Points

Legend has it that an early 15th-century Tibetan monk developed Pak Hok kung fu after observing a struggle between a crane and an ape. As the story goes, the crane deftly avoided the ape's attacks and plucked out an eye, thereby winning the fight despite the mismatch in strength. Inspired, the monk created the style originally called "lion's roar" and later renamed Pak Hok, or "white crane." Other sources claim that the style predates Bodhidharma's arrival at the Shaolin Temple, which would date it to the 6th century or even earlier. Its verifiable history is traceable only to the 17th century, when it was first taught publicly to monks and non-monks alike in Canton.

Pak Hok works off four principles: cham, or remorseless and completely committed attack without thought of retreat; sim, or dodging strikes while leaving the hands free to counterattack; cheung, or assaulting the foe with a ceaseless barrage of blows; and it, or countering the enemy's attacks by being one step ahead. Stylists employ very distinctive footwork which mimic a crane's careful (but quick) steps.

The Pak Hok stylist prefers Wait and Evaluate at the start of a fight. When his foe attacks, he dodges or parries and then counters with a Committed or All-Out Attack - most often using the Counterattack technique. After landing a telling blow, he unleashes a torrent of strikes to finish his opponent, making extensive use of Rapid Strike and All-Out Attack (Double). Defensive Attack is rare, but a stylist facing multiple foes might use the Attack maneuver instead of Committed Attack or All-Out Attack.

The style's usual attacks are punches and beak-like Exotic Hand Strikes - although a Hammer Fist to the face sees use as well. Feints are most often Beats (pp. 100-101) intended to knock down the target's guard. Pak Hok considers kicks secondary to punches; stylists sometimes use Jump Kick but they only train extensively at Kicking and Sweep. This last technique features prominently in Pak Hok's signature combination: a parry followed immediately by a backhand punch to the neck and a foot sweep, thrown as a Counterattack. If using Combinations (p. 80), Combination (Karate Punch/Neck + Karate Sweep) should be common among stylists.

Pak Hok schools also teach a few Chinese weapons, including the jian, spear, staff, and chain whip. Some add

Chin Na (p. 154) to the system to complement their strike-heavy art with locks and throws.

Pak Hok places little emphasis on chi, instead aiming for maximum speed and power. Despite this, several special abilities make sense for the cinematic practitioner. Think of these as focused skill and strength - not as exotic powers! Most famous is the lethality of the master's beaked hand, said to be capable of plucking out the foe's eye as the crane did in Pak Hok's legendary origin.

Before the 17th century, Pak Hok was a secret art - or at least an obscure one. Finding an instructor in the modern world isn't difficult, however.

Skills: Karate; Philosophy (Buddhism).

Techniques: Counterattack (Karate); Exotic Hand Strike; Feint (Karate); Hammer Fist; Kicking; Sweep (Karate); Targeted Attack (Karate Hammer Fist/Face); Uppercut.

Cinematic Skills: Power Blow; Pressure Points.

Cinematic Techniques: Eye-Pluck; Lethal Kick; Lethal Strike; Pressure-Point Strike.

Perks: Special Setup (No Hands > Karate Parry), allows parries with the body instead of the hands, with each replacing a hand parry; Technique Adaptation (Counterattack).

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