On this page you will find most of the information that you require to learn, train and pass Post Red Sash level of Shaolin Panther Kung Fu.
"The outcome of a battle is decided long before the battle starts!"
The Panther is a Tiger, except it is not. It is the 2nd born, smaller and thus does not inherit the family title of King the Animals. Thus, like a 2nd born it needs to find something to specialize in, to be best at. In real terms this means that all the great Cats that are not Tigers, have a specialization. For example, the Shaolin Academy uses the Panther as the 2nd of the 5 animals to represent this. The Panther stands for the Hidden Arts of Kung Fu sometimes also know as the Vagabond, Beggar or Wand ere's Kung Fu. You could also call it the Chinese Ninja style. We have a sub page dedicated the the Vagabond Arts of Kung Fu, not so much a style as an attitude.
Other Great Cats are;
with their great mane can not be easily killed by attacking the neck and have organized hunting parties; Lions are used as a symbol for two (or more) stylist cooperating together as well as for superior defensive methods.
first stalks and evaluates its pray from a distance and then gives chase at speeds up to 100 kph / 60 mph; Shaolin Academy uses the Cheetah to represent Taking You Time to Understand the Attacker and for Quick, Sudden and Enduring counter attacks.
also stalks their pray but does this using the terrain and elevation; from this Great Cat we get the tactic of Using Obstacles (as a resource) and counter Attacking from Below but also pushing the attackers defence down.
also called Cougar and Mountain Lion is able to take down pray much larger than it self; from this great cat we learn the advantage of Multiple Strikes (Hit and Run) over time (wearing down the attacker) and Changing Attack Points.
are possibly the closest to the Tiger in dominance and strength; from the Jaguar we learn the Advantage of Strong Arms and Claws (for grapping and breaking) and using Lighting as a resource (both natural and irritating clothing).
is one of the smaller Great Cats; from this animal we learn the advantage of Indirect Strikes/Counter Attacks (unusual angles) and the value of Letting Go if success is not imminent and possibly to costly.
another of the smaller great Cats is a specialist in Hearing and Sudden Attacks; from this we learn to use Sound as both information and distraction and the advantage of Speed Changes defence and counter attack.
although quite a few great Cats are tree hunters the Clouded leopard specializes in this skill; from this we learn the value of Changing Elevation (bobbing up and down but also very low stances) and Irregular Movements (change of patterns almost spastic like)
Black Footed Cat
another smaller great Cat, it is a positional waiter (it waits for it's pray to appear at home or at the watering hole); from it's name and Hunting Style we use superior almost exclusive Defensive Bare Hand Kung Fu just waiting for the opportunity to deliver that one, special and final kick; kicks are not used otherwise.
Fishing Cat (The Fisherman)
is know to catch is pray through slow movement and sudden dives into the water; from this learn the advantage of using Chinese Fast Wrestling (throwing someone to the ground and following this up); that is to say normal slow kung fu is used until that special opportunity arises and then the attacker is thrown to the ground and .....
is a master of adapting to the situation, environment and habitat; from this we get Style Mimicry and Situational Adaptation; that is where we seek to use the strengths of the attacker against them but also the ability to quickly change of tact and tactic.
is know for it's clever use of it's claws and speed; from this we learn the use of Claws for Bleeding (obstructing airways and eyes) and Taring and Quick Scraping Claw (pain and distraction) as defence and counter attack.
All this is not learned immediately (of course) but it needs to be listed, to show that the Panther Style of Shaolin Kung Fu has a very wide base and, after Black Sash, requires specialization. That is why at this level, you focus on the mastery of the mainstream and some Panther Speciality techniques but also focus on the Theory and Application of which are more Panther mainstream and the learning of Strategies and Rules of Power. You are not limited to strategies from the "Art of War", "Book of 5 Rings" or the "48 Rules of Power" but at this level, the reading and comprehending of these is fairly essential. Introduction to Panther style is fairly easy, Specialization in Panther is very wide-reaching! (possibly, one of the reason is died out for the most..)
A Panther Story - The Tigers Teacher
Tiger was strong. Tiger was fast. But, Tiger was loud and clumsy. With all of his strength and speed, he still had trouble catching small animals to eat. Every day, Tiger left his home to hunt. Many nights, Tiger came home, exhausted and had no food to eat. He often went hungry.
One morning as Tiger went out to hunt, he saw Panther chase and catch a large bird. The Tiger was mighty impresses with the Panthers smooth, quietly and graceful movements, and how seemingly easily it had caught its prey. "If only I could move like that," thought Tiger. He started to approach the Panther who was about to bolt from the much larger and more powerful Tiger.
The Tiger bellowed out; "Cousin, would you give me lessons so I might learn to move as smoothly as you?". The Panther, from a very safe distance responded "How do I know that you will not use the skills I teach you to hunt me for your dinner?". "Oh my dear cousin," said Tiger "I could never feast on a cousin a family member. How could I ever live with myself if i hurt someone I am related to? If you help me, I will become your protector, I will never allow anyone to harm you and i will share my territory with you". "Become my teacher! If I ever harm a hair on your head, may I be cursed by all animals. May I go hungry forever if I ever allow you to come to harm," appealed Tiger. Tiger did his best to look truthful to Panther.
Positioned to quickly run the Panther thought this through and considered both the Dangers and the Benefits; to have such a one as the Tiger indebted to him, possibly not having to hide from Tiger all the time. Panther was not convinced but also saw the opportunity and decided to take the risk.
A size comparison between the large Great Cat and the Smaller great Cat
Panther taught Tiger to do gymnastics and to move smoothly and quietly. Panther was very good at what he did and was also a good teacher and coach. She taught Tiger move after move. She did her best to teach Tiger all she knew to be successful at hunting and catching pray. Tiger was a good student. He learned every trick that was taught, not a well as Panther but well enough. Tiger was was strong but now he also became fast, quiet and smooth in his movements. He was ready to hunt. He was ready to eat. Tiger looked at Panther; Panther looked delicious. All the days of training and learning has made Tiger very hungry and less rational.
Panther saw Tiger staring at him. Tiger smiled and showed his teeth and drooled down the side of his Maul. Panther new that this time would come; he knew that Tiger could not be trusted any more any further. Distancing himself slowly from Tiger, Panther growled "Your lessons are almost over, I have taught you all that you need to hunt and eat". Tiger, trying to come closer to Panther followed and said, "You are a wonderful teacher, a graceful hunter and a wise great Cat, Is there truly nothing else to teach me?" As he talked, Tiger's claws extended, maul slightly parted in a Tigers grin, Tiger leaped through the air jaws now wide extended; my, Tiger was fast.
Panther, instead of running, jumped straight up into a tree and climbed for his life; he climbed as high as he could go. Tiger leaped and growled, clawed at the bark, tried every new and old skill but he could not climb the tree. He did not have the skill and he was rather very large. Panther leaped from branch to branch and from tree to tree until he felt that Tiger could not get him and then he spoke back to the Tiger.
"Tiger" wily Panther said, "your nature is true and you can not help yourself being so very hungry and all, so i knew that finally i could not trust you in this matter. I know that is you were not so hungry you would honor our bargain and i expect, when you have hunted and sated yourself you will be inclined so; but i also expected this and held back one skill; and it is a good thing I never taught you to climb trees".
Tiger was a bit ashamed but also realized that what Panther said is true. Also, the Tiger was not without some wisdom so he said "You have taught me well, all but one skill, so i will honor our agreement all but for one time; I will become your protector share my territory and will never allow anyone to harm you; as long as what you taught me keeps me feed and i not hunger".
Panther the Animal
The Panther is an incredibly intelligent and agile animal that is very seldom seen by people in the wild. They are generally very quiet and cautious animals which prefer to see but not be seen. Their dark fur camouflages them well to hide in shadows and dark place and almost invisible on a dark night. Panther are usually solitary animals that prefer a nocturnal lifestyle, spending much of the daylight hours resting safely high in the trees. Like both the Leopard and the Jaguar, Panthers are incredible climbers and they not only rest in the trees but they are also able to keep a watchful eye out for prey without being spotted. The Panther is an incredibly powerful, fearless, aggressive and territorial (The panthers territory is their livelihood and ability to procreate). Particularly males who share some areas with females will immediately go after another male should they enter their territory.
The Jaguar is the largest feline in the Americas and so Panthers, in the New World, are the most dominant predators within their environments (aside from humans that is...). Those found in Africa and Asia however are occasionally preyed upon by other large carnivores such as Lions and packs of Hyenas (but then Lions have that problem too). Although technically only black Leopards and Jaguars are generally considered to be the only true Panthers by science, the term is also used to describe a number of other dark coated Cats by locals in their native habitats including Cougars, Tigers, Pumas, Lynxes and Bobcats. Some Panthers are able to swim, although not those that are Leopards, and Jaguars are known to have a real love of water. Not only do these individuals prefer flooded forests but they spend a remarkable amount of time swimming, playing and hunting in the cooling water.
Panthers are also great athletes and excel in jumping and tree climbing. They can leap up to 8 meters in a direction and as high as 3½ meters. The cat is very powerful for its size and with it's natural skills is often able to successfully attack prey that is larger and weighs more than itself. The Panther's neck and shoulders are massive to allow it to drag it's catch up in a tree where it is safe from larger (Lion, Tiger) and pack predators (Hyenas), to eat and store. As a hunter, the Panther is a stalker, not a runner (like the Cheetah). Stalking pray may take hours, working itself cautiously, slowly, quietly and invisibly on its large soft padded paws are soft with noise absorbing fur. With exceedingly good day and night sight, keen sense of smell and excellent hearing the panther latches on to a target and stalks it until the time is right.
After a kill, Panther will eat what it wants and will hide the carcass in a tree and will return to eat it later. When it finishes eating, the Panther spends hours scrubbing itself with its tongue. It cleans itself until it is free of the prey's scent. That way other animals cannot smell the Panther and warn them but also it's own sense of smell would be impaired if it reeked of that which is hunts for food.
The Panther Kung Fu
The Shaolin Panther practitioner emits no specific power; they do not show any specialization; there is no Alpha behavior of any kind for this would be giving their secret away. A Shaolin practitioner might even seem meek and mild and would by all means prefer no direct, immediate or forceful confrontation. They prefer Patience, Planning and Preparedness. Much in the same way, Panther Kung Fu is not direct and frontal like Tiger Kung Fu and Snake Style for that matter; it is indirect, circumspect, from above, from below, from the side and from behind, but never from the front..... unless that is the last place the attacker expects it from!
Shaolin Panther Kung Fu is a Hit, Damage and Run style designed to overcome superior forces (and that is a key purpose of a style to overcome superior forces with inferior resources) either the attacker is larger or there are multiple attackers. Counter attacks are sudden, indirect, short with the aim of landing a debilitating technique. Crane reacts to attack, panther orchestrates the encounters.
Panther Style techniques are geared towards single, two or three technique combinations that cause a lot of damage, break a knee, inhibit breathing, disorient ate or even blinding the attacker. This, though is not acceptable to Shaolin style Kung Fu and thus the Shaolin Panther Style seeks to achieving similar results without the permanency of damage and harm by more benign techniques including corking the thigh, winding and irritation techniques, hyper extending the attackers-attacking limbs, tripping maneuvers aimed at destabilizing and disorienting techniques.
Kill one opponent, then there is one opponent less;
damage an opponent severally and one or two may need to stay with them
and you have two to three attackers less!
The Panther Stylist is planer, schemer and director of encounters. They chooses the time, the place, the conditions, the style, the everything. S/He is in command of any situation, not by brute power but by the breadth of their skills, abilities and cunning. It never does the expected unless that is unexpected. It's main way of operating is;
Lynx - Indirect Strikes/Counter Attacks
Nothing can happen if you are surprised, surrounded or overwhelmed. Create a bit of Chaos and get-away; In reality you should be in a safe place anyway; so this point only applies if you have been surprised (which should rarely happen)
No real plans can be laid if you do not have the right information; strategies and tactics can not work well if not based on Knowledge and Skill
Find a Site
Location, Location, Location; what seems best is not and a smart Panther stylist will choose a location that seems good for the attacker but is not; it will try and avoid the ideal ambush location because it is .... obvious!
Define the Timing
Timing is everything, in both love and war. Choose not the best time for you and not the obvious worse time for the attacker but the time that will be least expected.
Create a Blitz Krieg, Shock Attack, Hit and Run and Hit and Run and Run, and Hit and Run; do NOT work to a pattern that is recognizable. The panther Stylist knows that success leads to failure.
The Panther Stylist can attack from any direction, with any technique at any time in a hit and run fashion. It is always well prepared, well informed and always surprising. It likes to use and even create confusion for use to it's own advantage. It would never attack frontally unless that is where it is not expected. As a Style is has the greatest amount of technical expertise, widest range of techniques used in the most impossible ways. It is always the attacker, never the attacked. Whatever you expect, expect 1 million other possibilities!
Panthers Style is the most complex of the 4 Animals with the most varied and interesting strategies, methods and techniques. This, first level can only be a broad introduction to appreciate and understand. At a later stage you chose one of the many aspect of the Panther if you chose to Specialize and all if you wish to Master. But the one thing you need to do is read the three great books of strategy and tactics;
Sun Tzu - The Art of War
Miyamoto Musashi - Book of 5 Rings and
Robert Green - 48 Law's of Power
Introduction to Panther Kung Fu
Medium stances, quick positional changes, unusual distances, quick hands and a dazzling variety of techniques. The Panther specializes in techniques that are not straight forward, come from unanticipated direction, move in unusual ways or speeds and generally do not keep to the normal combat ranges. Elbows and Knees are preferred Panther tools but also the 9 great Claws, Forearms and Shins, Head, Shoulders and a variety of specialist fist shapes. Remembering that the Shaolin Panther is part of the 5 Animal Style, we can be very highly specialized in choice of techniques to unsure learning and understanding of the style.
The Panther Main Principles
you can only guess if you have no information and still today, the right information is Power and the basis for what a Panther Stylist does best, planning.
never would the Panther Stylist allow an encounter not of their choosing; it is part of the strategy and skill of the Panther Stylist.
your presence, your actions, your intent, your movement, you what ever is possible; to hide your presence, your intentions, you strengths and your weaknesses.
your attacker, how they operate, move and react; it may be time now to initiate some probing encounters to see what happens; but still nothing serious. Observe and Learn.
it is time to teach the attacker what it means to take on the Panther Stylist; how to use Order to create Chaos!
The Panther MO
Panther and Snake are different sides to the same coin, Panther is for Chaos and Snake is for Order. Panther is for Excitement, Experimentation, Fun & Games, Snake is for Wisdom, Discovery, Tradition and Cultural Appreciation. Where the Panther may be called Determined the Snake may be called Stubborn! Finally, there is one key difference, the Panther is an Attacking Style where as the Snake will not initiate the attack.
The Panther seeks for Indirect Control, not like the Tiger Direct Dominance.
The Panther creates through order, planning, information and observation, chaos and disorder to it's attackers, chaos and fun to it's friends. Either way, it is their MO to bring in seeming disorder.
You are a Panther Personality
you do not telegraph any specific power; you do not show any specialization; you do not behave like an Alpha, you do not dominate and for all intents and purposes you seem to be a grayling, vanilla, nothing special. Yet, in a social environment you will be, after a while, the center of attention for a small group of people (never all). In a competition you will seem to be on the receiving end initially and your opponents will not understand how they lost. In conversation you will not stand out but have the ability to say the right thing, at the right time to swing things the way you want them to go; without this being noticeable. In reality, you achieve all the things a Tiger will achieve, without this being obvious, without leaving as much broken China as a Tiger would (less resentment).You are a Panther Personality if you are a director, manager and planner but without this being obvious.
Panthers are often the character traits that are least easy recognized and relished. Whereas Tigers and Snake types can be fairly clear from an early age and Crane Types a bit later; Panther types may not come to clear light until they have had a real opportunity to use their Panther skills. This may happen as early as in your 25's age but also as late as in your 50's. Often, one notices that one is a Panther type by noticing that one is NOT a Tiger, Snake or Crane type. Also, both Snakes and Panthers need a good education to relies their full potential; Snakes are often best in subjects requiring/using/having a lot of information, facts, figures, history, date and to do with the past; whereas Panthers prefer subjects relating to Planning, Management, Strategy, Forecasting, Building and the Future.
There is another proviso with Panthers; Nature vs Nurture; are you who you are because of your Genetics or dues to Environment & Upbringing; The Tiger and Snake traits/nature is almost impossible to Nurture-out but Crane and Panther personalities can be fairly easily denaturalized by upbringing and environment.
Panther Kung Fu Skills
Panther stylist is a Jack of all traits with at least one item that they are a master. A bit like the great Cat analogy, all the cats are cats and have claws, jaws and powerful bodies. Not the most powerful like a Tiger but powerful. But each of these has a speciality of Invulnerability (Lion), Hunting (Cheetah), Clever use of the Environment/Situation (Snow Leopard), Giant Killer (Managing large tasks - Puma), Lateral Approach (Lynx), etc. So a Panther stylist needs to have the opportunity to learn a little about a lot of stuff and learn a lot about something very specific. You also need a higher than average IQ (unsolicited link to an IQ text click here and have to learn how to use this; and this takes time and effort.
Overview of Shaolin Panther Kung Fu Techniques
Almost everything possible and stuff that is not so possible, usually. The Panther Stylist needs to learn and be efficient in as many techniques as they can to both, discover their greatest strengths (which they will use the least) and to have an arsenal of tools to create Chaos. The ideal training for a Panther is studying several different martial arts first and then ending up with one which they choose as their Speciality.
The Nine Tests of Shaolin Panther Kung Fu
At this level we focus on techniques that are NOT really part of the other Animal Styles. Especially as a Panther Type, you would need to become familiar with the other Animal Styles to truly be able to learn Shaolin Panther Style. So the following are more or less Panther Unique techniques.
To attempt for the Shaolin Snake Level you need to either be qualified as a Red Sash (or senior) in Shaolin Temple Kung Fu or a Black Sash in a recognized traditional Martial Art Style. If you are from such another style you will need to learn the Shaolin Academy style of executing techniques. You will not have to learn the Shaolin Academy temple Forms but you will need to demonstrate 5 Forms/Katas/Patterns of your own to prove standard! If you are interested but not sure about anything, contact
The Shaolin Panther Kung Fu person needs to be able to draw the situation into it's territory of strength. Therefore, you will only find out what you need to do at the time of grading. Following are some examples that have happened in the past and some that will happen in the future;
Recite a Poem about Panther Kung Fu
Tell a Story about Panther Style or Kung Fu
Relate and event where a Panther Style solution would be best
Answer a question relating to The Art of War
Answer a question relating to The Book of 5 Rings
Answer a question relating to The 48 Rules of Power
Work out a Strategy for a Theoretical Scenario
Work out a Strategy for a Physical Situation
Develop a Strategy as a Mental Exercise
Solve a Riddle
Give a Riddle to be Solved
Solve an IQ Problem
You will be placed into a confrontational scenario with possibly multiple attackers; you will need to deal with it, in a Panther Style
3nd Test - Panther Techniques
Remembering that the Shaolin 5 Animal Styles are built on top of the Shaolin Temple Styles and thus all students attempting the grading need to be prepared that any aspect of the pre-red sash can be used in the testing including but not limited to the techniques just mentioned; you can count on that these techniques as well as those below WILL BE TESTED.
are key techniques for a Hit and Run style encounter where you inhibit the delivery of a standard technique by close proximity to the attacker
as above, knee and elbows are essential to the Panther Stylist
is used to Snake through the attackers guard, under the arm on behind the neck and pulling the neck down whilst pushing the shoulder up.
each of these has a specific target and these need also be know!
5 Iron Hands
Open or closed, the hand is still one of the most versatile physical tools we have and we need to protect; using only a few techniques leads to damaged hands and often also gives away what they are used for; having many techniques allows for variety but also healthy hands.
one from each family, front, round, side, crescent and hidden.
are not very essential to a hit-and-run or a run-and-hit style but still required; you need to chose 2 favorite blocks from each category or be proficient in two categories
2 by 2 Forearms and Shins
changing the preferred distance between you and the attacker usually puts the attacker in less comfortable territory; Shins, Forearms, Knees, Elbows and Inch Thrust are a style all of their own!
as the man said, Be Formless (and thus have all forms)
The 4th Test - Exercises
Whereby you focused on techniques to understand how they work, achieve precision and quality, drills are all about usage and delivery. We use drills to practice the practical application of the techniques in combination with other techniques; choosing the most relevant and appropriate 5 from a possible host of hundreds. The 5 Exercises below need to be know well and look effective and practiced. If you do well you may be asked to do others to see how Crane Style suits you!
1st Routine - Quick Pass Hit and Run
and then you would quickly get away..
2nd Routine - Turning and Chasing
also, you would continue through to get away
3rd Routine - White Panther Counter
4th Routine - Panther Trapping & Rolling
5th Test - Safety & Control
As the Panther is a style of Strategy & Chaos you need to show that you are able to train, practice and use the Techniques Correctly and Safely; and some techniques very precisely. You will be randomly tested in each of the 9 technical groups but will also need to demonstrate three routines on partners, effectively and safely.
will be chosen at random from the 9 Technical groups above, fist, claw, hand, etc.
with partners that will show your style, control and Panther!
1 Unique ....
something practical from you, that fits in with panther Style and requires the help of at least 3 people!
6th Test - Form
As a Panther you have the option of several forms to choose from including, Grass Panther, Stalking Panther and Chaos Panther. It is left to you which of these you will choose!
7th test Application of Chaos Attacking
Above in the routines and drills section you have already seen some examples of Sparring and Fighting routines; now you need to be able to apply this in your Kung Fu Sparring. never meet a direct attack head on, never come from the front (except!) and never risk much!
8th Test - Theory/Knowledge
Whatever you choose, run it past Sijo for initial clarification!
9th Test - Multiple Sparring Attacks Avoidance
There are several parts to this test of sparring. The first is your ability to cope with multiple opponents; anywhere between 3 to 8 at the same time in a limited space environment. The second is the same but different; unlimited space environment but limited time (yin and Yang balance must be maintained). Finally, a simple one-on-one sparring match showing your style and highlighting Panther Kung Fu and Strategy! Yes, it is involved but that is the Panther Style!
This will not make an expert out of you, or a Champion or a Warrior; but it gives you are good grounding that will enable you to specialize, if you wish, in a direction you care to take. Some have chose to enter competitions and have done well in All Styles Comps, Kung Fu Comps, Internationally and Nationally. Shaolin Academy students have even been used as action stand-ins in theater, movies, music videos and shows. We even put on a show at the Shaolin Temple in Henan China.
You may choose to want to use the style for Acting, Stage Work, Shows, Street Theater and such but it also applies for everyday life. Recognizing when you are confronted with a Tiger Style personality, you will know what you are up against, be it in the office, at a party, in the street or elsewhere. And the more you immerse yourself in the understanding of your Tiger, you will find that you are able to manage it within yourself better, both to restrain it when it will harm and to use it when appropriate. You will also learn the weaknesses of the Tiger (what, it has some?!??) and relies that a Tiger can only be defeated by a Greater Tiger or by a mouse (and you need to work this out).
The Tiger is a just-do type of style and this also has it's teaching; there are times when 'stuff' just needs doing and there is no use doing anything other than just-doing-it. For these type of situations and emergencies, the Tiger is King. It is a great and immediate Style both in action and attitude! You need to learn to Appreciate it at least.