combat sequence

Grandmaster Wong and Dr Damian Kissey demonstrating a combat sequence


It is a common misconception that if one performs chi kung techniques, he is practicing chi kung. This is not so; the essence of chi kung is energy flow.

— Sifu Barry Smale, UK


The 12 Shaolin combat sequences was a key innovation to help my early students when I taught at the Shaolin Wahnam Association in Sungai Petani, Malaysia in the 1980s. These combat sequences were based on the combat application I learned from Sifu Ho Fatt Nam earlier.

The combat sequences were very effective. They enabled my early students to be combat efficient in three years when most other kungfu practitioners could not use their kungfu for combat even after more than ten years of training.

I recall a student telling me that when he met his siheng who was an assistant instructor in his former kungfu school, his siheng asked what he had learned. He told him that he had learned some combat application.

“How would you counter this?” his siheng asked, simultaneously throwing out a punch.

My student spontaneously grap the punch and pressed his siheng to the ground, using “Lohan Tames Tiger”.

His siheng was shocked and did not know what to do.

When I first taught internationally in the 1990s, I improved upon the earlier 12 combat sequences into 20 combat sequences, which were more systematic and comprehensive.

Sequences 1 to 4 focussed on combat skills, sequence 5 to 8 on strikes, sequences 9 to 12 on kicks, and sequences 13 to 16 on felling, and sequences 17 to 20 on chin-na.

Each set of four combat sequences were linked together to form a kungfu set as follows, “Black Tiger Steals Heart”, “Fierce Tiger Speeds through Valley”, “Happy Bird Hops up Branch”, “Fell Tree with Roots”, and “Fierce Tiger Descends Mountain”.

However, when I first taught these combat sequences at a time when video clips on websites were unknown, I could hardly cover up to 16 combat sequences. As chin-na techniques which were found in Sequences 17 to 20, were also found in Sequences 13 to 16, I left out the last four sequences in intensive Shaolin Kungfu courses, leaving them as a selective set in “Fierce Tiger Descends Mountain”.

Later when video clips were available on webpages, we could cover more material in the same course. I used the extra time to teach other important aspects of kungfu training.

But before one could apply the first four combat sequences, he has to be familiar with basic Shaolin patterns. This need is well fulfilled by practicing the four strikes and their defences as follows:

  1. Black Tiger Steals Heart -- Single Tiger Emerges from Cave
  2. Poisonous Snake Shoots Venom -- Golden Dragon Plays with Water
  3. Precious Duck Swims through Lotus -- False Leg Hand Sweep
  4. Hang a Golden Star at a Corner -- Immortal Emerges from Cave

These eight patterns are linked together to form a sequence, and the sequence is repeated in its left and right modes to form a set named "Lohan Asks the Way".

Practicing Lohan Asks the Way trains students in many skills, which are important for effective combat but which students do not learn in most other schools. These skills include fluidity of movement, regulating breath, exploding force, and increasing speed without panting and without being tired.

The above is taken from Question 5 July 2014 Part 2 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.


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