The Furious Five in Kung Fu Panda are based on real life martial arts styles. The popular animated movie trilogy focuses on animals living in ancient China, which of course means the stories are packed with Chinese culture. And so the movies follow many of the same tropes as classic martial arts movies. The Kung Fu Panda franchise primarily tells the story of a character, Po, whose destiny is to become a kung fu hero.
Voiced by Jack Black, the titular panda learns kung fu from Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and battles a host of threats over the course of his three-movie journey. During his adventures, Po is joined by a team of five warriors called the Furious Five, who practice a different form of kung fu. They are Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), Crane (David Cross) and Monkey (Jackie Chan). Each character’s fighting style matches the type of animal it is. Since the five characters are of various sizes and speeds, they all bring something interesting to the table and are fundamentally different from each other.
The animal movements that translate to kung fu is nothing new to the cinema, as the protagonists of classic martial arts films like The Five Deadly Poisons also involve their main characters training in styles that mimic animals. Also, it is important to note that all styles in the film exist in real life. They have been practiced for centuries and are still taught around the world. The specific styles depicted in the film are inspired by the Five Animals of Kung Fu, as well as some other forms of martial arts.
Tiger Style Kung Fu
The Five Animals of Kung Fu are a set of styles that originate from the Shaolin Temple in ancient China. One of them is Tiger Style Kung Fu, a movement system derived from the movements of the tiger. Those who practice Tiger Style focus on explosive power and speed, which is reflected in how Tigress fights in Kung Fu Panda . She is the fiercest and strongest member of the group, which should be expected from a Tiger Style master. Its main method of attack is the tiger claw technique, which is formed by bending the fingers. Like those who fight using Tiger Style in real life, Tigress attacks and poses with the tiger claw technique.
Crane style kung fu
While the tiger is strong and fast, the crane is graceful and smooth in its movements, which is the crux of Shaolin White Crane Style. In ancient China, the Crane Style was often practiced by female martial artists, mainly because, unlike the Tiger Style, it is not based on power. It incorporates numerous long-range techniques and helps the practitioner defeat opponents by exploiting weak points. By bringing fingers together to form a ‘ crane beak ‘, Crane Style masters target pressure points and uses other crane-mimicking movements, such as crane head strikes and crane wing blocks, performed by holding both arms up and to the sides. This move is one of Crane’s signature poses in Kung Fu Panda.
In Shaolin martial arts, Snake Style has some similarities to Crane Style, as it also relies on attacking the enemy’s vulnerable points. Snake-style fighters attack with their fingertips and tend to chase the eyes, groin, and other areas that are considered weaknesses. Viper is the character that serves as the Kung Fu Panda representation of the snake style.
Praying Mantis Style
Only three of the styles of the Five Animals (Tiger, Crane, and Snake) are actually used by the Furious Five. The other two, Dragon and Leopard, are replaced by Praying Mantis and Monkey. Although neither is part of the Five Animals, they both date back to ancient times. There are several forms of kung fu that are based on the movements of the praying mantis, including the northern praying mantis and the southern prey mantis. What they all have in common is a ” mantis hook ” Technique in which the wrestler uses whip attacks with the wrist and punches with the fingers. Pressure points are usually the intended targets. Kung Fu Panda Mantis makes use of these principles employing a dangerous attack capable of immobilizing his opponents.
Monkey style kung fu
Monkey Style is one of the most used styles in the old school kung fu movies of the 1970s. Although it was often implemented for comic purposes, it was used in a more serious way by martial arts legend Lau Kar -leung on the 1979 Shaw Brothers classic. Crazy monkey Kung Fu . People who practice Monkey Style copy all the movements and gestures of monkeys, including their facial expressions. In addition, experts often use a crouched stance and numerous acrobatic movements. That’s not far from Monkey’s approach to fighting in the Kung Fu Panda trilogy. Also, like real-life experts, Monkey uses a cane in many of his fight scenes.