White Tiger Kung Fu, also named Bak Fu Pai, is a Southern Shaolin variety of Kung Fu first manifested in 1644. Although this self defense sort is very ancient, it is still intact to this day with the customs and techniques prospering here in 2011, while still blossoming and exploding with life (for the general self defense class they were playing rock music on the boombox, which is in all likelihood a new transformation since 1644.) Somehow it works, and its just subtle and not at all nettlesome. My concentration was unquestionably on the teacher, not the audio, but it lends a fun spirit to the lessons and it’s just enjoyable to do things to music sometimes.
Despite the fact that this shaolin style dates back officially to 1644 and the 1st in the Doo Wai lineage, you must also consider that in 1644 some of these disciplines were already 1000’s of years old. Many of the sparring and sanative techniques that were incorporated in 1644 were probably created far earlier in Chinese boxing and healing arts. I think its hard to say how old many of the methods may be, or how old many of the herbal concentrates are as well.
When people think of Kung Fu, they are generally thinking of Northern Shaolin style, with its long flowing graceful kicks, but Southern Shaolin Kung Fu looks more like boxing or Karate and isn’t at all like what you see in the tv shows typically. White Tiger style is a no nonsense kung fu developed in the Southern Shaolin tradition.
The land being hard In the colder northern regions of China, it provided a more stable footing when kicking and stepping, therefor, northern Shaolin styles developed more kicking, acrobatic strategies, while in the warmer southern climate of China, the dirt was not as hard which made kicking and stepping more arduous. As a result, the Southern shaolin style is more focused on higher stances with hand methods. More like boxing or Karate than what most people think of as “kung fu”.
Of course, the subject being Shaolin Kung Fu, its not so simple to depict in short little pieces on the web, its a real world training to experience for yourself first hand. I always find language hopelessly limited to accurately portray things with such importance as Shaolin Kung FuShaolin Kung Fu .
I don’t think its really meant to be thoroughly described in an article on the web. Its an ancient partly oral tradition, partly an active fitness regimen that includes interesting ancient Chinese herbs. You must train on your own as well, to master anything in life, it takes dedication and it takes time. In this case, reading or writing short articles on the topic is never going to even begin to thoroughly describe a venture into the depths of Shaolin Kung Fu the way real first hand experience can.
The traditional stories, the ancient wisdom, the accumulation of discoveries from thousands of years really is a very amazing and storied history, but the active fitness lifestyle that comes with Kung Fu training is a huge extra reward. Many people don’t have time for fitness , but for those who do, martial arts training can be a very rewarding journey with many reinforcements besides just physical conditioning.