Digging for the roots.

May 30, 2009

 

I am not a trained “historian” – meaning I don’t have the “SOP” to do the job.

“SOP” or “Standard Operating Procedures” is a terminology I use a lot in my previous life as a manager in a US MNC, in-charge of new products launches in the computer disk drives industry.

In fact, that was how I ended up in Colorado, at one time ,the Mecca, of disk drives design blah blah blah ……

And you thought I only know Kung Fu – hehehehe ……

But this is not about me and my boring past …. This is really more about something that Russ (Goju-Ryu) Smith and I have been working on these past couple of years; the Chinese roots of Karate. 

Aha, now not so boring right? 

There is so much flying around about this topic that sometimes, I wonder what is what?

Opinions are so divided; the “everybody has got one” cliché is so pertinent here.

Even “big” names in this area of research can’t see eye to eye on so many issues that it has got to a point that you can say anything without meeting opposition somewhere.

So, why bother? You may ask. 

Personally, I think all the pioneers have been too focused on China and Taiwan when looking to connect Karate and CKF.

Most have overlooked SE Asia in their quest and you know how I view this whole migration of CKF.

The Chinese population, especially southerners, left China in the hordes for these parts as far as 400 yrs ago and brought many unaffected CKF with them.

And we all know what the “cultural revolution” did to many traditional CKF on the mainland.

In order to do a comprehensive job, you cannot possibly afford to leave transplanted CKF out of your studies – no brainer no? 

Unlike Hong Kong and Taiwan, the CKF in SE Asia were left out of the world’s notice until quite recently.

The Fuzhou styles, in particular, left the mainland for mainly parts like Malaysia and Singapore.

Even today, some Fuzhou styles survived only in these 2 spots after dying out on the mainland due to various reasons.

So, I think there’s still much room to explore as far as correlating Karate and CKF is concerned. 

In fact, in 2007 when we did our “Martial Arts Gathering” in Penang, one of our agendas was to initiate a study group to work on this topic.

Towards that, we had Sifu Ruan Dong Minghequan, interviewed and videoed in a 3 hrs Q & A sessions.

And Russ can tell you this; some of the things he said will blow you away … 

I am working on translating and subtitling that interview session and when it’s ready, I will post some to share.

So having said all that, I am pasting pages from a style that has been linked to Uechi Ryu Karate.

Fuzhou tiger passed down by Zhou Zi He or Chow Jee Hor in Fuzhou. 

The name Zhou Zi He also appears in most White Crane lineage charts – 6th generation away from the founder.

Cannot be the same person – wrong chronology but I thought I mention this to avoid confusion when I talk about White Crane’s Zhou…. 

The other thing to note is that Zhou is not a typical Fuzhou family name , so ……

Here’s an excerpt from wikipedia about Fuzhou

 

Fuzhou dialect (福州話), also known asFoochow dialectFoochowFoochoweseFuzhounese, or Fuzhouhua, is considered the standard dialect of Min Dong, which is a branch of Min Chinese mainly spoken in the eastern part of Fujian Province. Native speakers also call it Bàng-uâ (平話), meaning the language spoken in everyday life. In Singapore and Malaysia, the language is known as Hokchiu, which is the Min Dong pronunciation of Fuzhou.

Although traditionally called a dialect, Fuzhou dialect is actually a separate language according to linguistic standards, because it is not mutually intelligible with other Min languages, let alone other Chinese languages. Therefore, whether Fuzhou dialect is a dialect or a language is highly disputable.

Centered in Fuzhou City, Fuzhou dialect mainly covers eleven cities and counties, viz.:Fuzhou (福州), Pingnan (屏南), Gutian (古田), Luoyuan (羅源), Minqing (閩清), Lianjiang(連江, Matsu included), Minhou (閩侯), Changle (長樂), Yongtai (永泰), Fuqing(福清) and Pingtan (平潭). Fuzhou dialect is also the second local language in northern and middle Fujian cities and counties, like Nanping (南平), Shaowu(邵武), Shunchang (順昌), Sanming (三明) and Youxi (尤溪).

Fuzhou dialect is also widely spoken in some regions abroad, especially in Southeastern Asian countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. The city of Sibu inMalaysia is called “New Fuzhou” due to the influx of immigrants there in the early 1900s. Similarly, the language has spread to the USAUK and Japan as a result of immigration in recent decades.

 

 fuzhou tiger_Page_001fuzhou tiger_Page_002fuzhou tiger_Page_003fuzhou tiger_Page_037

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