The style imitates the movements of snake.
Proponents claim that adopting the fluidity of snakes allows them to entwine
with their opponents in defense and strike them from angles they wouldn't
expect in offense. Snake style is said to especially lend itself to
applications with the Chinese straight sword.The sinuous, fluid motion of
the snake lends itself to the practical theory that underlies the "soft"
Snake is one of the archetypal Five Animals of
Chinese martial arts; the other four being Crane, Tiger, Leopard, and
Dragon. These five animals originally represented the five classical Chinese
elements before developing into their own styles. Dragon is usually Earth,
Tiger is Fire, Crane is Metal, Snake is Water, and Leopard is Wood. Since
they were derived from the Five Elements, they are kept in this pattern. At
this point many styles delve into more advanced animal training or actual
element training. The Taoist temples of the Wudang Mountains were known to
have produced many snake stylists.
Snake style is based on whipping power which travels up the spine to the
fingers. The ability to sinuously move, essentially by compressing one's
stomach/abdominal muscles, is very important. Footing is quite grounded. The
stancework is fluid in order to maximize the whipping potential of any
movement. This necessitates building a strong spine to contain the power and
strong fingers to convey the strike. Since breath is important to any
movement of the spine and ribs, snake style is considered one of the main
styles which eventually led to internal training. Snake style is also known
as an approach to weapons training, the Chinese straight sword and spear in
particular. There are even specialty varieties of sword blades and spear
points that curve back and forth down the length of the blade in imitation
of the snake's body known as snake sword and snake spear.
Snake Style generally aims for weak points of the human body, such as eyes,
groin and joints.