There are actually three major types of monkey style kung fu. Each of them are very, very different. Some people who have very limited training, start to add movements of one monkey style to the other. 


Created around 1911, it is a very powerful art form made of devasting kicks and powerful blows. Training exercises and bag techniques are a big part of learning. Kou Sze is the creator of the art. Watching a colony of monkeys for nearly 10 years, he developed the monkey art based on five (5) monkey types: Lost Monkey, Tall Monkey, Stone Monkey, Drunken Monkey and Wooden Monkey. Kou Sze used the art of Tei Tong (Great Earth) style as its foundation. The family tree is very short.


Wushu monkey is a performance art. The movements are flowery, acrobatic, and crowd-pleasing. There are no effective movements. The best way to tell if a monkey is Wushu is in the staff form; if the monkey uses the staff to stand on, that’s Wushu. Tai Shing style would never do that. Wushu was created as a way of saving kung fu. When the communists took over China, they wanted to get rid of kung fu. To keep the art, the Shaolin monks transformed the art from a fighting style into a performance style.  


Before communism, the Shaolin Monks based their kung fu styles on animal characteristics. One of them was the monkey. Shaolin monkey is extremely different from Tai Shing and Wushu monkey because the movements are mostly from tall, standing positions. It is designed as a man imitating a monkey instead of “becoming” one. It is not a popular style and it is very rare to find anyone doing Shaolin monkey. The only person I have ever seen do Shaolin monkey is Ark Y. Wong.