I have been studying Gung Fu now for 11 years..(wow I started young), and I've always found the various animal styles very interesting. In the style I do we have several animals, and even do animal sparring (Has anyone else done this?) So the question is this, What if any value do you find in the animal imitating kung fu styles?
And to answer my own quetion, and get things going.......
To me animal "imitation" in MA can really be thought of as unique mentalities and ways of fighting. I believe that the techniques associated with each animal are important to learn/teach in there own right, and to open up ways of fighting that the student may not have thought of before.
Interested in hearing what you think