Kung fu ezine article.

December 25, 2009

Zhang Lipeng: It is. It’s the spirit. It’s over. It’s over. Do you know why it’s over? Because the modern style, you don’t need martial arts to protect the country. You don’t need martial arts to protect your life. Nobody’s going to kill you. In history, everybody would carry a big knife, a straight sword. It didn’t matter where you went, if you went into a restaurant you would still carry a knife because you always had to defend yourself. Right now, if you want to kill somebody, you shoot him – you have a gun; you don’t have to spend twenty years stuck in a mountain to do training. You don’t need that stuff for revenge. That’s why the history martial arts will slowly disappear.

Here is a “Kung Fu Magazine” ezine article :-

Interview with former Shaolin monk, Zhang Lipeng

by Barbara Malvik …….click here.

Errrh, what I have been saying all along in this blog ……………………..

Flower Power.

December 24, 2009

Hua Quan or Flower Fist, founded by Gan/Kang/Kan (depending on your spelling convention) Fengchi, is another one of those heard and not often seen styles.

Not to be mistaken for Hua or Chinese Fist, the long-range northern style that is always mentioned in the same breath as Cha, Pao and Chang Quan.

Hua is the same pronunciation of both “flower” and “Chinese”…….

Featured in many wuxia novels, Hua Quan, according to description, is a short fast hands system.

Here from chinavoc is a concise depiction:-

Hua Quan (Flower-style Chuan )

Hua Quan or the flower-style Chuan is a close-range fist play which is said to have been taught by Gan Fengchi of Nanjing in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces during the early Qing Dynasty (1662-1735) The flower-style Chuan starts with a gesture whereby the boxer uses his or her right hand to palm the back of the left clenched fist facing outside. The boxer forms the arms into a circle and draws an arc in a clockwise direction in front of the chest. This was said to mean opposing the Qing Dynasty and rehabilitating the preceding Ming Dynasty.

The flower-style Chuan has 120 forms of Sanshou, 72 holding and strangle holding techniques, 36 leg techniques, 24 stances and 88 falling tricks. It can be viewed as a collection of wrestling and falling methods. A veteran boxer can co-ordinate his up and down, right and left movements and actions without any trouble. As soon as he touches, the opponent is thrown to the ground. The wrestling and falling methods of the flower Chuan can supplement those of the Chinese style of wrestling and can also complement the skills of Chinese hand pushing.

And another article about Gan written by none other than Gene Ching, Kung Fu magazine.

The Shaolin Phoenix.

The video is taken from youku and frankly, the form looks “long-range” to me.

Then again, as usual, what do I know ???

n

Happy Holidays.

December 22, 2009

Okay, I see a Christmas tree in one corner, snowman and snow made of cotton wool sticking on the glass window panels, bells, gift boxes ……….in the office.

Oh right, it’s that time of the year ago – Christmas and the coming of the New Year.

So …. Here is wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Let’s hope it will really be a good one, without any fear….

Cheers!!!

The bigger picture.

December 21, 2009

Back to the topic of forms, principles and concepts …..

I’m sure there are those out there who think that I am overstating this whole issue; fighting is fighting and all you need to bother with is techniques.

Martial arts training are learning to counter punches, kicks, grapplings and someone wielding a weapon and so on and so forth…..

Well, if that is your sum total of experience and knowledge then I got to say that you got a long, a very long, journey ahead of you.

Could also probably explain why there are those who feel that “forms” are superfluous… to them these are nothing more than many techniques done in succession, so what is the point?

Might as well do technique singly and do away with all the ceremonial movements and postures that are from an “alien” culture in the first place; hey who cares about overthrowing the Ching to restore the Ming right? Why bother to do techniques thrice, what has the 5 elements got to do with fighting and who care about the red boats …and so on.

I really don’t know which is true, that these learning folks did not attain that level or the person teaching them doesn’t have it either.

Most CKF systems begin with a concept; it could be to reproduce the ferocity of a devouring tiger or the unfathomable power generation of a bird as big as a crane to enable taking off into the air.

So when I say implanted in forms are concepts and principles, this is what I am trying to explain; many of the “techniques” are not “fight” techniques per se.

They could be there for you to train for the power you need to make your other techniques more efficient or learn to breathe and move to enhance power and speed.

This is the part of my Kung Fu research that makes it fun; looking into the “DNA” so to speak from the founder.

A family could be real old and extended but the DNA should remain the same even if it crosses mountains and oceans.

Earlier on when I spoke broadly about “flavor” distinctiveness, this is precisely what I am getting at.

If you been around TCMA long enough, you’ll know. Every style has its own “personality” that is expressed, some in a very noticeable way and others, only seen by trained eyes. Regardless, its there just like I remember a study done many years in Singapore by some language department from a local university there.

The purpose was to compile and study how different dialect speaker pronounce Mandarin in their own “special” way. I was curious and later found out that to the experts, they could tell your dialect group by the way you speak Mandarin; something that I thought was far-fetched.

Now years on and more traveled, I am beginning to see the truth in that premise.

Got a CCTV documentary here to share with all of you; “sifuwu” extracted some of the forms from this documentary and uploaded them onto youtube as “Hequan” or “Crane Fist”.

Personally I think for those of you, who understand Mandarin, you really ought to watch the whole episode.

Apart from history, relationship to Southern Shaolin, this is by far the best documentary about elemental principles and concepts of Fukien White Crane to have crossed my path.……….

And hey, if you listen to one of the Sifus in the clip, you’ll hear him pronounce “quan” as “qun” …..

Guess what is his dialect?

My other “kung fu”.

December 20, 2009

Hahahaha…this is so funny…..I was having tea with a friend around here and out of the blue he asked “is there life outside kung fu for you?”.

Now now now, whatever gave him the impression that I only eat, sleep and sh*t kung fu, what what what hahahaha…..

Well for starter, I’ve got my cats and I trying to teach them a little kung fu fighting ….oooops another story for another day.

Then there are my plants, an assortment of plants that I’ve collected these last few years like black (I kid you not) bamboo, “royal” lotus from Thailand and even rare “plumerias” or “frangipanis” depending on which book you refer to.

My collection of “bonsai” ….etc etc.

And these babies need regular TLC I tell you.

Not forgetting my collection of old watches, pens, books and others from the 50s and 60s.

Now don’t get the wrong idea, I am not one of those well-off collectors going after the high end cost-a-bomb genre.

I look for everyman’s handy watches; those built to take hard knocks kinda like the Casio G-Shocks of today.

My favorite are the old original Timex that they were making in England … remember those?

Psssss, just to let you know, when I have the time, you are very likely to find me browsing forums about vintage military watches, garden landscaping and sometimes, sites about Japanese early days’ comics.

Astro Boy !!!!!

Kun Lun Pai.

December 20, 2009

One style that I have been looking into lately ….. and interrupted by the moving that is still underway ….. aaaarrrrggghhhh.

Kun Lun Pai – a style that is obscure to many till these days; I got some very old books written in classical hands that I am trying to unravel….

Anyway, here’s a youtube clip I found and I thought I seen the same over at some mainland site except that there someone named it as “Kun Lun Horse Style” form.

More than the eyes can see.

December 19, 2009

If your opinion of forms is nothing more than techniques stringed together like a techniques cache, you’re not wrong.

On the other hand, you are not 100 percent right either …..

Forms exist for many objectives besides the obvious.

Using my Fuzhou Cranes as reference, forms are there to teach you principles and concepts first gestated by the founder.

The principles/concepts could be fighting stratagems, power generations and flows etc etc…techniques are products of these.

In Fuzhou Crane we are taught 12 main principles and the 12 forms taught focus on these core principles; there could be overlapping in some forms but the format is to cover at least one per form.

And every form is supplemented by the “kuit” or “poem” which facilitates the comprehension of the purpose of the form.

One of our form trains you to move into the fourth gate the moment your opponent advances and if you were to interpret the form the conventional way, it makes no sense.

Every technique in that form is executed from both the inner or outer fourth gate position and this becomes very apparent when you move on to the 2 man drill after learning the solo form.

Many traditional teachers are careful with whom they pass these knowledge to and even within the same school, not all receive the same knowledge.

I know I know, some of you are thinking that this is a very archaic and outmoded way of teaching but when it comes to teaching knowledge that could harm limbs or lives; you want to be really cautious.

Got a clip here for you and I think this is from Fuqing Shaking Crane.

Look at some of the movements in the form; they don’t look like “fight” techniques right?

But after spending so long a time in the Crane arts, I will tell you that they are there to train some qualities that only an insider would understand.

Enjoy.

10 Big Animals.

December 18, 2009

A glimpse into fighting concepts of XinyiLiuHe Quan, the style that is often linked to the Moslems in China; in the clip you’ll see some applications from their “10 Big Animals Form”.

From Wiki :-

Xinyiliuhequan (Chinese: 心意六合拳 – “Mind, Intention and Six Harmonies Fist”) is a martial art that developed in Henan Province among theHui people. It is considered one of the most powerful and fighting-oriented styles of Chinese Martial Arts and for a long time it has been known for its effectiveness in fighting, while very few actually knew the practice methods of the style. Xinyiliuhequan, along withZhaquan and Qishiquan (Boxing of Seven Postures), have been considered Jiaomenquan (Chinese: 教門拳, “religious – i.e. Muslim – boxing”) meant to protect followers of Islam in China.

Although practiced and preserved by the Chinese Muslim community in Henan, the style is recognized to be originated by Ji Longfeng (also known as Ji Jike ) of Shanxi province. The Shanxi transmission of this art is carried by the Dai family and transmitted to Li Luoneng, who modified the style more or less into the modern Xingyi practiced widely in Shanxi and Hebei. Since the Dai style Xinyi contains practice originated from the Dai family, the transmission within the Muslim community is considered the most conserved lineage.

Xinyiliuhequan’s practice methods are not numerous compared to other styles, and include ten big shapes (Chinese: 十大形), four seizes (Chinese: 四把), single seize (Chinese: 單把), and so on. The style favors close-range tactics, such as shoulder strikes.

For more than two centuries the style had been kept secret and transmitted only to very few Muslim practitioners. Only at the beginning of this century Han Chinese began to learn the style, but even today, many of the most skillful experts of Xinyiliuhequan can be found within Huicommunities in China, especially in Henan Province. In modern times, however, the style has been transmitted to Han Chinese as well, especially in Shanghai through Lu Songgao. The style is considered to have two main branches, the Lushan style and the Luoyang style; the latter style is still comparatively rare outside of Hui communities. [4]

And life goes on ……hahahaha…..

But seriously, a big thank you to those who wrote in with well-wishes…

I promise to be more “serious” with this blog …..nah…maybe not hahaha….

I will just be me …seriously…

To Chas,Peter, Troy and Todd (and anyone else I missed out from Seattle), thanks for the super-cool German watch. Nathan, thanks for the “Carlsbergs”.

So what will I be doing to commemorate the day I landed on earth?

Nothing extraordinary really…everyday is different for me even in all that “ordinariness”.

It’s a mind thing, you understand.

The Chinese says “When the heart is calm, every thing is cool” …seriously…I am not making this up.

Annnnyway, just take a look at this pic of the waterfront area of Kuching.

Keep looking and all your worries will start to melt away.

No?

Then I suggest you make a trip here and find out what I mean.

Folks, take it easy….nothing means more than to be alive.

Don’t let things around you bring you down – it never about the problem but how you deal with it that makes the difference.

So, cheers.

Go on, go out and get a beer – a real icy cold one.

Tomorrow we will stand up and fight again.

Me? I will be fighting with a new watch on my wrist …..hahahaha….

Pan Nam WCK.

December 17, 2009

The Japanese says “十人十色 jūnin toiro”, or” ten men, ten colors” which is another way of saying “To each his/her own. / Different strokes for different folks.”

The French has their “Chacun voit midi à sa porte” which literally means “Everyone sees noon at his door.”

In CKF, we often hear “Different temple, different Buddha” because even within a family, things are never absolutely identical.

All teachers, I believe add in their personal touch; you know accentuate this and play down that, this is to be expected. Some “enhance” by adding in new elements and other just want to stamp their own mark onto the art.

We are human after all ……

Now what is not “humane” is to pilfer “identity”; simply sticking a time-honored name/identity to some cut and paste creation and attempting to sell it as the authentic traditional product.

To that, I just want to say that the Chinese got another saying that should be noted – “Paper cannot wrap fire”.

Here’s a clip of some Pan Nam WCK techniques – not exactly the WCK you would imagine particularly if your exposure is limited to Yip Man’s WCK.

Again “cada maestrito con su librito”……