Martial Arts Training Drills – Part Fifteen

As we mentioned in the first part of our series about Kung Fu drills the first Kung Fu Animal we teach new Yon Ch’uan students is the Tiger. Here is a reminder how Grand Master Robert Xavier explains the Tiger Form in the GMA Black Belt Study Guide.

THE TIGER FORM

The Tiger is a powerful hunter who attacks with fierce speed, moving with total focus without hesitation.

  • 1) From the ready position evade horizontally left with the left foot and shift the weight onto it. Bring the right foot forward into cat stance. Simultaneously, raise the arms together, aligning the forearms vertically in front of your chest with palms facing you. Your body is turned towards your right corner.
  • 2) Step with your right foot to the right front corner – pushing off from the rear left foot using a follow step and conclude in a 60/40% stance
  • 3) Shift all the weight to your left foot into cat stance then step to your right with the right foot into a 60/40% stance. During this part of the movement the right hand begins to draw back (turning the palm up) and the left hand moves from left to right turning palm down. Sit into a 60/40% stance as the hand complete the movement with the right palm up and the left palm facing down at the waist height.
  • 4) Turning your waist to the left as you sweep the rear left foot horizontally right crossing behind you completing 180° turn ending in a 60/40% stance. (Remember that your whole body moves in unison).
  • 5) Move your back right foot into a right cat stance as the hands return to the ready position. Repeat the movements of the Tiger to the right side. The Tiger form can be utilized compassionately or harshly. It is a versatile, effective self defense for both children and adults.

The Tiger is versatile and can reflect or redirect an opponent at multiple points in its movement. We looked at some of those as drills in the last part of our series.

Because the Tiger has multiple counter (penetration) points, the Yon Ch’uan student is ready to deploy many counter defensive movements even when one defense does not end a conflict. If the attempt to Evade and Escape is not successful, the student moves quickly to Enter. If the first entrance to project (push), strike (punch or kick), or throw the attacker is not successful, the student moves to the second movement which is to off-balance to the corner or rear of the attack. If that defense is not successful and the attacker is able to regain balance by stepping back or lifting his body upward, the student can use the Tiger to blend with the attacker’s movement and throw them backward in a circular throw known at Tenchi Nage (Heaven and Earth).

Heaven and Earth can be done compassionately or harshly. The defender flows with the movement of the attacker, closes the gap to take space, and controls one of the attacker’s arms by pulling them down and to the side, while raising the other arm and shoulder to contact the attacker’s neck or chin, thus controlling the attacker’s head and neck, then lowering the raised arm to throw the attacker down to the ground.

One harsher movement is for the defender to “clothes-line” (using forearm) the attacker at the neck level, and step forward and through the opponent to throw them backward and down to the ground. Another harsh movement is for the defender to strike the attacker’s throat with a Tiger strike, and control the neck and head as the defender throws the attacker to the corner. A more compassionate movement is for the defender to step in a wide circle in the direction of the controlled (trapped) arm as they place their raised arm under the chin, then lower the raised arm to throw the attacker down as they spin in a circular fashion.

Here is a short video of Grand Master Robert Xavier demonstrating Heaven and Earth from The 15 Animal Tiger Form.

Here are some solo and partner drills to learn how to use Heaven and Earth with the Tiger.

Tiger Entering Drill #4

Solo Practice – Take a natural stance .. move extra weight to the right leg and use it to leap to the left while blocking with the right arm and hand, followed by trapping an imaginary opponent’s arm with your right hand .. you will land in a right Tiger stance similar to a cat stance .. blocking is always done with a coiling movement of the hand, wrist, and forearm .. trapping is always done with an uncoiling movement of the hand, wrist, and forearm .. after trapping the imaginary opponent’s right arm, place your left hand on imaginary opponent’s right shoulder and step toward the opponent with your right leg (right forward stance) as you push down on your imaginary opponent’s right shoulder and pull the opponent’s right arm to your right hip as you turn your palm upward (a second coiling movement that traps opponent’s arm to your hip) .. this will have the effect of pulling your imaginary opponent off-balance with their face toward the ground .. you can counter by pushing the opponent forward to escape or by taking a circular step toward your right with your right foot which would cause your opponent to fall facedown on the ground .. however, if your opponent is able to regain their balance with superior strength or by stepping back, blend with their movement and follow them while continuing to hold on to their arm (once you trap an opponent, don’t let go unless it’s to escape) .. raise your right arm toward the sky (heaven) as you make contact with the imaginary attacker’s neck and take a large circular step toward your left as you lower your raised arm toward the ground (earth), thus throwing the imaginary attacker .. repeat the drill 20 times

Solo Practice – Take a natural stance .. move extra weight to the left leg and use it to leap to the right while blocking with the left arm and hand, followed by trapping an imaginary opponent’s arm with your left hand .. you will land in a left Tiger stance similar to a cat stance .. blocking is always done with a coiling movement of the hand, wrist, and forearm .. trapping is always done with an uncoiling movement of the hand, wrist, and forearm .. after trapping the imaginary opponent’s left arm, place your right hand on imaginary opponent’s left shoulder and step toward the opponent with your left leg (left forward stance) as you push down on your imaginary opponent’s left shoulder and pull the opponent’s left arm to your left hip as you turn your palm upward (a second coiling movement that traps opponent’s arm to your hip) .. this will have the effect of pulling your imaginary opponent off-balance with their face toward the ground .. you can counter by pushing the opponent forward to escape or by taking a circular step toward your left with your left foot which would cause your opponent to fall facedown on the ground .. however, if your opponent is able to regain their balance with superior strength or by stepping back, blend with their movement and follow them while continuing to hold on to their arm (once you trap an opponent, don’t let go unless it’s to escape) .. raise your left arm toward the sky (heaven) as you make contact with the imaginary attacker’s neck and take a large circular step toward your right as you lower your raised arm toward the ground (earth), thus throwing the imaginary attacker .. repeat the drill 20 times

Partner Practice – Partner #1 is the attacker .. Partner #2 is the defender .. Partner #2 takes a natural stance .. move extra weight to the right leg and use it to leap to the left while blocking with the right arm and hand, followed by trapping with the right arm and hand .. you will land in a right Tiger stance similar to a cat stance .. blocking is always done with a coiling movement of the hand, wrist, and forearm .. trapping is always done with an uncoiling movement of the hand, wrist, and forearm .. after trapping Partner #1’s right arm, place your left hand on your partner’s right shoulder and step toward your partner with your right leg (right forward stance) as you push down on your partner’s right shoulder and pull your partner’s right arm to your right hip as you turn your palm upward (a second coiling movement that traps opponent’s arm to your hip) .. this will have the effect of pulling your partner off-balance with their face toward the ground .. you can counter by pushing your partner forward to escape or by taking a circular step toward your right with your right foot which would cause your partner to fall facedown on the ground .. for this practice Partner #1 is able to regain his or her balance .. Partner #2 blends with Partner #1’s movement and follows them while continuing to hold on to their arm (once you trap an opponent, don’t let go unless it’s to escape) .. Partner #2 raises their right arm toward the sky (heaven) as they make contact with the imaginary attacker’s neck (be careful not to hurt them) and takes a large circular step toward their left as they lower their raised arm toward the ground (earth), thus throwing Partner #2 .. repeat the drill 20 times

Partner Practice – Partner #1 is the attacker .. Partner #2 is the defender .. Partner #2 takes a natural stance .. move extra weight to the left leg and use it to leap to the right while blocking with the left arm and hand, followed by trapping with the left arm and hand .. you will land in a left Tiger stance similar to a cat stance .. blocking is always done with a coiling movement of the hand, wrist, and forearm .. trapping is always done with an uncoiling movement of the hand, wrist, and forearm .. after trapping Partner #1’s left arm, place your right hand on your partner’s left shoulder and step toward your partner with your left leg (left forward stance) as you push down on your partner’s left shoulder and pull your partner’s left arm to your left hip as you turn your palm upward (a second coiling movement that traps opponent’s arm to your hip) .. this will have the effect of pulling your partner off-balance with their face toward the ground .. you can counter by pushing your partner forward to escape or by taking a circular step toward your left with your right foot which would cause your partner to fall facedown on the ground .. for this practice Partner #1 is able to regain his or her balance .. Partner #2 blends with Partner #1’s movement and follows them while continuing to hold on to their arm (once you trap an opponent, don’t let go unless it’s to escape) .. Partner #2 raises their left arm toward the sky (heaven) as they make contact with their partner’s neck (be careful not to hurt them) and takes a large circular step toward their right as they lower their raised arm toward the ground (earth), thus throwing Partner #2 .. repeat the drill 20 times


You can learn more about 15 Animal Kung Fu in the Yon Ch’uan Black Belt Study Guide. You can also watch training drills on our YouTube channel. Here are three examples to help get you started.

15 Animal Kung Fu Tiger

15 Animal Kung Fu Crane

15 Animal Kung Fu Goose


[Join our Grace Martial Arts Facebook Community!]

© Grace Martial Arts 1990 – 2022

Logo-optimized-for-web

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s