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Drunken Boxing, or Zui Quan is not really a system, but a style of southern Kung Fu. There are many forms, such as Drunken Monkey (based on the Monkey form), Eight Immortals (probably the most popular form), Five Drunken Animals (based on the Five Animals form) and various weapon forms, such as Drunken staff.

The basic principle behind the form is to exhaust, annoy and confuse the opponent with erratic and seemingly unstable movements (in short, the practitioner very much behaves like a drunk). The drunken boxer staggers and falls while at the same time releases powerful blows, and feigns defence while attacking at the same time. This of course requires a lot of alertness and coordination, but legend has it that the master who invented the form actually performed better after having a drink.

There are counters and attacks for all ranges and heights. The boxer mostly holds his hands in a cup-form and there are a lot of positions that looks like he's preparing for a toast.

The style was made popular in the west through movies like Drunken Master, Drunken Master 2 (both starring Jackie Chan) and Shaolin Temple (starring Jet Li).

There is a lot of misinformation, speculation, legend, and myth behind the fabled Drunken Boxing technique. The version that most are aware of is the humorous take on it in Jackie Chan's "Drunken Master" and "Legend of the Drunken Master", where one must become inebriated to perform it properly, as the alcohol deadens pain, and allows the body to loosen up considerably. In point of fact, Jackie Chan was purposely making a satire of the Taoist Legend. The "Drunken Master" movies are to the legend of Wong Fei Hung what "Dracula, Dead and Loving it" is to Vlad Dracul. It is not meant to be taken seriously, it is meant to entertain.

As the legend goes, there were Eight Immortals from Taoist Chinese Mythology: 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. These eight were invited to a banquet under the sea and became extremely drunk, causing a racket. In retaliation the kingdom hosting the party attacked the eight en masse. Too drunk to protect themselves in the normal fashion, they invented an impromptu style, a new "Drunken" technique, and defeated their attackers.

In practice, Zui Quan (the Choi Li Fut set of Drunken Boxing), or Drunken Kung-fu is a rather secretive technique that utilizes a 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). Execution of 'Drunken Boxing' demands extreme flexibility of the joints as well as suppleness, dexterity, power and the finest tuned coordination.

While it certainly can give the appearance of being drunk and staggering about, it should be noted that if even a skilled Drunken Master were to get drunk and try to perform the real moves, he or she would likely break their ankles, wrists, legs, and/or dislocate several joints.

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