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Do you have a martial arts question you would like to have answered? We can't promise we have all the answers, but's staff and contributors will try to help. Just fill in the form at the bottom of this page.

Topic: "Ship Pal Gi"

I have been told that Ship Pal Gi is Korean Kung fu. What Chinese style if any can it be compared to or what type of applications are used?

- David


Ship Pal Gi (pronounced SIP Pal Gi) roughly translates as "18 skills." The earliest references to this art exist in a book called "Hyun Rung Ji," which described 18 techniques for the use of the spear. Later the art reputedly incorporated horseback techniques. Although there is currently an art existing by this name, its connection to these original arts is anything but clear.

Sip Pal Gi as taught today is largely a Korean adaptation of Northern T'ang L'ang (Northern Mantis Kung Fu) often with the addition of classical Chinese weapons. Although there are claims for this art dating back to the Yi (Choson) Dynasty (1392-1910), this cannot be confirmed to be the original art or a reconstruction.

Northern Mantis (to which many Sip Pal Gi adherents claim lineage) is far easier to track historically than its southern counterpart and can be recognized as having been created by a Wang Lang (believed to have been a Ming Patriot). Lang allegedly seeking greater skill, went and trained at the Honan Temple, and was reputedly inspired by the observation of a Praying mantis locked in combat. Studying the movements of this fascinating creature, Wang combined new movements with several systems he had studied (often noted is Monkey style footwork).

After it grew in popularity the original Northern Mantis style (sometimes referred to as Temple style) splintered into many derivatives or "offshoots," such as Seven Star, Jade Ring and Dragging Hand, amongst others. The differences between these variations is relatively minor, and one can easily recognize the classic use of "Mantis Hands" (resembling those of the creature itself) as well as its elbow striking techniques and footwork. It should also be noted that one interesting derivative, Plum Blossom Mantis, uses closed fist technique more than other variants.

Thus a Sip Pal GI practitioner would likely wish to seek stylistic similarities in Northern Mantis Gung fu.

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