The torch.

November 24, 2009

Something else from Peter during my Penang’s visit – an in-hse limited circulation magazine from Taiwan entitled “Torch of CKF”.

Love magazine like this and it’s also good to know of folks still putting in efforts to preserve TCKF.

In the world of ever increasing smoke and  “darkness” hovering over TCKF, the “torch” is really needed.

Actually I got a bunch of goodies from Peter that includes a Zhou Jia DVD from the recent Zhou Jia gathering in China that saw contingents from few countries performing Zhou Jia Quan.

Aaaaargh, only thing is I got to figure out how to convert the format for uploading – why can the Chinese just stick to standard format …. Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrghhhhh!!!

Annnyway, some pages from the mag:-

Richard Dean.

November 23, 2009

Another “crane” waiting in the wings , hehehe love the pun, is Richard Dean.

Met him only 2 years ago, already his dedication and tenacity are clearly noted.

With a MA background ranging from TKD, Shotokan Karate and high school wrestling his fixation, however, is traditional Chinese Kung Fu.

This led him to 5 Animals Kung Fu and later Wayne’s curriculum of Lohan, Grand Ancestor and Fuzhou Cranes.

Rich visited me in S E Asia last year and the 10 days or so that we interacted, I found his zeal for the arts remarkable, taking notes of every thing that I was giving out.

His love for the Cranes is going to take him far in his quest and hey, like I said earlier, when the student is ready, the teacher will come ……..

Every journey begins with that first step and thousands more after that.

Welcome to the journey Rich……..

Rich doing Fuzhou Ancestral and Singing Crane.

Chad Osterlund.

November 22, 2009

Now lets see, the first time I set eyes on Chad Osterlund, he was barely out of his teenager’s years.

I remember him coming into the school, all bashful but willing to try anything. Chad came to me with some Lun Gar Pai kung fu but unlike Wayne, he is more receptive to what I have to teach him…..a less filled cup perhaps hahahaha…….

The fact that he is able to stay “relaxed” made him a good candidate of my White Crane kung fu.

And kung fu, as I later learned from him, was more than a pastime fascination; he was going to school and working as a “house detective” in one of the departmental stores in Denver.

So a little action is seen every now and then in his work.

Well, this kid that I was teaching to knock people’s brains out is now studying to be a brain surgeon….mollifying his conscience maybe?

Chad is currently obtaining his Ph.D in Neuroscience from CU Boulder
under the departments of Psychology and Biology….yup, the “brain” in the family.

When he was out here last year, we spoke of the prospect of him coming out to work in this region after his graduation….maybe…just maybe, we don’t have to wait  2 year before meeting each other.

Whatever, I know I can count on Wayne and him to pass on the art forms that I left with them.

The seed sown is now growing to join the other trees in the martial forest.

Ya, I feel good !!!

Chad doing a “monkey” locking technique.

Classic “middle-guard” posture in Fuzhou Singing Crane.

No, it is not the snake.

November 22, 2009

Errrrr, a quick entry before I head on out …… what a nice sunny day…

Got a message asking if the form that you see Roosevelt do is “snake”?

I reckon it must be the “hissing” sound heard that prompted this…..

Well, the answer is no. That form is the Fuqing’s version of Singing Crane “SanChin”.

The “hissing” is one of the methods that Singing Crane teaches for power.

Look a little closer; you’ll see Flying, Feeding Crane and even a Lohan technique in the form.

Well, there was a time, long before folks start butchering and watering down forms that you could actually see “history & evolution” of techniques encapsulated in forms.

You want to research; you look at “old hands” and trace the genealogy.

So when the Okinawan says “Rokkishu” I straighten up. “Rokkishu” or “6 hands” is a terminology used amongst the older generations of Singing Crane elders.

Except they say it “Lurk Ki Chiu”…….

And if you look at the “6 hands” …..You’ll see uncanny resemblances………

Okay enough already…I am out of here.

 

Stacy Warwick.

November 21, 2009

And before I bring Chad (Osterlund) on, here’s someone that I’ve picked for my next round of “Bai Si” ceremony….

Now let me see, to date I have only conducted 1 such ceremony – geeeeze, I got to learn to be more “productive” or less “fastidious” hahahaha and we are talking over a span of 12 years ……..

Nope, I don’t think so. I am a stickler to traditions and if I need to wait another 12 years for students to fulfill the right conditions….let it be so.

You know how they say “When the time is right, the teacher would appear”….. I think the reverse is also true. Right student appears at the “right” time.

And I think the “right” time for Stacy Warwick will be sometime next year.

Still going to school to become a horse vet (eeerh what is that?), Stacy started MAs training with her dad, Guru Jeff R Warwick, who was trained by Victor de Thouars. She moved on to train with GM Runes for 3 years before starting classes with Wayne Hinton.

That is how I met her, at Wayne’s and saw what a natural she is.

For the couple of weeks that I was in Colorado last, I put her through some more intricate techniques of Fuzhou Crane and was pleasantly surprised by the quick absorption.

Hey, the fact that Stacy is female like the founder of White Crane could have something to do with it ….hahahaha….

Well, whatever the case, she took to White Crane like fish to water and that’s something that I spotted right away.

So like the Chinese says ”花开堪折只需折,莫待无花空折枝”.

Okay Okay, translated this means “Pluck flowers as they bloom; wait and you’ll have only the twigs.”

So Wayne, get the flower ready………

And this being a Sunday and all, I think I will go out and “smell some roses”……..with my cats and dog.

Have a nice one!

Something that I don’t do enough, talk about my disciples in the US…..

Could be because I don’t want to leave the wrong idea that I am aggrandizing but lately with Chas coming out here and spending all those time talking….makes me appreciate how much I really missed those days in Colorado and more importantly the people who helped in so many ways during those start-up days.

I will always be grateful….

When I first started teaching, I had the grand total of 3 students.

Besides Chas and the late Roosevelt, Wayne Hinton played a major part in helping me settle down in Denver. From getting me a really cozy apartment in a nice part of town, although we did hear some gunshots one night hahahaha…, to making sure my plumbing worked right, Wayne is always there.

A hardworking man, Wayne is your classic “honest work for honest wages” kind of guy.

His martial arts training began with TKD and then Lun Gar “5 Animals” so when he met me; he already knew a move or 2.

I remember having to kick him in his crotch a couple of times, well more than a couple of times really that he got the nickname “iron-crotch Wayne”, to get him to stay still and learn what I got to teach …..After that he would train only with a cup …….hahahaha……

Well, he learned all right. From Lohan, Tai Chor to the Cranes, he took in everything I threw at him….although I kinda wish he was around more when I was teaching the Cranes.

Then again, there is a time for everything and some things just cannot be rushed. Like me, I had to learn the Cranes the hard way … without being “hard”.

The last time that I was back in Denver, I was putting up in his house for about 10 days.

What do I remember  most about that 10 days?

The cold beers on a chilly night in his backyard with his dog and cat running about……. a white guy and Chinese talking the night away……..

And hey if you don’t get it….I guess you never will.

Peace bro……

Wayne doing a Lohan technique.

 

” Short Limb Hand” from Fuzhou Ancestral Crane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water water everywhere….

November 20, 2009

And speaking of crazy relentless monsoon rains …… even sunny Singapore is not spared.

Full story here.

It was one of those days in the office last week and Chas was with me….

I needed a break and we found our way to a nearby coffee shop; it was raining crazy, the monsoons have hit, and I didn’t want to go far.

And we bumped into an old acquaintance, James Anthony, a local mixed-race gentleman who must be in his late 30s or early 40s …. It is so hard to tell with some of these locals…

James is a very articulate man, even Chas thought so, with his own views on many subjects. A well-traveled man, his job entails that, and exposed, evidently, to many schools of thoughts on many issues of the day. He and Chas talked and the subject of H1N1 vaccine came into focus……James is working for a company marketing one of these vaccines.

Then the topic turned to “ignorance” and how that created much misunderstandings and even conflicts in the world today.

Sarawak, to many and even West Malaysians, is still shrouded in “mystery”. A, believe it or not, frequent question is “Do you still live on trees?” that many Sarawakians find amusing and at the same time, irking.

Most Sarawakians now reply with “Yes, but we got escalators running and every now and then when tree top  wi-fi reception is no good, we head on to the nearest StarBucks for better connectivity” hahahaha…..

And the conversation stretched onto the topic of lack of knowledge and how that might be one of the roots of racism.

I think you would concur with me that most of us fear what we don’t understand and when it comes to kung fu, the same applies.

If I see something done in a different way then it must be wrong; discrimination that is to me, synonymous to racism.

I don’t know, maybe it is the environment that I was brought up in; a multi-ethnic, culturally diversified and varied manner of lifestyles melting pot that taught me to be more inquisitive and at the same time, sensitive and tolerant.

Then of course there is Bob Dylan with his “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand” wisdom that seems to have been forgotten by most these days.

Personally, my biggest beef is with those who have just seen a little bit and then go on to public forums to make big noise and cyberspace is now noise-polluted and heated up by this hot air…..

For me, I still think the more I investigate, the more I realize how little I really know………..

Some are just too blinded, thick or insulated to sense that.

Anyway, here is a clip of Zhao Bao Tai Chi; a stream that we don’t get to see too much of in this region. I remember seeing classes taught in Singapore some time back, a mainland teacher with a thick northern accent was brought over to introduce this.

Got to tell you that he was astonishing everyone watching with his free style push hands and even then, I heard some one whispered “This is not pure Tai Chi”………

Well, what can I say???

Roosevelt.

November 19, 2009

Doing something here that I don’t normally do – posting content of an email from another….

Well, this particular one is from Chad about Roosevelt that I thought should  be shared.

So Chad, forgive me for breaking the sanctity of email communications but for the sake of Roosevelt…

I’ll buy the Carlsberg the next time we sit down.

Just wanted to make quick comment about your posting on Roosevelt.

Well it was very moving; I really had great respect for that man. I felt Roosevelt had a way about him, a very gentle guy, a person who I thought kept our circle of cranes together just by being next to you whipping and screaming.

But I tell you that he was tough and dedicated enough to move mountains.

That guy could put me on the ground just be garbing my wrists (must have been secret Lohan stuff).

When were training in anticipation of your return, Roosevelt never missed a step in remembering what you passed on and he remembered it with passion!

Anyway seeing that video with Roosevelt and James training in a basement puts water in my eyes.

Drums up lots of memories and emotions.

Thanks Sifu’s (Ling and Chas) it was nice watching that.

And Chad ………. Thanks.

In memory of Roosevelt Allen.

November 18, 2009

You sometimes hear me talk about Chas (Fisher), Wayne (Hinton), Chad (Osterlund) and James (Stacy); students of mine in the US with Chas, initially based in Colorado and now resettled in Seattle because of his job. The rest are still living in the mile-high state …….. with the snow-capped Rockies in your face …. Love that view from the street where I lived then…….

There is one other early student of mine, Roosevelt Allen, who passed away a few years back; after I left…..2  yrs ago when I went back, Wayne, Chad and I drove up to his grave, an army vet, Roosevelt is buried in a military cemetery…it was a heart wrenching day for us ….he was so young….

What can I say about Roosevelt apart from that he is one the most well-behaved, gentle giant of a man? On the heavy side, I remember watching him struggling through some of the more challenging movements that I was teaching especially the monkey forms that I taught for intermediate training.

Still, this man just kept at it, without a word and I could see the great effort he put in to keep up.

Stationed in Korea during his military days, Roosevelt studied some martial arts there and was looking for more when he found my school in Denver. Working with the postal service, he would pick me up from my apartment before heading to the school.

Every training day, regardless of weather, he would be parked outside my apartment waiting for me. And the 20 minutes drive to the school gave us the opportunity to talk, really talk. Got to know him intimately through the many conversations in his car.

This was a really good man.

For me to get a call one day to tell me he passed was a big shock….even now, it’s hard to accept that he has moved on……

I was told that in the couple of years after I left, he lost quite a bit of weight……

Well, a little late but I like to pay my respect here now and recently when I discovered that Chas got a video of Roosevelt, I thought it is a fitting way of remembering him.

So, Roosevelt my brother………

Rest In Peace.

(Roosevelt is the African-American in the clip).