Traditional martial arts moves are often based on animal gestures, not only in Chinese martial arts, but many examples can be found in other parts of the world.
The fascinating thing about animal behavior is that it makes observers feel that various animals seem to have the same drive to survive, but they are executed through different body structures, and these structures each have different weapons and strategies. When you hear children asking questions like “Who wins a fight between a polar bear and a lion,” you may be curious about it.
But the mind is not independent of the body. Various animals have different “personality.” Rabbits and lions can’t fight each other. Humans sometimes feel that animals have the same mind as themselves, and sometimes feel that it is not. In religious traditions, Christianity and Islamic churches separate humans from animals, while Hinduism, Taoism, and many aboriginal mythological systems allow humans and animals to transform each other. In these areas, martial arts that imitate animals are often seen.
Kangaroo Pie Wrestling Master?
When talking about how Australian kangaroos fight, they often say that they are master boxers or kick people with their powerful legs. But in fact, the martial arts related to kangaroos is neither boxing nor kickboxing, but a type of wrestling originated from the “Ngiyampaa” (Ngiyampaa) of the aborigines of Australia.
The Niyapam people live in the arid inland areas of New South Wales in eastern Australia. In their legends, people lived in a natural state of being enemies with each other in ancient times. At that time, killing and vengeance pervaded the entire world. The early human ancestors were a mixture of humans and beasts, such as “lizard people”.
There is a lizardman named “Billon” who has gone through too much blood and wanted to find a solution. So he came to the water source and kept singing until he successfully summoned the rainbow snake that connected the sky and the earth to show up. However, the Rainbow Snake did not make the lizardman sign a Hobbesian “social contract”, but instructed it to observe how the kangaroo lives.
There are close to 60 species of kangaroos in Australia. The red kangaroo is the largest terrestrial mammal. The larger male kangaroo can reach up to 2 meters and the distance of a leap can reach 9 meters. They are muscular and have sharp claws. In order to compete for the leadership position and mating power, they will conflict from time to time. First they use their forelimbs to attack each other, and both sides tilt their heads back to avoid each other’s claws, and then they use them. The tail supports the weight of the body and kicks forward with both feet at the same time to attack the soft abdomen of the opponent.
Fortunately, kangaroo fighting is only limited to gaining status and has no intention of putting the opponent to death. The tough skin can also play a protective role, so although the fighting is fierce, there are few casualties. What remained on the scene was a strong smell, similar to the smell of coffee, as well as a large amount of kangaroo hair falling off the ground.
It is said that after watching the fighting of kangaroos, the “lizard man” realized the way to resolve the disputes in the world. It brought the fighting principle of kangaroos back to the tribe. From then on, the Niyapan tribe replaced endless killing with wrestling gentlemen, which became a ritual for maintaining peace in the tribe.
Kangaroo is the only animal that can use the tail as a third leg. Humans obviously cannot use the tail to support the body and kick people. Therefore, the imitation of Niyapan tribe is only limited. At the beginning of the competition, the contestants will have a little “dance”, imitating the movements of the kangaroo’s ears and hands, and then use different angles to deal with and approach each other like a kangaroo. In the end, Enter a sumo-like wrestling link, but you will not jump like a kangaroo.
”Backspin kick” was originally called “crocodile tail swinging”, and “reverse kick” was “Luhuitou”.
What to learn from zoology?
When all traditional martial arts enter the modern era, they will face great impact. In addition to the advancement of military technology, there is also the strengthening of the rule of law in the country, which has led to the continuous decline of the role of folk martial arts, and the general transformation of martial arts into sports or performance events.
Some martial arts are transformed into self-defense techniques for ordinary citizens, combat techniques for military and police, or mixed with other martial arts skills from all over the world, to board the global stage of mixed martial arts. This makes martial arts break away from the original historical tradition.
Two fighting red kangaroos
Fighting elephants. It is said that some of the moves of Muay Thai are derived from observing elephants.
Indian martial art “Kalari Payatut”
There are some martial arts, such as the internationalization of Muay Thai, which is particularly successful, so many moves will be translated into purely technical words, but originally they all have the color of animals. For example, “back spin kick” was originally called “crocodile tail swing”, and “reverse kick” was “luhuitou”. Muay Thai also has some moves, which are said to be derived from observing elephants, such as the “war elephant cross-tooth” that hits with both elbows after leaping, or the “ideal hits the tooth” that hits back with an uppercut after avoiding the opponent’s fist. , Are similar to using arms or elbows to imitate how elephants use ivory as a weapon.
However, the relationship between Muay Thai and animals is relatively superficial. These names are mainly the visualization of individual moves and gestures, unlike the Chinese Wuxingquan, which attempts to “incarnate” oneself as a certain animal to fight. Muay Thai has many names such as “flying bird lifts the nest”, “old monk picking melon”, “broken trunk”, and “lion enters the stream”, but they don’t mean to pretend to be a lion, a crocodile or a bird. Muay Thai is basically a martial art that thinks about body parts, while Wu Xingquan is an overall modeling posture to imitate animals.
Perhaps the most famous martial art in India is the “Kalaripayattu” (Kalaripayattu, also translated as “Indian war dance”) in the southern state of Kerala. The relationship between this kind of martial arts and animals can be said to be slightly different. It has basic poses such as elephant, horse, chicken, snake, wild boar, fish, cat, and peacock. These postures make people feel a bit like yoga poses, rather than specific attack moves or routines. For example, the “Xiang Pose” exercises the power of the body from the bottom up, and the “Peacock Pose” exercises the horizontal balance of the body’s leverage.
When people know martial arts, they will be amazed by their rich creativity: Kangaroo wrestling, Muay Thai, Indian war dance, boxing, taekwondo, jiu-jitsu, five-shaped boxing and other different skills, each using different body parts and having different spatial perceptions . This is generated from various social environments and historical conditions.
If you say that, like living things, traditional martial arts is also formed in the evolution of a long history and is the product of specific social conditions, then the constantly changing environment puts martial arts under continuous pressure. The strong point of Muay Thai is to strike agilely, while Jiu-Jitsu is to lock opponents on the floor. Today’s MMA fighters learn all kinds of techniques and use them freely in the ring.
It can be said that traditional martial arts moves remember the close relationship between humans and other animals, but the extinction of animals and the disappearance of martial arts also occur simultaneously. Now when we learn martial arts, we may be able to rethink our relationship with animals.