Wah Lau! They all look the same to me !!!

October 11, 2009

Okay, just pretend you’re in Fujian(or Fukien or Hockkien) and you don’t speak any local tongues and all communications go thru another person, you’re there to investigate your roots of the MA that you do – purportedly a Japanese version of some Fujian style that started 100 – 150 yrs back.

All you got are some orally handed down traditions and your katas and techniques and maybe some historical references that were recorded, again in Japanese or Okinawa.

So how do you go about it?

You know there are, literally, hundreds of styles and sub styles in the province of Fujian that just cataloguing them is already a arduous task much less linking them…..

Some of these, no longer existent on the mainland, are only found in places like Taiwan and SE Asia where Fukienese are mainly located outside of China.

And if you think communication is straightforward among the Chinese, you’re very ill-informed….very very ill-informed indeed.

These days most of the younger generations speak “putonghua” or “common language” but just one generation ago, most Chinese speaks only their own village tongues.

Even around here in Sarawak, a Fukienese could be Liu Chew, Chao An, Amoy, Ming Nam, Chuan Chew, Tng Chew, Fuzhou or Fuqing.

Communication is done usually thru a third, mutually understood, dialect; I even read somewhere that Fuzhou is now considered a language in itself and not just a sub Fukien variations.

I speak Fukien fluently and since I am Singaporean, my version is slanted towards Ming Nam and Amoy. Even then, recently when I met Frank Hsu, a Taiwanese, I was having problems understanding his “Tai Yue” – a very heavily accented Ming Nam version Fukien.

And like I said before many times in the past, many writings are actually done phonetically….meaning if you don’t speak that language, reading the words make absolutely no sense.

Example : Pek Hok Koon, chow si moon, koon jit choot, bo bian chow.

A verse from Yong Chun White Crane Fist poem.

So, you’re in Fuzhou and you come across a style that bears strong semblance to your own and chances are you’re going to start thinking that you found your roots – totally expected.

I guess what most folks don’t realize is that most Fuzhou styles look alike if you’re viewing them outwardly.

Let’s just look at a few prevalent Fuzhou styles: – Lohan, Crane, Wu Mei, Golden Lion, Leopard and Dragon.

Having seen quite a bit of all these over the years, I can tell you, to the uninitiated they all look similar.

No ?

Just look at this clip that I just uploaded, this is one style that is still not frequently seen outside Fuzhou – we call it “Leong Chun” in Fukien.

Dragon Boxing …. But don’t you think it looks like White Crane, Ngo Chor and even Tai Chor?

If you are a Karate researcher with no exposure to other Fuzhou styles, you might just conclude that you found your ancestors…..

I know I would ……..

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