The Tiger Swallow
Flies to Brasil
On October 14th, 2011, my 44th birthday, I arrived in
Sao Paulo Brasil for my fourth intensive teaching
seminar. One of the classes I taught was for a small
group of coaches. The form we worked on is well known
throughout the kung fu world, called Xiao Hu Yan,
Little Tiger Swallow. A form that the students of Peng
Lai Brasil had been waiting to learn for years. This
year I finally taught them the form, and the moves of
this form did not disappoint.
Swallow is one of the most famous forms of Northern
Chinese kung fu and has at the very least been practiced
since the late '20's or early '30's. For my first class
with the coaches they took me to their favorite
Coaches Photo after our first class
From left to right; Moraes, Jander, Andre, Luciano,
Me, Luiz, Cesar, Raquel, Basilio
Why Tiger Swallow? It has been said that the only
thing more dangerous than a tiger is a tiger with wings.
Years ago I was introduced to the phrase 'Ru hu
tian yi-as if adding wings to a tiger' to describe
making someone who is already strong even more powerful.
This brings to my mind the main characters of Romance
of the Three Kingdoms Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang.
Lui Bei (161-223) was a warlord and
military general and later the founding emperor of the
state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms era of the
third century. Zhuge Liang (181-234) was his chancellor
of state during that time and is recognized as the most
accomplished strategist of China. He was nicknamed the
crouching dragon (remember the movie Crouching Tiger
Hidden Dragon?) for his ability to influence events
even while in seclusion.
(181-234) chancellor for Liu Bei
(161-223) from a 7th century scroll
Romance of the
Three Kingdoms is a semi historical novel written in
the 14th century. Here is the section where Zhuge Liang
is first mentioned to the opposition Cao Cao.
Bei is a famous warrior and he has lately taken to
himself as his director of training Zhuge Liang.
Caution is needed."
replied, "Lui Pei is a mean rat. I will certainly
take him prisoner."
"Do not despise him," said Xu Shu. "remember he
has Zhuge Liang to help him and so he is like a
tiger who has grown wings."
Cao Cao said, "Who is this Zhuge Liang?"
"He is also called Kong Ming, and has taken a
Taoist cognomen of 'Sleeping Dragon.' He is a
perfect genius, god and devil combined, the greatest
marvel of the age. Do not despise him'
"How does he stand as compared with you?" asked
"There is no comparison. I am a mere glow-worm
spark. he is the glory of the full moon," replied Xu
"You are mistaken," replied Dun. "This Zhuge
Liang of yours is of no account. Who would fear him?
If I do not take him and his master prisoners in the
first battle, then here is my head, a free gift to
our lord, the minister."
"Hasten to comfort me with news of victory," said
Romance of the
by Lo Kuan-Chung,
Guanzhong Luo, C.H. Brewitt-Taylor, Robert E. Hegel.
Unfortunately for Dun he was outsmarted and defeated
by Zhuge Liang. The idea of adding the wits and
strategies of Zhuge Liang to that of Lui Bei being
compared to a tiger growing wings.
Follow the Wind Sweep the Leaves
In my mind Xiao Hu Yan- Little Tiger Swallow is a form
that represents a Tiger with Wings. High leaps and low
squats to attack and topple the enemy. Here I have
included the technique called Follow the Wind Sweep
the Leaves. A move which attacks the top of the
opponent yet takes their bottom.
|Left sealing hand right palm strike.
Marcio steps with the left foot and strikes with
his right palm.
Squat with stealing hands.
Without moving the feet he sinks down and turns
to the right.
To finish the technique step to
the left with the right foot as the hands swing
above the head and the right hand chops down.
Follow the Wind Sweep the Leaves Applied
||Marcio (left) and Basilio face off in closing
||Marcio flips his body over to lean his
leg on Basilio's leg and applies left sealing hand right palm strike
to Basilio's head
||Basilio deflects the palm strike
|Marcio steal Basilio's deflection
with his left hand and...
||...pushes Basilio's hand
towards Basilio's body
||Marcio pushes Basilio slightly off balance and
picks his ankle.
Though the telling is long, up to this
point all the moves happen in an instant.
Whether Marcio can grab Basilio's wrist or not,
as long as he is close to Basilio this technique
can be attempted.
||Marcio now can lift Basilio's foot. From this
position there are several takedowns and trips that
Marcio can perform.
|Marcio performs "sweep the leaves with the wind,"
his right hand grabs Basilio's leg.
Marcio lifts up Basilio, not shown (because Marcio
does not want to throw Basilio to the dog walking grass)
is how Marcio's left arm raises Basilio's leg as high as
possible and Marcio steps forward.
Highlights in the Park
After training the form Little Tiger Swallow we grouped
together to work on our two person techniques. Here are
Click to enlarge. Training in the park
to strike me...
||...but I catch his wrist.
collapsing strike to Andre's neck, but Andre
||...and seals Jander's hand
to his body.
Though I go to Brasil to teach kung fu, I can't help
feel that the kung fu is just a small part of a great
friendship and family that we put together with the
common goals of education through dedication to Chinese
Our last picture together before I returned to Florida.
We all made memories that will last a lifetime during my
stay in Brasil and eagerly await training together again