November 9, 2007
Russ Smith – what can I say about this friend from Florida? Got to know him like 3 – 4 years back through some forum interactions and I have always thought of him as a real serious seeker and I still do.
Apart from owning one of the most informative sites loaded with all sorts of info about
Japanese/Okinawa fighting traditions, Russ is also looking deeply into Chinese forms to look for co-relations – a quest that has lead him, first, to Penang and now, Sarawak.
I am amazed by his understanding of Chinese methods and all the Masters who heard and saw him perform in Penang share the same opinion – this is one man who really knows what he is talking about.
And to watch him present in that unassuming manner just earns him more fans among the local CKF community.
Well Russ is here in Kuching with me and more than just a tourist, we are actually getting down to laying more plans and projects for the near future.
For a karate man to show up in a TCKF event is already “outstanding” and to do so in such good-natured manner is simply in a word, brilliant.
(left to right)
Li Tho Sheng – Chu Gar Chong Jiao Hakka Boxing,Cheong Wai Phor – Cho Gar Hay Bun Wing Chun,Russ Smith,Me (standing),Ku Choy Wah – Cho Gar Bun Chung Wing Chun,Ong Choon Sheng – Grand Ancestor Boxing,Ong Kim Hor – SaoLim,Cheong Hon Heon – Geok Gar,Chong Cheng Loong – Phoenix-Eyes Chu Gar Boxing
November 9, 2007
Back in Kuching with Russ and his wife, Nicole, and the idea is to show them around – not only the normal touristy sites but also visit some of the local masters here for more kung fu ….Russ is a man on a “mission”….
In fact, he extended his stay out of his own pockets and the other day in Penang, he even got involved when I did extra interview sessions with Master Ruan Dong and Ku Choy Wah.
For those not in the know, Ruan is the “officially” the main “MingHe” or “Whopping Crane” spokesperson of mainland China.
The man behind all the books and articles published on the subject, Ruan was in Singapore many years ago to reconnect with “Whooping Crane” families spread all over this part of the world. During one of my tea sessions with him in Penang, he spoke about visiting Sarawak.
Besides Singapore, Sarawak is plausibly the next biggest home of Fuzhou Crane boxing systems that left China during the “cultural revolution” era and Master Ruan is hoping to find some of his peers over here.
He also related his childhood training days with my Sibak, Wong Xin Xian and his relationship with my late teacher, Sia Mok Tai.
Beginning with some 10 forms, these days they are left with only 4 that are effectively still practiced on the mainland.
And when Russ asked him about training equipments, he described some very interesting methodologies that were passed on to him.
Personally, the saddest thing to come out of the interview is his confirmation that none of the so called Whooping Crane teachers linked to him had more than a month’s training; some have not even met him in person!
His student, Lin Jian who was travelling with him, told us about the “cleaning-up” process that he is starting to check the situation.
My TaiZu teacher, Ah Teck, is visiting Fukien again next year, and if things go according to plan, Russ & I might be having tea with this senior master in his house then ……
I will be posting more extracts from the interview later.