Styles In Chinese Martial Arts

Many different styles in Chinese martial arts have been developed over the past thousand years. In this article we will mainly discuss the different styles of Chinese martial arts and how they are categorized. For simplicity, styles in Chinese martial arts can be broadly categorized by the terms Northern and Southern. Northern and Southern refer to the geographical region of origin and development. The Yellow River, in China is used as the arbitrary line of division.

Northern styles – Northern styles in Chinese martial arts refers to those styles which are mainly derived from the Yellow River. These Chinese martial arts styles feature completely extended postures like the horse, bow, drop & dragon stances. The group of Northern Chinese martial arts has different styles which include Baguazhang, Bajiquan, Chaquan, Eagle Claw, Northern Praying Mantis and Taijiquan.

Southern styles – Southern styles of Chinese martial arts basically refers to those styles that originates from the south of the Yellow river. These styles usually highlight low stable stances as well as short powerful movements combining both attack & defense. It can be said that Southern styles are short, direct and powerful. Southern styles apply five family styles of Southern china which include Choy Gar, Hung Ga, Lau Gar, Li and Mok Gar.

External and internal terms are also used to categorize styles in Chinese martial arts. However, these are poorly applied terms. External styles in Chinese martial arts are mainly categorized by fast and explosive movements, basically focusing on physical strength as well as agility. These styles include both the traditional style that focus on the application & fighting as well as the modern styles, adapting for competition and exercise.

Talking about internal styles, these styles mainly focus on the practice of elements such as awareness of the spirit, mind and the use of relaxed leverage rather than using unrefined muscular tension. With many different styles, Chinese martial arts are easily the most diverse and complex; each possessing unique characteristics. The vast knowledge found in these arts is due to the contributions of many generations of leading exponents who dedicated their lives to the perfection of their art.

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