KHOU-QUAN or the Monkey Style

 

As one of the varieties of "animal" styles, the ancient style of monkey (in Chinese how-chuan) arose and was formed on the basis of imitating the habits of the monkey.

 

The image of the monkey in martial arts arose extremely long ago. Ancient manuscripts show that already in the Western Han era there were known "monkey dances". At that time, the dignitary of Zhangsinshao Tang Zhang, during a lavish banquet, got tipsy, performed the "dance of the monkey.

Legendary military commander of the Ming era Qi Jiguang, in his work "The New Book" describes thirty-two forms of chan-tsuan, as well as the style of the monkey. At about the same time, Wang Shixing, in his travel notes on the mountains of Songshan, described the process of learning the monkey style in Shaolin Monastery: "In China there are masters of hand-to-hand combat who can twirl, jump, and fall like a monkey". And in Zheng Zocheng's book "The Development of Land South of the Yangtze River", three complexes of the monkey school are presented in detail. All this testifies to the antiquity of the Hou-Quan style.

In the process of evolution, the monkey style has divided into several directions with their own specific features. And yet the main features have remained unchanged. In recent years many new taolu complexes have emerged based on imitating the dexterity and mobility of the monkey, while retaining the technical features of wushu. All these taolu are aimed at observing the meaning of the nine characters: firmness, suppleness, lightness, sagacity, weakness, agility, twirliness, spirituality and speed. The basic parameters of upper extremity work are defined by eight hieroglyphs: scratch, wave, tear, cut, cunning, grasp, wield and sass. Finally, four hieroglyphs define the work of the lower limbs: twirl, collide, kick and spring.There are many movements imitating the habits of monkeys: the monkey looks into the distance; the frightened monkey flees; the monkey squats; the monkey gives fruit; the monkey jumps; the monkey hangs on the vines; the monkey enters the cave, etc. Modern taolu mostly contain specific situations, for example: come out of a cave; gaze into the distance; peek at a peach; climb up; pick peaches; jump on branches; hide a peach; squat; eat a peach; enter a cave.

In studying the basic requirements of monkey style, one must remember to get into character, to maintain clarity of mind, continuity of action, ease of step, and mobility of body.

Imbibing the image. This refers to an exact imitation of the monkey's external actions. Shrugging one's shoulders, shortening one's neck, rounding one's back, shrinking one's whole body, bending one's elbows, dropping one's wrists, bending one's knees, and making faces. Move on your toes, in small steps, deftly and quickly.

Accuracy of conception, i.e., achieving a striking resemblance, which must match the monkey's habits.

 

The actions are rhythmic, closely intertwined, pointing up and down.

 

The step is light, nimble, impetuous, numerous jumps, moving on all fours and on toes, while maintaining dexterity and liveliness at all times. The body is lively, agile.

In general, the style of the monkey - a unity of image and action, ie, connection technique beats and monkey image. And it is not only the achievement of resemblance to the monkey, but also the inseparability of actions, their purity and accuracy, and at the same time the combination of rigidity and suppleness, empty and full, the alternation of acceleration and deceleration.