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White Crane Boxing (Chinese: ???) is a Southern Chinese martial art which originated in Fujian (??) Province and is now practiced throughout the world. According to oral traditions, the creation of this style is attributed to Fang Qiniáng (???; Amoy Min Nan: Hng Chhit-niâ), a female martial artist. The characteristics of this style are deep-rooted stances, intricate hand techniques and fighting mostly at close range.
The Fang family lived in Fujian, a province of China, in a place where there were many cranes.
Qiniáng’s father knew the Southern Chinese martial arts and taught them to his daughter.
One day, while Qiniáng was doing her chores, a crane alighted nearby.
Qiniáng tried to scare the bird off using a stick and the skills she learned from her father but whatever she did, the crane would counter.
Qiniáng tried to hit the crane on the head, but the bird moved its head out of the way and blocked the stick with its wings.
Qiniáng tried to hit the crane’s wings, but the crane stepped to the side and this time blocked with the claws of its feet.
Qiniáng tried to poke the crane’s body, but the crane dodged backwards and struck the stick with its beak.
From then on, Qiniáng carefully studied the movements of cranes and combined these movements with the martial arts she learned from her father, creating the White Crane style of Fujian Province.
There are many versions of this legend, some in which the crane does not block the stick Qiniáng used; but it evaded, and countered. The point of the style is to make less use of physical strength, stressing evasion, and attacks to vulnerable areas instead. What makes white crane fitting elements so popular is not depending on strength, especially for women’s self defense. Popular karate bunkai (breakdown) of white crane katas like hakutsuru, stress vital point striking or kyusho.
The white crane system is not practiced much, if at all, anymore. There are several kata in karate, that have white crane elements, most stem from the Chinese tea merchant on Okinawa, Go Kenki, but few, if any, have the true white crane system anymore.
Source: Bubishi Gerorge Alexander ISBN 0963177516 and Secrets of the Bubishi DVD ASIN: B00015400K Bubishi Patrick Mccarthy ISBN-10: 0804820155
Over time White Crane branched off into several styles:
The Ancestral Crane master Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming dates the creation of Fujian White Crane to c. 1700.
According to the traditions of the Lee family branch of Flying Crane, Fang Qiniáng was born in the mid-18th century.
According to its traditions, the lineage of the Ong Gong Shr Wushuguan in the town of Yongchun (??; Minnan: eng2 chhun1) in the prefecture of Quanzhou in Fujian Province was established when Fang Qiniáng taught its founders during the reign of the Ming emperor Jiazhèng (??). However, there was no Ming emperor Jiazhèng (??); there was a Ming emperor Jiajìng (??), who ruled from 1521 to 1566.
Li Wénmào (???), a historically verifiable opera performer and leader in the 1854–1855 Red Turban Rebellion in Foshan, is said to have practiced the Yongchun style of White Crane.
The Xu-Xi Dao style of White Crane as taught by Chen Zuo Zhen (Chen Zhuo Zhen) is described with pics on www.chinesemartialarts.eu > White Crane Style. The Xu-Xi Dao style derives from Zhong-Ho ‘Springing Crane’ and was developed in Taiwan by Huang Lao-Yang in the 1950s.