Jingang Quan, also known as Jingang Luohan Quan (金刚罗汉拳 Guardian Luohan) – is one of the older boxing methods of Northern China. Jingang Quan represents a powerful, and effective practical fighting system.
Shaolin Jingang Quan is based on the stab foot technique (Chuojiao). This form focuses on sinking qi energy into the Dan Tian, the body’s central energy source. The breathing of the practitioner should be even when releasing the energy. The form requires the coordination of the mind in unison with your energy, and strength. This is coupled with the synchronisation of your hands, eyes, body, and feet.
Chuojiao (戳腳) is a Chinese martial art that comprises many jumps, kicks, and fast fist sequences. The fist and feet work in unison and strike continuously while moving forward. It is described like “falling meteorites”, never giving the opponent a moment to recover. This style originated in central Hebei, but flourished in northern China, Beijing and Liaoning in North-eastern China.
Chuojiao originated in the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127) and became popular during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368–1911); making Choujiao Kung Fu an ancient art form. Chuojiao is attributed to Deng Liang, who is said to have created the style on the basis of the 18 basic feet plays. It is believed that he developed the basics according to calculations of the Chinese abacus to form a chain of feet plays incorporating 108 tricks. According to legend, he later taught the monk Zhou Tong the style, who later passed it on to his pupil General Yue Fei.
Feng Keshan (冯克善), a general in the failed Taiping Rebellion of the early 19th century, was a Chuojiao Fanziquan master. After the failure of the rebellion, Feng went into seclusion with two other experts Tang Youyi in Hebei Province in Raoyang, where he taught Fanziquan, which emphasises the hands, to the Wang family and Chuojiao, which emphasises the feet, to the Duan family. During practice, the families would exchange techniques.
Jingang Quan consists of many skills including a foundation practice (金刚架子 Jingang Jiazi, also known as Luohan quan) which allows the most fundamental techniques to be exercised. There are also a few additional materials created by descendant masters in the generations after Feng Keshan.
Throughout Jingang Quan there is an abundance of throwing and take down methods. Some of its methods are extremely specialised like the Huanglong Sanquan (Yellow Dragon three coils and turns). The key throwing methods like Gouzi (Hooking), Qiezi (Cutting), Biezi (Outside Sweeping) and so on are found in Jingang’s repertoire.
Like many of the central plain martial arts, multiple opponents are key to their routine practices. Sudden changes of direction, footwork and integrated techniques are all representative of that. Jingang Quan has numerous methods like this from the commonly applied Bei Chui (Striking through to the back), to the linked strikes of Riyue Mingzhu (Sun and Moon Bright Pearls).
Qinna – Grappling
Deceptive since its methods seem long, within its arsenal Jingang Quan includes sophisticated grappling methods and locks. From the cross hands that intercept strikes, to close-body methods which then apply a number of wrist, elbow, shoulder, knee and whole body trapping, locking and grappling.
Chuojiao is essentially the King of kicking methods and renowned as such throughout China. Jingang Quan also has a large array of kicking methods from the usual Yuanyang Jiao (Mandarin Duck Kick), Qianhou Sao (Front/Back sweeps), Cun Tui (Inch Kicks), Deng Tui (Stamping Kicks), Xuan Kong Jiao (Jumping Kicks) and so on.
Hand and Other Techniques
Jingang Quan’s arsenal includes a large array of strikes: uppercuts, circular strikes, straight punches, groin smashes, bridge smashes, hammer strikes, dragon eye fists and so forth. There are also elbow strikes such as upward elbow strikes, turning elbow strikes, pressing elbow strikes and spinning elbow strikes. Palm strikes include chopping palms, pressing palms, pushing palms, covering palms, toppling palms and more. Surprisingly, there are also headbutts!
Jingang Quan is not just a set/routine of Chuojiao but in fact a system of boxing in its own – direct, powerful, tactical and highly effective. Unfortunately only a few practitioners possess a full understanding of Jingang Quan’s combatives. It is one of those treasures that are slowly fading.