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How to Learn Snake-Style Kung Fu

author image Luke Schmaltz
Luke Schmaltz has extensive experience in martial arts and personal training, which informs his writing on health and fitness. He also spends time in the entertainment world as a songwriter and performer. He has written and produced numerous studio albums and published many articles online.
How to Learn Snake-Style Kung Fu
Martial artists fighting on poles at a beach. Photo Credit elementals/iStock/Getty Images

Calculating an opponent's weakness and waiting for the precise moment to strike with speed and precision is how a snake-style Kung Fu artist fights. Learning to do this requires the understanding of targets, utilization of hand strikes, application of arm wrapping techniques and cultivation of patience. Developing these skills requires that you possess a solid martial arts foundation to build upon. As this is an advanced area of study, guidance from a recognized Kung Fu master is ultimately recommended.

Precise Striking Points

Studying human anatomy is essential for assimilating your menu of crucial targets. You can use acupuncture charts to find the places where, like a snake, you can deliver a crippling strike. As you begin to appreciate the vulnerable parts of the face, neck, torso, elbows, knees and groin, you will learn where to effectively hit during a confrontation. Synthesizing the fighting experience through controlled sparring is essential. A fellow snake-style student is an ideal partner. You will need to outfit yourselves with adequate protection and practice utmost control when training.

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Counterstriking Techniques

Snake stylists bob, weave, shuffle and bend with agility to avoid being hit. When an opponent strikes, you must practice evading and then moving in quickly and attacking one of the crucial areas you have been studying. You do this with an arsenal of hand forms that are designed to inflict trauma onto relatively small spots. Practice using snake hands, elbow tips, finger fangs and the balls of your feet to target eye sockets, nose bridges, Adam's apples and inner thighs in a barrage of counter strikes. Your sparring partner is essential in this area, as are body pads, hand pads and, most importantly, control.

The Coiling Principle

A snake coils itself around its prey. As an aspiring snake stylist, you must learn to utilize your counter striking strategy to wrap up an opponent's arm. In controlled sparring sessions, you have to maneuver yourself inside the opponent's personal space in order to get into position. You then practice wrapping up your training partner's arm at the elbow by rotating one of your arms clockwise or counterclockwise around his arm and then grabbing onto his clothing up by the shoulder. This traps him in place while, in a controlled manner, you practice striking with your other hand to an exposed, vulnerable area.

Learning to Wait

When a snake's territory is invaded, it avoids the trespasser by coiling up or retreating. It never initiates an assault. Timing your counter strikes requires that you learn to be patient while also avoiding getting hit. The first punch or kick an opponent throws at you will most likely not expose the weak points you are aiming for. As you develop your snake style during sparring sessions, discipline yourself to continually evade rather than jumping in and engaging. As long as your partner is moving, an opening will eventually present itself. When this happens, work on closing the distance and exacting your assault with lightning speed.

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