Southern Styles of Kung-Fu

Styles of Kung-Fu originating south of the Yangtze River are known as Southern Styles. They are known for their strong, stable stances, emphasising grounding. Powerful punching techniques are performed simultaneously with blocks and close attention is paid to intercepting and negating enemy attacks at the same time as delivering a counter. Close range fighting is a speciality in Southern Style Kung-Fu. Short steps are favoured over any leaping and the arms are kept close to the body to protect the flanks from attack.

Southern Chinese were traditionally shorter and stockier than their Northern cousins. With their strength centred in their trunk and not in long limbs, it would make sense that they fight in close terms. A hotter, more humid climate would no doubt dissuade them from excessive movement, favouring the economy of punches over tiring acrobatic kicks. Another theory is that Southern Styles are more direct and easier to learn than the sometimes esoteric Northern Kung-Fu syllabus. For that reason, they were learned for use by Chinese rebels who did not have the resources for lengthy academic study of the Martial Arts.

Popular Northern Styles of Kung-Fu include:

  • Hung Gar
  • Wing Chun
  • White Crane
  • Choi Li Fut
  • Dragon