Youth Student’s Corner
by Sifu Michael Prudencio-Brunello
Welcome back to our ongoing segment about our Five Kung Fu animals! So far, we’ve talked about the Tiger and, last month, we had a double feature: the Leopard and the Snake.
We continue our journey through the Kung Fu animals, with one of my favourites: the crane!
Crane at a glance…
- Rank: Green Stripe/Green Belt
- Techniques: crane hook, crane neck strike, crane kick, crane beak, crane head, crane wing
- Skill: grace and fluidity
- Form: tiger crane (at Adult Brown)
We have talked about strength, power, and speed with our past animals. However, the crane is not as large as the big cats, and not as fast as the snake. Instead, it uses its grace and fluidity. To catch fish, it relies on patience—waiting for the right moment to strike. It is a master of balance, standing tall in the water on its thin legs. That’s why we practice our crane stance—to make our balance stronger! It has very good control as well, striking at the right spot in the water to catch its dinner. It is a defensive animal that is very aware of its surroundings.
Where else do cranes use these skills? When they are flying, and when they dance. That’s right—cranes dance, just like you and me! We can channel this flying and dancing in our Kung Fu by demonstrating fluidity and grace. This is super important in sparring. Our follow-step footwork allows us to move around, but the key is to do it gracefully, staying nice and light on your feet to “fly around” your opponent. Then, go in for the strike! The control of the crane is like the accuracy of the snake—without it, the strikes will not land. Outside of sparring, there are many other areas using our inner crane can be useful. Try out some of these practice tips and see if you can become more like a crane!
Practice tips to be like a crane:
- Patience: Kung Fu is a long journey, and developing patience is the key to enjoying it every step of the way. In fact, patience makes other things in life more enjoyable too!
- Fluidity: when working on your forms, try to make the moves flow together, with strong strikes, like the crane catching a fish!
- Control: make sure your strikes go exactly where you want them! If a crane misses the fish, even by a little, he misses his dinner. And eating a nice dinner is so important!
- Relax! This is the most important. Whenever you feel stressed or worried, take some deep breaths like in our meditation. This has helped me feel better so many times, and I am sure it will help you too.
Also, do you know Sifu Anne? She made up her own crane form! It’s super cool!
Enjoy practicing, and next time we will meet our final animal, the dragon!