There are books and there are books!

August 20, 2009

Hahahaha, I think there must be many of you out there who share this same frustration….

So say like me you’re a book aficionado, you are passionate about traditional Chinese fighting arts and you seek to gain better insights – if at all achievable you would want to have a glimpse into all the 600 + systems recorded throughout history…..

The reality of the situation is that:-

  • Nope, you’re not going to find books illustrating every style in this wide spectrum. In fact, according to some experts, only about 200 of them are still in existence, the rest? Some could have died out completely, leaving behind nothing but a name and others , still around, just dropped off the radar screen, happy to be left alone without the outside world prying into their affairs. This is something that I encountered over and over again in this part of SE Asia.
  • Many classical TCMA books are colossal pain as far as I concerned. Look, I’ve got decent Mandarin; having gone through bi-lingual education, but the Mandarin found in most books written in the 30s and 40s might as well be in Sanskrit …. I can hardly make head or tail or to put it in a Singaporean way, catch no ball!
  • Books published from the 50s onward are, to me, improved – at least the Mandarin used is less atrocious.
  • However, by and large speaking, CKF books are heavy on concepts and forms. And just when it gets exciting, the book stops …. Short….. Where is the applications, you yell? How is one to get a correct picture of the inner workings of any style without appreciation of how techniques are to be applied, even in a mock situation?
  • Most “applications” are explained textually; this, to me is as good as not bothering.

I don’t know but I sometimes think that many TCKF books are written according to the way TCKF are taught.

Spent many year doing basics and forms and when the teacher deemed you’re “ready”, then you get the “real goods”.

Or after you’ve been admitted into the inner circles through the “Ba Shi” ceremony.

I have nothing against any of that, understanding how teachers, those days, need to be guarded and ensure that skills are only given to those who will step up to be protectors of the communities.

Kung Fu to them is a weapon of destruction and with any weapon, you need to be prudent.

But times have changed and the role of kung fu has “diminished” somewhat in the fabric of society … still, we got to bear in mind that these changes are not uniform.

There are still pockets of societies that are still functioning like the way it was back some 30 or 40 years ago.

Anyway, before I drag on …. Let’s go back to the topic of “books”.

Or to be more specific, books that we’re producing.

With 20/20 hindsight, so to speak, our prototype will be:-

  • Historical perspective.
  • Principles and concepts.
  • Basics.
  • Forms.
  • Step-by-step applications.
  • A DVD to show you the flow and rhythm…..remember if a picture paints a 1000 words, imagine what a video footage can do.

Here’s a book in my collection that is, personally, a cut better than most. Besides all the major forms, the author added in the 2 man drill of the forms and this is invaluable as far as I am concerned.

“Xing Yi” has always been on my special watch list after hearing from one of my White Crane elders that it could have a part in the development of Fuzhou Cranes.

So to land a book like this is ……. Beyond words.

And also…you can expect our books to hit the market from the start of next year, starting with Hakka styles boxing still practiced in Borneo………..

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