What is Chinese boxing exactly? This question isn’t as easy to answer as you might think. Chinese’s actual name is “Chung Kuo chuan”, which literally means “Chinese fist”. However, the term “fist” is often translated to mean “boxing”, which refers to hand-to-hand combat.
This translation can be misleading in some ways and is unfortunate as “boxing” in America today is a specific sport. Chinese boxing is not considered a sport but a way to survive in a no-holds-barred, death-or-life situation. Western boxing only uses the hands. The boxer must wear gloves. Chinese boxing is free from any restrictions. It uses all of the body as a weapon. It was not designed to be a game and has no rules.
An artist in martial arts who has been trained in Chinese boxing may participate in a tournament of sport karate, kickboxing, or similar events, but he wouldn’t use true, unadulterated Chinese Boxing in the ring. There are many styles of Chinese martial arts that can be used in lethal combat. Few of them subscribe to the Chinese boxing school of thought. Chinese boxing is a Chinese system of lethal combat that adheres to a specific philosophy and set principles. The theory behind Chinese boxing must be understood.
The study of energy is the cornerstone of Chinese boxing. Chung-Kuo Chuan is the science and practice of energy control and use. It attempts to harness power and control the oncoming force, without relying on strength or size. Chinese boxing is often called “energy boxing” because it uses energy to generate power.
This emphasis means that the core skills of Chinese boxing don’t deteriorate as you age. Although speed and muscular strength will naturally decline, inner energy can be maintained indefinitely. As a result, an energy boxer’s combative effectiveness may increase as he gets older. Many of the Chinese boxing’s greatest masters are now in their 70’s and 60’s. They are still feared fighters, despite their advanced age.
While the study of energy is the core of Chinese boxing, it’s not enough to conclude that all Chinese martial arts that “study energy” are Chinese boxing. However, their views on the role of energy may be different. Chinese boxing is a specific school of thought about how energy can be harnessed and used combatively. We return to the idea that one must understand Chinese boxing’s theory to be able to identify what it is.
Christopher G. Casey, also known as Sifu Kai Sai, was my teacher. He believed that all Chinese boxing relies on ten fundamental principles. This is similar to the foundation of the great edifice of classic geometry.
These ten principles were distilled from Mr. Casey’s studies with many Chinese boxing grandmasters. This was his great contribution.
Casey’s insights allowed him to combine knowledge from many sources. Casey studied with a remarkable number of Chinese boxing grandmasters, and was able to master a wide range of styles.