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Thread: Where is all the Monkey Styles?

  1. #1

    Where are all the Monkey Styles?

    Most of the old timers know that I am fascinated by the old Tai Tzu style of the Emperor Zhao Kuang Yin. Its a root style that many of the northern arts evolved from. Over the years, thanks to a great deal of help from researchers on this forum, i was able to find and learn 8 formal routines connected to Zhao Kuang Yin and his Tai Tzu Chang Quan style. Most were built by Shaolin based on loose techniques he taught them.

    Then there is the Monkey style associated with Zhao Kuang Yin. I never really found much on the art, other than it is sometimes called Six Stance Monkey Fist. I believe this is a confusion with the "Six Stance Fist" style listed in the Qi Jiguang manual that precedes it. Someone forgot to put a comma between the two. I have never found anyone who actually knows the style though.


    So here I am now, wondering about Monkey Fist in general, and wondering where I can find good examples of the really old Monkey fighting styles. Of course, I am looking for applications as much, or even more, than the forms.

    I keep finding this guy:

    https://warriorneigong.com/monkey-fi...or-qigong-set/

    But other than talking about how awesome and authentic his Monkey style is, theres precious little out there showing any of it, or discussing exactly what it is or how it fits into the history and over all picture of the various Monkey Kung Fu styles.

    Then you have Tai Shing...which looks like a newer style and not related to the ancient Monkey that would be associated with Zhao Kuang Yin, or even from a related time period. There seems to be a huge controversy about who knows it, and who doesnt, but teaches some kind of random yoga as if they did know it..(made it up and doesnt know it). I'd like to stay away from that one. Lots on it out there.

    My question:
    "Does anyone practice an authentic Monkey fighting style? Would you care to share what you know about it? Any video links to usage and what the forms look like?"
    Last edited by Royal Dragon Pi; 05-22-2022 at 02:23 AM.

  2. #2
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    Gotta plug some MartialArtSmart.com Monkey stuff to keep the lights on here...

    Good to have you back RD(P)


    Monkey Kung Fu Series


    I know this doesn't answer your inquiry but the 2001 MARCH/APRIL cover story I did on Chan Sau Chung is my off the cuff reference.

    Monkey King
    Chan Sau Chung's Journey to the West

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #3
    Is that the guy who was the real one?

    The other guy was the fake, right?

  4. #4
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    That is an ongoing debate between their respective camps...

    ... but we put him on the cover.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  5. #5
    LOL

    I guess that answers that!

    Have you come across any Legit Monkey style in your Shaolin travels (besides TSPK)?

    I have seen stuff outside of China, but nothing inside looked to be anything more than a performance.

  6. #6

    Basic monkey staff form

    We have a basic monkey staff form that has no goofy posing.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1h2I...ew?usp=sharing

    Sorry for the crappy video quality. I've been told our school is a mix of stuff coming out of hong kong.

  7. #7
    Do you know what Monkey style that is from?

    Quote Originally Posted by sirdude View Post
    We have a basic monkey staff form that has no goofy posing.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1h2I...ew?usp=sharing

    Sorry for the crappy video quality. I've been told our school is a mix of stuff coming out of hong kong.

  8. #8
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    Shaolin monkeys

    Quote Originally Posted by Royal Dragon Pi View Post
    Have you come across any Legit Monkey style in your Shaolin travels (besides TSPK)?
    Ha. Depends what you mean by legitimate. Remember traditional Kung Fu has deep roots in opera, and Journey to the West (Monkey-King) is a major opera piece. I've heard tell of a tournament in China that just focuses on monkey style to crown the 'monkey king' but I gather that it's predominantly an opera style competition.

    Most of the monkey style stuff I saw in Shaolin was performance wushu for demonstration. I heard tell of a traditional version that wasn't so showy/flowery propounded by a particular master that I once knew from one of his students but I didn't pursue that avenue of research. There's so much to unravel at Shaolin that I focused on my areas of interest and I don't do monkey.
    Gene Ching
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    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Royal Dragon Pi View Post
    Do you know what Monkey style that is from?
    Sorry I don't, it's just called monkey staff in our system, and it's the first weapons form we have.
    We have two other staff forms, groundwork staff and spinning staff. I know not very helpful.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by sirdude View Post
    Sorry I don't, it's just called monkey staff in our system, and it's the first weapons form we have.
    We have two other staff forms, groundwork staff and spinning staff. I know not very helpful.
    I am trying to figure out what makes a "Monkey" style, "Monkey"

    For example, there is a Shaolin "Ape/Monkey" form. It looks to me like its more of a Hongquan or Tongbi set. I have seen Staff sets here and there called "Monkey Staff" in the past. However, they dont look like what I would consider Monkey. So, I am wondering if maybe the word 'Monkey' is similar to the word Louhan, in that its just a label applied to sets that have some sort of special significance to the original creator and the meaning has been long lost?

  11. #11
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    I wouldn't say it's 'lost'

    I hear a lot of claims of lost styles but really it's the researcher not delving deep enough. I mean, I'm sure plenty of stuff never got passed down but there's probably a reason - it may have been too impractical to remain vital or too cumbersome to learn to be perpetuated. But to me, it's pining for the good old days, which may never have really been that good, ya know?

    But on to Monkey. Monkey is a huge category, not just from the imitative schools of Kung Fu like tiger, dragon, or drunken. There's also the Monkey King legend that elevates it to a divine allusion and takes it into operatic performance. This makes it difficult to box into a single concept. Luohan is a good comparison because it is also an allusion to the divine and magical that is used as an allegory throughout Kung Fu in many different ways.

    A simple comparison is Northern mantis v Southern mantis. These styles are very different but both are mantis. You can see the mantis imitated and interpreted in both. Same holds true for monkey. While there isn't a north v south division, compare say Shaolinsi monkey staff to Hung Gar monkey staff and you'll see what I mean.

    As for the Ape v Monkey terminology, well, that's trickier. Monkey = hou 猴. This is the most common as in Houquan (monkey fist). Hou can also mean ape. Other terms for ape are yuan 猿 and ju 狙. Note the similarities in the characters - they all begin with the same left-side radical. Offhand I can't remember seeing those terms used in Kung Fu very much, perhaps in some quanpu, but I'm can't read Chinese unaided so I might easily miss this. Keep in mind that few Chinese were literate until the communists expanded national education, so it's common to find 'misspellings' in original sources.

    I nibbled at sorting this very topic once, but didn't get very far as monkey is not a style that I practice so it doesn't hold my interest. I think I was grappling with this same question you pose, RDP, for some article or something. Perhaps someone more conversant in Chinese can pick up this point and illuminate both of us further.
    Gene Ching
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  12. #12
    Your post pretty much sums up all I know about it.

    In my TZQ there is a set called Ape/Monkey fist attributed to Zhao Kuang Yin. It is possible thats all there is and I already know it, and dont know it.

  13. #13
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    got chinese?

    Quote Originally Posted by Royal Dragon Pi View Post
    In my TZQ there is a set called Ape/Monkey fist attributed to Zhao Kuang Yin.
    If you have the Chinese characters for this, that would be helpful in unravelling it.
    Gene Ching
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    If you have the Chinese characters for this, that would be helpful in unravelling it.
    This is the set https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JApnXgZHTa0

  15. #15
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    Cool vid

    I don't know anything more about that except that GM Cu Xiqi is a famous folk master from Shaolin.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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