By Tyler R. Rea
The day you’d always hoped to avoid has finally arrived; you find yourself defending your life against a superior attacker—an attacker who out-weighs you and has greater reach, more speed, and cardio health that would make an Olympic athlete jealous.
In such a situation how do you turn the tides of engagement? How do you survive when the deck of self-defense is stacked against you?
Southern Chinese Kung Fu is famous for having addressed this scenario centuries ago. The ancient system of Ngo Cho Kun or Five Ancestor Fist, contains five emergency punches that are “hidden” from most forms yet “fatal” when applied, meant not only to catch the opponent by surprise, but also to turn the advantage in your favor. Let’s have a look…
Gu Kak Tao – “Cow Horn Strike”: This is a vertical fist hook punch that in a single beat deflects and displaces the opponent’s attack while providing a point of contact from which further attack can issue. “The Cow horn strike” is designed to attack the temples, the side of the carotid plexus, the arm pit, and the short ribs.
O-Lo Chiu – “Urn Hand Strike”: This is a hooking attack that uses the flat of the fist and knuckle bridge to pierce soft tissue and rupture organs, specifically the gall bladder and spleen.
Sang Tui Kun – “Falling/Planting Strike”: This downward strike is extremely dangerous for several reasons. First, it can be hidden beneath either the attacker’s bridge arm or your own. As such, it is an ever-present danger to the opponent. Second, the Falling punch, due to its downward attack being in line with gravity, doubles your striking force. When striking low targets, your attack will be received by the upward pushing internal force of the opponent’s pelvic floor muscles. When the impact of your strike and the upward, gravity-resisting muscular contraction of the pelvic floor combine, the resulting impact may cause tears and hemorrhage in the opponent. This danger increases with the age of the opponent since the pelvic floor muscles often weaken in later life.
Hong Gan Chiu – “Phoenix-Eye Strike”: This one-knuckle strike is designed to apply the same angle tactics of the previous strikes with the added danger of a pinpoint focused power strike for maximum penetration and tissue damage.
Pa Chat & Kua Chat – “Level & Reaping Elbow Strike”: These 2 attacks are covered as one emergency sucker-punch style strike due to the diminishing surface area of the practitioner’s bridge arm. After having used any of the previous 4 strikes the Level & Reaping elbow strikes fall automatically behind the fist. This affords the Ngo Cho practitioner the advantage of naturally having a two-to-one striking ratio to the opponent in all single beats of attack or defense. In regard to an edged weapon attack, the Level & Reaping elbow strikes also function as shielding actions that defend and cover the 3 vital bleeding zones of the body: the radial, brachial, and carotid artery zones. Additionally, these motions also strike the opponent at the same time they provide defensive cover.
A student well initiated into the fundamentals of Ngo Cho Kun begins cultivating these skills and far more in the first form Sam Chien. The breadth and range of skills in Ngo Cho have been the pride of Southern boxing for centuries. So prized is its effectiveness, Ngo Cho Kun has spread all over China and South East Asia, and recently has made its way around the world.
If you are interested in Ngo Cho Kun, then you will want to explore this: In Chinese Gentle Art Complete: The Bible of Ngo Cho Kun, Alexander Lim Co pours scholarship and more than 50 years’ experience in Ngo Cho into the first-ever illustrated publication, and English-language translation, of this historical book on Fukien Five Ancestor Boxing. Long held as the “Bible of Ngo Cho Kun,” this treatise on Five Ancestor Fist Kung-Fu has been a treasured keepsake among lineage holders of the style. Originally published in China 1917 by Yu Chiok Sam, one of the “Ngo Cho Ten Tigers,” or leading disciples of the art’s founder Chua Giok Beng, the book saw only a limited print run. It has been out of print for over 90 years!
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