This class teaches you your first Shaolin Kung Fu form: Liánhuán Quán (连环拳) or Continuous Form/Chain Fist.
Please note that this form is best suited to students who are agile, younger and more flexible; if you struggle with this form, the next class teaches an alternative form, Shísān Quán (十三拳), which is better suited to people with a heavier physique as well as people who lack flexibility/agility.
Liánhuán Quán is one of the representative Kung Fu routines in Shaolin martial arts, and an essential routine that people who train Shaolin Kung Fu must learn and practice. The movements are coordinated and coherent, with compact transitions and a flexible and changeable pattern.
Liánhuán Quán is an ideal first form for those who are naturally softer and more agile, presenting a clear routine of attack and defence with concise, flowing movements. Its characteristics are short and powerful, with a combination of hardness and softness. Key to the form is the transition from Horse Stance to Bow Stance to generate power in a strike, which is utilised four times during the form, whilst the Straight Punch, Palm Strike and Hook Hand are the featured hand positions. The form features a practical set of movements containing numerous combat application methods and important Kung Fu principles. Training this form with good attention to detail will help give you a strong base for when you begin to practice applications, so please study the transitions and finer points of the movements to ensure you develop good habits.
Watch both the front and back angles of the form attentively, learning the form movement by movement. For most students, this learning stage will likely take multiple practice sessions. Try learning just the first couple of movements and perfecting them in your initial training session, then slowly add on another 2-4 movements into the form each time you train.
The key points to remember when practicing Liánhuán Quán are:
Keep the shoulders relaxed and coordinate your breathing with your movements
Coordinate your steps with your upper body movements, using your legs to drive your punches and palm strikes
The movements should be smooth and even, naturally linking together, with the completion of each posture automatically flowing into the next one.