Sifu Cristina Prudencio-Brunello

Youth Student’s Corner

By Sifu Cristina Prudencio-Brunello

People have practiced Kung Fu for centuries, and our ancestors passed down their knowledge so others could benefit from the martial arts. Over time, different styles have evolved, such as Tai Chi, Wing Chun, Hung Gar, Qi Gong…. the list goes on and on! In our style of Shaolin Kung Fu, we specialize even further into our 5 animals (Quick! Can you name them all?).

Each of you has an animal associated with your rank, newly added in our last curriculum update. In class, we teach you the hand formations, striking points, and movement styles of the Tiger, Crane, Leopard, Dragon, and Snake. But we don’t often talk about embodying (being like) the 5 Kung Fu animals. These animals have important lessons to teach us not only about Kung Fu but about how to become a good person as well. 

Over the next few newsletters, we will focus on the Tiger, Leopard, Snake, Crane, and Dragon. As we explore their personalities, we’ll start to paint a picture of how these animals can help us become kinder, happier, and more successful in our everyday lives. 

Before we get started, I wanted to give you an activity to get you thinking:

  1. Pick one of the 5 Kung Fu animals. It can be the one you learn at your belt colour, your favourite one, or maybe one you want to know more about. 
  2. Grab your Student Handbook, and see how many questions you can answer:
  • At which ranks do you focus on that animal? 
  • What is (are) the hand formation(s)? Some animals have more than one, so check the whole curriculum!
  • Are there any kicks/strikes/blocks/stances associated with that animal in our curriculum?
  • Our school has a major skill that each animal teaches. What is the skill for your animal? 
  • Is there a form for your animal? At which rank do you get to learn it? 

I’ll be answering these questions and providing some fun facts about our animals in the next several newsletters. Stay tuned!