Shaolin Tantui

Grandmaster Wong and Sifu Michael Chow in their Tantui poise

Northern Shaolin is well known for leg techniques. As Taekwondo and Muay Thai kicks are very popular today, many martial artists think that leg techniques only involve kicks. This is not so. Although there are many different kinds of kicks in Shaolin Kungfu, Shaolin leg techniques are more extensive and profound than merely kicks.

But Tantui, the essence of Northern Shaolin, is not just leg techniques. It is a complete art incorporating all the four categories of attack and their defence, therefore including the other three categories of strikes, felling techniques and grips.

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tantui Single Spread against White Horse

Sifu Michael Chow attacks with “White Horse Returns Head”. Grandmaster Wong counters also with "White Horse Returns Head". You may recall that this is an excellent pattern against a Boxer as demonstrated in earlier videos. The roles are then reverse. As Sifu Michael counters with “White Horse Returns Head”, Grandmaster Wong responds with "Single Spread", which is found in Tantui Sequence 7, and is also known as "Single Strike Bell Sounds". Notice the waist rotation that neutralizes the opponent's attack as well as counter-attacks him. Do you realize that the opponent is struck twoce?

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tantui Striking an Opponent as he Attacks

Grandmaster Wong attacks Sifu Michael with Double Spread. Following the attacking momentum, Sifu Michael shifts to his right side and counter-attacks with a left whirlwind kick which could break an opponent's ribs. Grandmaster Wong also shifts to his left side and counter-attacks with "Rising Dragon Galloping Tiger", striking the attacking leg with a right hanging fist and kicking the attacking thigh with the right toes. Notice that both Sifu Michael and Grandmaster Wong employ the tactic of "no defence direct counter".

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tantui Bow Arrow Thrust Punch

Grandmaster Wong moves in swiftly to strike Sifu Micahel using the pattern "Bow-Arrow Thrust Punch". This is a common attack in Tantui and focuses on speed. It is a typical attack in many martial arts.

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tantui Leopard Fist to Throat

The roles are now reverse. Sifu Michael moves in swiftly to attack with a thrust punch. Grandmaster Wong retreats his back leg to a left Bow-Arrow Stance to avoid the punch and simultaneously grip the opponent's attacking hand with his left hand and strike the opponent's throat with a right leopard punch. If you spend some time to practice this respond well, you can defeat your opponent as soon as he attacks you with a punch.

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tantui Tempting an Opponent to Attack

Sifu Michael counters Grandmaster Wong's initial attack with a leopard fist to the throat. Grandmaster Wong brushes away the attack and countes with "Second Brother Offers Wine", i.e. a upward swing fist. Sifu Michael responds with a right whirlwind kick. Grandmaster Wong moves back a step to tempt Sifu Michael to continue his attack. Sifu Michael falls into the trap. As he attacks, Grandmaster Wong counters with a thrust kick using the pattern "Shoot Spear at Yun Pavilon", which is found in Sequence 8.

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tantui Three Attacks at Once

Grandmaster Wong initiates an attack. Sifu Michael grips the attacking arm. Grandmaster Wong not only releases the grip but also counter strikes using “Break Lock”, followed by a deadly organ-kick to the opponent's groin. These movements, which incorporate three attacks at once after breaking the lock, are found in Tantui Sequence 9. How would you defend against such sophisticated attacks?

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tantui Simple Defence against Sophisticated Attack

The roles are now reverse so that Grandmaster Wong will show the defence against the triple attack. Although Sifu Michael's attack is sophisticated, attacking three spots almost at the same time, interestingly, Grandmaster Wong's defence is very simple. Can you see the profundity in the simplicity? What is the underlying principle in the profound defence movement?

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tantui Beauty of Shaolin Combat Application

This video clip illustrates the beauty of Shaolin combat application. Not only Grandmaster Wong neutralizes Sifu Michael's sophisticated triple attack with a simple move, he also fells Sifu Michael to the ground in a seemingly effortless movement. Here Grandmaster does not even pull back his front leg to avoid the kick; he just shifts his body backward.

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tantui Locking an Opponent's Arms and Leg

Grandmaster Wong repeats the counter-movement with a slight variation. Can you see the variation? In the previous video clip, Grandmaster Wong's front leg is in front of the opponent leg. Here it is behind the opponent's. In the previous video clip Grandmaster Wong locks the opponent's arms; here he also locks the opponent's leg. The pattern that implements the felling technique is called "Double Dragons Play with Pearl".

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Shaolin Tantui Applications in Striking, Kicking, Felling and Gripping from Wong Kiew Kit on Vimeo.


Review of Shaolin Tantui
12 Sequences of Tantui
Tantui in Picture Series
Combat Application of Tantui
Kungfu Sets
Treasure House of Kungfu Sets
Treasure House of Combat Application

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