Crab Kung Fu- Is There A Martial Art Based On The Crab?

With the proliferation of the animal systems and influences in the martial arts, it follows that many may want to know about crabs. Do Crabs influence the martial arts and if so, to what extent?

There is a martial art based on the crab. Crab Kung Fu utilizes the low posture of the crab and translates it into a takedown and ground escape system that proports to keep the practitioner safe from multiple attackers. It is a newer system that may have ties to older forms.

In this article I will detail the more common, even it more recent, style of Crab Kung Fu. I will also go into the influences on it that could possibly be from styles like Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

What Is Crab Kung Fu?

Crab Kung Fu isn’t a style that one can trace the lineage of for hundreds of years like Crane or Tiger style Kung Fu. It appears in history more recently and techniques used today tend to be more ground based grappling in their focus. So what is Crab Kung Fu?

Crab Kung Fu may have existed many years ago, but the few forms of it today tend to be based on the current popular trend of ground grappling. The system utilizes sweeps and leg takedowns similar to Judo and ‘guard’ style defense from prone positions as in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

That all being said, Crab style Kung Fu has a different focus than these full grappling systems. Crab style is an additive to other animal systems and has as its focus multiple attacker situations and transitioning from the ground to other standing based animal styles.

There very well may have been earlier forms of the system, but these were either not recorded, had its masters die out, or it lost favor and master declined to teach it. Whatever the case, it is only more recently revitalized or newly created styles that most will find today.

A Ground Kung Fu Style

Much of what one will see in a standing version of Crab style is low stances, foot sweeps, and leg scissor style takedowns. So is this basically a ground Kung Fu style?

Crab style is definitely a ground Kung Fu style. It bases its standing techniques on low stances and takedowns instead of striking. The ground techniques are centered on fighting from the back or side. Although, its focus is on escaping entanglement and not encouraging it.

Grappling systems can be broken into two categories. Some are more standing focused and use takedowns and throws to incapacitate an opponent. Others use rudimentary takedowns and focus more on positions, joint locks, and strangulations on the ground.

Crab style uses some of the techniques from both of these to forma unique system to move to the ground and back up in the flow of a self defense scenerio.

It has many techniques that are strikingly similar to other styles like Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Yet, it doesn’t share their same focus. Let’s look at how Crab Kung Fu compares to Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu next.

The Throws Of Judo In Kung Fu

Is there a type of Kung Fu that utilizes the off balancing and throws similar to a style like Judo? Do takedowns in Kung Fu necessarily mean that it has borrowed from it or other styles of grappling? Do we find the throws of Judo in Kung Fu?

Crab Kung Fu does utilize similar foot sweeps and leg scissoring takedowns that can be found in Jigoro Kano’s Judo from its beginning. Seeing that the Crab Kung Fu styles practiced today are more than likely newer systems, it is conceivable that there was some borrowing that occurred.

The sweeps of Judo are simple to learn, yet difficult to master. They are easy to incorporate into other systems either in whole or in part.

The leg scissor style throws of Judo though outlawed in competition for some time, may have found their home in the Crab Kung Fu system. Though they may have not been directly taken from Judo, there is little doubt that some influence could have easily made its way into the style.

The Guard Of Jiu Jitsu In Kung Fu

If you have ever seen the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu style in action you will notice that a large part of the time, one person is defending from their back. Is this in some way mimicked in the Crab style of Kung Fu? Or is it something altogether different?

The style of grappling in Crab Kung Fu is fairly different than the controlling system known as BJJ. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu originated from Judo, whereas Crab style grappling has a different focus for its ground system. Though Crab Kung Fu may borrow from BJJ, it is its own style.

The point of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is to control one opponent on the ground in a variety of positions. This may begin by taking down the opponent using wrestling or Judo techniques.

In Crab Kung Fu the point is to use sweeps and scissor takedowns with the legs in order to get our of grappling situations, even if using them eventually accomplishes this goal.

If you liked this article on Crab style martial arts, then you will love this overview of animals in the martial arts I have for you here…

Is Crab Kung Fu One Of The Rarest Martial Art Forms?

For a martial art to be rare there have to be few students and even fewer instructors. Does Crab style fit this set of criteria? Is Crab Kung Fu one of the rarest styles of Martial arts?

Crab style definitely fits the description of a rare style even if it is not the rarest one. It has only a select few students and only a few instructors. It is also usually included in with other animal systems to complete a well rounded style rather than only studied on its own.

Crab Kung Fu may have ancient masters that developed systems around the crab, but the ones today don’t seem to be directly connected to them. This doesn’t mean that inspiration didn’t come from some older style.

Being a newer style always has a time of very low following. Whether the style of Crab martial arts you find is ancient or recent, it is likely to be a small group with few instructors.

Kung Fu Crabs In Media And Retail

Though it may be a rare style of the martial arts, Crab style captures peoples attention in many other ways. There are memes, movies, and even business that give homage to the crab and its martial arts prowess.

Let’s look at the different ways Crabs are combined with the martial arts and appear in the media.

The Kung Fu Crab Memes

Short film by Kim Newman, and Produced At Ringling College of Art and Design

There are many ‘Kung Fu Crabs’ in online pics and videos, circulating as memes. There are simply drawn cartoon sketches and year and a half long projects like Kim Newman’s submission from Ringling College of Art and Design.

This form of online entertainment shows that people are looking for the fun side of such as small animal doing great things with the martial arts. Some smaller animals are accepted as inspiration for martial art forms, like the praying mantis.

The crab is not yet understood as having fighting prowess in the martial arts, so it becomes an example of the weak becoming strong. With this popular theme and the crab doing Kung Fu moves it is ‘David vs Goliath’ and everyone loves that story.

There are not just videos, but also pics and many others that celebrate the crab and its combination with the martial arts.

Crab Kung Fu In Film

The idea of the Crab style is featured in the Kung Fu film: Heroes of the East

Many who have spent a lazy Sunday watching an old Kung Fu film can attest to the chuckles and scoffs that abound. There are some that are done well with larger budgets, but many become nothing more than parodies of the martial arts in general.

The Heroes of the East is one of these fringe movies, but one that speaks to our subject here about a Crab martial arts style. It uses the low stances of the system we can see today, but it is primarily a striking style in the film. From being on many movie sets and helping to choreograph some myself, grappling is very difficult to pull off on camera.

This really is only incorporated into the film to give a backstory to the plotline, so it really is not a proper example of crab Kung Fu. But, it made me laugh. So, there it is.

Even Businesses Use Names Like Master Crab

Now we come to more of a ‘tipping of the hat’ to Crabs and the martial arts. Masters instructors are present in most all martial arts and are something of an icon in many.

There is even a business that plays on this fact located in Cape Coral, Florida. Though it went earlier by another name, now it goes by the moniker ‘Master Crab’.

The Master Crab

There was a Master Crab as well in the Dream Works animated film series, Kung Fu Panda though it had almost no screen time. Businesses and entertainment alike at times will pay homage to at least the idea of a Kung Fu Crab.

The Crab Style Kung Fu Takeaway…

Though the style may have older roots, Crab style Kung Fu is more than likely a modern adaptation of something older, or an amalgamation of other systems of grappling.

Its grappling system is rather different than styles like Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The focus for Crab style is more centered on using grappling to escape multiple attackers rather than subduing one single opponent.

There are online and other references to a Kung Fu Crab or a Master Crab that span the gambit. There are businesses, memes, and references in Films. The idea of a crab doing Kung Fu seems legitimate to some and comical to others.

Hopefully this survey of Crabs and their influence on the martial arts helps Parents and adults alike to better understand the martial arts in an honest and upfront manner. This site is designed for parents wanting information for their kids about the martial arts. Yet, adults with or without children should be able to find these articles helpful as well.

There is another resource you will like. I have a large guide to animal influences in the martial arts here…

Mathew Booe

Mathew Booe is a father of four, husband to Jackie since 1994, retired international competitor with over 50 wins, an international seminar instructor, a master instructor of hundreds of Little Ninjas each week, and the one bringing you the great content like you just read. Sign up for the newsletter to hear about his upcoming books before they are released to the public.

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