Zi Men or “Word style” is a form of Southern Shaolin associated with the “word” of Buddhist practice. The style, sect or—in Kung Fu parlance— Gate (Men) is divided into two braches. The first started in Jiangsu province and is considered a soft, “internal” style. It is more than 300 years old and contains 15 sets. The second is from Sichuan. There are two origin stories for this branch. The first claims the style originated in the Qing dynasty, and derives from the transmission of a monk named Pan Qing Hua. His skill was supposedly transmitted to his daughter: Pan Cai Yun.
The second version has the official founder, Lo Li Tian, learning from a mysterious boxer from Hunan with only his name, Wu, remaining. This form of ZiMen has no set routines. Techniques are represented as the Chinese characters of particular energies, each a special skill. These can be jumbled together and practiced in any sequence. First the mind is cleared, then the techniques are strung together somewhat like writing calligraphy.
The longer version of the words include eighteen distinct characters”