HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF
"Hungry Tiger Catches Goat" from the Tiger-Crane Set
There are three Tiger-Crane Sets in our school, namely the 36-Pattern Tiger-Crane Set, the 108-Pattern Tiger-Crane Set, and the 72-Pattern Tiger-Crane Set.
The 36-Pattern Tiger Crane Set was my first kungfu set, which I learned from Uncle Righteousness more than half a century ago in 1954. I learned the 108-Pattern Tiger-Crane Set from Grandmaster Lam Sai Weng's modern classic and from watching demonstrations from a Sisook in the 1970s. I learned the 72-Pattern Tiger-Crane Set from my Wing Choon teacher, Grandmaster Choe Hoong Choy, in the 1980s.
Of the three Tiger-Crane Sets, I valued the 36-Pattern Set the most. Although I learned it as a fundamental set at Uncle Righteousness's school, I found it too advanced, and did not teach it as a fundamental set when I established Shaolin Wahnam Association in the 1980s. Except for the Shaolin greeting at the start and end of the set, every pattern is different and is from the tiger or the crane techniques.
The 108-Pattern Tiger-Crane Set is the most popular amongst kungfu practitioners as it is a legacy form the great Shaolin master, Wong Fei Hoong. The set consists mainly Lohan patterns, with some tiger and crane techniques added. There are fewer tiger techniques and crane techniques in the 108-Pattern Set than in the 36-Pattern Set!
The 72-Pattern Tiger-Crane Set is from Choe Family Wing Choon, and is a legacy from the famous Shaolin num, the Venerable Ng Mui. There are more crane techniques than tiger techniques in this set, and it is the "softest" amongst the three Tiger-Crane Sets. I am most impressed with the pattern, "Single Leg Flying Crane", in the set, which is quite different in demonstration from the "Single Leg Flying Crane" pattern in the other two sets. I believe this pattern in the 72-Pattern Set reveals its deadly combat application which is hidden in open demonstration in the other two sets.
Wong Kiew Kit
17th December 2015