Malacca Mantis.

May 2, 2010

Another email received :-

“hi, i’m shervmen loi from malacca. i had visited your blog. you had done a very good job in trying to preserve traditional wushu. here in malacca also i can tell you that traditional wushu has been sidelined just to make way for the development of modern wushu. traditionalist like me were not many nowaday in malacca. i specialized in the seven stars mantis boxing under the lineage of luo guang yu. i had started my own blog since january 2010. here is the address, http://melakawushu.blogspot.com

This is related to my earlier “Fong Yang” post and also a cue that I need to be careful when handling knowledge that I don’t really …… eerrrh ….. know …..

Also it brings home the point that I’ve been trying to make in this blog about “ass-u-me” … something that is very prevalent all over the places when it comes to histories and lineages of TCMA.

Anyway, my apologies to Sifu Terry Brown for my blunder …. I stand corrected.

Here’s Sifu Brown’s email :-

Hi Eric,

Thanks for publishing the reference to Fong Yang, your mention of the Shaolin temple at Toa Payoh made me feel quite nostalgic. I haven’t been back since my master sifu Tan Siew Cheng passed away back in 1996. Perhaps I will make it back one of these days.

>

I noticed that the word hills had been changed to skills in my little write up (combining Northern and Southern Hills became combining Northern and Southern skills) Not to worry overmuch but Uncle Tan always explained the Fong Yang respect by saying that the five knuckles of the right fist represented the Five Hill of kung fu. The first hill was Dharma, the second hill was Tai Chor, the third hill was Peh Hoke, the fourth hill was Lohan, and the fifth hill was Kow Koon (monkey art). The four fingers of the open left hand (when giving respect) represented North, South, East, and West. The two knuckles of the right hand that represented Peh Hoke and Tai Chor were pressed in to the palm of the left hand thereby signifying that in the world of martial arts Fong Yang practises the combined arts of the Northern and Southern hills.

>

Apologies for trying to teach granny to suck eggs But I figure that one of the reasons you and I have been dedicated to martial arts for so long has to be our love of their traditions, hence the ‘lesson’. Eric, thanks again for publicizing the Beggars Art.

>

Warmest regards,

Terry



Kung Fu Art.

April 27, 2010

So what are you so busy with, a friend around here keep asking. He has been trying to get me out to his regular watering hole for the last couple of weeks ……

I would love to, with loud music, pool games and “friendly” ladies ….. Hey it all spells fun.

But at this moment, besides working with Penang on a couple of projects, the adventure-racing program and the book “Chinese of Sarawak” …. I am also working directly with a bunch of young artists on various undertakings.

Mostly “mixed media” trained, this is one superb opportunity to test out what they can do with the hundreds of pictures that I’ve taken these last couple of years; a good assortment of Kung Fu, landscapes and everyday moments from all over Sarawak and West Malaysia.

Love the ways they blend editing software and classical methods to render a picture – the result is just so inimitable….

Here’s one picture that is “work in progress” – this picture will be further worked by one of them to achieve a different feel altogether.

Soon, I will be featuring some of these artists ……

And from yet another email written by Ms. Leslie Ann Kawamoto , a beginning CLF student….she blogs about dogs and cats (among other topics) – 2 of my 12 favorite things …. especially when they are trained in “Hing Kung”….hahahaha …..

To visit this blog, click here……woof woof meoooooow……

No no no no no …..I have not aborted this blog ….. my work/projects are sapping up most of my energies … yah yah, I know you heard it before but this is really what I am going thru at the moment…..

One of the projects is this:

And even as I am updating this blog, I am in the midst of preparing more materials for that site.

Simply simple…..

March 29, 2010

Okay, back to talking shop …. To a salient point that I’ve been trying to make, like forever, in this blog and forums that I used to take part.

Kung Fu, the art of Fighting, is meant to be SIMPLE!

The objective is to take your opponent out in the shortest possible time with the upmost efficiency you are capable and this is a function of the sum total of your training.

Every component of your training must be to achieve this end regardless whether it is conditionings, techniques and even understanding of the principles behind the techniques.

If your Kung Fu revolves around “esoteric”, intricate and tougher than neuroscience type that need special “key” to unlock – I say “Kung Fooey”……………..

Working with TCMA masters around here these last few years, I come away with the certain perception that after spending an average of 4 – 5 decades, these masters become so polished with a just few techniques, executed at such high levels that it’s scary touching hands with any of them.

Each time I try something, they got their hands in my face – menacing I say …….

And with many of them, their fighting philosophies is really straightforward – to be fast, accurate and ruthless – attributes that they devote decades to achieve with their conditionings, forms, sparring or working with apparatus unique to each individual system.

Herein could be one of the reasons I stayed out of forum discussions these days …. I am okay with micro-viewing details and all that …..

But when you have folks adding legs to snakes, playing scissors, papers and stones and some just plain blowing smoke – all purportedly in the name of TCKF ……

It’s time to mosey along…..

Got a clip here for you showing Wu (Hao) Taiji Quan sample applications from their system.

Nothing fancy, just direct application of classical techniques that could be found in almost all Taiji streams.

Well, at least, none of that you touch me and you fly like a butterfly gag.

Now maybe if I sting you first ……hmmmmmmmmmmm……..

It’s quiet here this week. Hope you don’t mind.
Thanks for stopping by.

Eric ………

Pearly sound bites.

January 24, 2010

Here is an extract from a Malaysian Tourism site :-

Penang, often referred to as the Pearl of the Orient, is one of the most picturesque and romantic cities in all of Asia. This tropical island-city lies in the Indian Ocean, just off the north-west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

Penang received its name from the Pinang, or Betel Nut tree, once commonly found on the island.

Established as the first British trading post in the Far East in 1776, Penang today is a bustling metropolis reflecting a unique, exotic blend of East and West.

On Penang Island sits the capital, Georgetown, a city steeped in history and tradition, yet sparkling with progress and modern development.

The island also boasts some of the best food in the region, ranging from Nyonya Cuisine to foodstall favourites like nasi kandar, char kway teow and penang laksa, all of which are cooked in a uniquely ‘Penang’ way.

You know, I have been in and out of Penang so many times that I have lost count.

And I thought I have seen and tasted enough but this is no where near true, every time I visit, I would spot something that I missed before … from foods, old buildings with quaint façade to martial arts … what can I say???

The more I know, the more I realize how much I don’t …. And Penang is one place that you really need to savor patiently.

So, any misgiving why my boss want to invest there?

This trip is to scout for a good venues for our plans and you know how it is always location, location and location.

Plus, I met up with 2 crucial persons who are going to be instrumental in moving our projects forward so this trip is really all work and almost no “play” hahahaha….

Still I found time to move around a little to shoot  more pics and before I left, a short Carlsberg session with Saolim Sifu we all call “Ah boy” shown in the pic below sledge hammering a stone slab on his student’s head.

I will upload more pics later …….

And now, a Taiwan documentary reporting on the past and present status of traditional CKF; I recommend this to anyone interested in the migration and evolution of TCKF after leaving the motherland…..

Back in 2007 when we did our TCMA gathering in Penang, I had Singing Crane teacher Ruan Dong (Changle China), Feeding Crane teacher Liu Chang I (Taiwan), Wuzu teacher Xiong De Lu (Sibu Sarawak) and Taizu teacher Teo Choon Teck (Singapore) for breakfast the morning before the event and the same topic was discussed.

Comparing notes on how the various Fukien/Fuzhou styles progressed after leaving China and interestingly, this Taiwanese documentary theme parallel what we observed that morning.

The ups and downs of TCMA in Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore went through an almost similar pattern…..

Many are suggesting that the future of TCMA lies with Sanda; getting exponents from diverse styles to agree to a standardized set of rules and compete; like the Lei Tais of old without the “kill”.

Select and stipulate traditional forms for competition was another idea tossed around.

I got to admit that these will benefit TCMA; organized MAs have been proven to fare better and these days, generally MAs training is really more a sport/recreation than a mean of survival.

Having said that, I am also aware of many old schools that are unwilling to take part in any of these which they view as “compromising” even when faced with the threat of extinction due to their harsh training regimen eschewed by most these days.

Then like I said before, the truth is always somewhere in the middle.

Yes, the old ways are important as a cultural heritage but in order to attract the new generation, you got to “repackage” it.

And it’s this “repackaging” that we got to be real careful.

You need folks who really know to know whether things are right or not, you change the form and shape but not the spirit ….something like that.

Okay back to the Taiwanese documentary….. In part 1 the commentator said that 3 of the major southern arts that resettled there are Golden Eagle, Southern Monkey and Crane….

I am a little disappointed that the Liu’s family Feeding Crane is not included….they must be one of the most visible Crane arts these days……

3 leggged Tiger.

December 30, 2009

Another remark here, with the mainland now more connected with the rest of the world and easier flow of info, back and forth, many hitherto only read about styles are beginning to come out in many TV programs and d-i-y online video sites.

If like me, you frequent these sites, you will know what I am talking about. Even around here, every Saturday afternoons I was told, there is a “Super SanDa” series that is beamed to this region…now all I need is one of those TV satellite dishes…. You know, those ugly looking thing that I am sure are magnets for lightning …. Nah ….I can live without sanda, super or not hahahaha…..I definitely don’t need to attract lightning…

Annnyway………you often hear the term “village style” being used in forum discussions etc ….and have you ever stop to ask what is a “village style”???

So, I suppose there must be an equal and opposite “city style” for every “village style” mentioned?

Or is this just another way of saying “I have never heard or seen this style since it was never featured in any popular movies, magazines , books and most importantly, it is not on Youtube! And my only knowledge of CKF is delivered in those medias”…… or the term is a convenient category for anything that I know next to nothing about?

Well, every style got to begin somewhere and something tells me it is probably in some quiet environments that the founder can focus on developing his/her art; most movies would have you believe that it is some mountains, temples or in a sparsely populated neighborhood – you don’t need busybodies peeping ……

Ooookay, I am going to stretch and say that most styles had a “humble” village beginning and some take their arts to the big cities, military or other institutions and from them acquire that “city” status and probably, fame and fortune. Other just remained in the communities where they started with no city ambitions – hey to each his own, go with the flow, the way of the Tao blah blah blah…..

My problem is when folks belittle “village” styles; please remember for every city, there must be 10 fold that number of villages.

Again, bear in mind what Bob said:-

Don’t criticize what you can’t understand.

Or worse, something you know absolutely nothing about.

Here from a village style, a form named “3 Legged Tiger”…..