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Thread: Northern Shaolin styles

  1. #1
    Rage Guest

    Northern Shaolin styles

    I'm new here and I just wanted to get some overall opinions. Just recently I have become fascinated with Kung Fu, almost everything about it. I have tried looking for certain styles but there are so many that provide different uses that I have a hard time choosing. I've narrowed it down to pretty much Northern Shaolin. Could anyone give me some insight on some of the various Northern Shaolin styles? I would appreciate it a lot.

  2. #2
    Kung Lek Guest

    There are five main "families" of Northern Shaolin Kung Fu.

    Cha and Hong are the most prevalent today.
    (Hong being Sil Lum).

    Bak Sil Lum or North Shaolin of Kuo Yuo Cheong is said to be most intact with its system maintained in entirety. it contains two preliminary sets and 10 core sets.
    The system takes about 5 to 10 years to learn dependent upon the students adeptness and about another 5 or 10 years to gain mastery of.

    Bak Sil Lum is the system I am most familiar with as it is the Northern system my Si fu is giving me.
    It is quite difficult to perform even the 2 beginner core sets (Tun Ta and Moi Fa) but there is a lot of info that is good in the prelim sets which are Lien Bo Chuan and Tan Tui (10 row).
    Lien Bo and Tan Tui introduce the practitioner/student to some of the concepts held further into the system.

    The sets are performed fast and fluidly and contain many difficult moves. Tun Ta is the beginner core set and you are introduced to the Tornado kick in it (right off the hop!) this kick is an aerial 360 degree inside crescent kick.
    It also contains front inside broom sweep followed by back broom sweep.

    So, it is a fairly demanding system of Kung Fu when measured against other systems.

    Many of the techniques in Bak Sil Lum are "disregarded" by other ma practitioners because of the level of difficulty but over time North Shaolin is really quite combat effective.

    When one learns it along with a "shorthand" system, you can acquire quite the arsenal of fighting techniques.

    There are of course other northern systems but I cannot speak to them as I do not practice them.


    Kung Lek

  3. #3
    Ironpig Guest
    Wow, its great to hear another northern style practitioner talk about thier system and mention exactly the same sets and principles!

    I also study Bak Sil Lum, also in the lineage of Kuo Yuo Cheong, the only difference between what Kung Lek posted and the version that I practice is out Tan Tui is 12 step.

    He is right about it not being easy and taking a long time. The time frame he stated seems reasonable to only at the beginning sets through Mei Hua, working on basics and focus in training..

    Thanks for making my day Kung Lek!


  4. #4
    ShaolinMantis Guest

    bei shaolin


    I am in agreement with Kung Lek & Iron Pig.
    As with Iron Pig I also learned 12 step Tan Tui.

    the rest is the same.

    Our training sets go:

    Ling Po
    Small Circle fist
    Lohan 1
    Shaolin 6
    Shaolin 7

    The 10 Main sets increase Shaolin 1-10 add complex moves with each set. The sets themselves are not learned 1 - 10 but more like #6, #7, #5, #4, #2, #3, #10... I do not remember the exat order but #9 is learned last.

    We combine this long arm style with Mantis training, both 7 star & Taiji Mantis to round out our training.

  5. #5
    MonkeySlap Too Guest

    Long Fist

    The 'Northern Shaolin' I learned isn't really Shaolin, but schools of Long Fist. The Long Fist is from the Central Nanking institute. Yang Jwing Ming has a good book on the style. I learned from another guy from Taiwan. Not my major style though, haven't practiced it in years.

    I have also been exposed to Mei Hua or Plum Blossom style from my Shuai Chiao teacher. He described plum blossom as a 'villiage art' with an emphasis on blades and blunt weapons. Empty hand being a last resort.

    Again, the long fist material I learned early on, and has not been my 'major' so take what I say with a grain of salt.

    Cheers. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    I am a big beleiver in luck. The more I work, the more luck I have.

  6. #6
    Jaguar Wong Guest
    If it ain't 10 road, it ain't worth it's salt. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img] j/k, my sifu started teaching my brother and I the 10 road, but he switched to the 12 road because it seemed more systematic and easier to teach larger groups. He recently said, "screw it", and started us on the 10 road again (man the rust is pretty thick on my 10 road [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img])

    My school also does the same prelim sets as Shaolin Mantis:

    Lohan 1
    Lien bo (ling po)
    Small circular fist

    Then we start the core sets. The order I learned them in was:

    6, 7, 8, 4, 5, 1 (he skipped a few of us ahead for personal reasons [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]), 9. I just finished 9 a few weeks ago, and I'm gonna start 2 or 3 next. I'm not sure which. He's going to wait for a while before he teaches it, though. That's cool, cause 1 and 9 are still kickin' my butt.

    I was curious when you guys started weapons in your schools. I learned some staff stuff (basic set, plus Fire and Water staff set) after lien bo, and after small circular fist I started the spear. I'm pretty slow when it comes to weapons, because I wanted the empty hand stuff first, so right now, I only know a few staff sets, a spear set, a heavy staff set (we do that with the Kwan Do, or Monk Spade) and a broadsword set. I've been doing this for about 6 years now, and there are a few guys (been there between 2-4 years) at the school that aren't as far with the empty hand sets, but know pretty much the same weapons as I do (I don't really complain about stuff like that, unless they have an ego about it [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]).

    Shaolin Mantis,
    Bei Shaolin sounds familiar. Isn't that where Sifu French teaches? We also incorporate 7* and Tai Chi Praying Mantis as a part of our cirriculum. the styles really blend well to enhance the fighting abilities. Of course there's also Tai Chi/Chi Gung as well as a couple of other internal styles. So we're not all riled up and aggressive all the time [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    Jaguar Wong

  7. #7
    Ironpig Guest

    here goes more information than most want

    I was told that ten step Tan Tui is the muslim version of the set. The Shaolin Monks altered the set to add two additional lines and stramline the training regimen. For a good discussion on other Muslim styles try:

    Its a discussion about Muslims in China, they mention the martial styles as well.

    Here are the sets taught in the school I go to:

    Our beginning sets are:

    Shr Ehr Lu Tan Twei - 12 Line Spring Leg
    Lien Bu Chuan - Continuos Step Fist

    the ten core sets are:

    Duan Da Chuan - Short Hit Fist
    Mei Hua Chuan - Plum Flower Fist
    Ba Bu Chuan - Shuffle Step Fist
    Shuan Shin Chuan - Pierce Heart Fist
    Wu Yi Chuan - Martial Art Fist
    Kai Menn Chuan - Open Gate Fist
    Ling Chiu Chuan - Leading Fist
    Dso Ma Chuan - Seated Horse Fist
    Lien Miann - Continuity Fist
    Shu Fa Chuan - Skill and Technique Fist

    The four basic weapons, broad sword, staff, straight sword and spear are taught after a handset.

    so starting with Lien Bu, you learn broadsword, then Duan Da Chuan, then staff, then mei hua chuan, then straight sword, then Ba Bu Chuan, then Spear

    That gets you through the four basic weapons.

    And that is the beginning of the curriculum within our school.

    I guess that different schools teach the sets in different order.

    Just a few pennies from a pig.


  8. #8
    Kung Lek Guest
    IronPig, most schools that teach the core sets of Bak Sil Lum will teach them in the order of

    Lien Bo
    Tan Tui

    shaolin #6,7,8,4,5,1,2,3,9,10

    some teachers will include a weapon set between the hand sets so as to not confuse the essence of the patterns for the student.
    also, there may be a slight variation in the way the forms are taught in sequence due to individual reckoning.

    usually though you learn the short sets first IE: 6,7,8, (tun da, moif, bot bo)then a little bit longer sets, 4 and 5 (chum sam, Mo I) and then the long sets 1,2 nad 3 and then the most difficult sets 9 and 10.

    cantonese and mandarin names differ slightly and even some of the aspects of the forms and the spirit they are performed with differs from schoo to school, but I think that the overall essence exists in all forms of all schools of Bak Sil Lum.

    Lien Bo is a seperate set that Master Kuo Yuo Cheong included in the curriculum and in fact gave this set to the chinese military as its basic martial training routine. The ,military of the pRC still to this day uses the Lien Bo set as given them by Master Kuo Yuo Cheong (by all indications of the material I have read on the matter).

    Tan Tui is indeed a muslim originating set and was included with the system.
    I am not familiar with 12 row and have only been taught 10 row by my Si Fu.

    The 10 core sets are all Shaolin though through and through.
    It really is a great system and the adept at this Shaolin Art is doing some real good Kung Fu.

    Watching my Si Fu perform the North Shaolin stuff is real neat as he is a Master of the system after all and the form is exceptional as are the applications.

    North Shaolin does include some of the more "unusual" techniques in application that is for sure."steal a step" for instance as found in Moi Fa is a very interesting movement and difficult to get a handle on in application.

    It is good to see you all that practice this system, I know from personal experience that to do North Shaolin is no small undertaking in the world of MA practice. Thos of you who have chosen to do so have chosen one of the more difficult systems to become good at.

    Good Luck and Train Hard, I'm still learning and loving it!


    Kung Lek

  9. #9
    Buby Guest

    Kung Lek

    You mentioned five families of Northern Shaolin, but only mentioned two. Would it be to much to ask for the other three? What are the differences? Are they different styles of northern shaolin? Would these be the styles that are/were practiced by the monks(ex.shi yan ming, shi goulin, shi de yang or monks of the past)?

    Please give as much info as possible. I apologize if you feel that I'm asking for to much.

    Thanks in advance,


  10. #10
    Kung Lek Guest
    Hi buby-

    the five main stems are Wa, Fa, Pao, Cha and Hong (Hung or Shaolin).

    cha is also known as ZhaQuan and there are aspects of this system taught in and around Shaolin temple today.

    I believe that the ZhaQuan or Cha system of north Shaolin contains "small red clan fist" and "large red clan fist" and a few ohter forms, not 100% certain of what they are but it is this style of north shaolin that has been modified into the contemporary Wu Shu routines we see today. So the "monks" at the temple study this long fist style along with modern wu shu and chi kung as well as buddhism from a strictly philosophical standpoint.

    reason being that Buddhism is accepted as a philosophical study in communist china but not religious buddhism. communism as a philosophy does not tolerate religion to much.

    The Hong (Hung or Shaolin) style of North Shaolin is the most complete of the five stems and still contains all the sets as they were originally with the addition of sets and weapons sets.

    This means that the 10 core forms are as they evern were in essence.

    The other three stems, Wa, Fa and Pao are said to have been diminished in content due to masters dying or being killed after the revolution and so on and not having disciples to pass on the knowledge.

    These three are the hardest to find and are missing sets in the curriculum.

    There may be teachers out there who know what they know of these systems and they may have grown them in their own schools and included material to make up for the missing sets.

    I really am just a beginner in this art and do not have a whole lot of information about the other stems of North Shaolin.
    So I cannot speak to them in a full way.

    I've only been doing Bak Sil Lum for about 6 years
    and I can't say I know a lot about it either! ha ha.

    But anyway, those are the other branches of north Shaolin and what little information I know of them.


    Kung Lek

  11. #11
    Shaolin Master Guest

    Look before asking

    5 Northern Systems

    This has been covered before in the Cha kuen (Zha Quan) thread....look there all the answers you shall find and if there are more questions after then ask.

    Shi Chan Long

  12. #12
    Buby Guest
    Kung Lek - Thanks for your time and info, it's truely appreciated.

    Shaolin Master- Thanks for pointing me to the cha thread. If you don't mind me asking, What are the differences between the 5 branches? Where all 5 branches taught in the shaolin temple at the same time or were they taught in different periods of shaolin?



    [This message was edited by Buby on 12-07-00 at 11:22 AM.]

  13. #13

    Bei Shaolin

    Jaguar Wong :
    Are you with the Lohan School of shaolin?

    "FuRenChu - was ShaolinMantis"

  14. #14
    Jaguar Wong Guest
    Why, yes....Yes I am :)

    Jaguar Wong

  15. #15
    beiquan Guest


    i also practice the bei shaolin system of gu ru zhang, good to see so many other practitioners here...

    as stated before, this is a very physically challenging style, but well worth learning. i am 6'4" and skinny, and i feel that for my body type this is an ideal style.

    i learned the forms in the order lian bu, tan tui, 6, 7, 8, 1, 4, 5; i think this was because i could do the splits by the time i finished #8 and my sifu was teaching #1 to another student at the time. also, as far as weapons, we usually start with broadsword or pole (not 9 province though, our beginnign pole set is a mantis set called 5th son pole).

    i have a couple question for the others here who practice this style:

    -in our #5, right before the jumping side kick, we do (from cat stance) roundhouse kick, double palm strike, 360 sweep. i have seen other schools do this form with a front kick instead of roundhouse kick, just wondering how you guys do this sequence. actually we do a roundhouse kick elsewhere in the form too, towards the end; i haven't seen this kick in any other of the forms.

    -do any of you learn the names of the moves in the forms? i have seen, for example, in wing lam's book on #7, he gives the names at the end; however, my sifu only knows the names of a few of the moves (i know my si-gung knows but i have never had a chance to ask him). maybe this is "secret" info or something...

    -do you guys practice the 18 hands? we do them, however, i have seen the wing lam video where he teaches the 18 hands as a "form"; in our school they are just 18 different techniques which are not linked together.

    looking forward to some discussion

    PS Jaguar - i think i've visited your school (sort of). i was in Vegas a few weeks ago with my sifu, si-gung, and some classmates (we were competing in a strange karate tournament in Primm) anyway, we stopped by a Lohan/northern shaolin/praying mantis school, because my sifu and sigung know the teacher there, but no one was home :(... can't imagine there are too many other lohan schools in las vegas

    [This message was edited by beiquan on 12-07-00 at 08:02 PM.]

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