Tien Shan Pai is a northern style which originated in the Tien Shan (天山) mountains of northwestern China (see “The Legendary Origins of Tien Shan Pai Kung Fu” for details). It is well known in Taiwan (台灣) as an effective fighting style. At the same time, it also contains graceful empty-hand and weapons forms stressing rhythm and “yin shou” ” (音手)–the demonstration of power accentuated by solid thuds made by the hands. Tien Shan Pai self-defense is characterized by attacks from the side coupled with multiple blocks, so that if one block fails, the second can cover. Footwork is considered essential to countering attacks; Tien Shan Pai focuses on low, steady steps to the side, along with swift “hidden” steps to trick the opponent.
Tien Shan Pai has long been popular in Xinjiang (新疆), Gansu (甘蜀) and other western provinces; however, it was not well known in eastern China and Taiwan until Wang Chueh-Jen taught there.