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….

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)

Full story here.

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 ………

Some more bird talk.

May 10, 2010

Okay okay I know, this is supposed to be a Kung Fu blog and I should stay the course ….. but please remember also that “all Kung Fu and nothing else makes Eric a dull boy” … duh !!!

However, Kung Fu is a big part of my life and I don’t drift far, a little diversion now and then but still it is the “comfort zone” that I am comfy with.

Got another clip here to share – Yong Chun White Crane’s “8 parts”, to me, a signature form for them after Sanchiem; a “forcing the 4th gate” form since they don’t do any “angles or corners” battle form per se.

Maybe and this is a big maybe, latter days’ Fuzhou Cranes “4th gate” form is inspired by this form; it is really hard to ascertain particularly since no proper chronology record exist.

Talking to both Yong Chun and Fuzhou Cranes elders, nothing clear cut resulted …..

Then of course you got “Grand Ancestor” or “Tai Chor” Boxing  and the consensus is that this is a much older system and if you inspect their paradigm of training, you’ll find :-

  • Sanchiem – connecting sky, man and earth or in other tongue, absorbing into the earth and rising to the sky power trajectory.
  • 4 doors
  • 5 gates
  • 8 methods

Looks like all these are swimming in the same water no?

Another account that I’ve got from a White Crane elder around here is that “8 parts” refer to the 4 major wrist and elbow manipulations – this then put the form closer to what Wing Chun folks preach…..

This White Crane veteran has his fair share of touching hands with White Crane experts of most lines and really, I cherish everything he has got to share with me; you should see some of the classical hand written/illustrated manuscripts that his teacher left him – priceless!!!

Back to the form in the clip, the performer appears to be much “harder” that the earlier YCWC clips that I posted. This kind of delivery makes it easy to see why many in the Karate world are now claiming association to YCWC as reported in the many websites and magazines out of the mainland.

So which is the right execution? Well, if you ask me, they are both “right” – go back to the White Crane classics and you’ll find recorded in no uncertain terms, that White Crane is “half hard half soft”.

Sinking into the “Dantien” and sinking into the earth produce different energies and appearances….

To sink into “Dantien” you keep your legs tight like in your typical “hourglass” stance whereas sinking into the earth calls for the legs to stay “springy”.

Well, more on this topic over time …. Let me find more clips to demonstrate what I mean.

Okay, back to the bird ….

With so much mumbo-jumbo floating around, it is becoming tricky to tell what is what no?

Even with something as simple as the 4 divisions, we got folks passing Putien’s “Shaking Crane” as one of the main “Fuzhou” Crane.

Or misguidedly stating that “Shaking Crane” is “Ancestral Crane” because “Shaking” and “Ancestral” are both pronounced as “Zhong” even though they are 2 separate distinct written characters; this is where not knowing the language could lead to slip-ups easily.

In Mandarin, “shaking” and “ancestral” sound close but in Fuzhou, the contrast is much clearer.

Oftentimes, you hear that “Flying, Feeding, Whooping and Hibernating” Cranes are interpretation of physical behaviors of the Crane which is accurate to a large degree but even more profound is the “4 major energies” that is linked with these physical visible behaviors.

White Crane elders from the generation before me refer to these energies more than imitation of crane physical movements; this is one topic that I spent enormous time discussing with White Crane elders around here in Sarawak.

And fortunately for me, I found quite a few of them still familiar with this lingo and my comprehension of White Crane has enhanced immensely thru exchanges with them.

Well, anyway ….. One of the first “energies” that most Crane students would spend the initial few years training is “shuai” or roughly translated to “throw” and in the following clip, you see this unmistakably in the “Flying Crane” and also in the “Yong Chun White Crane” form.

Flying Crane is effectively based on “shuai” jin according to the classic manuscripts that were brought out of the mainland some 100 over years ago and YCWC, being more or less the “mother crane” encompasses this characteristic; it is just that different streams of YCWC emphasize different aspects and that is why you see some coming across as much “harder” expressions.

But you know the old CKF saying “with just one stroke, it’s enough to tell whether you’re real or not”……..