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Zui quan (Traditional and Simplified Chinese: 醉拳; pinyin: zuìquán) is a concept in traditional Chinese martial arts, as well as a classification of modern Wushu forms. Literally meaning "drunken fist", the term is also commonly translated as drunken boxing or drunkard's boxing. In Chinese it is sometimes called zuijiuquan (Chinese: 醉酒拳; pinyin: zuìjiǔquán, literally "drunken alcohol fist"). The techniques were traditionally considered unsuitable for women due to cultural attitudes regarding excessive drinking among women.
Zui quan is a category of techniques, forms and fighting philosophy that appear to imitate a drunkard's movements. The postures are created by momentum and weight of the body, and imitation is generally through staggering and certain type of fluidity in the movements. It is considered to be among the most difficult wushu styles to learn due to the need for powerful joints and fingers. While in fiction practitioners of zui quan are often portrayed as being actually intoxicated, zui quan techniques are highly acrobatic and skilled and require a great degree of balance and coordination, such that any person attempting to perform any zui quan techniques while intoxicated would be likely to injure themselves.
Even though the style seems irregular and off balance it takes the utmost balance to be successful. To excel one must be relaxed and flow with ease from technique to technique. Swaying, drinking, and falling are used to throw off opponents. When the opponent thinks the drunken boxer is vulnerable he is usually well balanced and ready to strike. When swigging a wine cup the practitioner is really practicing grabbing and striking techniques. The waist movements trick opponents into attacking, sometimes even falling over. Falls can be used to avoid attacks but also to pin attackers to the ground while vital points are targeted.
Many traditional Chinese martial arts utilize drunken techniques and fighting philosophy within forms and techniques. For example: