“Hands are unique weapons in the Chinese martial arts”, says Grandmaster Wai Hong of Tiger Claw System – and his “Tiger Claws” are proof. We will reveal his unique push-up variation in the video below, but first some experience from my lineage and other Masters I met.
I remember my Sifu told me that his father – legendary Grandmaster Lam Jou – wasn’t really a fan of regular pushups; no surprise, he was very fond of fingertip pushups. Anybody who met him was a witness of his tremendous grip strength.
His eldest son, Grandmaster Lam Chun Wai, writes in Hung Kuen Training: Chin Cheung & Fuk Fu Kuen Deui Chak:
The movement is the same as normal push-ups, with both hands (using either fingers or fists) to support the body and stretch the legs out horizontally, thus using one’s hands and the toes/ balls of the feet to keep the body in position and maintain balance. When practicing finger push-ups, in the beginning, it is not necessary to do push-ups but merely maintain correct posture, remembering to keep every joint on the fingers bent. After keeping up daily practice over two weeks or so, one’s fingers should be strong enough to start finger push-ups. The ideal target is to do a hundred reps.
Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, “Taming the Tiger” Pushups; courtesy Shaolin Wahnam Institute
Wong Kiew Kit Sifu, which I had the pleasure to meet years ago in Germany, recommends to start with regular pushups and proceed to fingertips pushups:
There are two parts. The first part involves pressing up. Support your body with both palms and toes. By bending the elbow, lower and raise the whole body. When you can press up 30 times comfortably, proceed to the second part.
The second part is the same as the first part except that you use your ten fingers instead of your two palms to support your body.
Our popular PHK Intro Kit: Beginner’s Guide to Chinese Martial Arts features “The Art of Taming the Tiger” (Fuk Fu Gung) – 3 progressions of Chinese pushups NOT ONLY for strength, as well as 2 different training methods.
The Fu Jaau Paai‘s “Nine-Count Fingertip Push-ups” is an excellent progression – check it below. The sample comes from an old VHS tape Tiger Claw Kung Fu by Grandmaster Tak Wah Eng.
Sifu Falko Kriel writes:
Those familiar with yoga will instantly find similarities with the sun salutation movements, integrating a dynamic series of strength and flexibility building postures to activate all parts of the body. We stretch the hamstrings and allow the lower back and spine to elongate, as well as to open up the acupuncture meridians along the back. We dip down to a pushup to activate the muscles in our core and learn to generate power from deep within. We cultivate mindful breathing to become more aware and fully present in our bodies. Finally, for those training the tiger claw technique, the entire sequence is down on the fingertips to strengthen the muscles and sinews of the hand to transform it into a tiger’s paw capable of extending extreme energy and momentum right into the fingers!
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