November 30, 2007
Talking to Sifu Lee Tho Sheng is ,constantly, so much fun.
From listening to how he climbs his tall durian tress, and I mean tall, breaking out into one of his many Hakka “mountain songs” and watching him, transforms right before your very eyes, and performing his very aggressive form of Hakka Chu Gar Kuen ….. In the words of Russ Smith; this is all good!
Sifu Lee is a very good-humored person, diplomatic and tactful, he is careful with his statements especially when you are caught in the midst of opposing fractions; unavoidable in all Wulin.
Flourishing in his durian farming, Sifu Lee is the proprietor of farms not far from the famous Batu Ferringhi beach, popular with tourists.
Visiting him there is a treat in many ways; the top-notch durians, jackfruits and getting a taste of his unique style of Hakka Chu Gar Kao.
You know the common saying, size belie strength, exactly the case here.
And to hear him, in his booming voice, recites fist-poems in his native Hakka dialect is something that I totally enjoy.
And at almost 70, this man is a dynamo that just cannot be stopped!
Here’s a clip of one of Sifu Lee student doing a form called BaBuZhaung or 8-steps posture.
Again, I must say, expression is a cut different from the usual small-stance front leg enters/rear leg follows arched-back explosion that you expect from Hakka boxing.
November 30, 2007
Here another view of Sifu Cheong Hon Heon’s Geok/Ngok Gar kuen.
Perhaps, this clip will give you a better idea of why I smell “Northern” when I look at this style.
In fact, I was going through some of my other Hakka materials, from Penang and Sarawak, and I am starting to distinguish more and more of “Northern” indications.
A while back when I was chatting with Sifu Liew Joon Mew, Chu Gar Praying Mantis, and I popped the question “Why are so many Hakka styles name Chu Gar”?
His answer was that “Chu” family name was a big name right about the time of the Ching dynasty and many from this family were employed by the government.
So it was convenient, when asked, to just name yourself as “Chu” if you want to secure a government job….hmmmmm…..
That aside, the more I look outside Hong Kong’s Hakka styles, the more variations I see as far as Hakka boxing is concerned.
One thing that I really got to do, to get more answers, is to make another trip to see Sifu Kong Shu Ming, the Hakka Suppressing Tiger master.
The last few times that I was watching him demo, could have sworn that he was doing long-limbed White Crane…..
I had wanted to name this entry as “Hakka Yong Tau Fu” – the famous Hakka dish that uses a mix of vegetables, toufu, beans, different meats and spices to make a “salad” soup.
Didn’t want to be misunderstood as trivializing Hakka fighting traditions but I really do think that Hakka boxing is a very fascinating mix of many flavors.
Just like their delicious Yong Tau Fu…..got to run….hungry…..