Sink your Teeth into Pai Lum’s Tiger


Few styles can compare to Pai Lum's tiger in terms of balance, endurance, patience, strength, power, pinpoint targetry, cunningness and focus.

by Glenn C. Wilson

As the tiger journeys through the jungle, it fears nothing. It utilizes its renowned courage, prowess, strength and power to overcome all adversaries. These virtues are the very basis of the philosophies and formulas utilized and popularized in the Pai Lum Tao system of martial arts.

Yes, you will find traditional tiger within the white dragon system of martial arts. How can this be? Great grandmaster Daniel Kane Pai taught his disciples the white dragon can change shape, matter, substance and techniques. So while the diligent practitioner proclaims to be a white dragon, his training will encompass the traditional animals of tiger, crane, leopard, snake, monkey, mantis, white ape and, of course, the ever-powerful white dragon.

Wealth of Knowledge

Each animal is a different discipline of training for the eager student. The different virtues are studied to understand the "mindset" of the techniques to be applied. The ancients passed on a wealth of knowledge from their observations of animals in combative encounters. The Pai Lum Tao practitioner will concentrate on one philosophy at a time to thoroughly understand what the individual animal would think and apply in a specific situation. These individual "animal virtues" will focus on balance, endurance, patience, strength, power, pinpoint targetry, cunningness, and focus. This vast arsenal of "philosophies of execution", which have survived the test of time and has been augmented by modern-day influences, is what has made Pai Lum Tao a fiercely respected system in today's topsy-turvy, who's-system-works-and-who's-doesn't world.

When the bright-eyed Pai Lum Tao student enters the fierce world of the tiger he will prepare his training for months of endless conditioning. This conditioning will encompass the strengthening of the sinew and muscle closest to the bone of the arm. Individual finger exercises become as repetitious as breathing during class. Thousands upon thousands of exercises will be done to make the "fu jow" as unyielding as a vice. These various exercises will include finger press, finger flicks, iron bag, ball squeezing and two-man seven star training. When the student has proven his worthiness by demonstrating a proficient level in these exercises then he is ready to enter the world of the fierce tiger of Pai Lum Tao.

Vast Array of Weapons

The tiger movements found in Pai Lum Tao encompass both short- and long-range movements. This allows the practitioner to choose from the vast array of arsenals offered to execute on his opponent. These techniques are executed with blinding speed as well as isometric seizing and controlling with the powerful fu jow tiger claw.

The fu jow is utilized in a varied amount of techniques. These include swiping, clamping, tearing, jabbing and punching. The swiping is a lightning-fast rake across a mast target area. The victim is cut apart before he realizes the swiping claw has been executed. Clamping claws lock on the flesh, joints, tendons and pressure points. Once the clamp has been made the Pai Lum practitioner seizes and controls the attacker with tremendous and unyielding strength. Once the pierce has been made the tiger then tears through the flesh, removing everything in its path. Jabbing techniques are done in blinding speed to vital, softer targets areas. The claw will penetrate, stunning the nervous system, and recoil with lightning speed. This will leave the opponent stunned long enough for the finish-up techniques.

The punching routines are done by the tiger closing the paw into an iron hard weapon used for pounding and crushing. Many routines will utilize pounding techniques to soften up the attackers and set the stage for the "seizing claw" to seal the opponent's inevitable fate.

These fierce techniques are visible in the array of traditional tiger forms found in Pai Lum Tao such as short form of the tiger, movements of the tiger, twisting tiger, tiger goes hunting, outer tiger and inner tiger. Through these prearranged combative routines, the student masters the very essence of the tiger.

Five-Element Power

As in all Pai Lum Tao's teachings the tiger virtues are enhanced by the development of one's chi. This is done through the five elements applications. These elements are air, water, wood, metal and fire. These teachings for developments and mastery of chi blended with the animal virtues truly adds credence to the genius of the teaching of great grandmaster - Daniel Kane Pai.

The white dragon's moves are classically performed with smooth rhythmic motion that utilizes maximum power and speed. Striking techniques are executed with rapid-fire repetition to an array of target areas.

If there is one thing that history has shown us, it is that Pai Lum works. For as grandmaster Pai was heard to say many times, "If it doesn't work, it isn't Pai Lum."

To enhance all the physical techniques, proper breathing is greatly stressed to the practitioner. The regulating breath of chi kung is taught to the student, while matching the physical motion with the internal flow of energy is greatly stressed. The movements of the strike must be in total balance with the air flow. There must be a "marriage of motion", just as in the principles of yin and yang.

This harmony of training will surely increase a student's abilities and performance. For as in all Pai Lum Tao techniques, the "tiger virtues" of movement must be all powerful with stunning results. For as the tiger travels through time it will fear no attack. It will take the path to avoid confrontation, but when the encounter is inevitable, Pai Lum's fierce tiger virtues will prevail.

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