Learn about the Tiger Form of Shaolin Kung Fu

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Learn about the Tiger Form of Shaolin Kung Fu

The "Tiger Form" is one of the animal forms used in Shaolin Kung Fu and other styles of Kung Fu. Contrary to popular belief, 'tiger form' does not mean literally act like a tiger, with your hand forming claws, etc. Shaolin Kung Fu tiger form is the spirit of the way a tiger attacks; it is small ultra fast strikes, ideal for dealing with multiple opponents when you don't have time to muck about. Tiger form attacks usually result in burst tear ducts (broken the nose), numb or fractured arms, and other incapacitating injuries which, although not life threatening, are enough to put an attacker out of the fight for a while. This frees up the defender to either deal with other attackers, or to switch to more damaging forms such as panther (huge powerful actions), or snake (constricting actions) for a more permanent end to the fight, such as bone breaking or worse.

In the first video below, Sensei Alan Jones is performing Tiger 1. Tiger forms are incredibly fast and designed to be used when you face multiple attackers. The first 2 times he performs it slowly and in the basic form, he then switches to the Zen (advanced) form which is MUCH faster.

Description of actions - an opponent comes in with a punch, the defender (performing tiger 1) enters a short sanchin stance, stepping slightly past and forward, whilst covering with a left hand block. The defender then strikes the punching arm with a back fist (in zen form this will probably break the arm), followed by a palm strike to the attackers shoulder to turn them away from you, and chase with a punch to the kidneys from the rear - three hits within 1 second. In the Zen form you will also notice you can hear extra hits; this is because in Zen you bounce your extremely relaxed hands off your own body using your hips to increase the speed, and at the same time, the extra 'hitting' sounds confusers your attacker as they are hearing hits without feeling them, which causes them to pause in confusion. For more information on this, read the page on Zen combat techniques.


  1. Hop Kuen Do Shaolin Kung Fu, for more information join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/hopkuendo

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