The Chinese use 5 animals to convey various attributes. Many of them are shown in the techniques, but there is deeper meaning.
Tiger: Strength, tenacity. This animal is known for fericious attacks, with little or no regard for defensive skills. Their defense is their offsense, as the opponent simply can't attack or couter effectively.
Leopard: Power and agility. This animal is know for its superior power...It can easily out maneuver its opponent and is a master of feints, counter attacks and circular movement. This animal 'invented' getting off the 'X' and attacking on the obliques.
Crane: This animal is known for its grace and balance. The Crane is a defensive animal, the Crane is known for its solid blocking, pinpoint strikes, and long, flowing movements outside of its oppnent's range. It mostly fights from a defensive position, and is capable of pulling it opponent in, breaking their balance, and using devastating attacks. It mostly strikes to counter, and uses its defensive skills to mask its attacks.
Snake: Known for its flexibility, and precision, Snake is a defensive animal as well. It will absorb its opponents attack, slip around it, and either 'bite' or crush its opponent. Snake will hold its ground, or give ground to lure its opponent in. As the opponent attacks its 'weaker' adversary, the snake will slip in to its attack, wrap around it and counter with pinpoint accuracy.
Dragon: This mythical animal is known for its circular movements, intelligence, and an ability to mimic the other four animal's traits. Thus, it is the epitomy of the fighting animal. It uses circular motions to attack, evade, and confuse its opponent. It adapts to situation using the nature of the animal best suited to the situation. The Dragon's nature is what all warriors should emulate.