Contrary to most people’s belief, Monkey Kung Fu is actually an extremely powerful artform. Most people think monkeys are scared and funny and run around avoiding getting hit, and that’s all true. However, when monkeys attack, they are quick, powerful, bone-breaking and relentless. The goal of the monkey has never been to win the fight, but it’s goal is to cause horrific damage and get quickly away.
The goal is never to go toe-to-toe, but it is to inflict the person with such a powerful blow that they will be unable to follow. This is why monkey kung fu training is intense. You will build extremely powerful kicks, devasting strikes and like Muay Thai, your elbows and knees are a big part of the monkey’s arsenal.
Monkey Kung Fu is a very unique style of martial art. It is unlike any other artform because its foundation is low to the ground, its movements are unpredictable and it has one major factor that separates it from all the other styles, it is extremely deceptive. This is Tai Shing, not Shaolin Monkey or WuShu Monkey, but powerful Tai Shing Monkey.
In Monkey Kung Fu, deception is everything. Monkeys are small and the only thing going for them is the element of surprise. So, monkeys have to act fast, very fast and very, very powerful. Using elbows, knees, and fist strikes to vital points of the body. Knowing these areas are very important. Monkey surprises the enemy by bringing them quickly down to the ground with strong grabbing and pulling. In one instance, when a monkey is being chased, the will set up the attacker as they turn around with lightning speed to deliver a bone-breaking blow.
The mindset of the monkey is being the monkey. Being that wild, crazy and powerful beast that will put everything into the fight for that quick, split-second attack. This is the way of Monkey Kung Fu. For a moment, you are the attacker!
HISTORY OF MONKEY KUNG FU
TAI SHING (MONKEY)
Monkey Kung Fu was created by a master of the art of Great Earth style (also called Tei Tong). It is a very low and powerful form of martial arts. Unfortunately, the actual time when Great Earth was created is not known. The master’s name was Kou Sze.
One day, around 1899/1900, Kou Sze was arrested for committing murder. Some say he killed a military official and others say different. One individual tries to sugar-coat it by saying he killed an evil villager but that is not true. (I know because I was there when he sugar-coated it).
Because of his crime, Kou Sze was scheduled to be put to death. However, his friends came to his aide. They bribed the judge and he agreed to give him only eight years but he must be kept in solitary confinement. They agreed.
Serving his term he tried to keep himself busy by practicing the Great Earth style, but they became boring very quickly. The only thing that kept Kou Sze from losing touch with reality was the cell window. Through it, he can still be in touch with the outside world. The outside world however was the jungle which was filled with a colony of monkeys.
The monkeys kept Kou Sze entertained and eventually he was able to tell them apart, recognize their characteristics, etc. In a way, it was kind of his family, at least for those eight years. As Kou Sze watched them play amongst the trees, he began to notice their reactions in life-threatening situations as well. Some were quick, some were deceiving and others were very strong. He also noted how they reacted when a tiger or other animals came into their home and what they did to drive them away or even kill them.
So impressed by these monkeys, Kou Sze felt their movements were incredible. Because Kou Sze had studied the art of Great Earth, his movements, which were already low to the ground, were quite similar to those of the monkey. He felt that he could add the movements he sees and blend them with the Great Earth style, and that’s what happened.
Combining the characteristics, mannerisms and movements of the monkeys, he was beginning to create a whole new art form. Though each monkey shared movements like walking, jumping, leaping and more, he was able to decipher the monkeys into five major personalities.
These include 1) Lost Monkey, 2) Tall Monkey, 3) Stone Monkey, 4) Drunken Monkey and 5) Wooden Monkey. Tai Shing only has one weapon, the staff.
PEK KWAR (AXE FIST)
Pek Kwar kung fu is a Northern style of martial art that was developed over 200 years ago by Ma Chi Ho. The story is that Ma lived in a village near Shantung Province and he went to the wood to gather firewood. There was a temple just down the road from the forest and out of the kindness of his heart, he would cut extra wood for the monks and bring it to the temple.
Ma was a very strong man and was able to cut off a branch with just one swing of his axe. Sometimes, he would double his efforts by placing an axe in each hand and chop down more branches.
One day a monk came by as he was chopping wood. By this time, Ma was friendly with all the monks.
The monk then picked up one of Ma’s axes, examined it and said, “Metal may conquer wood.”
Ma replies back, “Yes, it does.”
The monk put his finger on Ma’s chest and said, “But the spirit is stronger.”
The monk visit Ma several times with the same phrase.
Finally, Ma said to him, “You want me to knock the breach down with just my arm?”
The monk replied, “Allow your inner spirit, your chi to knock down the branch.”
The monk then began training him. Teaching him to breathe properly and cultivate the energy. This went on for some time until Ma felt he was ready. He then went up the branch, allowed the energy to flow and in one swift motion, knocked down the branch with his bare arm.
He turned and said to the monk, “But the spirit is stronger.” The monkey smiled and walked away.
As months passed he was proficient enough to use both arms to chop the branches.
Through these series of movements, Ma put together a unique style he called Pek Kwar or Axe Fist kung fu.
Later he began teaching the art and it was then passed down to Ken Ming Kwai.
Ken Ming Kwai passed it down to his son, Ken Yung Kwai.
Ken Yung Kwai later passed it down to his son, Ken Tak Hoi.
Now, Ken Tak Hoi’s grandfather, Ken Yung Kwai, was close friends with a man named Kou Sze. Kou Sze had just been released from prison and he just developed a new artform called Tai Shing (Monkey) kung fu. Kou Sze now became Ken Tak Hoi’s new master.
Many years later (no timeframe known), Ken Tak Hoi was now the master of Tai Shing and Pek Kwar styles. When he decided to open a school, he called it “Tai Shing Pek Kwar.” He would teach Pek Kwar as a foundation and Tai Shing for the advanced.
CAN ANYONE LEARN MONKEY KUNG FU?
Yes, but they have to have a good teacher. And that is so important. In Monkey, you can easily damage your knees by learning it incorrectly. You can damage your back and you can endure a lot of dizziness if you are doing it incorrectly. If after a few months and your knees are still very painful, then quit and find a real teacher. This is a very advanced artform, it is not for beginners and should be treated as such. Movements are hard but if you try hard enough, you can master them. Anyone, anyone can learn the art if they are taught the right way. There are a few individuals who only had one year of training and trying to push themselves as a grandmaster of the art. Please beware. Monkey Kung Fu is a wonderful artform and even if you don’t go on to master the entire art, you will improve your kicking, striking, and movements ten-fold. Anyone, if they want to, can learn the art.