The Eagle Claw is one of the Kung Fu martial arts styles that came out of the great Shaolin Temple and is considered to be amongst the most complex styles of self defense and combat. The origins of this style can be traced way back to the 12th century when a Chinese general named Yue Fei, learnt martial arts from a Shaolin monk and then adapted some of the techniques to teach to his army.
Subsequently, the army went on to win many famous battles and the Eagle Claw style received widespread acclaim and popularity. There are very few grandmasters who are actually qualified enough to teach the entire Eagle Claw system, although it is exhilarating to note that most of Yue Fei’s techniques still survive and are taught across various schools.
Eagle Claw mostly comprises of joint locking and grappling techniques. It is incredible to note that the lock employed by an Eagle Claw grand master could be as agonizing as it would be to have steel talons piercing through the skin. The techniques are focused on gripping, trapping and manipulating the limbs and pressure points of the opponent and then disable them.
It is one of those martial arts which have been inspired by the fighting techniques existing in nature, like that of the white crane, eagle and the tiger, something that was picked by Shaolin monasteries which were mostly built in mountainous terrains.
Eagle Claw comprises of as many as 75 different sets and it is astonishing to note that each of these sets are highly complicated and could be martial art forms of their own. Kicking, grabbing and striking techniques are practiced over years along with claw locking variations and hand and foot techniques.
Practitioners also learn various acrobatic skills which help them in freeing themselves from locks and restraints. There are more than a hundred locking techniques, which are structured to handle multiple attacks along with counters to enable a person to defend himself from multiple attackers.
The Eagle Claw system taught to students varies based on the teacher, although the form is divided into 3 important categories. The Xing Quan is the first of them. The Walking Fist as it is also known as, comprises of about dozen rows of techniques. The Linking Fist or Lian Quan comprises of incorporating various joint locks and grappling techniques. The last and the most important of them all is the Yue Shi San Shou which includes 108 grab techniques or skills.
There are multiple segments that exist within the training as well. This includes locks on different parts of the body like wrist, foot, fingers, elbows, throat, head, legs and arms. There are both low and high strikes which a practitioner can train to master. The advanced levels also include what is called death locks. This form of martial art also comprises of training hard to develop the ability to grasp specific pressure points of the opponent in the right way. This, when done properly could inflict extreme pain too.