In the wushu lexicon, the term "chan-quan" occurs quite often, but it does not always mean the same thing. The term first appeared in the name of the oldest Tai-zu style Chan-Quan, whose founders were some Song Tai-zu and Zhao Kuanin. In Qi Jigual's New Book, in the section "The Fist that Achieves Victory," we read: "Sun Taizu knew thirty-two forms of chan-quan." This term is also mentioned in the ancient name of one of the taolu of the Chen tai chi chuan style. In addition, the term "chan-chuan" (long fist) is used as a contrast to the term "duan-sho-an" (short fist).
In the Ming era, masters Qi Jiguang and Cheng Zongfu distinguished two different schools: chan-chuan and duan-chuan. Later, all the taolu complexes dominated by long-range hand bows evolved into a number of styles, such as zha-chuan, two similarly named styles of hua-chuan, pao-chuan, two styles of hong-chuan, shaolin-chuan, fan-tsüan and many others united by the common name of chan-tsüan. Thus, chan-quan is the name of an entire wushu trend.
Finally, modern Chanquan is a separate type of Wushu, which became widespread after the founding of the People's Republic of China. The modern Changquan has absorbed into itself several ancient styles: Zha-Quan, Hua-Quan, Pao-Quan and others. The techniques and ways of actions of hands and feet, stance, movements, jumps, balancing and other basic actions typical for chan-tsuan were standardized. All sorts of taolu both with and without weapons, including hops, jumps, dodges, jumps movements and sharp transitions to different levels were formed in accordance with the method of chan-tsuan movements.
The sports committee edited and approved five competitive taolu: unarmed, with a saber, with a sword, with a spear, and with a stick. All this made it possible to separate chan-quan into a separate type of wushu. In this form the "long fist" style became widespread among the people. Below we will elaborate on this style. From other styles of Chan Chuan differs by its relaxed and straight stands, fast and dexterous movements, long hand strokes, high jumps, long jumps; alternation of hardness and softness, accelerations and decelerations; swiftness in movement and stability of rest, clear rhythm; rigidity in application of force, obedience of muscles and accuracy of actions.
Xiangxingquan (figurative fist), in another way moshen-quan (imitating fist), is a specific and very peculiar direction of wushu where the fundamental point is the imitation of some types of behavior of people and various animals - their actions, habits, behavior in fights.
This direction, undoubtedly, is an outstanding creation of ancient masters, who molded it from such parameters as the spirit of a dragon, the flexibility of a snake, the intelligence of a duck, the courage of a mantis, a dog's sense of smell and cock's agility. As you can see, quite a vivid picture.
Styles that reproduce some real image in the smallest detail have a long history. Even in primitive society, man in the struggle for existence had to fight birds and beasts, first with empty hands and then with weapons. But in speed and agility he was inferior to them, and then man began to imitate their habits in order to defeat them. Thus the "animal" styles of wushu were born.
Gradually, as a result of the generalization of deadly fights, figurative movements were born, which became the prototype of martial arts. Martial spirit and figurative movements were seen as an important element in enhancing health and improving combat techniques. In the ancient book "Shanshu" there is a chapter "One Hundred Animal Dances". In it you can read: "Shout and breathe, discard the unnecessary and absorb the useful, walk like a bear, strut like a bird, and you will have longevity". This wording is more than two thousand years old, but even then it was clear that imitating the actions of bears and birds promotes health. During the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 8 A.D.), in the notes "Hardening the Spirit" we find confirmation of the art of Tao-yin (to lead and stretch): swimming a wild duck, dodging a monkey, looking like an owl, looking back like a tiger.
Later, in the Han period (1st-3rd centuries), "macaque dance", "dog fight dance", "six bird game" and "five bird game" appeared. In the Jin era (4th-5th centuries), the healer Ge Hong created exercises: soar like a dragon; pull up like a tiger; crouch like a bear; swallow like a tortoise; fly like an oriole; wriggle like a snake; spread out like a bird; grasp like a monkey; be alert like a hare. All this was the starting point for the emergence of "beastly" styles.
The Ming era can be called the stage of the final maturation of xiangxing chuan, and it was then that many complexes emerged. For example, five "animal styles" appeared in the Shaolin monastery: a dragon, a tiger, a leopard, a crane and a snake. Twelve such images existed in the famous Shingyi chuan movement: a dragon, a tiger, a monkey, a horse, a tortoise, a rooster, a hawk, a swallow, a snake, a Chinese alligator, an eagle and a bear. In the emei-quan direction there is the famous palm of the fire dragon, in the nan-quan there were schools of crane and dog, styles of tiger and crane, and the world famous styles of monkey, mantis, claw of eagle, snake, drunkard.
In other, non-"animal styles," imitation of animals is found in actions or in names. For example, in tai chi chuan there are the positions "the white crane spreads its wings," "the stallion separates its mane," "the golden rooster stands alone," "the white snake extends its tongue"; in bagua zhang there are elements: "a hawk soars into the sky with an arrow", "a monkey collects fruit", "a swallow grabs water from the flight", "the mythical bird Peng spreads its wings", "a lion opens its mouth"; in the tunbei chuan direction we find: "a solitary swallow leaves the flock", "a monkey leaves a cave", "a swallow soars into clouds".
Although each kind of xiangxing quan is strictly specific, all "animal" styles share common patterns. All images are impressive, precise and expressive. If in various styles of wushu, in addition to strengthening health and the ability to conduct hand-to-hand combat, still appreciate the beauty of performance, the xiangxingquan simply amazes by its brightness and expressiveness.
The most interesting in "animal" styles is the achievement of striking resemblance to the prototype and a high technique of blows. There are certain requirements for punching, kicking, jumping, throwing and other technical actions. Legends often tell how some fabulous characters or mythical animals cleverly combined the habits, gaits, punches and other actions of people and animals.
The art of this style is composed of a skilful combination of "striking resemblance," "authenticity of idea," and technicality of strokes.
The most famous direction of Wushu in southern China is undoubtedly Nan-Quan (southern fist). It is one of the most widespread and the most ancient. Its history goes back four centuries. In the Little Known Notes, written more than four centuries ago, there are the following words: "In the Ming era there were eleven schools of boxing" and "seventeen schools of spear fencing". Among these schools are named such as zhaoizya-quan, nan-quan, googua-quan,
Nan-quan is one of the leading and mass wushu directions in China. It is most fashionable in the provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Hunan, Henan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi and Zhejiai. Each area has its own characteristics and specific content.
In Guangdong province, there are five branches of nanquan: tsailifo-quan, hongjia-quan, lujia-quan, lijia-quan, lijia-quan and mojia-quan. Among them, the tsailifo-quan style became comparatively systematic and coherent. It contains thirty-nine taolu complexes without weapons, thirty-two with weapons, twenty-two variants of paired taolu, and eighteen complexes on piles. In all, there are more than one hundred and ten complexes. Besides the above-mentioned styles, there are also less well-known styles: yun-chun, xia-chuan, lun-xing, bai-meng, nan-zhi, zhu-tsuan, foo-kyuan, dyasha-tsuan, zhujia-tsuan, yue-tsuan, kunlun-tsuan. The Guangdong southern fist is distinguished by bravery and power. "Shout, and as soon as the situation changes, strike with your fist and immediately the mountain peaks will collapse," so taught the ancient masters.
The content of the southern fist from Fujian is also rich in a variety of forms. Here are its main currents: Wuzu-Quan, He-Quan, Lohan-Quan, Da-Quan, Meihua-Zhuang, Lun-Quan and Shaolin-Quan. The Fujian direction also gives priority to physical strength and power.
Branches of the Hubei southern fist are hong-meng chuan, yumeng chuan, sun-meng chuan, and kun-meng chuan.
Hong-quan, Heilong-quan, and Jingtang-quan are all varieties of the Zhajiang southern fist, while Zhoujia-quan, Tulun-quan, and Hukmen fuhu-quan belong to the southern fist of Guangxi province.
In addition to these styles, Sichuan styles are also known; Yu-qia-quan, Bimei-quan. Attack schools such as huquan, zimeng bafa, yong-chun and lun-tsuan belong to the southern fist of Jiangxi province.
This term and concept was finally formed in the late 19th - early 20th centuries in the metropolitan area of Beijing and Tianjin thanks to the activities of masters of the styles Yang shi Tai chi chuan, Xing-yi chuan of Hebei province and partially Shangxi (represented by the students of Master Li Lo Neng) and Bagua zhan (represented by students of Master Dong Hai Chuan). The styles united on the basis of a common theoretical basis, similarity of training methods and support of intellectual aristocrats and ruling circles of the capital districts. In those days in Beijing, among wushu masters, there was a popular saying "tai chi, wu xing yi, yin yang bagua zhang". The master of xing-xuan Liu Weixian (1862-1936) wrote that at the end of the 19th century, masters of Tai chi chuan (Liu Dequan), xing-xuan (Geng Jishan, Liu Weixian and Li Tsunyi) and bagua zhan (Cheng Tinghua) met in Beijing and became twinned. They decided to merge their styles into one family. Almost all representatives of "Nei Jia" trained and passed on the tradition of training on the basis of three styles, sometimes adding methods of other academic styles of northern directions of wushu. Rare masters of this direction practiced only one style. Directions of Xing and Liuhe quan from Henan province and Chen shi Taiji quan (the same province), although formally belong to the capital's "Nei Jia", but are perceived separately, as their representatives try to preserve the family traditions of their styles.