Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings is full of kung fu, but what different disciplines of Chinese martial arts are featured in the film? The latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe opened over Labor Day weekend, defying the ongoing pandemic to set a new weekend record for the holidays. The film has also been widely hailed as having some of the best action scenes to date in the MCU, and a key aspect of these is a variety of martial arts styles.
While previous Marvel movies used martial arts in their fight scenes to small or large degrees, Shang-Chi is Marvel’s first kung fu movie, and fans of the genre won’t leave the film disappointed. The fight sequences of Shang-Chi were orchestrated by stunt veterans Peng Zhang and Guillermo Grispo, former member of Jackie Chan’s stunt team Andy Cheng and the late Brad Allan (who was also a member of Chan’s stunt team), in as director of the second unit and coordinator of the stunts. The job ranges from action-packed Hong Kong Golden Age to gravity-defying wuxia, and it’s a style of action that sets a new bar for the MCU’s future. Brad Allan’s death before Shang-ChiThe release of is still mourned by action fans – but the quality of her work in the MCU movie is at least a bittersweet testament to the stunt coordinator’s unique vision.
The action scenes from Shang-Chi tap into the vast well of Chinese martial arts. While fight scenes frequently mix techniques from different forms of kung fu in action, there are a few schools that are shown with particular significance in Shang-Chi. Here are the different forms of kung fu seen in Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings.
The legendary Shaolin Temple of China is recognized as the birthplace of kung fu and Chan (or Zen) Buddhism. There is not a single subset of kung fu that exclusively claims the term “Shaolin kung fu”, with many different fist shapes related to the famous monastery, Xiao Hong Quan, Da Hong Quan, Jinggangquan, Qixingquan, and many others being among the most well known. The film’s flashback to Shang-Chi’s training as an assassin for the Ten Rings shows him doing training techniques and conditioning exercises associated with Shaolin martial arts, including various weapons and fist forms, and what appear to be advanced levels of Qigong, breathing and conditioning techniques used as a means of cultivating one’s internal energy (called “Chi”). Shang-Chi also dons a robe similar to that of a Shaolin monk in this section of the film.
Today Tai Chi Chuan is generally viewed more in terms of health benefits than combat, but it is part of the internal family martial arts within Chinese kung fu. Forms of Tai Chi are often practiced slowly, but Shang-Chi shows off her combative side during a training session with the main character and Ying Nan, played by Hong Kong star Michelle Yeoh. A common training technique associated with Tai Chi and other internal martial arts is “tui shou“, or” pushing hands “, designed to internalize the movements and defensive techniques of the practitioner’s art, with Shang-Chi and Ying Nan of Simu Liu doing this very exercise.
Bajiquan is a form of kung fu associated with explosiveness (called “fa jin“) and close range combat, and is known for his striking techniques with elbows and shoulders alongside other limbs. Bajiquan’s methodology is based on opening up the opponent’s defenses, leaving them more likely to hit vulnerable points, while the attacks are based on quick attacks and short bursts of power. Shang-Chi features Bajiquan notably in the film’s bus fight, with a nudge up from Shang-Chi upon Bajiquan’s exit.
Wing Chun has exploded in popularity around the world, mainly thanks to the Ip man films, in which Donnie Yen portrayed Bruce Lee’s mentor himself in the famous martial arts series. Wing Chun emphasizes internal combats, trapping, and “chain punching” to overwhelm the opponent at close range, with the fist held vertically and strikes moving quickly over each other. While Shang-Chi doesn’t really attack anyone on Ip Man in terms of chain punches, he’s very skilled in close quarters, centerline strikes, and trapping techniques which are essential components of the game. Wing Chun.
Noted for his ingrained position work, Hung Ga is closely related to famous Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-hung, who has been the subject of countless martial arts films, along with Jet Li’s Once upon a time in china the films being among the most famous. While position training plays a central role in all forms of kung fu, it is especially crucial for Hung Ga techniques and the power associated with them. Shang-Chi’s father, Wenwu (Tony Leung), exhibits techniques and positions of Hung Ga throughout the film, while the ten rings themselves are also a more powerful spin of the iron rings worn around the front ones. -practitioner’s arm as conditioning tools in the Hung Ga training.
Translated as “Eight Trigram Palm”, the Baquazhang involves circular footwork and open-handed techniques, compared to the more linear techniques of other martial arts. The 2001 movie Jet Li The one This is perhaps where most Western moviegoers know Baquazhang best, as the film made heavy use of art in contrast to Xingyiquan’s direct attacks in the heroic and villainous characters respectively played by Li. Ying Li of Fala Chen uses Baquazhang’s graceful movements in Shang-Chi, most notably in his ballet tightrope battle with Wenwu when the two first meet in the opening of the film. Both parents’ respective fighting styles would later influence Shang-Chi’s.
Besides hand-to-hand combat techniques, Chinese martial arts are also full of a wide assortment of different weapons, and Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings has several. These include daggers, bo staffs, and different types of swords, mainly hook swords, known in Mandarin as “Hu tou shuang gou“, which are generally used in tandem with each other. Shang-Chifantasy elements come into play here, with the various Chinese weapons seen in the film packing explosions of stored energy, similar to the African vibranium weapons seen in Black Panther.
These days, great fight scenes are more than ever taken for granted in superhero movies. According to this standard, Shang-Chi went way beyond even the best that has ever been seen in the MCU, while also giving a massive makeover to its Marvel Comics hero. Hopefully future MCU movies can reach the action standards that Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings has now established.
NEXT: Shang-Chi: Ta Lo World, Mythology & Creatures Explained
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