Monday, April 9, 2012
In the novel, Seth learns a fighting art called Quanshu. This is an actual word from the ancient Chinese fighting style of Kung Fu. It means the art of the fist and is often used with the word quanfa, the technique of the fist. The 'q' is actually pronounced as 'ch', so it is 'chan-shu' in English. Where Quanshu represents fists styles, the term Quan refers to the entire body forms of traditional Shaolin martial arts, including weapons. This is why sometimes you may come across Shaolinquan, or Taichiquan; which embodies many forms within the fighting system. In Kung Fu, there are many, many styles. But they are often broken into two ambiguous regions in China: northern style and southern forms. The southern fist forms were created to counter the northern styles mainly in response to the size of the opponent. Martial artists in the north were often taller and leaner than their southern cousins, with long legs and far reach; able to keep a southern fighter at distance with techniques designed to take advantage against an opponent. The southern tiger forms were a response to that difference; they use fist techniques and speed to get inside of a larger combatant and use his size against him. So in Aevum, Seth is smaller than most of the inhabitants. In the chapter The Quanshu, where he spars with Otto, Seth uses the southern style to defeat the larger man. Of course, Seth also used the black nether, but it was through the Quanshu that he was able to beat the hulk of a man. If you wish to learn more about the art of the fist, I highly recommend a book by Wong Kiew Kit: The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu.