Northern Shaolin Kung Fu, or more specifically, the Northern Shaolin Boxing School 北少林拳門 is a specific style of Kung Fu, or Traditional Chinese Martial Arts (TCMA), popularized by the legendary 顾 汝 章 Gù Rǔ Zhāng. Gu is popularly known for his skill and public demonstrations of 鐵 掌 功 Tiě Zhǎng Gōng or Iron Palm Skill, which is a specific conditioning method found in many martial art systems and not necessarily part of the curriculum.
This 外 家 Wài Jiā or External (family) Kung Fu style builds solid fitness, physical intelligence, martial ability, and much more, including many aspects that break out of the External mold, into the 內 家 Nèi Jiā or Internal family.
A Common Misconception
There are undoubtedly definitive ties to the 少 林 寺 Shào Lín Sì – Shaolin Temple or Shaolin Monastery. Many mistakenly associate the term “Shaolin Kung Fu” with our style of Nothern Shaolin, not realizing that they are two different things.
If you’d like to learn more, visit the History & Lineage page or check out our selection of Chinese History Podcasts (or any of our other Podcasts we have listed).
Some people intuit “Northern Shaolin” to be a more general grouping of styles of Chinese martial arts, however as mentioned above, we teach a specific style of Kung Fu.
The Northern Styles Confusion
The content of our flagship style at PATHS Atlanta Kung Fu consists of many different training methodologies, empty-hand forms or 套路 Tàolù, Breath, and Energy work or 氣功 Qigong, traditional Chinese weaponry or 兵器 Bīngqì, Traditional Medicine, Martial Ethics and more.
In addition to forms, applications, and additional special studies, the Northern Shaolin Kung Fu student learns the classical “Four Methods.” These four methods are 踢 Ti, 打 Da, 拿 Na, and 摔 Shuai.
Four Methods of Kung Fu
- 踢 Tī: Leg techniques, footwork, kicking, etc.
- 打 Dǎ: Hand techniques, arm tactics, hitting, striking, punching, etc.
- 拿 Ná: (from Qin Na) Locking & Control techniques, upright grappling, etc.
- 摔 Shuāi: (think Shuai Jiao) Throwing techniques, uprooting tactics, tripping, etc.
Sifu Craig’s teacher is fond of saying that there are eight bodies of knowledge in any complete style of Kung Fu. Even so, there are more things to learn and practice than just these eight.
Eight Bodies of Knowledge
These eight include the four methods we mentioned above plus four more.
- 踢 Tī
- 打 Dǎ
- 拿 Ná
- 摔 Shuāi
- 兵器 Bīngqì: Weapons
- 氣功 Qìgōng: Breathwork
- 中醫 Zhōngyī: Medicine or Healing
- 武德 Wǔdé: Martial Virtue
It seems like a lot, but remember that list is not complete. Indeed, if we were to add in different types of conditioning drills, lion dancing, calisthenics, philosophy, and other things typically found in styles, the list can get much longer!
Consequently, many doors are open for the traditional student.
Northern Shaolin Kung Fu has been in Atlanta for over 20 years! And we are still going strong! Read more About PATHS Atlanta Kung Fu.
Be a part of the mystery, the legend, and the reality that is Northern Shaolin Kung Fu!