May 20, 2009

And oh, before any one of you out there starts yelling “he is only interested in Asian Fighting Arts”, here are some pages from another of my books. 

“Old Sword Play”, this book was first published in 1892 and written by one Alfred Hutton, a Englishman I presume. 

Just one of my collections of books on weapons; my favorite is stick fighting really. 

This is followed closely by swords (all kinds) and daggers or short knives. 

In fact, I’ve got some 30 swords and knives here with me in Kuching. 

Each time I travel, I would be shopping for buck knives and switch blades etc etc… 

Living here in Sarawak where indigenous Malay silats proliferate, there are ample opportunities to pick up knives fighting skills. 

Man, I got to tell you these Silat folks really know how to cut and I am not talking beef!

Back to the book, really love some of the techniques within.

You see, I not only care for kung fu and wuxia TV programs and movies, “Zorro” and “The 3 Musketeers”  were staple TV shows for me as a kid growing up in Singapore.

Back in the good old days of black and white TV…….. They just don’t make them like they used to …….


european sword_Page_03

european sword_Page_94

european sword_Page_96

Joining the dots.

May 20, 2009

An extension on the topic of “roots”.

The concept of “swallow, spit, float and sink” must be the cornerstone of many Chinese boxing systems, northern/southern internal or external notwithstanding. 

The styles that I do – Lohan, White Crane and Grand Ancestor, the importance of learning and mastering this cannot be overstated.

Sanchiem or Sanchin training revolves around this central principle. 

From “habit to 2nd nature”, most trainees will do nothing but hone this until spontaneity is attained. This is specially so in White Crane and Grand Ancestor. 

“Before you go 4 doors, you must accomplish the 3 battles” – cannot recall the number of times this is drilled into us during training.

Ah Teck, my Grand Ancestor sifu, used to say this; no Sanchiem, you got no kung fu!

So where did this “SSFS” concept comes from; theories and conjectures abound, of course!

In White Crane, both Whooping and Ancestral, we believe that one of the base arts is Shaolin Lohan.

Most Fuzhou masters traced “SSFS” training back to Shaolin. 

Old classical texts described 2 forms attributed to Tat Mor or Bodhidharma – one of which is “yijing jing易筋經”; here again the topic has been subjected to all kinds of arguments and you can read most over on Wikipedia

This much I know; for the longest time, elders in Fuzhou White Crane lines quote yijing when explaining qi and “SSFS”. 

Got an old book on yijing that might give you an idea why and interestingly, I picked up a book in Singapore recently about Crane Boxing in Taiwan and that book is illustrated with almost “yijing” like training methods.

And the 4 cranes: Sleeping, Whooping, Flying and Feeding …. One Fuzhou elder explained this to me a long time ago:-

To swallow is to absorb like sleeping.

To spit is to throw out like singing.

To float is to extend like flying.

To sink is to retract like feeding. 

All pieces of a same picture ???

And look at the yijing pics – do you see SSFS?
yijin_Page_26 copy

yijin_Page_27 copyyijin_Page_32 copyyijin_Page_31 copy


May 20, 2009



Got this from a site describing methodologies used for gathering historical data:-

Oral tradition may be accepted if it satisfies two “broad conditions”

¨       The tradition should be supported by an unbroken series of witnesses, reaching from the immediate and first reporter of the fact to the living mediate witness from whom we take it up, or to the one who was the first to commit it to writing.

¨       There should be several parallel and independent series of witnesses testifying to the fact in question.

Many classical texts dating back hundred of years fulfill these categorically.

The same could be said for many oral transmissions within family lines; most of which are kept intact and pass down from generation to generation, without outside manipulation, and serve primarily to remember roots and ancestries which feature highly with the Chinese.

This trait extents to almost every aspect of the Chinese psyche even if it’s declining in recent times as witnessed by experiences shared by many Asian races.

So there is no question of tuning to meet market’s need or to stay in trend. Honoring your ancestors takes premium position, period.

To “disgrace teacher and family” is cardinal sin; no effort is to be spared to maintain the integrity of the system; for those of you who have been through the “Ba Shi” ceremony will know exactly what I am trying to say here.

Kneeling before your teachers and ancestors, your first pledge is to honor the founder and his percepts to the best of your capacity; this is the archetypal requirement.

For most of us, it is as straightforward as “you simply don’t change who you are”.

You can’t really; most CKF teachers will tell you – with just one move, they can tell if it’s genuine.

We say without your roots, you will be just floating in the sea of humanity.

Or “to touch ground and not grow roots”……..

I guess you got to be “in the family” to appreciate what I am saying here.