Chang Quan (Simplified Chinese: 长拳) is a type of external martial arts from northern China, belonging to the Chinese Kung Fu family. Literally meaning "long fist", the features of the Chang Quan include extended gestures, striking techniques and swift movements.
There are some special requirements in terms of practicing Chang Quan. The speed of the hand means that the fist should resemble a "shooting star". The eyes should be as sharp as lightning. The body should be as flexible as possible and the waist should be like a snake. It also requires one's "qi" to stay at the bottom of their bellies in order to keep balance and increase the duration of the movements.
Those who practice Chang Quan use objects to describe movements, such as "quiet as a mountain", "jump like a monkey", "stand like a rooster" and "move as swiftly as the wind." Unlike Taiji, Chang Quan is more fierce and aggressive due to the emphasis on the extension of the body. It follows the Chinese philosophy that "the best offence is the most effective defence". Overall this type of kung fu is bold and unconstrained, which also tend to be the characteristics of people from the north of China.
Types of Chang Quan
There are also many sub-types of Chang Quan in China, including "Cannon Punch", "Cha Quan" and "Flooding Fist". Among these the most famous one is called "Emperor Taizu Chang Quan". It was first founded by the Zhao Kuangyin, the first emperor of the Song Dynasty. He innovated the traditional Chang Quan and made it bolder yet more elegant at the same time.
Today, Chang Quan is still popular, especially amongst the younger generation. More and more young people have chosen Chang Quan to help train their body and promote their health.