Eagle Claw

Eagle Claw

:"For the military operation, see Operation Eagle Claw. For the film, see Eagle's Claw".

The style Chinese martial art known as Eagle Claw (Yīng Zhuǎ Pài 鷹爪派) is thought to be one of the oldest and most complex of the surviving Northern Shaolin kung fu systems.Fact|date=July 2007 Along with the long strikes and kicks that typify Northern systems, the Eagle Claw system is distinguished by its gripping techniques and system of joint locks, takedowns, and pressure point strikes, which represent one of the oldest forms of the Chinese grappling known as Chin Na.


While the details of the history alter according to the teller, with names and places shifting as they tend to do in any oral history, in essence the story of Eagle Claw began in the Shaolin Temple and in Chinese military training, became a family tradition passed on from parent to child for generations, and eventually shed its air of secrecy with the advent of public martial arts schools.

Yue Fei

The Eagle Claw method is said to have been created by General Yue Fei who lived at a time of warfare between the Southern Song Dynasty and the Jurchen tribes of the Jin Dynasty.

Yue Fei's learned Archery, Horsemanship and various other Martial Arts from Zhou Tong. Zhou Tong is said to have taught Yue Fei a method of grappling from the "Elephant Style" which he later expanded to create the "108 Chin Na locks" (一百零八擒拿) known as Eagle Fist style (Ying Kuen). He taught this new style to his soldiers and they were victorious in battle. (Some say Zhou Tong was a Shaolin Monk while others a retired government official).

Another of his tutors was Cheng Guang who was famous for his Spear Skill.While known primarily as an Archer

Elephant Fist

In Chinese, elephant is pronounced "Xiàng" (象). Such a ancient style is taught today in the Shaolin Temple. However, the same character can also mean "shape, form, or appearance". The elephant style in question some believe to be a mistranslation of "xiang", which actually refers to "Xiang Xing Quan" (象形拳 - "Imitation Boxing"), a fighting technique which emphasizes the imitation of the offensive and defensive actions of a certain animal or celestial personage.


In the late Ming Dynasty Yue Fei's material is said to have made a re-appearance at a Shaolin (there were many that were considered branches of the Main Location in Henan Province). Lai Chin/Liquan Seng (麗泉僧) an expert in the Fanzi(aka Bashanfan) boxing method encountered soldiers practicing the hand techniques they called "Ying Quan" (Eagle Fist).

After taking the time to learn and master these skills he undertook the daunting task of assimilating them into his pre-existing Fanziquan sets.

Other researchers have come to the conclusion that Liquan is not the name of an individul but a religous order with Shaolin Sect. The location of their temple is believe to be the one in Hebei Province where both Facheng and Daoji were in residence.

Ming - Qing Dynasty

In 1644 the Ming Dynasty was overthrown and replaced by the Qing Dynasty. Many royal family members of the Ming house went into hiding, with several becoming monks, scholars and artists. On such monk was Zhu Ruoji (1642 - 1707) aka Shitao, a low-level prince. He was only two years old when the Ming fell. Later on in his life he took the name Dao Ji (道濟僧). He had a classmate or student named Fa Seng (法成僧).

Liu Shi Jun and Liu Cheng You

Liu Shi Jun (劉士俊) (fl. 19th century) of Xiong County, Baoding City, Hebei is considered the Sijo (founder/ancestor) of the "yīng zhuǎ fān zi quán" (鷹爪翻子拳). He took up martial arts at an early age and studied under several proponents of Shaolin kungfu, Fanzi, Chuojiao and Liuhe boxing, etc. Around middle age, he learned "Yue Shi San Shou" from Fa Cheng and Dao Ji. He later was appointed as the military arts instructor for one of the barracks in the capital city of Beijing. He taught the troops fist and spear skills. His two most prominent students there were Liu Dekuan (劉德寬) and Ji Zixiu (纪子修).

(However, taking into account of the Royal Family Member Daoji's previously stated lifespan, he could not have been the teacher of Liu Shi Jun as the latter was born decades later.)

Liu Chen You (劉成有) first learned martial arts from his uncle Liu Dekuan (劉德寬), who had been a student of Liu Shi Jun when stationed in Beijing. He continued his instruction under other prominent martial artist of the region such as "Dong Xianzhou (cousin to Bagua founder Dong Hai Chuan) & Yang Jingshan (aka Fei Tui/flying Legs)". He later received advanced training under Liu Shi Jun when he retired to his home village. Liu Chen You turned out to be a very strict teacher and only accepted a few students. The more well known of those were Liu Qi Wen (劉啟文), Chen Zizheng (陳子正) and Zhang Zhan Wen (张詹文)

Chin Woo Athletic Association

The Chin Woo Athletic Association was founded by the famed martial artist Fawk Yuen Gop/ Huo Yuanjia in Shanghai. Its purpose was the dissemination of not only Martial Arts but sports and other educational systems to the public. The Eagle Claw system remained relatively restricted to the Xiong County, Baoding City in Hebei until Chen Zizheng was invited to teach at the Chin Wu.

After initial success with the first School in Shanghai, Chen went to his training brother Liu Qi Wen to offer his students careers as Martial Arts instructors in the Chin Woo Association. In time, Eagle Claw was being taught in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guandong, Futsan, Singapore, Malaysia etc.


There are three main Eagle Claw lineages known that most teachers/schools can trace their style to.

#Liu Qiwen (劉啟文) (Lau Kai Man)
#Chen Zizheng (陳子正)(Chan Tzi Ching)
#Zhang Zhan Wen (张詹文)(Chian Jin Man)

for a directory of these lineage's schools go to www.eagleclawkungfusociety.20m.com


How the Eagle Claw system is taught varies between each teacher's skill and experiences. What is consistent of an Eagle Claw Master is their knowledge of the 3 core sets of the style.

*Xing Quan (行拳) is known as the "Walking Fist." This set consists of ten to twelve rows of techniques representative of what is today known as Shaolin Fanziquan.

*Lian Quan (連拳) is known as the "Linking Fist." A very important set in that it not only provides the exponent with an encyclopedic base of the various seizing, grappling and joint-locks of qinna, but it also incorporates various Qigong skills as well. Most have nicknamed this set the "Dictionary of Eagle Claw" due to the content containing probably 90% of the styles skills and techniques.

*Yue Shi San Shou (aka "Yī Bǎi Ling Bā Qín Ná" 一百零八擒拿 – “108 Seize Grab" techniques) is considered the "heart" of the Eagle Claw system. It is Believed to be the original material passed down by the style's legendary founder Yue Fei. This material has 108 different categories of skills/techniques that are trained to a level of perfection with partners. One thing to remember is that each sequence is only a example of that catagory which contains numerous variations and off shoots.

Missing any of the 3 core sets will severely hinder a student's hope of mastering this style.


Below are some of the many films that feature the Eagle Claw Style. Most films have the proponents of Eagle Claw as villains.
* "Invincible Armour" (1977) with Hwang Jang Lee

* "Shaolin Martial Arts" (1974)
* "Shaolin Assassin"
* "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow" with Jackie Chan (1978)
* "Avenging Eagle" with Fu Sheng & Ti Lung (1978)
* "Master of the Flying Guillotine"
* "Death Duel of Mantis" (1978)
* "Eagle's Claw" (1978)
* "Fearless Hyena" Jackie Chan - (1979)
* "Jade Claw" also known as "Crystal Fist" with Billy Chong (1979)
* "18 Fatal Strikes"
* "Talons of the Eagle"
* "Legend of a Fighter" with Leung Kar Yan & Kurata Yusuaki (1980)
* "Super Power" with Billy Chong (1980)
* "Eagle's Claw and Butterfly Palm" (1981)
* "Martial Club" with Gordon Liu & Kara Hui (1981)
* "Undefeatable" with Cynthia Rothrock; Don Niam; John Miller II (1994)
* "No Retreat, No Surrender 2" Cynthia Rothrock, Hwang Jang Lee
* "Kill Bill Vol. 2" Pei Mei


For more indepth informatin on the Eagle Claw System http://www.eagleclawkungfusociety.20m.com

Eagle Claw Discussion Forum where you can ask questions and exchange knowledgehttp://eagleclawkungfu.forumco.com/

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