Luohan Ruyiquan

羅漢如意拳

Very little information on the art of Luohan Ruyiquan is available to the interested gongfu student. A few introductory comments:

  • It is named after the Buddhist immortals, the Luohan, who are associated with the classic Shaolin art
  • Luohan Ruyiquan is not part of Wuzuquan, but is its own art, with its own repertoire of patterns and push-hands exercises
  • Master Chan likes to translate Ruyiquan as “your heart’s desire” and explains that “once you understand this art, you can do it any way you want”
  • Chan See-meng recalls that Chee Kim Thong referred to Luohan Ruyiquan as the greatest art he had learned; a “treasure”

Master Chee learned Luohan Ruyiquan from a Zen abbot in Xiamen, Fujian province. Otherwise the lineage of the art is unknown. I have not heard of other schools that practise that art, but hopefully someone does; perhaps it is known in some remote corner of China by a different name. Few of Master Chee’s students learned Luohan Ruyiquan; fewer still learned it well.

Luohan Ruyiquan constitutes an advanced art in every way imaginable: low stances, difficult kicking manoeuvres, demanding breath control, simultaneous movements that are challenging to coordinate. If the sets of Wuzuquan are like strumming a guitar, Luohan Ruyiquan resembles intricate finger-picking. In places the art is graceful like Tajiquan, although a key difference is that it also contains explosive power (fajin) which is not in the 108-move Taiji set.

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