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 ……

From an email I received:-

It has a great many forms (about 80) collected from various parts of China which reflect the travels of the ‘Beggars’ of Fong Yang. The style is said to combine the wings of Peh Hoke with the legs of Thai Chor and thus combines the Northern and Southern skills of kung fu.

A brief description of Fong Yang “Beggars” Art that was taught in Singapore by the late GM Tan Siew Cheng …..

In fact the school, on a roof top along Balestier Road, is not far from where I used to live in Toa Payoh, one of the oldest townships on the island and some where at the outskirt of that town is Siong Lim Temple – the one founded by the late Ven. Sek Koh Sum.

You can read more about this rare unique art here click.

Got a call, out of the blue, from a senior journalist of a local daily asking to interview me couple of weeks back.

Errrh, I was a little hesitant at first – me and my keeping a low profile mindset – hey, I don’t need every Tom, Dick and Harry asking to “touch hands” when I am out there ……..got better things to do with my hands really….

Anyway when the journalist, Wilfred Pilo,  mentioned that he is a Tang Soo Do practitioner, I thought this should be interesting – a wordsmith and martial art exponent, so I agreed to meet up.

So there we were, 2 strangers meeting in a food court and exchanging experiences – what can I say?

It just doesn’t get any better than this ……

The John Lennon lookalike on the left is Mr. Martin Watts and I got a mail from him about his …….. well…. you can read all about it here click.

All the best Martin.

So, my boss might be right after all; believe and start thinking certain thoughts, you are really sending energies out into the universe which magnetize events and circumstances that reaffirm your conviction….errrh in this case, a Nat Geo documentary.

I was at a friend’s yesterday and the TV was showing a Nat Geo program about “fusion” foods that are now very hip in Hong Kong. Towards the end of the documentary, the filming crew visited a traditional soy sauce factory where everything is still done in the old-fashioned way; no mechanization of any sort and even the jars used are hundreds year old and are you ready for this – the jars are never washed ………… according to the soy source folks, this is one of the factors that gives their sauce that unique highly sought-after signature taste.

I actually heard about this when I was in Penang, special iron-ore jars that are used repeatedly without any washing and some jars are 200 – 300 years old. Hey, I even approached the proprietor hoping to buy one of the jars – they will look fantastic in a “Bali” style garden – I was a landscaper in my previous “life” remember? Well, I got turned down flat … what can I say?

Some things you simply cannot buy and for the rest, you got “MasterCard” hahahaha…..whatever …..

I am devoted to many traditional ways – I think our “contemporary” lifestyles have abundantly proved that not all “new”  methods are enhancing in any ways – hey when you need 5kg to produce 1 kg of “modern” food – something is just not right, not the math nor the methodology….

I am a huge fan of the British “River Cottage” series with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – I might just start my own “River Cottage” here except that I’ll have a kung fu school and a restaurant serving home grown vegetable and produce that are free from ….you know all that chemicals laden fertilizers and feeds – everything reverted to time-honored modes.

Now, that’ll be the day……

Okay before I continue “daydreaming” here is another clip found on a mainland site – don’t know much about the details except that many of the qinna techniques bring to mind a book in my collection – published before WW2, this is a “Bak Siulam” 2 men routine that was incorporated into JinWu training syllabus.

Don’t know if it is still practiced these days in JinWu but I remember watching performance of this when I was just but a kid in Singapore in the 60s …..

Hmmmm daydreaming – maybe that would send out some “energies” to attract some positive circumstances to attain my “River Cottage”……. Hahahahaha……..

You know in the course of my work, I need to read a lot –for background research for the various projects undertaken by the company and here we are talking about projects of mixed nature and  my reading materials are correspondingly, varied.

These last few weeks, I found myself referring to magazines like “Smithsonian” and “National Geographic” amongst others….

We are working towards building a museum and these 2 magazines are very helpful in many ways.

Anyway, I found 2 articles that, personally, articulate what I’ve been trying to say, ineptly, in this blog and forums back when I still bother with them…. that is…..

The first is from “Smithsonian” and taken from the Q & A section – the person interviewed is American Indian author Leslie Marmon Silko :-

Question :- How is storytelling particularly significant to the Laguna Pueblo , your tribe?

Answer :- In many indigenous cultures the oral literatures encompass the whole worldview, the whole identity of the people, the philosophy, the history. And so storytelling at Laguna Pueblo and among a lot of indigenous groups isn’t just some kind of evening entertainment: it’s the whole basis of community.

The second excerpt is from a special China edition of Nat Geo and here we have an article about the Dong people of Southern China – a minority tribe.

“I have heard that you could ask anyone in Dong village for a song and he or she would sing without hesitation. I would hear many; a welcome song about keeping out invaders, melodies about growing old, Dong favorites about feckless lovers……..”

Folks, a big big part of Chinese history and in particular, TCMA histories are handed down in oral forms. From one generation to the next and unbroken for hundreds of years.

So for me to read some smart alecks dismissing these oral transmissions is really vexing; are they part of the chain?

Do they even know about these oral transferences, usually only done within families?

And please, stop rewriting history just because it suits your hypothesis – you don’t have the right to.

How would you feel if I do the same with your family’s history – it’s like stepping all over your ancestors’ grave no?

Okay, now that I got that off my chest, here is the late Alexander FuSheng performing “Iron Wire” in one of his movies – found the clip over at 56.

Enjoy.

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 ………