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Southern flavor

SO! I’m looking at submitting a photo or three from my trip to this year’s State Fair. I’ve never had my work entered into a competition setting, so it’s going to be new territory for me. If you’ve seen a photo on here that you think is worthy, do let me know! I’d be interested to hear opinions from other folks. 🙂

As of now, I think my current frontrunner is this image from QuFu, but I’ve been known to change my mind as often as my underwear when it comes to my own work. I’m also not sure what will play well with the Fair judges, so we’ll see where I end up with my entry.

Anyhoo, a fellow wushu enthusiast recently pointed out some awesome videos, so I thought I’d talk a little about a style of wushu I hold near and dear: the lesser-known style of Nanquan, or Southern Fist. The wushu you’ve most likely seen before is of the light, graceful, high-flying variety, which is Changquan, or Long Fist. It’s the kind you see in Crouching Tiger, and for good reason, because it’s just gorgeous to watch.

Nanquan also has its acrobatic moves, sure, but it’s different from the Long Fist style in most other aspects. With nanquan, the strikes and stances are shorter than Long Fist, but the style has a more upright structure in how you carry yourself, and the stances and steps are very rooted with the ground. You also tend to see bigger guys doing nanquan, so if you’re seeing a guy with a sleeveless silk uniform and deltoids the size of his head, chances are he’s about to do Southern style.

The style also calls for a lot of speed and a LOT of intensity! You have to retract your punches and kicks quickly, and explosiveness in your strikes is even more important in nanquan than in long fist. There are also points during a given nanquan form where you’re supposed to yell, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s when you bust out the crazy eyes, and scare the little kids in the audience. 😉 There’s a raw energy that you bring out when you’re doing nanquan, and that’s part of the fun of it. I’ve been doing it for 3 1/2 years now, and I’ve yet to find a changquan form that wears me out as much as my southern form.

Here’s a video of Yang Shi Wen, who’s one of the best nanquan athletes ever. With so much incredible power, speed, intensity, he’s a tough act to follow! If I could be even half as quick as this guy, I’d probably die happy. 🙂

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