Zui Quan – Drunkard Boxing

Drunkard Boxing

In Zui Quan or the drunkard boxing, boxers falter, waddle, fall and sway just like drunkards. Zui Quan can be used for both fighting and maintaining health. However, the drunkard boxers go out of their way to stress the combative side of their style. They blend a series of movements, actions and skills of the martial arts and try to confuse their opponents with special skills which often lead them to surprise triumphs.

Execution of the drunkard boxing demands extreme flexibility of the joints as well as suppleness, dexterity, power and coordination all of which can be developed in the course of practice.

The main feature of the drunkard boxing is to hide combative hits in drunkard-like, unsteady movements and actions so s to confuse the opponent. The secret of this style of boxing is maintaining a clear mind while giving a drunken appearance.

Drunkard boxers are required to be responsive with good eyesight and fist plays. They move in unconnected steps but with a flexible body combining hardness and suppleness. They have to be fast to get the better of their opponents but their main tactic is to feign defense while trying to attack and aiming in one direction but attacking in another. Various degrees of drunkenness are demonstrated by different ranges of movements and expressions in the eye.

Drunken Boxing’ is an enigma in Chinese Martial Arts. There is no stand alone “Style” of Drunken Boxing; this is only in the movies. Only a few systems have a true ‘Drunken Boxing’ set and that set is usually the System’s most guarded secret. Choy Li Fut is one such system.

The principle concept behind Drunken Kung Fu, is to move as if one were half drunk. Execution of ‘Drunken Boxing’ demands extreme flexibility of the joints as well as suppleness, dexterity, power and coordination all of which can be developed in the course of practice.

The secret behind Drunken style kung fu is the sudden release of power from awkward positions. The agile footwork enables the exponent to totter, sway and fall without harm, confusing his opponent, rising up on the tips of his toes then dropping to low, crouched positions. The hand-form which is readily identified with the Drunken style is the Cup-Holding hand-form although in the Choy Li Fut Drunken Set this is replaced with a more practical and lethal “Phoenix Eye Fist” (Fong-Ngan Chui).

‘Drunken Boxing’ techniques are based on the legend of the ‘Eight Immortals’ of the Taoist Sect from Chinese Mythology. Each of the techniques in the Drunken Set demonstrates an attribute of one of the Immortals. According to legend, they were invited to an undersea kingdom to a banquet, but all of them became intoxicated and rowdy. All the kingdom’s guards attacked, and although the group seemed too inebriated to defend themselves, they created an impromptu style and defeated the guards with their new “Drunken” technique. They are respectfully: Liu Dong Bin, Lam Choy Wah, Ho Sen Ku, Cho Quat Kau, Cheung Guo Lo, Han Sing Tu, Han Chung Li and Tit Gwai Li.


Perhaps the most popular of the Eight Immortals is Liu Dong Bin. Revered as a hero of marvelous and infinite wisdom, Liu Dong Bin is said to reside in the Stork Peak, where his spirit can still be invoked be learned Taoists today.

Liu Dong Bin statues, paintings, embroidery and image can still be found in many traditional Chinese homes today. Many temples and shrines in China are dedicated to Liu Dong Bin, who is sometimes called Ancestor Liu. Liu is revered for two reasons, firstly his association with the potion of life (bestowing him the powers to cure all illness) and secondly his power to ward off any evil spirits. As the Heavenly doctor, Liu Dong Bin is worshiped by those who need his divine intervention in curing terminal illness. Often times is his temple, sacred prescriptions were given to the devotee from the fortune telling method of throwing bamboo sticks.

Liu Dong Bin was born during the 8th Century, converted to Taoism by fellow Eight Immortal Han Chung Li. Liu was initiated in to the secrets of Taoist Internal Alchemy, where he attained supreme magical powers. He is often depicted as mounted on a tiger, the symbol of divine energy and power that is descended from the Goddess Xi Wong Wu. Liu carries with him a white horse-hair whisk that bestows him the power to fly through the skies and walk the clouds.

Strapped behind his back is the Chan-Yaw-Kuai, his double edged sword called the Demon Slayer. This sword possesses mythical supernatural powers that enable Liu to capture and tame all evil spirits. Liu Dong Bin is also famous for his magic charms (yellow paper of sacred writings) that could ward off ghosts and demons, but his main source of power would be his magnificent sword. His sword endows him the ability to hide in the heavens and render his physique invisible to evil spirits.

Liu’s travels thousands of miles around China with his swift-wind abilities in search of kind hearted people to help on their path to cultivate the Tao of being. He is known to help those who where oppressed by others and is loved and respected as the great ‘Ancestor Liu’.

Liu Dong Bin is associated with the Trigram Tui of the Bagua. Tui, a yin metal trigram relates to the direction West, and is represented by the colors white, gold and silver. Tui is often associated with the intuitive and vitality forces of nature, and thus we may say that Liu Dong Bin is often seen as mysterious, magical and divine. His positive emotions embodies courage, bravery, impartiality, and righteousness while he suppresses the negative feelings of sorrow despondency and misery.


Lam Choy Wah is thought to be the strangest of the Eight immortals. His sexuality seems almost unclear as he is sometimes represented as a woman. This is sometimes attributed to the fact that as a entertainer, he was forced to wear women’s clothing and make up in his role as a witch doctor.

Believed to be touched by gods, Lam Choy Wah is pictured as being a street wanderer, dancing and singing for money that he eventually gave to the poor.

He had a small following who were interested in his antics as he walked about wearing only one shoe. Of the Eight Immortals, Lam Choy Wah is said to represent the strange, the lunatic in all societies, unbalanced and usually handled better in ancient societies. He gave much notoriety to his own lunacy when he wrote songs and poems that questioned existence, its fleeting cycle of life and death which seemed meaningless to this immortal.

Having later mastered the secrets of internal alchemy, Lam Choy Wah gave no thought to sleeping outside in he snow in the middle of winter as crowds gawked in amazement at the steam that rose from his body. Many failed to realize his true self until one evening when he was carried away from the local tavern by a celestial crane. This crane had reputedly descended from the heavens to the sounds of a celestial chorus that rained down upon the starry-eyed crowd that watched in amazement as the crane carried away their “Holy Fool” to his immortal resting place.

Carrying a basket of flowers and plants, Lam Choy Wah is associated with light-heartiness, care-free mind and longevity. As such the plants in the basket are of this nature, comprising of peach blossoms, springs of prine, bamboo shoots and chrysanthemum flowers.

His mount is an elephant, which gives him stability, wisdom and wise discretion. Lam Choy Wah is associated with the Trigram Chien of the Bagua. Chien, a yang metal trigram relates to the direction North West, and is represented by the color Gold. Chien is often associated with the creativity and strength, and thus we may say that Lam Choy Wah is often seen as creative, lively and imaginative. His positive emotions embodies uprightness, nobility, cultivation and embodiment whilst he suppresses the negative feelings of misery, deprivation, gloom and rejection.


Ho Sen Ku was born in the 7th century A.D., and now she is still alive, over 1,400 years old. She became an immortal at age 14 after meeting fellow Immortal Liu Dong Bin, who taught her internal alchemy giving her a precious rare “Peach of Immortality”. Soon after eating the peach, she was able to journey in her spirit body to pay homage to the Great Taoist Goddess of Immortality, Hsi Wang Mu. The Goddess delightedly carried her off to the gardens of Boundless space, Ho Sen Ku’s new home. She was able to cease her menstruation and conserve her life force energy. She also gained the ability to nourish herself by feeding only upon sweet, heavenly dew and the omnipresent Chi.

She spent her youth telling fortunes, flying and floating from mountain peak to mountain peak collecting herb’s and food for her mother and the poor. She also frequently flew to the mountains to meet other female immortals. She achieved great fame and was summoned to present herself to the Empress of China. She ignored the royal command and instead ascended to heaven in full daylight disappearing from the earth. Some years later she was seen floating on a rainbow cloud above the temple of Ma Ku, a famous woman Taoist adept.

Ho Sen Ku still appears to the virtuous, the innocent, and those oppressed people who are in great need of divine intervention. She is shown holding a magic lotus blossom, the flower of open-heartiness and divine brilliance, which symbolizes her power and purity. She is mounted upon a deer, a symbol of longevity and ceaseless energy.

Ho Sen Ku is associated with the Trigram Kun of the Bagua. Kun, a yin trigram relates to the direction South West, and is represented by the color pink. Her positive emotions are open-heartiness, purity and infinite wisdom while the negative emotions that she can suppress are worry, distress, agony and restlessness.


Cho Quat Kau is one of two royal brothers. Their sister was a Sung Empress during the 11th century AD. He was so ashamed of his brother, who was a murderer and a hedonist, that he gave away all his wealth to the poor and went into the mountains to seek the Tao. In the mountains he clothed his body with wild plants and lived as a hermit.

After some time he harmonized his mind, body and spirit until he could easily transform himself into the Tao. One day while roaming about his mountain realm he met two of the eight immortals, Chung-Li and Liu Dong Bin. Liu Dong Bin asked him, “What are you doing?” He replied, “I am nurturing the Tao and studying the Way.” Asked where the Tao was, Cho Quat Kau pointed to heaven. Asked where heaven was, he pointed to his heart. Chung-Li Chuan beamed and said, “The heart is heaven and heaven is the Tao. You indeed found the truth and the way. You understand the origin of things.” They invited him to travel about with other Immortals.

Cho achieved immortality by practicing the secrets of the Taoist Alchemy and inherited supernatural powers. His symbol is the castanets, which he played in a soothing and relaxing rhythm to facilitate meditation and journeying throughout the universe. He is mounted upon a horse whose spirit may have helped him unveil the secrets of the Tao and immorality. He is said to be still living on earth.

Cho Quat Kau is associated with the Trigram Ken of the Bagua. Ken, a yin earth trigram that relates to the direction North East, and is represented by the color Brown. Ken is often associated with the sense of clarity, serenity and stability of nature, and thus we may say that Cho Quat Kau is often seen as steady, calm and centering. His positive emotions embodies fairness, sincerity, compatibility and agreement while he suppresses the negative feelings of anxiety, false hope and distraction.


Cheung Guo Lo was born during the 8th Century, AD. He said in a previous life he had been a Grand Minister to the legendary Emperor Yao (2357-2255 BC). He was an old man and mountain hermit when he mastered the secrets of Immortality and became “the Original Vapor”. He has a fabulous horse that carries him thousands of miles in a few moments. Often he would ride facing backwards . Upon reaching his destination, he collapsed the horse folding it like a piece of paper and stored it in his pocket. When ready to travel again he would take it out, and moisten it with water changing it back into a horse.

Many of the Tang emperors invited him to court, but usually he declined to go. He entertained one emperor by making himself invisible and drinking poisons. The emperor bestowed upon him the title, “Master of Understanding the Mystery”, offered him a high position and his daughter in marriage. Cheung Guo Lo declined both offers, then he received the imperial summons to do it, so he laid down and died. He was buried in a coffin, but later when his disciples opened it, it was found to be empty. After this he was frequently seen alive.

His symbol is a tube containing wands or “phoenix feather” with which he can foretell fortunes and misfortunes. He is known to help souls to reincarnate, and even today in China, his image is found is the bedrooms of those who are trying to have children.

Cheung Guo Lo is associated with the Trigram Kan of the Bagua. Kan relates to the direction North, and is represented by the colors black and blue. His positive emotions are gentleness, stillness alertness and gratitude while the negative emotions that he can suppress are fear, uncertainty, panic and anxiety.


Han Sing Tu was born in the 8th century AD, and was a nephew of the great Tang poet and scholar, Han Yu. He studied and prepared for the state civil exams, but to the dismay of his uncle, he avoided taking them. He was an intelligent but wild child who disdained the pomp and vanity of the world. Despite his expulsion from a Buddhist temple for rudeness and mischief, he delighted in stillness and obscurity.

He was initiated into the secrets of Taoism by fellow Immortal Liu Dong Bin while still a teenager, and quickly became absorbed in the practice of internal alchemy. He probed the mysteries of Heaven and mastered the Five Phases (Elements) of Energy. The sacred knot on his robe is a symbol of his success in combining the two energies of Yin and Yang into the One Original Energy.

It is said that one time Liu Dong Bin carried him up to a vantage point on the mythical World Tree in order to show him the universe. Han Sing Tu fell from the tree and was killed but quickly resurrected himself. He was very poor, but totally unconcerned about it for he was intoxicated with the love of the Tao. He performed wonderful feats and is able to foretell the future. He was able to make wine without grapes and flowers bloom in mid-winter. One winter he magically grew a bunch of rose-peonies and on each petal were verses written in gold that foretold the fate of his uncle.

He is often depicted with a bouquet of flowers. He carries a flute which he plays the Six Healing Sounds. He is shown mounted on a buffalo, a mythical beast symbolizing of the Taoist Goddess Hsi Wang Mu, Ruler of the West.

Han Sing Tu is associated with the Trigram Sun of the Bagua. Sun, a yin wood trigram relates to the direction South East, and is represented by the color Light Green. Sun is often associated with the generating and sensitive forces of nature, and thus we may say that Han Sing Tu is often seen as determined and astute. His positive emotions embodies kindness, forgiveness and graciousness while he suppresses the negative feelings of jealousy, covetousness, envy and anger.


Han Chung Li was a historical persona, serving as a Marshall or General of the Imperial Han dynasty (207BCE – 220CE). It was said that Lao Tzu himself, shared the wisdom of the Tao with Han Chung Li. Upon embracing the teachings of the Tao , Han successfully ended the bloodshed and violence in his government life and journeyed to the wilderness, the mountains, to nature as a wanderer cultivating the Tao.

One day, whilst meditating, the adjacent stone in his mountain chamber cracked and revealed a sacred jade box. Inside this mysterious box contained an age old scroll that showed him the secrets of attaining Immortality. Studying the secret meditations, Han Chung Li finally achieved his immortality. His chamber was filled with celestial clouds, music and a magic crane appeared bringing him to the realms of the immortals.

Han Chung Li was revered for devising the pill of immortality by sacred Taoist Alchemy. This is why he is a popular deity for those in search for longevity. Once during a famine that swept China, Han Chung Li turned stones to gold and silver for the poor, saving millions of lives.

His symbol of power is his feather fan, which he uses to revive and reincarnate the souls of the departed. His magical fan can also control the forces of the 7 seas and the changes in the weather. He is often depicted as mounted on a chimera (Kei Lun), a mythical creature of the Taoist Goddess Hsi Wong Mu.

Han Chung Li is associated with the Trigram Chen of the Bagua. Chen, a yang wood trigram relates to the direction East, and is represented by the colors Green. Chen is often associated with the thundering forces of nature, and thus we may say that Han is often seen as jovial and forceful. His positive emotions embodies generosity, benevolence and graciousness while he suppresses the negative feelings of condemnation, guiltiness, frustration and violence.


Tit Gwai Li or “Iron Crutch Li” was born the Han Dynasty (2nd Century, AD). He lived in the mountains for 40 years where he devoted himself to practicing meditation that he often forgot to eat or sleep. Some legends say that the great Taoist sage Lao Tzu, personally introduced him to the Taoist practices. Other stories say it was the Taoist Goddess Hsi Wong Mu, ruler of the West, who taught him the art of Immortality.

Depicted as a lame and ugly beggar, he was once a handsome and well built man of commanding stature. His transformation occurred after his spirit body went to see Lao Tzu. He asked his student to watch over his physical body for seven days and prevent its destruction by animals, insects, and other spirits from entering it. He told his student to burn his body after seven days if he had not returned by then. After only six days the student learned that his own mother was dying, so he burned Li’s body and went to his mother’s bedside. Li returned on the seventh day and wanted to enter his body. Seeing that his body had been destroyed, he entered the corpse of a lame beggar who had just died. He blew water on the beggar’s bamboo staff and changed it into an iron crutch and a magic staff.

His symbols are the staff and gourd (a symbol of the universe). Having mastered the Five Phases of Energy, he is able to transmute matter with the staff and concoct medicines and potions from his gourd. He is credited with raising his student’s mother back to life using a magical potion mixed in the gourd. At night he makes himself very tiny and enters his sleeping quarters which are also inside the gourd. He is well known to the poor, sick and needy by his reputation for benevolence.

He eventually ascended to heaven in the form of a dragon, but frequently returns to earth to help others.

Tit Gwai Li is associated with the Trigram Li of the Bagua. Li, a yin fire trigram relates to the direction South, and is represented by the color red. Li is often associated with the vitalizing and energizing forces of nature, and thus we may say that Tit Gwai Li is often seen as active, compassionate and a little quick tempered. His positive emotions embodies delight, fondness, love, esteem and fame while he suppresses the negative feelings of hatred, craving, arrogance and unkindness.