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Leopard Kung fu is style of Kung fu and is one of the Five Animal styles.
It was supposedly created by Jue Yuan with help from Bai Yufeng and Li Sou. The emphasis of leopard is speed and angular attack. The leopard does not overwhelm or rely on strength, as does the tiger, but instead relies on speed and outsmarting its opponent. The power from the aggressive speed. The leopard practitioner will focus on elbows, knees, low kicks, and leopard punches.
The goals of Leopard style are to:
The leopard style was founded on the creators’ observation of the movements of the leopard in the wild, and therefore practitioners of the style imitate these movements. Blocking is wasted in Leopard – the style can be summed up with “Why block when you can hit?” It does not rely on rooted stances, and would only assume a stance while in attack in order to launch at the opponent. This hit and run technique of the leopard, something especially effective against larger opponents, is unique to the animal.
The primary weapon is the leopard fist, which can be likened to a half-opened fist. The primary striking surface is the ridge formed by folding the fingers at the first phalangal joint; the secondary striking surface is the palm hand. Strikes include the phoenix eye, which is a punch to pressure points including the eye and temple. It is formed by lifting only the index finger’s knuckle while the rest are kept in a usual fist form. The leopard claw can also be modified for grabbing and tearing by slightly lifting the fingers to form a hook.
The leopard stlye is thought to be a midway point between the Tiger and Crane styles, the strength and height.
An interesting technique of the leopard is the ability to simultaneously block and strike the opponent. This is not commonly used in the harder martial arts (like the other Shaolin styles, for example). The sheer speed of the leopard is a defining characteristic of the style; however, as with all martial arts of this style, the practitioner’s ability to provide the necessary speed diminishes as he/she ages, reducing his or her efficiency in combat.
In popular culture the Leopard style is used in the Mortal Kombat series. Darrius uses the art in Deception and the character Nitara also uses the style in both Deadly Alliance and ‘Armageddon.
In the animated movie Kung Fu Panda, the main villain is an actual leopard who uses Leopard Kung Fu.