Shaolin Kung Fu History: Undercover Revolutionary Activity – The Role of Lion Dance

By | November 20, 2017

Prompted by the senior student present, Kung Fu Classes salute their Teacher who salutes them back to get formally underway. Students’ left (Yang) hands cover their right (Yin) fists and a slight bow is made and returned. The right (yin) hand represents the Moon the left (Yang) the Sun. Juxtaposed in this fashion, the sky’s two brightest objects say ‘Ming’!

The salute ‘says’, to the symbolically aware: ‘Ming’ (brightness/brilliance/enlightenment) name of the last true Chinese Dynasty, before the conquest of China by the despised Mongol, Manchu, in the 17th Century. Manchu rule in China extended into the 20th Century, finally ending in the 1912 Chinese Revolution.

This salute, sign of the ‘enlightened’ or ‘concealed’ fist, was practised by groups like the Red Turbans, White Lotus and Pak-Mei (White-Eyebrow) Societies. Dedicated to Qing (Manchu) Dynasty overthrow and restoration of proper Chinese rule, these societies trained in Martial Arts towards such ends, secretly.

Senior Society Members used more advanced salutes, e.g. advancing their left-leg whilst making the slight bow and hand gestures listed above. The body-language involved incorporates the threat of a kick. Chinese Lion Dance (discussed in more detail shortly) also encompasses similar anti-dynastic ritual gestures in its opening and closing salutes and various aspects of its performance.

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