolin monks to seek refuge elsewhere. The second temple to adopt the Shaolin traditions was the Fukien Temple. Others to join include Kwangtung, Wu-Tang (the Tiger Temple), and O Mei Shan.

In many respects the Shaolin Temples were like universities. Students would learn from the best in every field. In order to graduate from the temple, they would have to exhibit phenomenal skills and pass through 18 testing chambers in the temple. If they survived the first 17 chambers, they would have to grip an iron cauldron with their bare forearms and have the raised relief of two symbolic animals burnt into their arms. These symbols probably varied from temple to Temple and may have been:

• A Tiger and Dragon (Fukien and Wu Tang Temples?)

• Two Dragons (Henan Temple?)

• Phoenix and Dragon (Kwan Tung Temple?)

• Two Cranes (O Mai Shan Temple?)

The resulting scars were the signs of a Shaolin Master. Not all who entered Shaolin became masters.

Around this time the 4th temple, O Mei Shan (Great White Mountain) joined the Shaolin order. It held a library and was devoted to the practice of medicine. O Mei Shan was located in a remote area of Szechwan. Just as the other temples attracted kung fu masters, O Mei Shan attracted healers and students wishing to learn the practice of medicine. O Mei Shan also had ties to the Crane Temple in Tibet, another major medical temple. It is probably that O Mei Shan chose 2 Cranes as its symbols instead of the traditional Dragon/animal pair.

One of the next major developments followed a drift away from the Buddhist influence and back into the Taoist influence. In 1417 a Taoist monk Chang San-fung invented a radical new element of Kung Fu known as "soft fist" or "internal style". This is a slow, relaxed and mystical style, as opposed to the older styles, which were hard and externally orientated. Chang San-fung believed that the intensive physical exertion of the former styles of Kung Fu was against Taoist philosophy. The focus instead should be on internal energy and harmony. Taoist temples became centers of Kung Fu knowledge. One such existing internal style derived from the Taoist way is "Tai Chi Chuan" or "Mind Fist". It is important to realize that the traditional “hard forms” and the newer “soft forms” actually follow different but parallel paths to the same goal. The hard forms work to bring strength, balance and discipline to the body and gradually transfer those qualities to the whole of the being. The soft forms work to bring strength, balance and discipline to the mind and gradually transfer those qualities to the whole of the being.

In 1530, the Shao Lin Temple once more gained great influence in the growth of Kung Fu. A Shao Lin Temple priest and martial art expert named Zhue Yuen joined the Shaolin. Like Chueh Yuan before him, Zhue Yuen traveled across China in search of new martial art styles. In the town of Lan Zhau he met Li Sou who introduced him to Bai Yu Feng, another famous martial artist. Zhue Yuen convinced both to return with him to Shaolin to develop kung fu. From the original 170 movements they developed the 5 animal styles of kung fu (Tiger, Snake, Dragon, Leopard and Crane). These styles were more than just fighting styles. They were also metaphors for handling confrontation and other situations. They also focused on different aspects of development - Dragon - to cultivate spirit, Tiger - to develop tough bones, Leopard - to build strength, Crane - to strengthen sinew, and Snake - to generate chi. Chueh combined hard and soft techniques in his forms. "


Tiger Style

The Tiger is the lord of the land/realm. It is the King of the Animals (Chinese did not know of Lions until about 10 centuries ago and used the Tiger as the King of Animals), king of the mountain. The Tigers natural, easy fluidity hides it's ferocious power and dominance. Armed with deadly claws, sharp and strong jaws, the Tiger style is one of Simplicity, Directness and Power. Very simple, honest and direct strategies valuing truth, honor and justice above all.

Dominating, controlling, powerful, frontal, larger than life, Tigers rely upon their size and the explosive force delivered by their short, thick muscles, clarity of mind, rightness and purity of spirit to achieve their needs and wants.

The Tiger does not need to defend, it is the ultimate predator. It has no evasion techniques, no blocking or defence. In any confrontation it leaps into attack going for the quick and direct resolution of the conflict. It does not have the stamina, inclination or need for enduring and prolonged activities.

The Tiger uses any simple and direct approach. It's techniques and methods are easily understood with not a lot of strategic thinking or planning; and absolutely no preparation. The Tiger is purely reactive. Either the world is OK or the Tiger will do something immediate and sudden.

Yang - Round sudden punches and direct kicks; round downward clawing techniques first impacting with the base of the palm and then clawing their way downward, including the famous Tiger Claw (hu zhua) technique (from which whole styles have developed). The techniques are in fairly large, wide and circular motions, much like a big cat swiping. The back legs of a Tiger are powerful and lend themselves to straight kicks and knees.

Yin - Digging the claws into the meat and separating tendons, muscles from bones with pulls, twist, tears, or strikes. Straight inward claws, again using the base of the palm to strike and in this case bunch up the flesh. Then clamping down with the sharp claws, digging deeply into the flesh, tearing, ripping and twisting (sounds gory; but tiger style is not a gentle art!)

Tigers avoid fighting tigers. An old Chinese saying goes "when two tigers fight, one is killed and the other is severely hurt". The nature of a tiger is also not to know when to quit. There is no retreat/surrender. There are no opponents; there are only victims and play things.

The Tiger has also a playful side that may seem to be wanton but serves to prepare it's young for real life. Non-adult tigers will 'play fight' with each other. This establishes an order of hierarchy for the future. And this is necessary to avoid major conflict between tigers when they are adults. (This still happens in our school system when teachers are not able to display 'alpha' characteristics to the students. Then the students will naturally seek to clarify this amongst themselves!)

Liang-I Shaolin Kung Fu Tiger Forms
Forms are an important aspect of any style. In centuries gone by, a form would be the style; contain all the techniques, strategies and movements. Shaolin Kung Fu with it's 1000 years of development has outgrown the one form one principle simplicity. To accommodate different types of people and their need for self exploration, Liang-I Shaolin Kung Fu has a number of forms. Four of which the Black Sash student may choose to learn for their grading and one they need to develop themselves. Their choices are;

1. The War Tiger (Sparring Form)
2. Tiger and Crane (from Hung Gar)
3. Golden Lion (linear movement form)
4. Resting Tiger (Isometric, Strengthening Form)
5. Striking Eagle (for tigers with a smaller frame)
6. Two Tigers (2 Person form)
7. The Tigers Claw (Hand & Arm Strengthening)
8. The Wise Tiger (Tai Chi style form)
9. The Tigers Eye (Multiple Attacker form)

The Tiger as a Person
First we need to understand that a person's character and habits are determined by upbringing, genetics, experiences, environment and possibilities. Even if you are a person with a strong tendency towards a certain style you may not have had time to explore and develop it. As you grow older and wiser, one of two things will happen. You become more broad based and your speciality character will not be as dominant or you become more and more that character. It may also happen, in cases of traumatic or enlightening experiences that you change your preferred style/paradigm. So when looking at the following, look at the core and try and sperate the external influences to understand the internal preferences!

You are a Tiger if you prefer;

* immediate action
* clear solutions and paths.

If you find that;

* people talk too much and there is not enough action
* you tend to get restless when there is nothing to do
* when you are more nervous leading up to an even but not when you are in the event
* when you like to play hard and work hard
* when you believe that you are better at things than others

In a group or team situation you would prefer to lead and define the direction. Your main tools for this would be logic and information together with a good dose of instinct and intuition (gut feel). You may have problems appreciating slower less direct actions by other people, you will have great problems if there is another Tiger in the Group (especially if you or this person are passive aggressively inclined) and may not have the scope for planning, visualizing and problem solving.

You are best in emergencies where action is needed now, when a quick, effective solution is best and a long drawn out plan or discussion is not possible. When immediate self, family or friends safety are threatened. You are also best when you go with your instinct!

The Tigers Strength, bravado and attitude actually protects a softer, gentler and even vulnerable person inside. Tigers will be easily hurt by words, lies and innuendos; and will often not have a way of dealing with this unless they resort to action.

The Ideal Tiger Practitioner
As a Kung Fu practitioner, to be a full tiger you need to be big and strong, low EQ, confident and with a good dose of attitude. You will be a natural leader with at least a small following of friends where you will be the dominant (Alpha) most the time. Your partner will most likely be a Crane Character, soft and gentle on the outside but with an iron core.

Echoes of the Tiger
Not everyone who is big and strong and powerful is a Tiger or has predominate Tiger tendencies. Alternately, we can also find small, petite people who are Tiger predominated. It is of very little use to try the Tiger's simplicity and directness if you are half the size of your opponent or half the attitude or half the ability. For this reason there are sub-spices; changes to the strategies and attitudes. Remembering that this is not just to emulate animal movements but as a metaphor for a whole world of strategies, attitudes, problem solving, etc. http://www.shaolin.com.au

Dragon Style

The original stretching and twisting movements associated with Dragon (Lung Ch'uan) were part of Bodhidharma's exercises which he taught after founding Shaolin temple in Honan around 570 A.D. The true emergence of a martial discipline can be traced to about 1565 A.D., but the originators are uncertain. Two legends seem noteworthy. One states that the Shaolin nun Wu Mui created the style by using moves of deception and melding with an opponent. The other credits a monk, Mui Fa San Yang with contemplating his kung fu training and daydreaming about countermoves, when he became inspired by the twisting movements of the dragon. The style was called Yow Kueng Moon, and was advanced by Yang's abbot, Tit Yang Sum Si. Both these stories place the origin at Honan Shaolin Temple. Since then, Dragon Kung Fu has evolved into two distinct styles, Southern (1565) and Northern (1680). Each consists of non-temple variations, in essence units of instruction taken, incompletely, from Shaolin, and molded into family styles. A new synthesis to organize the Shaolin styles and systematize a combined approach was begun in 1972. Of historical note, the style considered southern was the original form brought south from Honan, while northern evolved in the north after the burning of the temple in 1570 A.D.

Dragon kung fu is essentially an internal, ch'i cultivating method, but initial training is far more similar to a hard, external style than a delicate, reptilian approach. In learning the moves, the student will strike hard, block hard and stomp into each position, with the idea of learning the proper place to be once each movement is complete. Eventually, the method of transmitting power is retained, and the physically strengthened body is able to make transitions in the proper, fluid manner. In turn, this reptilian smoothness helps disguise the attack, making it extremely difficult for an adversary to effectively counter.

Once a purely physical semblance to flow has been mastered, the disciple incorporates the deep hissing sounds to train ch'i flow. Inhaling is silent, but exhalation is deliberate, tense and controlled. Inhaling lightens the body for aerial maneuvers, while exhaling drives power into each technique. Blocking is dispensed with, and parries or simple strikes substituted. At this point, novice and advanced student show very little in common.

On the highest level, an opponent is allowed to tire himself out, evasion becoming the Dragon's key defense. Ch'i control is highly developed, and the degree to which the body must be moved to redirect or avoid impact is under greater control.

The forms that comprise this system are divided by complexity into three categories, and are enumerated below:

* 16 Hole
* Passing Bridge Three Times
* Fierce Tiger Leaping Over Wall
* Rescue Master From Single Side
* Single Sword and Mount
* Press and Hit from Four Sides
* Eagle Claw
* Bridge Smashing


* Touch Bridge (introduces sticking hands)
* Venomous Snake Moves Tongue
* Hua King's Fist
* Standing Five-Form
* Cross Standing Five-Form
* Turn to Hook and Hit
* Five Horses Returning to Stable Palm


* Plum Flower Punch
* Seven Ways of Plum Flower Punch

In each form, one is taught to "ride the wind", a phrase which in large part means follow rather than lead. Provide no opening without first letting your opponent open. Unlike Crane, which also relies heavily upon evasion as a tactic, the Dragon evades primarily by rotation of upper or lower torso with little or no stance movements, while the Crane stylist hops frequently to reposition the entire body. Both styles employ pinpoint strikes to vulnerable meridian targets, but dragon also heavily uses tiger-like punches and clawing techniques, snake-like stance shifts, and leopard-like hit and run strikes to weaken a physically superior adversary. Dragon kung fu also regularly employs low sweeping techniques, but these are not unique; most senior stylists of any kung fu system use these on a weakened adversary. http://www.shaolin.com/s_dragon_martialarts.aspx

Snake Style

The Snake is a symbol for many things. It is blamed for Adam and Eve's banishment from Eden yet is the Symbol of Doctors.

Snakes have figured prominently in the religions, customs and folklore of people throughout the world. To early humans, snakes must have possessed seemingly magical, almost supernatural attributes. They had the ability to move without legs over and through all types of terrain, vegetation and water. They had the ability to find, capture and eat prey without the aid of appendages, as well as to periodically shed an old skin and the ravages of time to reveal a new, brightly hued mantle. They could arise in the spring, resurrected from the ice of winter, and, in a few cases, could cause sickness or death with a single bite. A science fiction writer could scarcely ask for a better model, so it is not surprising that snakes gave rise to all manner of tall tales and myths. It is also not surprising that a Snake is one of the 5 Shaolin Animals.

The Snakes ability to move quietly and invisibly, it's need for blinding speed and precision makes it the perfect animal to be the symbol for . . Speed and Precision of the 5 Animals.

The Shaolin Snake is the bureaucrat, the keeper of knowledge and wisdom. It is the style that likes things ordered and predictable. It is a very unimaginative style that focuses on simplicity, speed, accuracy, knowledge and timing.

Snake stylists uses very simple, straight and Snake (s bend) techniques both for the hands and legs. Generally aiming with a toe or one finger at a specific target that the Snake practitioner has identified for their current opponent. This will then be executed with minimum energy usage. For the Snake Style is that of a single, accurate, very high efficiency strike or kick.

The Snake style practitioner is never the attacker (much like the Shaolin Crane). It waits patiently for the right moment, the right spot, the right 'opportunity' for it's single, precise attack. It does not use any style of blocking but relies on it's agile body and quick reflexes being enough to avoid any contact what so ever. The Snake allows only one contact and that is it's attack.

To practice Snake Style the practitioner must spend a lot of time working on accuracy and precision. He/she must be 100% in timing, distancing, effort, target and opportunity. They may use some distracting, swaying motions, occasional feints (each executed as if it were a real attack, which it could be) but that is as complex as it gets.

They also need to have the best possible knowledge of the human body for use with Poison Hand techniques, and in the old days Dim Mak!
Liang-I Shaolin Kung Fu though chooses not to teach killing techniques for any reason

There are also an arguments against anyone who claims to teach 'killing techniques'. They are ether a killer or a fraud!! You should not learn from either.

Forms & Drills

There are only three Snake forms (currently) in Liang-I Shaolin Kung Fu;

1. The Gliding Snake (Basic and Movement Form)
2. The Coiling Snake (34 points, walking the circle)
3. White Spear (quintessential movements)

There are though 15 exercises that need to be passed for the completion of the Snake graduation. Five each, Speed, Accuracy and grappling exercises! These need to be performed almost perfectly for that is Snake Style Kung Fu

In Life
You are a Snake if you like order, procedure and predictability. You believe that experience and wisdom are important and should be built on. You like using tried and true methods but may be open to improvements. Your best friends are tangible facts and figures that to you prove the reality of the world. You are most likely to say, there is what you see and all else is perception. http://www.shaolin.com.au

Crane Style

Cranes are any of several wading birds comprising the 15 species of the family Gruidae, order Gruiformes. They are found in North America and throughout much of the Old World. The plumage is usually brown, gray, or white. Such species as the crowned crane, Balearica Pavonina, of Africa are particularly striking in appearance, and many species have unfeathered areas, sometimes brightly colored, around the head. Cranes often have loud, resonant cries. The trachea, or windpipe, in some species is convoluted into the keel of the sternum, a condition that facilitates the production of sound. Most cranes are terrestrial, preferring marshy conditions. They feed on plant materials and a wide variety of small animals. Their nests, usually containing two eggs, are on the ground in marshy areas. The crowned crane, however, occasionally nests in low trees.
At least five crane species are in danger of extinction; these include the WHOOPING CRANE, Grus Americana, the tallest bird found in the United States and Canada.

The Crane Meaning

The Crane represents the nurturer, mother and protector from the 4 animals. It first seeks to find the best solution for all concerned before it seeks to have it's own needs satisfied. It is like most mothers, the martyr, caring for it's flock and putting the family's existence, the groups well-being, the health of the unit before it's own.

The Crane is graceful, light, well balanced, patient, watchful and never attacking. It is armed with claws at the end of long feet which give it a long reach as well as a sharp long beak. The Crane never attacks but just evades; and if it thinks that it is safe and appropriate it will teach, finding a point to counter, an obvious vital spot like eyes, ears, nose, crown of the head and anything else that is suitable for it's light long claws and sharp strong beak.

Caring, teaching, protecting, graceful, the crane would never seek to attack and would ensure that whoever it is dealing with would be able to make their point first, putting their consideration and needs before seeking to have it's own needs satisfied. For the Crane seeks to guide, support and help all in achieving their needs and thus fulfilling their own needs.

The Crane does not attack only counter attack. It would do this from any angle except the front. It would always side step the attack; possibly using it's wings to mask the movement, change direction again, possibly to deliver a technique to the attacker. It is a master of evading supported by blocking and redirection. It would seek to frustrate it's opponent, helping it to defeat itself.

The Crane uses any technique that causes no permanent harm. It's preference would be annoying techniques, energy sapping strategies, (like water wearing down rock,) rather than a single blow or finishing technique. It would seek to give it's opponent the ability to stop and reflect on the consequences of it's aggression, seeking to teach/show it the error of violence. For this it would - like a mother or mentor - seem to be cruel to be kind.

Yang - The Crane would do mainly leg work with kicks not requiring a lot of strength, but which would cause pain without permanent damage. The hands would be used for distraction and occasional 'Cranes Beak' (5 Finger) technique. Hands would also be used for blocking, not to divert the techniques but to move it's light and agile body around the attack. The kicks would mainly be direct, flicking and surprising, both from technique and where they would be applied.

Yin - Chin Na (Aikido) like wrist locking and redirecting, using the feet for distraction, movement and occasional redirection and blocking. The wristlock's would be increasingly painful, but would not cause permanent damage. If the attacker is persistent the Crane may choose to cause loss of consciousness through application of extreme pain.

Shaolin Crane Forms
There are a number of Crane forms in Liang-I Shaolin Kung Fu including;

* The Butterfly Crane (Flow and Grace)
* Iron and Silk Crane (Form of Changes)
* The Raptor Crane (Twin Swords)
* The Dancing Crane (Movement and Interchange with Fans)
* The Flying Crane (Slow and Deliberate)
* The Directional Crane (Change of speed, direction and height)

Crane Character
You are a Crane if you prefer to have everybody air their ideas and opinions; get everyone behind the decision and have all working together. If you seek to maintain a stress free people environment where all are happy working, playing, living and partying together. If this is even more important than achieving goals and targets; and if you think that the most important aspect of life is Friendship, being with people and enjoying each others company then you are Crane Dominant. (This is not to say that you do not use the others.)

You are best as a mother, social organizer, mediator and (ideal) diplomat! You have strong focus ability never losing site of what you want, but never making this obvious or achieving this to anyone's detriment. You are also a true and honest teacher, mentor, Sifu, guardian and family person who will do all to ensure the survival of the group/family/company. http://www.shaolin.com.au

Leopard/Panther Style

The Panther- there are bigger issues at hand then just the immediate success.

Black Panthers are great athletes and excel in jumping and tree climbing. They can leap up to 8 meters and as high as 3½ meters. The cat is very powerful for its size. It often attacks prey that is larger and weighs more than itself. The black Panther's neck and shoulders are massive. It uses its powerful leg, neck and jaw muscles to carry a kill up into a tree where it is safe from the larger Tigers and Lions or from group predators (Hyena, etc.)!

As a hunter, the black Panther is a stalker, not a runner. It walks slowly and creeps very close to its prey. Stalking may take hours. The black Panther is silent and cautious. Its padded paws are soft and quiet, while the hair on its legs absorbs noise. It’s coat allows it to blend in with the jungle background and its prey cannot easily see the black Panther.

Because of its quiet style and its ability to stay hidden, the black Panther was chosen to represent the "Ghost of the Shaolin Animals."

The black Panther has sharp eyesight and night vision. It also possesses a keen sense of smell and hearing. After a kill, the black Panther will eat what it wants and will hide the carcass in a tree and will return to eat it later. When it finishes eating, the cat spends hours scrubbing itself with its tongue. It cleans itself until it is free of the prey's scent. That way other animals cannot smell the black Panther, and it can get close enough to another prey to catch its next meal.

The Shaolin Black Panther practitioner emits a great power, not the tense forceful power of the great cats but a power from loose, relaxed, whip-like movements, which it generates by a mastery of speed and balance, coupled with limber waist and hip-based movements. It is a midway between the solid, massive strength of The Shaolin Tiger Style and the quick penetrating force of The Shaolin Crane. Yet it is neither and it can not be compared.

The Shaolin Panther style develops all aspects of it's being equally as it is a many sided creature.

Panther Strategy

The Panther Stylist chooses the time, the place, the conditions, the style, the everything. S/He is in command of any situation, not by brute power but by the breadth of their skills, abilities and cunning. It never does the expected unless that is the last thing you would expect.

The Panther can attack from any direction, with any technique at any time in a hit and run fashion. It is always well prepared, well informed and always surprising. It likes to use and even create confusion for use to it's own advantage. It would never attack frontally unless that is where it is not expected. As a Style is has the greatest amount of technical expertise, widest range of techniques used in the most impossible ways. It is always the attacker, never the attacked. Whatever you expect, expect 1 million other possibilities!

Panthers are the most complex of the 4 Animals with the most varied and interesting strategies, habits and solutions.

"The outcome of a battle is decided long before the battle starts!"
Sun Tzu; Book of 5 Rings

Preferred Panther Techniques

Yang - The Panther practitioner seeks quick and easy resolution and would use any means at it's disposal as long at it requires minimal action. Any technique, any defence, any strategy any, anything but in an unusual and unexpected way.

The Panther would use and know every technique that there is to know and know it well. It would also know how to apply these techniques in unusual, interesting and sometimes seemingly impossible methods. It would be equally comfortable with all kicks, strikes, punches, blocks and stances, using them all to it's advantage and reckoning. It is a Master in Elbow, Knee, Forearm and Shin techniques, and would also use it's 'head'.

Yin - It is the master of close quarter conflict, (elbows, knees, shins, forearms and head), seeking to set it's opponents in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar, setting and environment.

Panther Bare Hand Forms
Liang-I Shaolin Kung Fu Panther forms are;

1. Hunting Panther (staking, quick action, recovery)
2. Stalking & Striking Panther (multiple attacker)
3. Chaos Panther ( . . .)
4. Black Panther/Fire (Speed and Accuracy)
5. Drunken Panther (Deception, Misdirection and control)

In Life
The Panther person is a thoughtful (not necessarily considerate) person who has great learning, thinking and logic abilities. They will pride themselves on their knowledge and problem solving ability.

They are is best for difficult situations, when views are totally opposing, when there is an impasse. It is about lateral thinking, where a win-win is not possible, where a solution needs to be found where it seems a solution is not possible. In a group situation a Panther would only contribute when it feels that it is valued and a simple solution will/cannot be found. Some further examples where Panther type people can excel;

* When goals are important, more assertive modes or solution need to be avoided (diplomacy/negotiation/bargaining)
* When opponents with equal power are committed to mutually exclusive goals
* To achieve temporary, workable settlements to complex issues
* To arrive at expedient solutions under time pressure
* As backup when collaboration or competition is unsuccessful

Panthers are not easily understood unlesss by another panther or Gray Tiger. They have a broader, wider and more thorough view than most but are not always able to convey this to the common person. They do not like each others company but need it occasionally. They are best within a team Panther if they have a free hand at contributing and in their own way.

Panthers work best with Snakes and need to avoid young Tigers (older Gray Tigers are OK as long as they allow the Tiger to lead and female Tigers are OK as long as they acknowledge the Panthers Knowledge). Panthers and Cranes need each other but do not like each other.

Panther style people take the longest to manifest themselves as they need to acquire knowledge and be very literate to function fully and satisfactorily. Panthers without education are drowning and frustrated cats. Panthers require a high IQ as Cranes require a high EQ. Panthers need to be allrounders who can adapt into any situation but this takes time. They are prone to procrastination, complex solutions and misunderstandings.

Echos of the Panther
There are many shades of Panther style people. They are possibly the style with the most variation. They are the ghost of the Animal System and the most difficult to pin down. Within the Panther System there are also great variations including

* Wolf/Hyena (for groups of 3 or more male and female dominated)
* Monkey (for the playful and vexing aspect)
* Puma/Mountain Lion (for those who like to hit & run) http://www.shaolin.com.au

Not only are there countless variations to these styles, but there are also weapon styles to compliment each style.
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Old 10-16-2005, 11:13 AM
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Default Japanese Martial Arts

In Japanese culture, the foundation of most martial arts is based on the sword. It's ultimately based on solidity and groundedness.

Budo is a compound of the kanji 武 (bu)—meaning war, warrior, fight, or fighter—and 道 (do)— meaning path or way. Thus, it is most often translated as "The Way of War", "the Way of the Warrior", or "martial way". Budo more correctly represents a discipline and way of life specific to the idealized Japanese warrior. It is distinguished by many terms from the actual technical skills and techniques of the warrior, such as Bujutsu ("Warrior's Artistry" or "Warrior's Skill") Kyudo ("The Way of the Bow"), Kendo and Kenjutsu ("Way of the Sword" and "Sword Artistry" or "Sword Skill").

Kenjutsu (this one's important, kids)
Kenjutsu is a classical Japanese martial art, a koryu budo. There are many different schools, with the objective to teach the efficient use of the Japanese sword in combat.

The practice is largely done in the form of kata, and also by actual cutting and thrusting of the blade against water-soaked rolled mats and bamboo poles tameshigiri. The practice tool is either a bokken (wooden sword), iaito (unsharpened steel sword), or shinken (live blades such as katana, tachi, etc.). A common misconception of practitioners and observers alike is that the bokken is used for safety when performing two-man kata, when in fact it is used to minimize the chance of damaging the blade of either the shinken or iaito. Some schools of kenjutsu have adopted the shinai (bamboo sword) from kendo for safety reasons, and at least one family of schools (derivatives of Yagyu-Ryu) uses a modified leather-wrapped version of the shinai.

The emphasis is on drawing the sword and attacking as quickly as possible. Starting positions can be from combative postures or from everyday sitting or standing positions. The ability to react quickly from different starting positions was considered essential for a samurai.

The major distinction between iaijutsu and kenjutsu was the condition of the sword at the start of combat - in iaijutsu, the sword begins sheathed and the emphasis is on the initial strikes, while in kenjutsu, the sword begins unsheathed, and the emphasis is on both attack and defense. Kenjutsu also often includes consideration of combat against opponents wearing armor while iaijutsu generally assumes that the opponent is unarmored. Some kenjutsu schools also teach sword combat against other weapons such as naginata or yari.

Battojutsu is a martial/performance art involving the katana. While related to (and often confused with) iaido and kendo, battojutsu focuses primarily on cutting technique. (In contrast, iaido concerns itself specifically with drawing and sheathing the sword, and kendo encompasses both areas but also concentrates on sporting combat.)

Koryu is a Japanese word that translates literally as "old school" or "old tradition". It refers to schools of martial arts that predate the Meiji restoration, a political event that precipitated Japan's modernization. While arts post dating this event (gendai budo such as judo, kendo, iaido and aikido) are valued either as sports or arts for self-improvement, the koryu are the teachings of a feudal military culture. Koryu styles often contain both armed fighting with several different weapons and unarmed techniques.

For a list of these style, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koryu

"Aikijutsu, also known as aikijujutsu, is a form of Japanese martial arts. In modern times, the best-known style of aikijutsu is that developed by Sokaku Takeda from Daito-ryu. Some Daito-ryu aikijutsu practitioners claim that this ryū was originally developed during feudal times by the Aizu clan; however the majority of martial arts historians dispute this, noting that there is no record of such an unbroken tradition. Takeda spent the majority of his life travelling throughout Japan teaching thousands of individuals, primarily during seminars. Ueshiba Sensei's development of Aikido primarily originated from his long-term study with Takeda. There are many modern derivatives of Aikijutsu such as Tenshin-Ryu, Hakko-Ryu, Senso-Ryu, Takeda-Ryu, Nami-Ryu, etc. Currently, the only aikijujutsu organizations that can verify direct lineage to Sokaku Takeda consist of the following: Daito Ryu Hombu Mainline (under the direction of Kondo Katsuyuki), Daito Ryu Takumakai (founded under the direction of Takuma Hisa), Daito Ryu Kodokai (founded by Kodo Horikawa), Daito Ryu Roppokai (founded under Seigo Okamoto), and the Sagawa Dojo (founded by Yukiyoshi Sagawa).

Some define jujutsu and similar arts rather narrowly as "unarmed" close combat systems used to defeat or control an enemy who is similarly unarmed. Basic methods of attack include hitting or striking, thrusting or punching, kicking, throwing, pinning or immobilizing, strangling, and joint-locking. Great pains were also taken by the bushi (classic warriors) to develop effective methods of defense, includingar gar garg strikes, thrusts and kicks, receiving throws or joint-locking techniques (i.e., falling safely and knowing how to "blend" to neutralize a technique's effect), releasing oneself from an enemy's grasp, and changing or shifting one's position to evade or neutralize an attack.

From a broader point of view, based on the curricula of many of the classical Japanese arts themselves, however, these arts may perhaps be more accurately defined as unarmed methods of dealing with an enemy who was armed, together with methods of using minor weapons such as the jitte (truncheon; also called jutte), tanto (knife), or kakushi buki (hidden weapons), such as the ryofundo kusari (weighted chain) or the bankokuchoki (a type of knuckle-duster), to defeat both armed or unarmed opponents.

Furthermore, the term jujutsu was also sometimes used to refer to tactics for infighting used with the warrior's major weapons: katana or tachi (sword), yari (spear), naginata (glaive), and jo (short staff), bo (quarterstaff). These close combat methods were an important part of the different martial systems that were developed for use on the battlefield. They can be generally characterized as either Sengoku Jidai (Sengoku Period, 1467-1603) katchu bujutsu or yoroi kumiuchi (fighting with weapons or grappling while clad in armor), or Edo Jidai (Edo Period, 1603-1867) suhada bujutsu (fighting while dressed in the normal street clothing of the period, kimono and hakama).

Aikido, literally meaning "harmony energy way", or with some poetic license, "way of the harmonious spirit", is a gendai budo — a modern Japanese martial art. Practitioners of aikido are known as aikidoka. It was developed by Morihei Ueshiba over the period of the 1930s to the 1960s. Technically, the major parts of aikido are derived from Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, a form of jujutsu with many joint techniques, and kenjutsu, or Japanese sword technique (some believe the tactics in Aikido are especially influenced by Yagyū Shinkage-ryū). Aikido is also considered to contain a significant spiritual component.

Aikido incorporates a wide range of techniques which use principles of energy and motion to redirect, neutralize and control attackers. Because aikido techniques allow practitioners to move considerably during their execution, as well as for other reasons, some believe aikido is particularly suited to multiple-attacker circumstances. However, like all martial arts claims, this is debated. At its highest level, aikido can be used to defend oneself without causing serious injury to either the aggressor or the defender. If performed correctly, size and strength are not important for the techniques to be effective.

Karate or karate-dō (the way of the open hand) is a martial art of Okinawan origin. Rather than being the product of any one person, culture or era, karate is a synthesis of various Okinawan fighting methods, enhanced intermittently with admixture from various Chinese martial arts. In modernity, it is categorized by some as budo, introduced to the Japanese main islands from Okinawa in 1921 by various Okinawan practitioners who migrated to Japan during the early 20th century. One who practices karate is sometimes referred to as a karate-ka. Karate-ka meaning karate practitioner.

Karate emphasizes explosive striking techniques, such as punching, kicking, knee/elbow strikes and open hand techniques. However, grappling, joint manipulations, locks, restraints, throwing and vital point striking are inherent in the finer points of the kata. Simple punching and kicking is too one dimensional to be called true karate.

Taijutsu is a method of using the body for self-defense. Actually, taijutsu is the collective name for any martial art techniques that rely on body dynamics. In some lines of aikido the word taijutsu denotes all aikido work without weapons.

Taijutsu techniques may include strikes, kicks, joint locks, throws and many of the techniques found in the martial arts like aikido, judo and karate, etc. While most of its aspects appear external, the dedicated student will find many internal aspects as well.

Taijutsu is commonly associated with the schools that supposedly teach ninjutsu, although there are many koryu schools with no relation to ninjutsu that have taijutsu in their curriculum, for instance Asayama Ichiden ryu. Taijutsu was used by bushi, some ninja also used their own version of taijutsu." www.wikipedia.org
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