Chinese operas, red boats, Crane & Snake.

November 15, 2009

Since uploading the Cho Gar Bun Chung WCK clip on to youtube, I’ve gotten a few emails from folks asking me a bunch of questions?

Questions such as:-

  • History of this system?
  • Is this a variant of Yip Man WCK?
  • Is this a uniquely Malaysian evolution?
  • Are the forms the same as in other WCK lines?
  • Where can one learn this?

And so on and so forth…..

I even got a mail saying that I seem to spotlight the most on Cho Gar and whether I think this is the most “effective” ………


Por Suk, the present custodian of this system in SE Asia has got his own blogsite which caters only to those who understand Mandarin.

Talking to him in Penang last week, we agreed for me to work on translating his site into English so give me some time to work on it.

And no, I don’t think any system is the most “effective”.

That is completely up to the person.

I firmly believe that the man makes the art and not the other way around, regardless of which style we may be talking about.

I guess you could say that I have a special predilection for Por Suk’s Cho Gar because of the lucidity shown in his techniques that reflects the history so visibly.

This system, which dates back some 200 – 300 yrs ago, recognizes Shaolin’s Jhee Shim as the founder.

During that tumultuous period of Shaolin’s history, the art found shelter with the red boats opera troops and was later brought to Poon Yu – the ancestral home of the Cho family where it remains until today.

Fundamentally based on Shaolin Crane and Snakes fighting, the art took on distinguishing “opera” postures and movements during the hideout days on the boats.

The main form or “mother form” is something known as 108 techniques Siu Nim Tau using clearly identifiable Shaolin’s “Praying to the Buddha 3 times” Ming salutation.

The “Crane” techniques, personally, are standards used by Crane styles all over Fukien and Zhejiang.

Karate folks will find many techniques common to your “Tensho” kata, for instance.

The Snake is also defined and for those familiar with southern Snake, you’ll see much overlapping.

Then there is the “opera” component and nowhere is this more pronounced that in the closing posture.

With one hand on the waist and the other held above the head, this is something that you’ll see in many Chinese operas.

But just like in Chinese cooking, knowing the “ingredients” is just but one pre-requite.

To cook well, you’ll need the “art”.

Or Kung Fu.

And in this case, Cho Gar Siu Lum Ban Chung Wing Chun Kuen.

Here’s a clip showing the closing segment of 108 Siu Nim Tau and you’ll see the “snake” and closing sequence with that signature “opera” posture.










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