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Thread: Chinese Lion Dance

  1. #16
    Kung Lek Guest
    Hi- cannon fist, yes I understand the meaning of beard colour and you are correct in your assessment of young lions and old lions representing young schools and older more established schools.

    As for etiquette, there are many rules.
    Our school has not met up with another at the same venue as of yet so have no experience in this area but I have been taught a lot about "what to do" in the situation from my Si Fu.

    Number one rule is to not approach the other lion from behind it, there are a variety of reasons for this the foremost being that one lion should not assert dominance over the other unless a challenge is being issued.

    I was not aware of the head being held higher but thanks for the topic to be discussed.

    what about triumphant sequences where the players in one lion are naturally taller than the other players? I wonder how this would be avoided without making the naturally taller players Lion look a little impaired by the holding back of raising the head in triumph?

    Other rules of etiquette included bowing to dignitaries, banners, guests and of course to the Si Fu's position (usually the drum).

    Bows are in threes, left, right, center, with the lion lifting the head , then approching and dropping the head and shuffling back.
    The Buddha joins the Lion in these bows if there is a buddha present with the Lion.

    Aggresive "thrusting" of the head is ok when facing the choi chiang but is not acceptable when facing the Si fu or dignitaries and "swaying" the head is used instead of "thrusting".

    I understand that if a school takes out a "chang fei" Lion then that in itself can be a challenge as Chang Fei is the "fighting Lion" and at one time, the dances that Chang Fei lions did were challenges for greens or mock combat routines displaying the ferocity of the Black/Green Lion.

    In western terms and with the popularity of "modern" lion dance as seen at the Genting competitions and such, these rules are becoming less and less hard and fast.
    Most competition routines are not quite that traditional and involve poles and acrobatics to the maximum!

    Some rules are hard and fast though, such as the Hoi Gong ceremony which MUST be performed before taking a lion out for its first time. If this is not done the the lion is "spiritless" and cannot bring prosperity to anyone.

    Bowing to dignitaries also must be done and of course there must be greens.
    No greens, no dance.

    well, that's it for me for now...


    Kung Lek

  2. #17
    BIU JI Guest


    I was told a story by my sifu about a day in china town Sydney when an inexperienced student not knowing the rules did aproach another schools lion from behind when it was on the ground and without meaning to give insult pretended to f**k it and almost started a war right there.
    Alot of money was paid to the other school for that insult so a war didn't start. The schools already didn't like each other too much anyway.

    Just a story but true.

  3. #18
    fiercest tiger Guest

    cannon fist

    hi, i was at that lion dance and yes, our beginner didnt know about tradition so it was all a misunderstanding. the head was over the other lion that is all!

    were you there or did your sifu tell you about it?

    my student bui ji is wrong also his story is mixed up some what!! :mad:

    we dont need politics in kung fu as all this was the past. yes we did apologise for the students wrong doing.

    are you from the same school as potjunkie?

    we have smoothed things over with the clf school, and we don't want to bring stuff like this up again.


    [This message was edited by fiercest tiger on 01-31-01 at 02:22 PM.]

  4. #19
    Shaolin Master Guest

    Rules of Lion Dancing

    1. Always Bai(Bow) when meeting another school head on. Drumming should not attempt to overempower and the heights of the head should be equal. An invitation/Identification card or letter is usual as well and is passed to each other during the bai.

    3 Do not Do's

    1. Do not raise the leg on a single leg kicking continuosly towards the other schools lion.

    2. Do not use the ramble shuffling and shaking with the continual eye/ears moving towards the other school.

    3. Never go to chew or shake towards the tail of the other schools head.

    The Challenge (but not rivalry moves)

    1. Height.

    2. Superior Stepping and Technique.

    3. Battle coordination movements.


  5. #20
    CannonFist Guest

    fiercest tiger

    My teacher told me about that lion dance incident. I am amaze that till this day people still take it so seriously.

    Pot Junkie?? I suspect thats my training buddy in Pak Mei :)

  6. #21
    fiercest tiger Guest

    cannon fist

    hi there!! unfortunately some people do take the traditional stuff seriously, im one of them cant help myself.:rolleyes:
    i came from a traditional sifu, no lion dance training no kung fu. master chau fu is a very nice man, his school in the past has help ykm in dragon dancing festivals. we are all brothers, pak mei and ykm here in oz!

    does his sons help him teach? do they still do practise it?



  7. #22
    WongFeHung Guest
    We were Lion Dancing in Chinatown several years back, and the group was a combination of two schools, so we had an army of guys with six heads going. Anyway, another school was across the street, and they put up towers, and we did as well, but he only had two lions to our six and thought we were not giving him face. The schools met, the lions exchanged cards and kissed and made up, but it was re-ally shakey there for awhile.

  8. #23
    sifuchuck Guest

    Chinese Lion Dance

    Lions and Weapons (Lion Dance)

    I've heard a lot of contradictions as to whether or not it's proper to parade weapons before the lion or demonstrate weapon forms during a lion dance. I've come to the realization that schools view this differently. I'm interested in background info from those who think it's improper. That is, why does your school consider it improper and what is the history behind it?


  9. #24
    bean curd Guest


    the usuall reason why weapons aren't played with
    the lion is it is believed that the weopons impede the required luck,wealth,etc that is being seeked.

    one example is known as the "poisonous snake".
    symbolic of empeding "wealth"
    the poisonous snake is represented by one spear and two knives or daggers, some even use swords.

    the lion then must conquer the snake, by swallowing it, and then members of the troupe, must perform with the weapons to show their martial skill.

    this skill like "water green", "crab" and even "druken" aren't used much these days

  10. #25
    Paul Skrypichayko Guest
    Does anybody know if anyone still dances with a real poisonous snake, or dances the bagua?

  11. #26
    sifuchuck Guest

    bean curd:

    "this skill like "water green", "crab" and even "druken" aren't used much these days"

    I like the idea of the poisonous snake routine--that sounds really cool--what about those others; water green, crab and is that drunken? How are those done?


  12. #27
    Kung Lek Guest
    hi SiFuChuck.

    Water Greens , although I have not performed that particular dance I have seen it a few times.
    essentially the laisee is placed under water and the lion must figure out how to get it without spilling the water.

    Drunken, is also known as "wine greens" where the laisee is placed under a jug of wine.
    The buddha will find the wine jug and alert the lion, the lion comes, drinks the wine and is all of a sudden tarnsformed and acts quite vigorously (like a drunk). The footwork is more complex in drunken routine and has a lot of "drowsy" moves in the lions expression with stepping and head actions.

    I myself have been working out stepping patterns and motions for a drunken routine and would like to develop it further with sifu when given the opportunity to do so.

    alot of "he's gonna fall!" stuff in it. quite entertaining.

    anyway, after the lion gets drunk and gets active, the lion then gets drowsy and falls asleep for a bit. then the buddha finds the laisee that the lion left behind in his "stupor" and wakes the lion and then directs the lion to the location of the laisee.

    the lion collects the laisee, once again becomes triumphant and then ends the routine with standard bows and a dismount.

    The Crab routine that I have seen is done with Chang Fei Lion or the fighting lion.
    essentially the lion is curious about the crab (which is another player in a crab costume).
    The black fighting lion approaches and is scared away a few times (by the crabs movement), in this case the crab represents the greens.
    Soon the black lion figures that the crab is not a threat and he approaches the crab and proceeds to take it apart limb by limb until the whole crab is "eaten" and the laisee is revealed and captured. Triumphant routine follows, then bows and dismount.

    water greens can be a really hard puzzle.

    drunken routine can be very demanding on the players in the lion.

    see you on the lion dance list!

    the crab routine is very different but is more traditional than contemporary lion dance.

    Kung Lek

  13. #28
    tricky-fist Guest
    Actually, in our particular style of tiger fist, we have a specific Lion-Dance which involves a performer fighting the Lion with a staff, and then butterfly knives. Forget what the Chinese name is, but the name of the dance translates into “Riding the Tiger Down the Mountain”. It is supposed to pay homage to an old Chinese folk hero who won his fame killing tigers.

    I can find out more if you like… seeing as the Lion Dance practices have been axed lately until my Sifu thinks our legs are up to par, it’s been a while since I’ve even thought about this stuff.

    Kung Lek,

    I liked your Sifu's article in this month's Kungfu/Qigong on the Lion Dance!


    " I'll play it first, then tell you what it is later..."
    - Miles Davis

  14. #29
    Kung Lek Guest
    Thanks TF :)

    I'll let him know.


    Kung Lek

  15. #30
    hasayfu Guest


    I've never heard of a strict rule against weapons and lion dance in fact there is precedent to have weapons around during lion dance. In the Hung Gar tradition of hong kong, we would hang butterfly knives on the drum to show that it was a fighting school. You could be asked at any time during a show to take the knives and perform a set to show martial skill.
    As mentioned, there are changs that contain weapons. Those changs, traditionally, require the lion dancer to do a form with those weapons to show martial skill. There are also routines that involve fighting the lion with weapons but those come from the Opera roots and are not part of the southern tradition.
    Finally, in the old days, when a lion dance was marching through town, there would be two people with long poles to clear a path for the lions. They would also be used to "corral" the lions when another team was approaching so the Sifu's could talk first.
    That said, a traditional procession would always have the lion dance first (after the pole guys), the band next, flags and banners, and the "school." Members who could be holding weapons, doing hand forms, etc. Usually, they are just marching.
    While on a stage, I would find it distracting to do both at the same time. For our kwoon, we usually do a lion dance show with a beginning and ending then start the kung fu demo immediately after that. It's all the same people and the band drums the music for the demo but I consider it a seperate thing.

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