Zui Quan (Traditional and Simplified Chinese: é†‰æ‹³; pinyin: ZuÃ¬ QuÃ¡n, literally Drunken Fist, also known as Drunken Boxing or Drunkard’s Boxing) is a traditional Chinese martial art. It is a style of wushu that imitates a drunkard in its movements. The postures are created by momentum and weight of the body, and imitation is generally through staggering and certain type of fluidity in the movements. It is considered to be among the more difficult wushu styles to learn due to the need for powerful joints and fingers. Zui Quan is sometimes called Zuijiuquan (é†‰é…’æ‹³, literally “drunken alcohol fist”).
‘Drunken Boxing’ techniques are based on the legend of the ‘The Eight Drunken Immortals’ of the Taoist Sect from Chinese Mythology. Each of the techniques in the Drunken Set demonstrates an attribute of one of the Immortals. These “elements” from all eight Immortals’ styles are combined to form a beautiful and effective fighting art.
Drunken boxing includes almost everything contained in any other kung-fu style and above all that it contains a deceptive philosophy. As the pugilist staggers about, he or she is concentrating on creating momentum and avoiding attacks with the style’s trademark unorthodox adaptive moves; for example, if someone is going to push the pugilist, he or she rolls over his arms and hits him, and sometimes sinks his or her weight upon him, according to the situation.
There are two kinds of Drunken Boxing, traditional and contemporary. Traditional Drunken Boxing is fight oriented. Contemporary Wushu Drunken Boxing is acrobatic and is very different from the Traditional Drunken Boxing. Contemporary Wushu exaggerates its drunken appearance, so much so that anyone actually under the influence of alcohol would have a tough time performing such actions. Traditional Drunken Boxing also involves stumbling and staggering, but not to such an extreme as Contemporary Wushu Drunken Boxing.
The style is ancient, so much so that its conception is shrouded in myth. According to legend, it originated with the poet Li Po in the Tang Dynasty, but there are five other stories of its beginnings.
The first story is that monasteries had tournaments between each other; one year, a master spoke to his pupils. He said that should they win that year, they would celebrate for six months. When the competition came, they won, and, true to his word, the master began the celebrations. However, the other monasteries sought revenge, and when they came to the monastery of the celebrating monks, the monks were so drunk that it seemed that they would be unable to defend their home. The master still managed to defeat the vengeful monks, and thus created ‘The Drunkard’s Fist’.
A second story is that an unnamed hermit (his drinking habits are unmentioned) lived alone in a cave in the Qingcheng Mountains, well placed to learn styles from which to create his own. When he became old, he soon felt that he needed to transmit his art so that it may continue. He began teaching a child, his only disciple. However, realising that he would not be able to teach the whole style to the student before his own death, he taught him a poem in which the precepts of his style were contained. He then told the student to study the paintings upon the cave walls, so that he may know the style. After the master’s death, when the student attempted to read the paintings, he found that he couldn’t understand the paintings and, disheartened, he decided to leave. Before he did so, he got drunk and returned to the cave. When he gazed at the paintings, he found that they began to move, and he discovered the workings of the style.
The third story is a tale of the Eight Immortals. According to legend, they were invited to a banquet in an undersea kingdom. However, they arrived intoxicated and rambunctious. The kingdom’s guards attacked them, and even though they seem too drunk to retaliate, they offhandedly created a new style, taking advantage of their drunken state. The guards were defeated, and their “Drunken” technique was created.-Another version tells that they arrived to the banquet and got drunk once they were drinking there, so they went wild and the guards attacked-
A fourth story is that policemen in China would carry liquor during the winter to keep themselves warm. This worked, but they noticed that their fighting suffered because of their intoxication. So, gradually over time, they adapted and created a style which could be practiced while drinking without detriment.
A fifth story is that the monks of Shaolin created this very special style. Attracted by the famous invincibility of the Shaolin monks, many visitors came to their monastery to learn from the masters of Shaolin about their fighting style. Since they were not real monks, they were allowed to drink alcohol. Some of them got drunk, were challenged and, of course, defeated by the challengers. The masters, feeling responsible for their students, thought of a new fighting style. Using this style, it wouldn’t be obvious if the Shaolin monks were drunk or not – obviously drunk students were able to terribly defeat their challengers, since they were not drunk but using the new Zui Quan style.
The last is the story of a young man who offended a Kung Fu master, who issued him a challenge. The young man knew that his kung fu was no match for the master’s, became very upset, and got drunk. Thinking that by drinking he had thrown away any little chance he may have had, he went into the fight recklessly. To everyone’s surprise, the young man, who had been stiff and awkward before, had now become loose, flexible, unpredictable, resistant to pain, and totally fearless. He defeated the master, and later developed a style based on his fluke.
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