The Northern Eagle Claw System is one of the oldest traditional systems in kung fu. Famous for the "Locking Hands" created by General Ngok Fei, Ying Jow Pai is also known for its flips, splits and jumping kicks. It is one of the most visually exciting and physically challenging systems of traditional martial arts.


The program is designed to develop a complete martial artist.


Class begins with a group warm-up and stretching, then moves to conditioning with kung fu basics: blocking, striking, kicking, jumping, turning, and stance work.


After warm-up, students learn forms (classical routines of Eagle Claw and northern kung fu techniques), self defense, and sparring. Weapons training plays a large role as well. Students get instruction in staff, short stick, sword, saber, three-section staff, spear, double-headed spear, kwan do (halberd), chain, hook swords, and daggers. Each weapon has a different purpose in self defense as well as in body conditioning.  Higher level students focus on fighting, advanced techniques, and gymnastics.


Photos from the 2011 and 2014 Ying Jow Pai family gatherings

The Northern Eagle Claw system includes 25 fist forms, more than 25 weapon forms, over 25 partner (two-men or three-men) sets and the essence of the system, the 108 locking hand techniques. The techniques of the Eagle Claw system come from the movements of the eagle: powerful claws, fast eyes, smooth movements and lightning fast techniques. The "Seven Principles" of Eagle Claw kung fu are Jow Da Cum Na (clawing and locking), Dim Yut Bye Hei (attacking pressure points and stopping the breath), Cow Wai Sau Fung (locking), Diu Cow Fing Lau (controlling, pushing and pulling), Sim Jim Tong Na (twisting, jumping and dropping to the floor), Noi Sup Chung Dit (falling and techniques using waist) and Fun Gun Chaw Quat (cutting veins and shattering bones).

Sifu Julio Perez and Senior Instructor Bruce Paly - Don Do Kwai doi Cheung - Single Saber & Crutch Fights Spear
Sifu Julio Perez and Senior Instructor Bruce Paly - Don Do Kwai doi Cheung - Single Saber & Crutch Fights Spear

Eagle Claw Kung Fu fighting strategy is built on and refined through the Five Methods, the Seven Fighting Principles (which are a combination of Two Key Words), and the 1-2-3- Fighting Concept.


The Five Methods

  1. The Eyes – The eyes should be sharp and piercing
  2. The Mind – The mind should be calm and alert
  3. The Hands – The hands should be supple and fast changing
  4. The Footwork – The footwork should be agile and quick
  5. The Bodywork – The bodywork should be flexible and coordinated

The Seven Fighting Principles

  1. Zhua Da – Qin Na (Grab and strike – Seize and control)
  2. Fen Jin – Zuo Gu (Separate the tendons – Break the bones)
  3. Dien Bi – Qi Shue (Seal the veins – Stop the air and blood flow)
  4. Zhao Nie – Shiao Fung (Claw and press – Block and redirect)
  5. Shan Zhuan – Tong Nuo (Evade by turning – Jump away to avoid)
  6. Diao Cau – Reng Luo (Attack by pressing – Brush off and push)
  7. Nei Shou – Zung Die (Yield the hand – Fall away smoothly)


The 1-2-3 fighting concept


The 1-2-3- fighting concept is an advanced aspect of Eagle Claw combative strategy and is based on the following points:

  1. Test the opponent’s skill
  2. Set up the opponent
  3. Quickly win the fight

This combative strategy sounds simple but requires expertise and boldness to execute.

The Weapons


Northern Eagle Claw Kung Fu incorporates a great variety of weapons in its curriculum. These are generally categorized as Long Weapons, Short Weapons, Double Weapons and Flexible Weapons.

  1. Long Weapons: The long weapons include the staff, the spear, the double headed spear and the Quan Dao. Eagle Claw is famous for its spear techniques and the double headed spear work.
  2. Short Weapons: The short weapons include the stick, the saber and the straight sword. The fan, although not usually categorized as a short weapon, is also taught.
  3. Double Weapons: The double weapons include the double sabers, the double hooks, the double straight swords and the double daggers.
  4. Flexible Weapons: The flexible weapons include the chain whip and the three-sectional staff.

The Ying Zhao Fan Zi system also incorporates specialized training methods to strengthen and develop its main anatomical weapon, which is the “Eagle Claw.” Nei Gong (Internal Training), which entails various breathing exercises, is also an essential aspect of the art.