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Tiger Claw Training


Sifu Chris Dougliss Shows Tiger Claws

The Tiger is one of the foremost Animal Styles in Hung Gar Kung Fu.The Tiger, having no natural enemies, is totally fearless, unpredictable, quiet one moment yet explodes with power and force when required.Similarly in Hung Gar Kung Fu, the purpose is to explode and defeat your opponent with rapid, powerful strikes.The physical manifestation of the Tiger Claw is made by curling the fingers into a Claw, ready to grab or strike or indeed both at the same time.But it is not enough to just form your hand into a Claw, it must also be conditioned over years of training to really have full impact of grabbing and striking.Also it is necessary to develop Internal Force through the proper application of forms allied with the proper use of Internal Breathing techniques.
The Internal Breathing necessary when using the Tiger Form comes from breathing in and feeling the energy gather in the Dan Tien, which is situated about two inches below the navel, and then feeling this breath being exhaled forcefully at the moment of striking accompanied by the Tiger Roar, which does not come from the throat but from deep down inside you.
The conditioning of the Hands and Fingers necessary to fully utilise the Tiger Claw takes many forms.In our school we tend to focus on the following.Finger tip Push Ups, where the weight of the body is supported by the fingertips,yet touching the ground as lightly as possible,Palm and Hand Conditioning on our Wooden Trunks, which are trunks of trees suspended from the ceiling and rough rope tightly wrapped around them, and the Gripper, which is a weighted, spring loaded machine, where weights of differing sizes can be added, the purpose of which is to practise lifting the weights with just your fingers to increase Grip Power and Tendon Strength.This has the added benefit of strengthening the wrists and forearms also.Another technique we use is to plunge our hands, formed into a Tiger Claw, into a bucket filled with stony gravel.This hardens the extremities of the fingers, ensuring that when you strike, your opponent feels it, not you.We also use this technique for the various other Hand Forms, such as Snake,Crane,Leopard and Dragon.
It is vitally important that you use Dit Da Jow, or Chinese Herbal Medicine after each training session, and rub it in well to prevent any long term health implications.

Sifu Chris Dougliss Uses "The Gripper"

Sifu Chris Dougliss Using Gravel Bucket

 In China the tiger is considered the King of animals and the tiger movements in Kung Fu reflect these characteristics, strong, quick and fierce. In Martial Arts the tiger’s essence is found in the strength of one’s bones. Strong bones imply strong muscles and ligaments. This type of power is forceful and heavy with sinking energy.


Tiger movements require that the hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders and forearms sink. Tension is placed on the arms and back, with the power of the tiger strike coming from the back. To execute these movements, keep your back straight, lock your waist at the hips, hold your head upright and keep your neck tense. Keep your eyes wide open and direct your gaze outward like a fierce tiger. You should feel the linking power through your whole body.


The Tiger Claw (Dan Fu Jaw) is formed by making an arch with the thumb and index finger in the shape of the letter “C”. Excluding the thumb, the fingers are held slightly apart. Point the fingertips forward and curve all fingers to create a strong tension at the fingertips and a lighter tension at the back of the hand. This last part is important as a strong tension along the back of the hand creates a backward pulling force that weakens the fingertips, making the strike ineffective. The back of the hand should form a smooth curve with the forearm to focus the tension at the fingertips.


Hung Gar Tiger movements consist of the single claw (Dan Fu Jaw), double claw, and black or hidden tiger claw (Hap Fu Jaw), all based on different configurations of the basic claw.


Application of the Tiger Claw:


In much the same way as karate’s Ki-Ai, Hung Gar sounds push the Students energy down into his abdomen, creating more power to come out from his hands. However, Hung Gar distinguishes between different sounds and different types of emitted power. For instance, the “fu” sound used to drive the student’s chi down to his Dan Tien is used with the Dan Fu Jaw, whereas a “wah” sound is used with the double Fu Jaw. A common misconception is that the palm heel is pushed forward while striking, this is incorrect and will turn it into a heel strike rather than a Fu Jaw. Striking with the claw hand straight out is another common error, the Fu Jaw is delivered in a downward motion, like a cat using it’s claws.


The most powerful tigers claw is the double Fu Jaw. In this strike the body is leaned forward using a low bow stance(Ji Ng Ma).Double Fu Jaws are always low attacks, aiming at the solar plexus, rib cage or groin, characterised by utilising a strong back as the source of power, like a strong tiger. In Hap Fu Jaw(Black Tiger Claw), the upper hand attacks the solar plexus or above, while the lower hand attacks the groin area. The single tigers claw(Dan Fu Jaw) is characterised by quick repetitive left and right claw hand techniques, powered forward by successive cat stances(Diu Ma).During the final strike of this advancing and striking technique, the defensive hand is dropped to the waist, palm turned down, like a cat’s claw, ready to defend or grab an opponents attacking leg or arm.

A Fu Jaw can also be defensive, for example the lower hand in a Double Fu Jaw is often positioned between the Student’s knee and elbow, from where it can be moved quickly to protect the entire torso.