Is Spider Kung Fu A Myth, Or A Really Rare Martial Art?

There are many animal styles of Kung Fu, with most of them originating in the southern regions of China. Most stem from a base of 5 to 12 animals and quite a few only have a few masters that teach them. In regards to Spider style Kung Fu, is this a style with only one or two masters or is it simply a theoretical system?

Spider Kung Fu like many rare animal arts stems from personal styles of a few masters. The Spider style of one master would not be the same as another. Many animals have been used as inspiration for styles, but not all of these systems were widely or openly taught.

Some may be interested in this style due to a fascination with arachnids in general. Others may have an affinity for our friendly neighborhood Spiderman, and are interested in any connections. Let’s look at this eclectic and rare style to see what we can find.

What Is Spider Kung Fu?

Animal styles of Kung Fu take their inspiration differently depending on the master founding it and the purpose for which it was made. Some take direct influence from the animal and how it moves and others use the name that seems most apt in describing already established techniques.

Spider style Kung Fu is a niche style that utilizes ropes or other soft, length weapons added to Chinese Chin-na to ensnare opponents. It is a trapping and grappling based sub-art that is usually used in connection with a broader main style. There are few masters, each with their own variations.

The use of ropes or even rope darts (traditional Kung Fu weapon) is a signature of this style which puts it in the category of both a weapon and a grappling based system. One of the main purposes of Spider Kung Fu is to slow the confrontation and even restrict movement.

This is also employed against multiple opponents. In a multiple attacker scenario, the pace can become overwhelming for the defender. Slowing the movements of all parties evolved becomes a great tool.

There are risks in trying to control a difficult to manage situation, especially with ropes or cords. It takes an extremely competent wielder to handle ropes or rope darts in a way that won’t get themselves entangled as well.

This is not particularly a style that will be taught to children and is specific enough that it may not fit the needs of the majority of Kung Fu practitioners. For those wishing to study it, there are few instructors around. It will take some dedicated searching.

Is Spider Kung Fu One Of The Rarest Martial Arts?

There are many rare animal styles of Kung Fu and many seldom seen ones stemming from many systems around the world. Sometimes this is for good reason, as the style is so specialized in on are that it is not applicable to most students in their daily lives. Sometimes it is because of a lack of willingness to teach the style.

Spider Kung Fu fits the two main categories that cause many styles to be rarely practiced. First, it is a very specific type of grappling utilizing ropes or rope darts. Second, it is a style that reportedly was kept personally by the masters who formed them and not commonly taught.

That being said, by definition Spider Kung Fu cannot be the rarest style of martial arts. Simply by asking the question means that it is suspected to exist and there is some information about it.

The rarest forms of martial arts will be the ones you have never heard of. There are those in the elite special forces of militaries, secret service wings of governments, and even those formed by individuals that are deemed personal or private.

Here it should be noted that in all of this I am not attesting to the efficacy or deficiency of any of the techniques in a rare style. The techniques in most styles are effective to a point and are only so if used as intended. Some styles are more broadly applicable across situations and body types and this is irrespective of their popularity.

To learn more about the animal styles of Kung Fu and other martial arts see my mega article on the subject here…

Spider Man Kung Fu: What Martial Art Does Spider Man Use?

Anyone who has followed the story of Spider Man in all of its renditions can attest to two things. One is the presence of martial arts abilities. Two is the fact that there is undeniably a multitude of influences that writers and designers added into the mix. So, is there a distinct version of Kung Fu that Spider Man uses?

Spider Man uses Kung Fu as well as many other martial arts in movies, video games, and animated series. To these techniques he adds to his innate ‘Spidey Sense’. Combined together, all of these abilities makes Spider Man one of the most beloved Super Heroes in the Marvel Universe.

Yet, is there an actual connection between Spider Man and the Chinese fighting arts? The Kung Fu craze started in the United States in the 1970’s and infiltrated many types of media. The Marvel Comic arena is no exception.

Does Spider Man Do Kung Fu?

With all of the influences that make up the collected martial arts experience of Spider Man, superimposed on his character by many different writers, it is clear that there are elements of Kung Fu. Though, this can also be said about many styles like Capoera, Taekwondo, Karate, Muay Thai, etc. So, how much of Spidey’s technique is Kung Fu?

Kung Fu makes up a small part of the total martial arts skill base of Spider Man. Actually, in the beginning, Peter Parker knew no martial arts at all. Though some elements came earlier, it wasn’t until meeting Shang Chi that Spider Man truly added the way of Kung Fu to his skills list.

It’s true that from the start Peter Parker simply used his amazing Super abilities to fight crime and swing from buildings. As the character developed, cross training in many styles of fighting (at least having them written in by many different writers) happened and created a uniquely Spider Man style.

To say the Spider Man did Kung Fu would be correct in the literal sense, but in full disclosure, it was one of many styles that influenced the character. There is a definite injection of Kung Fu though with his encounter with Shang Chi.

If you are looking for a great Spider Man set of movies, I recommend the Spider-Man: Far From Home / Spider-Man: Homecoming / Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse three movie set from Amazon.

Did Shang Chi Teach Spider Man Kung Fu?

Shang Chi is a Kung Fu master elevated to Super Hero status in the Marvel Comic Universe (A Disney owned company). This offers him the opportunity to fight crime, though his story was not always so cut and dry. His father in the original comics was a villain, which somehow went unnoticed by Chi.

Shang Chi did teach Spider Man his techniques and fighting style of Kung Fu. He met Spider Man during one of his epic battles before the Spider Island event. Spider Man had just lost his Spider-sense and Chi taught him to fight without his power, which made him better upon its return.

Though Spider Man originally had no martial arts training at all, over the decades he took training and inspiration from others. Yet, it wasn’t until meeting Shang Chi that he actually learned a martial art strategy and technique base that didn’t rely on his Spidey-sense

The Spider Kung Fu Takeaway…

To sum it up…

  • There is an actual style called Spider Kung Fu.
  • This is one of the more rare styles of the Chinese animal inspired arts.
  • It is not the most rare as it is heard of and studied.
  • The most rare arts are ones we will never know exist.
  • Spider Man did not originally know or practice any martial art
  • After years of adapting the fighting styles of others while using his powers, he lost his Spidey-sense for a while and learned Kung Fu.
  • Spider Man’s Kung Fu master was none other than Shang Chi.

Hopefully this brief dive into this eccentric Kung Fu animal style has helped to clear things up for you. There are many styles of animal inspired systems as well as animal influences in a great more martial arts systems around the world. Spider style Kung Fu is one small piece of the puzzle.

And to find out more about many of the other animal styles and influences, I recommend my article…


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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