CHIEN-LUNG: Celestial Dragon

Chien-Lung is a 18th century kung-fu based on six animal archetypes: Black Panther, White Leopard, Boa, Cobra, Python, and Tiger. Each animal represents a martial style, personality type, brain region, system of the body, and aspect of consciousness. Each animal has its favorite foods, music, books, movies, hobbies, and different regions of the Earth it resonates with.

The cats are masculine, the snakes feminine, and when a cat is combined with a snake, their alchemical synergy produces the Dragon. The Dragon symbolizes resilience and flow, the ability to turn hardship into strength through creativity and skill.

The practice of Chien-Lung is to develop each of these aspects within yourself by adopting the animal’s movement, breathing, thinking, and attitudes; by listening to the music, eating the foods, reading the books and watching the films the animal likes; by facing the prejudices or judgments you may have about the animals, like Panther’s sensuality, Boa’s feminine vulnerability, Tiger’s power; and by facing your own personal fears and limitations, whether it’s fear of heights, water, or intimacy. Everybody has the potential for each one of the animals.

• The Animals •


Pure willpower. The body, heart, and mind as one. When you’re embodying Tiger, you’re goal-oriented, willful, overcoming all opposition with sheer grit. A warrior with a heart of gold, Tiger is forthright and possesses a powerful muscular physique.


Instinct. Finely tuned senses, and well-honed reflexes. Black Panther is the gatekeeper to the realm of dreams. The part of you that is Panther loves sensual pleasures, is tribal and primal, and uses its fear as an ally. Panther represents the tendon and ligaments, the groin, adrenals, and the brainstem.


Intuition, thought, and creativity. Leopard is cool-headed, aloof, and always sees the big picture. The Leopard aspect of you lives for the flow of cosmic ideas, the dream-like state in which Einstein conceived of the Theory of Relativity. The Leopard represents the frontal lobes and parietal lobes, and Eastern energetic systems, like chakras and auras.


Psychic. Cobra represents the nervous system, energetic perception and psychic control. You’re in Cobra when you see keenly into intentions of others, and receive flashes of paranormal perception like remote viewing or clairvoyance.


Manipulation. The Python is the strategist extraordinaire, the ‘model modern major-general’.  In anatomy, Python moves as though her very skeleton breathed, creating undulations, and whips, letting the momentum of her limbs do the work for her. Python is the bridge between the unconscious and conscious mind, and represents the corpus callosum, connecting the left and right hemisphere. Pythons are natural lawyers or chess grand masters, who observe, find patterns, and like detectives or scientists, manipulate. They must manifest something tangible from what they have learnt.


Empathy, breath, and the collective unconscious. When you’re in Boa, you are meditation. The Boa represents the skin, the lungs, and the circulatory system. The Boa type is sensitive to moods and feelings of others, be they people, pets, plants or places. Boa is irresistible, because you can’t resist something that flows and is so deeply in sync with you.