Monkey Kung Fu is a very unique style of martial art. It is unlike any other artform because its foundation is low to the ground, its movements are unpredictable and it has one major factor that separates it from all the other styles, it is extremely deceptive.
But first, let’s first clarify the Monkey art. There are actually three (3) forms of Chinese Monkey styles. Shaolin Monkey, Wu Shu Monkey and Tai Shing Monkey. Shoalin Monkey is the oldest of the three. The stances are not low and the movements are designed to be a man mimicking the movements of a monkey. There is only one known form of Shaolin Monkey. The last person Master Matsuda ever witnessed the form was Ark Y. Wong. Wu Shu Monkey is designed for the Chinese opera or the Wu Shu style of kung fu. It is very flamboyant, very elegant and very gymnastic. It has some low stances but is performed as a showpiece. The play, Journey to the West includes a Wu Shu monkey as its star. Tai Shing Monkey was created around 1911 and was designed based on the mix of the Great Earth style on the movement and techniques of actual monkeys. It is a very powerful and bone-breaking style of martial art and is extremely effective. This is the style Grandmaster has mastered.
As most martial arts styles promote a more face-to-face approach with techniques designed to block, hit or strike, Monkey Kung Fu takes a very different approach. As a monkey, he knows he doesn’t stand a chance against a larger opponent, so he must adapt. He must alter his thought process that will enable him to both strike the opponent, but quickly get away. I enjoy using the scenario of a group of monkeys whose home was invaded by a tiger. Obviously, if the tiger got a hold of the monkey, he would be quickly eaten. In order for the monkeys to get rid of the tiger, save their home and not be eaten, they had to put together a deceptive approach. In a sense, they had to fool the tiger.
As the tiger approached, one monkey would swing down and strike the tiger from behind and quickly jump into the jungle. As the tiger attempted to get the monkey, another monkey would come out of nowhere and hit the tiger as hard as he could and jump into the trees. Each monkey examined the situation and found an striking approach in which they could deliver a powerful blow but still get quickly away. The tiger became frustrated as he couldn’t get his paws on any of the monkeys, yet he was still sustaining blows. Obviously, the blows weren’t as strong as a tiger’s move, but nonetheless, they did do damage to the tiger. After awhile, the tiger left and the monkeys were victorious. Their goal was not to kill the tiger, but to get him away from their colony. They fooled the tiger by coming at him from various angles and getting out of harm’s way.
In Monkey Kung Fu, our goal is to deceive the opponent. We have to alter our mindset and like the monkeys, and in a sense, become the attacker. Our goal is to deliver an extremely devastating blow and to severely injure the enemy and yet quickly get away. Monkey Kung Fu uses elbows, knees and more and strikes at vital points to the body. Monkey Kung Fu surprises their enemy by bringing them quickly down to the ground through powerful grabs and striking with lightning speed and above all, causing a lot of damage. In many cases, a monkey will set up an enemy by forcing them to chase him then in a split-second, turn around and strike them.
Does Monkey Kung Fu Work?
Monkey Kung Fu, as it was originally designed, is an extremely powerful art. It is one of the most powerful artforms in Chinese Kung Fu. The reason why it is so powerful is because it is practiced from both high and low positions. Anyone can kick from a high position, but how many people can kick just as and even more powerful from just a few inches from the ground. A monkey must learn how to strike with such devastation, they can get quickly away without worrying about a counter-attack.
Speed, endurance and timing are essential in learning Monkey Kung Fu. A monkey must be able to burst out and attack quickly and just as fast, get out of the way. A monkey must be agile, moveable, and their movements must flow without even thinking about them. A monkey practitioner must develop their movements and strike in vulnerable areas of the enemies body.
Monkey Kung Fu is not an artform that some have seen screaming all over the place and does techniques that wouldn’t even allow them to break a wet-paper bag or focusing their whole art on being able to stretch their head to reach their private parts. This is not Monkey Kung Fu. Monkey Kung Fu, as it was originally designed, enables the practitioner to cause great bodily injury and yet leave the situation quickly without hesitation.
The Mind of the Monkey
Another area that sets Monkey Kung Fu apart from many other styles is that the practitioner must develop the “Mind of the Monkey.” They must create a mindset that in a sense, they become that monkey. In a nutshell, Monkey Kung Fu has five primary characteristics. The Lost Monkey, the Tall Monkey, the Stone Monkey, the Wooden Monkey and the Drunken Monkey. Each one of these are very unique and in most cases, they need to fit a person’s personality and sometimes physic (but not necessarily). The Lost Monkey is the quickest because he is lost, scared and frantic. When attacked, his blows are swift. His moves are fast and techniques are agile. He attacks without notice and sometimes uncontrolably. A person must take on those characteristics in order to be more effective. His personality must be like the Lost Monkey and his movements must be adjust accordingly. No two monkeys are unlike, even two Lost Monkeys. In short, you must become that monkey. Your mind cannot be one man against another, but a monkey against a man.
Monkeys, even small monkeys, are powerful creatures and their movements are incredible. So should yours be. By changing our mindset, we put on that monkeys personality and take on their characteristics. I realize this is a very hard concept to understand, but after some time practicing, if taught correctly, you will get the hang of it.
Can Anyone Learn the Art?
Yes, but they have to have a good teacher. And that is so important. In Monkey, you can easily damage your knees by learning it incorrectly. You can damage your back and you can endure a lot of dizziness if you are doing it incorrectly. This is a very advanced artform, it is not for the beginners and should be treated as such. Movements are hard but if you try hard enough, you can master them. Anyone, anyone can learn the art if they are taught the right way. There are a few individuals who only had one year of training and trying to push themselves as a master of the art. Please beware. Monkey Kung Fu is a wonderful artform and even if you don’t go on to master the entire art, you will improve your kicking, striking and movements ten-fold. Anyone, if they want to, can learn the art.