Only A Warrior May Choose To Walk Away
THE FIVE ANIMALS OF SIL LUM KENPO RYU
In nature, tigers are known for their ferocity and strength. This feline has been the center of attention for their finesse and danger. Because of these qualities, they are a natural fit within the Martial Arts world.
In Chinese culture, tigers were found in many of the more mountainous regions. They are often used to represented the "yang" or male force in the world. Thus, they are eternally locked into battle with the phoenix, or the "yin"/female force of nature.
The Tiger Strengthens the bones. Relies on frontal assault, aggression, and power. Lots of breaking, ripping, and tearing. Movements are short and forceful. The tiger fights fiercely, rending, tearing and breaking any open space of skin or limb that is left unguarded.
A very common hand strike formation in Martial Arts is known as the tiger claw. Tiger movements are fierce and explosive, going in to conflict with a continual barrage of attacks. There is nothing more ferocious than the maul of the TIGER!
In Asian art, cranes are often shown standing alone. Their long proud necks held high. Their surroundings are serene and tranquil. Their movements graceful and well balanced, often only resting on one leg. But do not let this gentle side of these beautiful creatures fool you, for cranes can be fierce if challenged. Their long sharp beaks strike with uncanny speed and accuracy.
In Martial Arts, the crane represents balance and gracefulness. An artist who practices crane techniques will often be seen demonstrating great balance. In some forms of Martial Arts, this balance is shown by standing on tops of poles raised high above the ground and literally jumping from one pole to the next. The strikes are soft, but deadly with pinpoint accuracy. In Kenpo the crane is represented by wide circular movements and continues attacks and retreats always maintaining the advantage of distance.
The Crane trains flexibility. Prefers to work at a distance from the opponent and at angles off-line from his attacks. Requires great flexibility for its attacking and evasion techniques. The Crane has excellent balance and is very disturbing to the balance of others. It has strong wings and uses them often and effectively.
Common feature of crane movements are the "wings", extensions of the arms, normally in a balanced fashion, to block or protect. A "crane's beak", which is a fairly common hand structure, is used to strike as specific spots on the body. The use of pressure points to both heal and hurt, fall under the crane style.
The Leopard is known for its timing and speed. It has excellent coordination and footwork skills. Pound by pound the Leopard is stronger than the tiger. The Leopard fights with speed and agility. Leopards have excellent balance. The Leopard strikes with smooth, relaxed, whip like attacks. Thanks to their extraordinary balance they are able to rapidly strike without losing their ground. Training in “The way of the Leopard” helps condition the skin, tendons, and bones. The Leopard symbolizes speed and agility.
Snakes are curious creatures. They do not have any visible means of movement yet they can move as fast or faster than their prey. They do not have limbs to grab hold of their opponents, yet they have adapted and can strangle and suffocate their victims.
The Snake derives its power from coiling then exploding with great speed to strike out at its target. The Snake style uses its fingertips and palms to strike at the opponent's pressure points. The strikes must be offensive and defensive at the same time. The snake generates internal energy and releases it at will. To do this, a student must fight in a relaxed state. The more relaxed, the more power can be generated when moving from a ready position to an offensive strike.
The Snake uses flowing, rippling movements with emphasis on fingers and deep, soft breathing to develop temperament and endurance. Symbolizes death and rebirth.
The Dragon symbolizes grace and beauty along with power. In Chinese mythology, the dragon comes from water, and its movements are fluid and circular. The Chinese dragon differs from the Western Dragon because it does not stand upright or breathe fire. It has a long snakelike body with short legs and sharp claws. The Dragon Style uses its claw to grab and hold while delivering a powerful blow with another part of the body. The dragon's power comes from a circular movement such as twisting, and the development of internal power call "Chi." Dragon training develops internal strength as well as smooth fluid movements.
The Dragon represents spiritual strength, which comes with seasoning. This mental attitude is attained during the individual's later years of training. It is placed above earthly strength since the individual at this stage has learned to develop humility and self-restraint.
The Dragon uses long, flowing, continuous movements with emphasis on breathing and coordination of mind, body, and spirit; yang or spiritual force in nature.
In Sil Lum Kenpo Ryu the Dragon represents the next level of awareness often pulling resources from all of the other animals. Dragon is clever and deceptive and will reside just outside the peripheral vision will possible. Often a Dragon will mislead by appearing to strike high, when the real attack is low and vise versa.
Sil Lum Kenpo Ryu Federation