A day at the office.

June 18, 2010

So you don’t like my proposal ……

Now pay attention!

June 16, 2010

Okay class, this technique is separately known as :-

  • Pulling tiger tail
  • Returning horse to stable
  • Old man casting net
  • Fairy scattering flower

Whatever you call it, you catch your opponent kicking leg and throw with all your might …..

If that don’t work … go pick up Photoshop 🙂

Right, it is starting to look like this is the best I could do – update this blog once or twice a week.

With 2 books scheduled to be launched this year and both entailing extensive research and interviewing folks from all over Sarawak, proper time management is critical – aaarrgghh, “deadline” was just a word before but now …… I understand the “dead” in “deadline”…. Geeeze, this is cramping my style tsk tsk tsk….

Ahem, anyway ….. In the middle of all these excitement, Penang called and now I got to review my schedule.

Firstly, Peter (my Zhou Jia sihing) called about a week ago to tell me that one of our Zhou Jia schools is celebrating their 15 years’ anniversary with a dinner cum performance. My sibakgong will be the guest-of-honor and he wants me to be there for this event.

Then Por Suk rang and spoke to me about recording his entire Cho Gar Ban Chung Wing Chun syllabus onto DVDs. Now this is a breakthrough … so far I’ve only managed to record his Wing Chun partially. The whole thing …. Wow …… what can I say?

And just last evening, our other contact there want to know if we are able to be in Penang on the 25th of this month to meet the Minister of Tourism to discuss some of our proposals submitted. The Minister don’t do impromptu meeting, everything got to be penciled into her appointment diary….

Now if only all these are in the same time window but unfortunately there are not. So its either I shuttle back and forth or stay in Penang for 10 days to cover them all … decision, decision, decision……

Well, that is “work” …. And you know what they say …. “Deal with it!”

Now back to kung fu – something that I spoke about awhile back; how many folks misconstrue “Ancestral” for “Vibrating” Crane because in the Fuzhou dialect, both these are pronounced as “Zhong”….

I have yet to see any “Ancestral” Crane clip on-line except for the one I put up about 3 years ago.

There are, however, quite a number of “Vibrating” Crane clip posted on many mainland sites; typically performances by either Taiwan or Putien schools.

After watching these, I noticed something that both “Ancestral” and “Vibrating” Cranes seem to have in common; many “reeling cloth” and “washing hands” techniques.

Could be because producing colored cloth was, at that time, a big local industry; so there you go, something that very few historian talks about. Most records would explain histories, events and personalities and all that but how many probe into the development of the arts vis-à-vis daily lifestyles and practices?

Just like many Hakka styles around here are referred to as “tofu hands” and Fukien styles are known as “farmer’s kung fu”…. All for good reasons….

Wow, it has been an unbelievably busy past 10 days …. Work, you know…

And not helped by me twisting my left ankle (the umpteen times) doing a move from one of the 3 monkey forms that I do – really got to remind myself that I am on the wrong side of 50 and “monkeying” around could be chancy.

Well anyway, did spent some times with a couple of the local masters doing some “dim sum” and naturally, the topic of conversation gyrated towards TCMA; not that I am complaining, its always good to hear them describe their experiences and show some of their “tricks”.

Apparently both these Hakka masters just watched the “Yip Man 2” movie and we talked about the fighting in that movie a little and one of them said that this is just pure entertainment.

In the 40s and 50s, it was wu-xia novels that depicted the martial arts; vividly described techniques with poetic sounding names of techniques sometimes completed with illustrations sprinkled thru the novel – hey I got some of these in my collection and we are talking pre Ku Long and Jin Yong ……

Then the 60s saw many productions of kung fu movies in b/w format and that kind of got everyone enthralled with all that flying around and fighting both bare-hands and with a mixed bag of weapons.

The movies carried on with Hong Kong mass producing kung fu movies of every possible genre. And this is most likely how the rest of world “discovered” CKF and if you think I am wrong, just check with anyone outside of Asia to name CKF styles and you would in all likelihood, hear about styles featured in these movies.

Hong Kong, a mainly Cantonese society, was showcasing mostly Cantonese styles. Styles from the rest of China, relatively, got exposure only quite recently.

Now with “reality TV” type of fighting sport from the West, many are convinced that this is the true objective of martial art training.

Well, hate to tell you this but for many (and I mean many) of us, this is just “amusement”.

Real kung fu training got little to do with entertainment, be it choreographed fights or sport fighting, no matter how “real” you think those could be designed.

The soul of Kung Fu has never changed – kill or be killed and don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating violence.

But what if you got no choice?

The 2 masters (in their early 70s) lived through the racial turmoil during the early days of the Chinese in Sarawak and it was exactly that – fight to win and survive or perish. Some of their personal experiences send chills down my spine – the bloody carnages …..

Now, when you have walked that path and survived with acquired skills, maybe you’ll appreciate what I am trying so hard to preserve.

Not what you see in the movies or reality TV fight sports but the heart of authentic CKF.

I know I know, this is a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know” and its tough to persuade those who don’t know that they don’t ……

You know?

Got a short clip here featuring some mainlanders with nunchucks; not exactly a “ Traditional Chinese Kung Fu” thing so maybe they are inspired by the late Bruce Lee or Jay Chou, I don’t know…

So if your inspiration is from “entertainment”, how good are you going fight and win….

And it makes me wonder.

Carlsberg time……

Just in case you can’t find this, click here.

Good to know mainland’s perception of TCMA and Wushu……..

Don’t know this guy personally but sometime back we received a note from his organization – not a very pleasant one in fact …..

I had invited some Yip Kin WCK exponents from Kuala Lumpur to perform in our “Martial Arts Gathering 2007” show held in Penang and the letter suggested that we need to seek his federation’s approval or endorsement of sort; the letter even assumed the tone that they are the umbrella body overseeing all things Wing Chun in Malaysia.

Later, I filed that letter in my other “OUT” bin – trashcan I mean….

I did ask around about him and really, feedbacks were not too kind ….so there you go ……

Now with allegations of extortion and cheating, the situation might just get “sticky” for our friend.

Hope his “chi sao” skills are strong.

Full story here. (in English)

So you’re into CKF; you join a school, study basics, move on to forms and 2 man sets, weapons and maybe a little free-sparring and viola, next thing you know, you are now upgraded to be a teacher.

When you branch out, you are expected to adhere to the same route.

I don’t think I am very wrong to say that the above is what you see everywhere these days; 2 – 3 years, a “sifu” is borne.

And folks lament that traditional CKF is watered down and devalued.

Everywhere, you hear misgivings about traditional forms, training methodologies and really, the very heart of TCMA; why bother with the old ways when modern “technologies” are able to whip out better fighters ….. and so the arguments go on and on ….

Sometimes, reading what had been written, I wonder how much of TCMA have these folks experienced?

What they write reveal the shallowness of their actual knowledge of CKF.

Regardless of the style, one of the first few imperative lessons is “train courage, strength and followed by techniques”.

The “courage” portion is mental, emotional and even spiritual and in the old days, a Sifu would test a student repetitively to make certain that “courage” is attained; a good teacher would spare no efforts here and that is why sometimes it takes years in order for someone to even learn techniques and such.

The boldness to take on anyone, any form of pain and still not surrender is something that is glaringly missing in most training today.

I love the way the Japanese puts it “Conquer the fear of death and you fear nothing”.

If you can’t control “fear” – no techniques, tricks and forms are going to be any good.

So folks, if your training revolves only around forms, light sparring …… you are missing the bigger picture ….really…..

Here’s another mainland compilation clip – stick from various styles.

Enjoy.

“Dojo Rat”

May 18, 2010

Received an email from a gentleman, John Titus, who runs a blog named “Dojo Rat”…… click here.

I browsed this a little and …. really… nice….

But what is with the “rat” ???

Made in India ???

May 17, 2010

Ooookay, it’s that time again – answer emails…..

Firstly, again, allow me to apologize to those who have written in with invitations to be friends over at youtube and facebook etc etc..

Like I explained before, I am just about able to cope as it is; juggling my time doing this and that and the last thing I need is to commit to something I cannot upkeep.

Many emails received asked for specific articles in old magazines, video clips and info about schools and Sifus; I would try my best to oblige.

Someone wrote in to ask whether I subscribe to the theory that CKF was influenced by her neighbor India.

Well, for as long as I could remember, many elders before me spoke of the extraordinary relationship between India and China through the early ages; written documents attest to this.

I guess for most folks, looking at contemporary Indian fighting arts, they find it difficult to reconcile the 2 countries’fighting art forms.

I recall a Saolim elder telling me that to see the connection, you got to concentrate on the stick arts; they are telling movements to relate the 2.

Got a mainland clip here that might just do that; no background info but apparently a northern form. Something that you would expect to see Chuo Jiao, Sanhuangpaochui and Shaolin exponents do.

Reminds me of something from the “crazy” stick series ………

Another hectic week just zipped by …. The year of the Tiger is proving to be more “vigorous” than I first imagined.

Well, this is good …. It’s always better to be busy than idle …so say so many folks around here.

And this past week had been made “busier” with the visit of my Zhou Jia (Jow Ga) sihing, Peter Lum, from Penang.

He was supposed to travel with Por Suk (Cho Ga Ban Chung Wing Chun) but Por Suk had to change plan last minute; one of his students bought tickets for him to go to China….

Well anyway Peter stayed with us in the new house so it was 4 days of kung fu talks and discussions of projects plus meeting with my boss, kung fu folks in Kuching and some sightseeing / shopping squeezed in.

This being his virgin trip to East Malaysia, we wanted him to experience as much as possible; life in East and West Malaysia are really 2 totally diverse matters.

You just go to hands on both to know what I mean.

4 days are just barely adequate to scratch the surface, so Peter is scheduling on coming back …. With Por Suk.

In the meantime, I will be building a “mok chong” or “wooden dummy” using “belian” …one of the hardest “iron wood” known to man.

I will be working my knives techniques on the dummy … what are you thinking you dummy hahahaha….

Downtown Kuching near the waterfront.

GM Kong Shu Ming (Hakka Suppressing Tiger Fists) having morning       coffee with Peter.

“Arsenic Lake” in Bau Kuching. Seriously the lake is laced with arsenic left behind during the gold mining operations. Swim at your own risk !!!