“Drunken kung fu” , well known style of fighting among kung fu practitioners and fans of kung fu movies. This method of fighting was allegedly invented by the Shaolin monks in order to protect themselves from bandits when they returned to the monastery drunk at night . Many famous masters and “grandmasters” ffrom Hong Kong taught and still teach “drunken style” . among others Leung Ting is one of the most famous .
The truth is , drunken style was invented in the early 70’s by Shaw brothers studio and actor, filmmaker, choreographer and martial artist Lau Kar Leung .
Before Bruce Lee’s time kung fu was unknown on the west ,after his untimely death kung fu had an unprecedented expansion, everything and anything that has any connection to kung fu was “swallowed without chewing” in huge quantities. Hong Kong movies were and unfortunately remained the primary source of information about the Far East and kung fu in general. Great number of people, influenced by Bruce Lee movies and later all other movies produced by Hong Kong were rushed to the East, demanding to be taught “kung fu “ they saw in those movies , and they got exactly what they were looking for. Drunken kung fu is the best example of actual impact of the Eastern cinema on Western view of Chinese culture and kung fu history and development . In the absence of real information, people just accepted what ever movie was show in those movies without a bit of a critical thinking and logic. Interesting thing is , Hong Kong movies shaped not only the western view on kung fu but also did that on the east almost as much as it was on the west.
In one oft the latest interviews Lau Kar Leung told an interesting story about the creation of many kung fu styles . After kung fu craze begun and all traditional stories , legends and styles were “depleted”, under the pressure of great demand for new ideas and stories movie directors started to create purely fictional kunf fu styles with following histories . Many of these fictional styles became so popular that people started to search teachers who could teach them “drunken kung fu” “Golden Feniks” and others. Drunken kung fu became so popular that today can be found in Shaolin monastery practiced by monks.
That is the truth about drunken kung fu , it never existed before 1970”s . Monks do not drink , alcohol is forbidden in monasteries . I have never seen drunk Buddhist monk and I know a quite a few . Everybody know how alcohol influence body and mind. Drunk person cannot even walk , fighting and performing complicated body movements which require precise body mechanics , under the influence of alcohol is impossible . Still, many people believe in ancient Shaolin drunken kung fu .