HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF
OLD EAGLE CATCHES SNAKE
Old Eagle Catches Snake
To help students apply Taijiquan techniques for combat I composed 12 Basic Taijiquan Combat Sequences. These 12 Basic Taijiquan Sequences were condensed to 8 Distilled Taijiquan Combat Sequences, which were further condensed to 4 Abridged Taijiquan Combat Sequences.
The combat material was condensed, not reduced. Although the 4 Abridged Taijiquan Combat Sequences were only a third of the 12 Basic Taijiquan Combat Sequences, the combat material was not less than that in the 12 sequences. For example, the different directions of striking were found in 3 sequences of the 12 Basic Taijiquan Sequences, but condensed to only 1 sequence in the 4 Abridged Taijiquan Combat Sequences.
The four Abridged Sequences are as follows:
- Sequence 1 -- Striking
- Sequence 2 -- Kicking
- Sequence 3 -- Felling
- Sequence 4 -- Chin-Na
This four sequences were linked into a set, initially called "Taijiquan Four-Sequence Four-Attack Set", or "Tai Khek Sei Lou Sei Kheik Khuen" in Chinese (Cantonese). Later it was renamed "Old Eagle Catches Snake", in honour of Zhang San Feng as well as to highlight that chin-na is an important aspect of Taijiquan although not many people may realize it.
Wudang Kungfy, which was later known as Taijiquan, was evolved from Shaolin Kungfu in the 13th century by the great Zhang San Feng after witnessing a fight between a bird and a snake. Later people identified the bird as a sparrow, a crane or an eagle. It was unlike to be a sparrow, which would be too small for a snake. I could be a crane or an eagle, as there are crane patterns and eagle patterns in Taijiquan.
There are many chin-na techniques, or special ways of gripping, in Taijiquan although not many Taiji practitioners may know it. The chin-na techniques are executed with eagle claws.
Wong Kiew Kit
20th December 2015
Four Abridged Taijiquan Combat Sequences