My kempo school had a version of the 5 Shaolin Animals that ended up in Jade Tiger because — hey! — I hadn’t even studied kung fu when I wrote it. Tonight, we reviewed the aspects that my current school associates with each animal, and I feel the need to put them into a chart. (Keep in mind, other kung fu and kempo schools will have other interpretations.)
|White Lotus Kung Fu||Villari’s Kempo|
|Tiger||Strength||Strength and Tenacity|
|Crane||Grace and Balance||Grace and Balance|
|Dragon||Spirit||“Ride the Wind”|
|Leopard||Speed||Speed and Power|
|Snake||Evasiveness||Flexibility and Endurance|
So, not too different, but different in some key ways. Dragon’s “Ride the Wind” has been an important concept for me and my life, but so has “Spirit.” I’m happy with the Snake being “Evasiveness” because I have no shot at “Flexibility and Endurance” at all. And, of course, the Tiger’s “Tenacity” has been an ongoing inspiration for me. (So much so that I made it a flaw of Shan’s, my martial arts hero in Jade Tiger.)
If your school has associations for these animals, I’d love to hear them!
Also, I’m wondering what the 5 Writing Animals would be. What would they represent?