Shun Wu Tang is a composite system employing various different styles, however the main style with the system is Luohan/Lohan Chuan/Quan. Southern Luohan Quan is a powerful and direct style of close quarters combat. While it is regarding as a “hard” style it it is characterized as both internal and external in its training and methods. It is a very traditional style that has not been affected by modern contemporary wushu, and as a result, it very barely resembles most other styles of Kung Fu. It makes use of hard chi kung/qigong, power generation using the hip, shoulders and waist, as well as corkscrew motions, all combined to deliver devastating powerful techniques.
Lohan is the oldest documented kung fu style. Documentation puts down the origin of Lohan at over 1 000 years ago, putting Lohan Chuan’s origins right at the time of the Shaolin Temple during the Sixth Century AD.
“Lohan Chuan was named after the 18 legendary Lohan (Arhat or Bohdivisattva, a Buddhist who has attained Nirvana) who started out as bandits, converted to Buddhism, and were so devout that they became enlightened. These Lohan had well-respected martial arts abilities and their unique specialities were preserved for time as 18 statues that still exist in the (northern) Henan Shaolin Temple.
At its embryonic one stage, Shaolin Boxing was solely represented by Lohan Chuan, making it the foundation and origin of all subsequent boxing routines to come out of or to be influenced by Shaolin Boxing. Many of today’s
kung fu styles have techniques named after Lohan or they have forms named Lohan Chuan such as Tang Lang Praying Mantis, Hung Gar, Mi Zhong, Choy Lay Fut, Lama Pai and many others. Lohan Chuan also forms the foundation from which such styles as Seven Star Praying Mantis, Tai Tzu Chuan, Wu Xng Chuan (Five Animals), Ngo Cho (Wuzu, Five Ancestors) and Pa Kua were developed. The founders of each of these styles were well versed in Lohan Chuan. The Lohan style exists today in both northern and southern Chinese versions.”
Excerpts from Salvatore Canzonieri’s article
“Lohan Chuan – The 18 Routines of the Enlightened Ones”
Wushu/Kung Fu Magazine June/July 1997
Additional information regarding this can be found in the series of articles “History of Chinese Martial Arts” by Salvatore Canzonieri which are part of the Hanwei Newsletters to be found at Hanwei.com.
There is a Lohan Chuan coming from Monk Miaoxing (1881 – 1939) and composed of 18 methods (shiba fa): 6 of fist, 2 of palm, 1 of elbow, 4 of leg, 5 of grappling / qinna. It is probable that this style is a “new frame” of an older Lohan Chuan. There is a Lohan Chuan coming from Monk Yuantong and which has been taught in Jingwu Tiyu Hui by Sun Yufeng. This style have 18 forms, 6 soft, six intermediate and 6 hard.
“There is a Lohan Chuan coming from Monk Yang Ji’e (Late 1800’s – 1972) who escaped the destruction of 1928 and taught his art in Shanghai. He had Sun Tongwei (also expert in Baguazhang) for a student and this master
taught it to Zhu Jiemin (1954 – ). This style is composed of 12 tantui and 3 forms (one for “beginner” :
Wuhuquan, one intermediate : “Liuhequan” and one “advanced” : Gongliquan). It also features many qinna,
tuishou and the use of jing. This style is often considered as an “internal – external” style.
Finally there is a Lohan Chuan from Fukien province, mainly using southern shaolin techniques and features.
The forms are : 68 techniques of Lohan, 88 techniques of Lohan, 108 techniques of Luohan. It features “hard”
qigong and conditioning such as the “black lohan hand” (luohan heishou). This style spread to Guangdong and
South-Eastern Asia countries, then worldwide.”
Excerpt from http://www.spheral.com/
The last mentioned Southern-based style of Lohan Chuan is the one taught in Shun Wu Tang schools.