Leopard Kung Fu

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Leopard Kung fu is style of Kung fu and is one of the Five Animal styles.

It was supposedly created by Jueyuan with help from Bai Yufeng and Li Sou. The emphasis of leopard is speed and angular attack. The leopard does not overwhelm or rely on strength, as does the tiger, but instead relies on speed and outsmarting its opponent.

The power, as in all kung fu forms, comes from a solid stance, but in leopard it particularly comes from the aggressive speed. The leopard practitioner will focus on elbows, knees, low kicks, and leopard punches.

The leopard style was founded on the creators’ observation of the movements of the leopard in the wild, and therefore practitioners of the style imitate these movements. Blocking is wasted in Leopard – the style can be summed up with “Why block when you can hit?” It does not rely on rooted stances, and would only assume a stance while in attack in order to launch at the opponent. This hit and run technique of the leopard, something especially effective against larger opponents, is unique to the animal.

The goals of Leopard style are to:

  • develop muscle speed for external strength.
  • teach patience.
  • use the leopard punch for penetration and lower body springing power.

The primary weapon is the leopard fist, which can be likened to a half-opened fist. The primary striking surface is the ridge formed by folding the fingers at the first phalangal joint. The secondary striking surface is the palm. The leopard claw can also be modified for grabbing and tearing.

Leopard Kung Fu

Leopard Kung Fu Style

An interesting technique of the leopard is the ability to simultaneously block and strike the opponent. This is not commonly used in the harder martial arts (like the other Shaolin styles, for example). The sheer speed of the leopard is a defining characteristic of the style; however, as with all martial arts of this style, the practitioner’s ability to provide the necessary speed diminishes as he ages, reducing his or her efficacy in combat.

In popular culture the Leopard style is used in the Mortal Kombat series. Darrius uses the art in Deception’ and the character Nitara also uses the style in both Deadly Alliance and ‘Armageddon.

In China, the leopard’s fierce and ferocious power yields only to that of the tiger. Though the leopard is a smaller animal, it is believed to be, pound for pound, stronger. The leopard relies on a lightning-fast, powerful force that is produced from relaxed, whip-like techniques. It is important for the practitioner to develop a flexible waist, which allows him to develop quick footwork and explosive strikes.

Since the leopard form focuses on quick movements, there is little internal energy training. But the internal strengths of the dragon and snake blended with the speed and force of the leopard make a devastating combination. The main technique used in the leopard form is a leopard fist that penetrates vital areas of the opponent’s body, such as the throat, solar plexus and groin. There are also elbow and forearm techniques. The leopard’s footwork is quick and short, which helps the practitioner develop strong stable stances.