So I’m at Half Price Books selling some old titles and I notice this book: The Secrets of Phoenix-Eye Fist Kung-fu. I have never heard of this style so I had to try and research it. Apparently this is a little-known style of Southern Kung-fu that has Shaolin roots. Being a “Southern” style it’s built around getting in close to your opponent. From Wikipedia:
Yau Kung Moon (also Yau Kung Mun and YKM)(Chinese: 柔功門) is a Southern Chinese martial art that originated in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) with a Shaolin monk named Ding Yang (~800 CE) and is closely related to Bak Mei…For much of its history, this style was taught only within the confines of the Shaolin Temple and then only to confirmed monks.
He continued his practice of the martial arts throughout his life. He studied with many Asian masters…In his later years, Draeger spent four months a year on field trips throughout Asia. While on these trips, he visited schools and studied combative methods, which he analyzed and recorded. These studies were sometimes published as articles in various martial arts magazines, or put into books.
Draeger is someone I’m ashamed to say that I have not yet read. I’ve heard about him from other people and have been told that I should read some of his work. (maybe this summer) Regardless, it appears that Mr. Draeger spent some time studying Phoenix-Eye while on his travels.
I did a cursory search and it appears that not many schools openly teach or promote this style of Kung-Fu.
The Yau Kung Moon System is representative of southern styles in being based on a low, stable horse stance. It employs many upperbody techniques and most kicks are kept low. The YKM stance resembles the familiar “ding gee ma” or Kung-Fu side horse but back arch is more pronounced and the shoulders are thrown forward with arms and hands protecting the chest and groin area. Defense is natural since the critical areas of the body are behind the protective wall of the shoulders and arms. Kicks or punches delivered within range of the practitioner would still be out of range of vital areas. This same stance also lends itself readily to offense as the arms are already in the attack position and the back leg has the distance of leverage required for powerful kicking.
Yau Kung Moon has both an external and internal training. However, like most other styles of Kung-Fu renowned for their internal power, the individual systems’ manifestation of internal power are still, somewhat secretive. The majority of early forms are primarily external while the most advanced forms evolve into primarily internal.
The style gets its name from the way it teaches to strike; namely, with the “Phoenix-Eye Fist”.
As far as I can tell from the book this is the sole punch taught in this system. Apparently stylists train to strike key vital points and pressure points across the body (e.g. temple, eye, throat, groan, etc.) with the top knuckle. They practice their strike on five circular targets that are similar to makiwara board and they even have a form that is used for this training. (Sort of like Wing Chun’s wooden dummy training) They also have two partner forms that appear to be somewhat similar to Wing Chun’s chi sau drills along with several empty hand forms.
Insofar as I can tell from one book the kicks look even less spectacular than Wing Chun’s and they follow the same basic strategy as WC: Keep them below the waist, target the groin or knees, and use them to bridge the gap so you can get in close.
File this post under two categories: 1) Interesting and 2) I did not know that.
[tags]martial arts, kung-fu, Phoenix-Eye Fist Kung-fu, Yau Kung Moon, Yau Kung Mun[/tags]