Build the Tiger

4 03 2013

In Dean Chin’s Jow Ga, we believe in Building the Tiger.

Jow Ga training is more than simply learning forms, a bunch of weapons, and performing Lion Dance. For most in the Kung Fu world this may be true, but training in the Dean Chin branch of Jow Ga is much more rigorous and (for many) quite boring. Our list of forms and techniques is as long as any other Southern style one would find, but considerable time is spent building strength in various parts of the body which enable our techniques to be effective.

This is one of those things misunderstood about Kung Fu. While many systems simply impart techniques that simulate tearing, strangling, dislocating and breaking–the Kung Fu student must develop his body to be able to actually use those techniques for what they were intended for. When the body has been forged properly, the fighter has, in effect become a Tiger:

  • Powerful shoulders
  • The Tiger’s Claw:  the fingers, the hand, the wrist and forearms
  • A strong and destructive fist
  • Strong neck and abdomen
  • Strong, explosive legs
  • A courageous and fearless, and where necessary–ferocious–heart

Take your system’s clawing techniques. If you were to use those techniques on a real attacker, what damage would you be capable of inflicting? The Jow Ga man, if properly trained, can answer that question. Rather than learn forms on top of forms on top of forms–one’s time would be better spent if a full year were devoted to developing the body much in the way a Tiger’s body is developed:

  • powerful upper body to overpower an attacker
  • powerful grip for grappling, seizing, strangling and for forming the fist
  • a desensitized fist that can be used as a blunt-force weapon against the opponent
  • a durable body that can withstand the opponents’ attack
  • strong neck that can resist a neck-snapping knockout punch
  • legs that allows the fighter to explosively pounce on or chase down an escaping opponent
  • the confidence that your opponent cannot hurt you
  • the ability to turn on the malicious intent when the appropriate time calls for it

That last item is what is often referred to as “Fighting Spirit” in the old school. It is one aspect that is too often omitted from Kung Fu training. In other words, the psychological capacity to injure, maim, or kill the opponent where necessary. A Tiger is never dangerous when he is not hungry or under attack. This is because although he has the ability to destroy anything in its path, it is unnecessary. The law of nature does not allow the Tiger to just go through the jungle killing everything it encounters. Yet when provoked, or hungry, or defending its young–nothing will stop it from a merciless, cruel attack.

The Kung Fu fighter must have all of the above:  Technique, physiology, courage, and the mental switch to turn him from law-abiding citizen into unstoppable killer. This is not a technique one can learn from a book or video. It is a principle; one that must be cultivated and developed through years of training to turn a man–regardless of what he comes through the school doorway with–into a Tiger through proper Kung Fu training. The body must be transformed into something extra-human, and the kind of training that this requires is a slow, patient, arduous process. You cannot develop this kind of Kung Fu ability if you are concerned with partying and celebrating all the time. Dean Chin was not a Kung Fu historian. He was not a collector of forms. He was not a Kung Fu politician, nor was he a Kung Fu party animal.

Thank you for visiting the DC Jow Ga Federation.

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One response

7 03 2013
Stan

Really good information! A must for any Kung Fu practitioner!

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