"Self-cultivation of the nature is merit, Self-cultivation of the body is virtue."
-Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 3


“自修性是功,自修身是德”
-六祖坛经,第三品

"Shaolin Small Flood Boxing" (Chin.: Xiǎohóngquán 小洪拳)

Shaolin Small Flood Boxing (herein referred to as Xiaohongquan) is a very basic, yet immensely important traditional boxing set of Shaolin. It incorporates all the fundamentals of the Songshan system, and is one of the first sets to be studied. A top monk of Shaolin Monastery who has served as general head coach of the Shaolin warrior monks, Master Shi Deyang (Chin.: Shì Déyáng 释德扬), says that from watching a student practice this set the level of their gongfu can be seen.

The late Venerable Master Shi Suyun (Chin.: Shì Sùyún 释素云, 1913-1999, pictured) specialized in the Xiaohongquan set and Shaolin Child Skill (Chin.: Tóngzǐgōng 童子功), of which his ability was beyond exceptional well into his old age. Once a group of 16 Japanese martial artists came to Shaolin to issue a challenge. It is said that Master Suyun stepped up and defeated each of them single-handedly using only his Xiaohongquan skills and defended Shaolin's reputation.

Master Suyun told the legend of the matching sets of Small and Large Flood Boxing (Chin.: Xiǎohóngquán - Dàhóngquán 小洪拳 - 大洪拳). As it went, two refugees surnamed Hong, a father and his son, came seeking shelter at the Shaolin Monastery. The monks opened the temple gates, welcoming and providing for them compassionately. In gratitude of the monks' hospitality, the father and son taught the monks their style of gongfu. The father's set was named "Large Hong Boxing", while the son's set was named "Small Hong Boxing".

Here it should be noted, the names of these sets are sometimes misunderstood. The Hong character is often translated as "Red". However, the character of these sets is 洪 hóng, meaning "flood", rather than 红 hóng, meaning "red". The identical pronunciation of the characters causes this confusion. The character meaning "flood" is also a common Chinese surname, "Hong", as seen in the story of the father and son. In this case, the character does not carry the meaning it has when used in everyday speech. As a family name it should be left untranslated as "Hong".

However, it should also be known that this is a legend. It is not the end of the story. The written history in Shaolin records a completely different account of the origin of these sets. It is more straightforward than folk-stories, though they too have their place.

Historical records state Li Sou (Chin.: Lǐ Sǒu 李叟) as the creator of the sets. During the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) Li Sou entered the Shaolin Monastery along with monk Jueyuan (Chin.: Juéyuán Héshang 觉元和尚) and creator of the Shaolin Animal Boxing, Master Bai Yufeng (Chin.: Bái Yùfēng 白玉峰).

At Shaolin Monastery, these three top martial artists sorted out and systematized the then current lot of martial arts being practiced there. Each man also included his best knowledge. Li Sou imparted his matching sets, named for the flowing characteristic of Shaolin, Small and Large Flood Boxing (Xiaohongquan & Dahongquan), as well as stick fighting (Chin.: gùnshù 棍术) and the art of joint-locking (Chin.: qínná 擒拿).

Having now appreciated the legend, the history, and the importance of the Xiaohongquan set in Shaolin, the "lyrics" (mnemonic (Chin.: gējué 歌诀)) for the set are provided below:

少林小洪拳
Shàolín Xiǎohóngquán
Shaolin Small Flood Boxing
(6 sections. 45 postures)

第一段 dìyī duàn - first section
1. hold moon in arms (Chin.: huáizhōng bàoyuè 怀中抱月)
2. white cloud covers peak (Chin.: báiyún gàidǐng 白云盖顶)
3. bow step push palm (Chin.: gōngbù tuīzhǎng 弓步推掌)
4. hold hand shrink body (Chin.: bàoshǒu suōshēn 抱手缩身)
5. advance step push palm (Chin.: shàngbù tuīzhǎng 上步推掌)
6. turn around draw hand (Chin.: zhuǎnshēn bānshǒu 转身扳手)
7. advance step push palm (Chin.: shàngbù tuīzhǎng 上步推掌)
8. turn around cover leg (Chin.: zhuǎnshēn péngtuǐ 转身棚腿)
9. outward swinging lotus/ right slanting (Chin.: wàibǎilián/ yòuxiéxíng 外摆莲/右斜形)

第二段 dìèr duàn - second section
10. press hand shrink body (Chin.: yāshǒu suōshēn 压手缩身)
11. upward kick, downward smash (Chin.: shàngtī xiàzá 上踢下砸)
12. left slanting (Chin.: zuǒxiéxíng 左斜形)
13. crouch step seize hand (Chin.: pūbù lǔshǒu 仆步掳手)
14. lion's wide open mouth (Chin.: shīzi dàzhāngkǒu 狮子大张口)
15. double clouds over peak/ seven star (Chin.: shuāng yúndǐng/ qīxīng 双云顶/七星)
16. horse step single whip (Chin.: mǎbù dānbiān 马步单鞭)
17. hold hand shrink body (Chin.: bàoshǒu suōshēn 抱手缩身)
18. advance step double snatching hands (Chin.: shàngbù shuāngqiǎngshǒu 上步双抢手)

第三段 dìsān duàn - third section
19. inward crescent/ cannon toward sky (Chin.: lǐhé/ chòngtiānpào 里合/冲天炮)
20. scorpion swings tail/ lion's wide open mouth (Chin.: xiēzi bǎiwěi/ shīzi dàzhāngkǒu 蝎子摆尾/狮子大张口)
21. advance step push palm (Chin.: shàngbù tuīzhǎng 上步推掌)
22. retreat two step turn around draw hand (Chin.: tuì èrbù zhuǎnshēn bānshǒu 退二步转身扳手)
23. advance step push palm (Chin.: shàngbù tuīzhǎng 上步推掌)
24. turn around cover leg (Chin.: zhuǎnshēn péngtuǐ 转身棚腿)

第四段 dìsì duàn - fourth section
25. right slap kick/ left turning elbow (Chin.: yòu cǎijiǎo/ zuǒpánzhǒu 右彩脚/左盘肘)
26. press hand shrink body (Chin.: yāshǒu suōshēn 压手缩身)
27. upward kick downward smash/ right turning elbow (Chin.: shàngtī xiàzá/ yòupánzhǒu 上踢下砸/右盘肘)
28. crouch step seize hand (Chin.: pūbù lǔshǒu 仆步掳手)
29. lion's wide open mouth (Chin.: shīzi dàzhāngkǒu 狮子大张口)
30. double clouds over peak/ seven star (Chin.: shuāng yúndǐng/ qīxīng 双云顶七星)
31. horse step single whip (Chin.: mǎbù dānbiān 马步单鞭)

第五段 dìwǔ duàn - fifth section
32. hold hand shrink body (Chin.: bàoshǒu suōshēn 抱手缩身)
33. advance step double snatching hands (Chin.: shàngbù shuāng qiǎngshǒu 上步双抢手)
34. right slap kick/ bow step front to back three pushing palms (Chin.: yòu cǎijiǎo/ gōngbù qiánhòu sān tuīzhǎng 右彩脚/弓步前后三推掌)
35. left slap kick/ bow step front to back three pushing palms (Chin.: zuǒ cǎijiǎo/ gōngbù qiánhòu sān tuīzhǎng 左彩脚/弓步前后三推掌)
36. raise knee bright palm (Chin.: tíxī liàngzhǎng 提膝亮掌)
37. pull moon from sea bottom (Chin.: hǎidǐ lāoyuè 海底捞月
38. hidden cannon (Chin.: wòdǐ pào 卧底炮)

第六段 dìliù duàn - sixth section
39. black tiger steals heart (Chin.: hēihǔ tāoxīn 黑虎掏心)
40. listening to cannon (Chin.: cè ěr pào 侧耳炮)
41. full stomach ache (Chin.: mǎn dùtòng 满肚痛)
42. hold hand shrink body (Chin.: bàoshǒu suōshēn 抱手缩身)
43. advance step double snatching hands (Chin.: shàngbù shuāng qiǎngshǒu 上步双抢手)
44. double clouds over peak/ leveling heart cannon (Chin.: shuāng yúndǐng 双云顶/ píngxīnpào 转身/平心炮)
45. five flowers sit on mountain (Chin.: wǔhuā zuòshān 五花坐山)

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A video demonstration of Shaolin Xiaohongquan from a student of Master Deyang's school located in Dengfeng, Henan Province, China.:

video

Ven. Suyun instructs Master Deyang on Shaolin Xiaohongquan.:

video


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www.ShaolinChanCity.com

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4 comments:

Walter said...

Great blog, me I ask who you are?

Walter Gjergja (Shi Xing Mi)
www.shaolin-wushu.it

SCC said...

Hi Xingmi,

It's me, Le Fujun. I finally took the suggestion you gave me of starting a Shaolin blog some months ago. I plan to organize my information and share it here.

I was going to email the link to you once I got more done. Glad you found it on your own!

Walter said...

It's really well done with great info, we will link to it from our site. Check our links page in a few days... :-)

SCC said...

Great, thanks a lot. I've already linked to your website and Shifu's.