Northern Styles Vs Southern Styles

An old Chinese saying about Northern Kung Fu says, "Two hands are like two doors and it takes footwork to open these doors." This means the opponent's fists can close most avenues of attack, but good footwork can penetrate or open these avenues allowing access to the opponent. Northern styles traditionally rely on active footwork, moving in all directions to penetrate or break through an opponent's defense. As rule, Northern systems teach soft movements and soft power, slowly advancing to harder, more external techniques, and ending with a necessary mixture of both hard and soft.

In the Southern Kung Fu system, footwork is not as in the Northern Styles. The southerners use their hands, called Iron Bridge and a strong, solid stance to repel oncoming attacks. In the South many systems developed from a need for quickly learned revolutionary fighting tactics. Hard power was learned first. Soft internal strength is the next stage, and the end result is the same as with Northern styles, a blend of hard and soft.

So accepted is the generalization that among the exponents of Chinese systems the saying "the leg of the north, the fist of the south" still applies when referring to the techniques of an expert. The northern styles were also highly regarded for their skillful use of Chien, a double-edged, straight blade long sword; while the southern styles were respected for their expertise in using the San-cha, a three -pronged spear.