October 31, 2007
Another long day; first a promptly arranged press conference with all the major dailies here in Penang followed by a courtesy call at Cho Gar Hay Bun Wing Chun, Master Cheong’s temple.
The press conference was held at Penang Chinese Town Hall’s building and we had all their key committee members at hand to conduct the conference since they are our co-organizer.
In addition, representative from our sponsor, Da Ma Cai, was also there together with 3 Penang masters involved in this event.
Since Evert is in town, I got him to appear also and just as I suspected, the journalists were all over him; it’s not everyday that you get a Caucasian Hung Gar exponent visiting.
After the conference and a short lunch break, we headed out to GM Cheong’s temple for what turned out to be an afternoon of kung fu display and interaction over many cups of tea.
Personally, it hard to top seeing a Chinese Wing Chun master playing with a Dutch Hung Gar man without the benefit of a common spoken language.
Really lost track of time watching all the bong saus, lop saus, fu jows and hok kuens, when I finally did check, it’s time to head back to the hotel for dinner.
Got another team from the office flying in and we got to be at the airport to fetch them.
And tomorrow, I have to do the same thrice with Russ Smith, Sifu Liu Chang I and Ruan Dong all arriving at different timings….
October 30, 2007
I’ve been to Penang so many times this last year that, frankly, I’ve lost count. Just when I thought I’ve seen everything on this island, viola, something new pops up.
Anyway, this trip is “work” so attention is focused on getting things done – from the moment I landed and my Zhou Jia Sihing, Peter Lum, came to pick me from the airport.
After a swift stop for some chow-down, it’s straight to work; running thru’ a list of things to do before this Saturday/Sunday show and workshop.
Then it was a visit to the performance venue, New World Park, where Peter had already put up all the promo fishtails and banners and followed by a quick survey of the stage area to make certain that everything is in order.
From there I headed straight to the hotel; need to get my rest to prepare for the next day’s radio interview – one hour of martial art talk with a DJ, Jezza from Traxx Fm, with some 25 years of Aikido experience; this should be fun.
And also my first guest, Evert Van De Meulen, is scheduled to arrive from Holland.
I started corresponding with Evert some 3 – 4 years back; first it was all emails, forum talk and then “Skype”.
My first impression; one that last until now is that, he is a very devoted CKF seeker, particularly in the area of Hungga’s Tit Sin Kuen.
Our exchange notes on this topic could fill up a book – exploring histories, mechanisms and applications of this brilliant form.
The radio interview went beautifully as planned; the DJ was really sleek and by then Evert has already checked into the hotel.
So this is it, finally, meeting my crazy Dutch friend face to face…
Okay, he might not be in the best shape after some 30 hrs of flying but still we went out to a coffee shop and what else – Talk about Kung Fu!
So it’s more like a crazy Dutchman meeting an equally crazy Chinese….
Later on that day, we brought him to Kek Lok Si; the tourists-must-see huge temple on Penang Hill and followed by a courtesy call at GM Cheong Cheng Loong’s Kung Fu school.
So now we got 3 crazy men from 3 styles at the same table talking shop … this is the life!
October 29, 2007
Flying in 2 hours time and a call came in from the radio station that’s going to be interviewing me tomorrow morning in Penang.
I was a little worried that I might be talking to someone without any MA knowledge but it turned out that he is an Aikido instructor with some 25 years experience in this art.
We chatted briefly, touching a little on the format of the coming interview and one thing that we both concur; youths these days lack the staying power to learn MAs properly.
In this age of automations and instant coffees, MAs, with requirements of commitment and hard work is being shunned.
I remember when I visited Master Kong Xien Hua in Sibu sometime back; he stated that learning kung fu is about quality and not quantity.
Or like they say in Shaolin: not fearful of your 10,000 kicks but the one kick that you perform 10,000 times.
And many masters spoke about the same thing, few techniques that they spend incredible amount of time polishing until like a very sharp sword, they become “deadly”.
In Master Kong’s Hakka Mantis “Fan Zhuang Quan”, he does only 3 forms.
3 forms and a lifetime to turn them into sharp swords…..
October 28, 2007
October 28, 2007
One more entry before I start packing ….
For some, it’s keep fit, self-defense and learning self-discipline. For others, it’s a cultural thing.
Personally and for many around here; it’s really a element of our cultural identities.
What does it mean to be a Hakka, Fukien, Cantonese, Teochew, LeiChew, Hainan, HengHua, Fuzhou, FuChing or ChaoAn Chinese?
Besides peculiar spoken dialects, foods and professions, the individualities are also very strongly manifested in the way we do our martial arts.
We take it up to keep family and clan traditions living; our links to the forefathers.
Just like noodles (or mee in local dialects) are noodles, the various dialect groups cooked up many special dishes using plain old rice or flour noodles.
One staple food yet so many flavors…..so if you visit this part of the world, you’ll find wanton mee, kolo mee, kampua mee, fish balls mee, char mee etc etc….
There was a time, not that long ago, that if you’re a Hakka, you only do Hakka boxing period and the same applies to the other dialects. Crossover is not really advocated and even now, there’re still many older folks who stick to this code.
And by merely watching a form, you could tell straightaway the dialect association.
So, for some of us, keeping to handed down methods is more than just learning how to fight.
It really about sustaining who we are …culturally.
Lose it and it’s like losing a part of your “soul”.
Got a clip here featuring Cantonese styles like Zhou Jia, Hung Gar, Choy Li Fut and Cho Gar Ban Chung Wing Chun.
October 27, 2007
Looks like I will have to take a short break from updating this weblog; heading out to Penang this coming Monday for the martial arts gathering.
Yup, will have my faithful laptop, cameras and other equipment with me but I doubt if I’ll find time to put any material for posting until the event is over.
Invited guests will be arriving Tuesday morning onwards and with a list of about 60+ peoples; I got my work cut out for me.
Then I got interviews with radio stations and some newspapers – time to pick up one of those smart phones – the PDA phone thingy …..
There will also be a full rehearsal at the actual venue and many of the guests are in Penang for the very first time, so I am expecting to have to be some kind of a tourist guide….
This I do know; my cameras will be working overtime; I wanna take pictures with everybody.
October 26, 2007
Believed by many to be the oldest form of MA, wrestling or “Jiao Li” was developed during the Zhou dynasty.
Throwing techniques are considered an essential part of a complete fighting system that encompass kicking, striking, grapping and throwing – a model that the late Bruce Lee based his training regimen on.
However, just like Chin-na (seizing and holding), most throwing techniques (except for maybe Chinese Wrestling) are embedded in the forms.
Techniques like “Pulling tiger tail posture”, “Returning horses to stable” and “Parting horses mane” etc etc. are more throwing techniques than anything else.
A shot clip showing a 2-men drill throwing drill.