Why “martialforest” ?

March 23, 2009

Why indeed!

After a couple of forums and 2 blogs, why begin all over with martialforest?

Capriciousness at work? Or simply, madness?

Fact is, this is something mooted more than a year ago when Russ Smith was visiting; we spoke about creating a site for all like-minded martial arts buffs to congregate , network and try to sort through the “classical mess”.

And this has to start with opening up and viewing materials left behind by those who preceded us; some of these may very well possess answers that we all have been looking for.

To even think that one or two persons can realize this is both pompous and pretentious.

We are restricted by our personal experience and touching an elephant at one isolated spot is to miss the full picture; that is why the sharing is vital.

Russ, like me, is an ardent collector of materials and between the 2 of us; we got quite a substantial pool – plenty of mileage ahead of us.

Why now?

For good reasons, starting with what’s presently happening in the world of traditional martial arts, if you have been following some of the discussions going on in forums everywhere, you’ll know what I mean.

Some very “creative” folks are trying to alter, not only histories but also elemental compositions of some very time-honored martial arts legacies.

The classical mess is being amplified by these “artists”.

Why? I don’t really understand. Maybe if they present new models, they stand to benefit from the effort.

And in any case, the buyers are happy, so be it.

All I am trying to do is to offer what the founders or the early days masters got to say about the arts they founded or disseminated, in their own words.

Untouched original texts, manuals and books to give you another view that maybe you don’t even know existed because they have been out of circulation for so long.

This is only doable now with the internet that allows me to spread the words around without incurring too much expense.

I always believe that without light, darkness rules.

And there are many out there who are maneuvering in the dark beguiling the true seekers.

I really think it’s time to call them out ……

Below are sample pages of books uploaded or to be uploaded into martialforest.

Styles include :-

  • Fukien ground (dog) boxing.
  • Tai Chi old texts (some very old).
  • “Origin of Chinese Martial Arts” classical text.
  • Yong Chun White Crane.
  • Dragon style soft boxing.
  • Emei Crane fighting.
  • Emei 12 postures.
  • TaiZu Grand Ancestor Boxing.
  • Hung Gar.

And these are just a tip of a big iceberg – I kid you not.

(click on thumbnails for full views)

Managed to upload one more clip after organizing and packing my stuff for the trip; took up a big chunk of the day….

Taken from our Penang workshops DVDs, you’ll see:-

·         Sifu Liu Chang I – Feeding Crane

·         Sifu Chong Cheng Loong – Phoenix Eyes

·         Sifu Lew Joon Mew – Hakka Praying Mantis

·         Sifu Ruan Dong – Whooping Crane

·         Sifu Peter Tan – Hakka Mantis

·         Sifu Ku Choy Wah – Ban Chung Wing Chun

·         Sifu Tony Yap – Yip Kin Wing Chun

·         Sensei Russ Smith – Goju Ryu

These DVDs will be available for purchase soon.

Watch this space……




Fanzi Quan 翻子拳

March 12, 2008

Fanzi Quan or tumbling boxing is also known as Bashanfan (eight-flash boxing). It is so called because of its eight major flashing movements, which are executed as fast as lightning and thunderclaps. The movements in tumbling boxing are varied and unbroken.

The Fanzi Quan ballad says: “Wu Mu has passed down the FanziQuan which has mystery in its straightforward movements.”  

Wu Mu is the other name for Yue Fei, a famous general of the Southern Song Dynasty. Some people have taken this to mean that Fanzi Quan was created by Yue Fei, but no historical record has verified this.

For more goto :- http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/HomeBj/kungfu/branches/t228521.htm


From Wikipedia:-

Until at least the Ming Dynasty (13681644), Fānziquán was known as Bāshǎnfān (Chinese: 八閃翻; literally “8 flash tumbles”), or “8 evasive tumbles”.

Fānziquán is often taught in conjunction with Chuōjiǎo, not unlike how Xíngyìquán and Bāguàzhǎng are often taught together. The routines of Chuōjiǎo, with its kicks, wide open stances and focus on hard power, were known as Martial Routines and those of Fānziquán, with their more compact movements combining soft and hard power, were known as Scholarly Routines, which is why the Chuōjiǎo Fānziquán combination is known as “Martial-Scholar”.

Both Fānziquán and Chuōjiǎo are associated with the 12th century Song Dynasty general Yue Fei and the association between the two may date that far back. However, as a legendary figure, Yue Fei has had many martial arts attributed to him, including Eagle Claw and Xíngyìquán.

Nonetheless, the association between the two is old enough that by the mid-19th century, Zhao Canyi, a general in the failed Taiping Rebellion, was a master of both styles.

After the failure of the rebellion, Zhao went into seclusion in Hebei Province in Raoyang, where he taught Fānziquán, which emphasizes the hands, to the Wang family and Chuōjiǎo, which emphasizes the feet, to the Duan family.

During practice, the families would exchange techniques.




I first spoke about this awhile ago in a forum somewhere; the “internal” aspect of Fuzhou Cranes.

Many Fuzhou elders believed, including Ruan Dong when I spoke to him in Penang last year, that Fuzhou Cranes, at some point, absorbed features from an internal school when it made its way to Fuzhou.

We know from our records that Fang Chi Niang, the acknowledged founder, ganged up with internal stylists during her involvement in “Tien Ti Hui” or “Heaven and Earth Society”.

Exactly which internal style is unclear, the records only state “5 elements” internal philosophy.

I was given a book by Sifu Ku (Ban Chung Wing Chun) written some 40 years ago describing a White Crane form named “5 Elements 3 Battles” ; reading the text in that book, the author could be talking about Hsing Yi.

When I met with my Sihing recently, we, again, spoke at length about this and agreed that the only internal style that might have played a part in the shaping of Fuzhou Cranes is Hsing Yi.

Not only because this is the one internal style that revolves around the “5 Elements” concept, many of our 2 men routine, in fact, looked like Hsing Yi.

Our first 2 men routine resembles Hsing Yi’s “An Shen Pao” for instance.

And any Fuzhou Crane students would tell you this; without understanding the “5 Elements” philosophy, it is almost impossible to comprehend the foundation spirit of any Fuzhou Cranes.

This is something that both Sifu Ruan Dong and I concur.








From Wikipedia:-

Piguaquan (Traditional Chinese: 劈掛拳, literally “chop-hanging fist”), also known as Piguazhang (劈掛掌, “chop-hanging palm”) due to its emphasis on palm techniques, is often practiced along with Bajiquan (八極拳, literally “eight extremes fist”) and is a style of wushu (Chinese martial arts) that features explosive, long-range power.

It originated in Hebei Province of North China, but today is also well-known in other countries, including Taiwan. Piguaquan’s power is from the accelerational force of the arms which are often in rotation. The hip movement in Piguaquan is more subtle and gentle compared to Baijiquan, because you only need enough to guide the big chops whereas in Bajiquan, the hammers, punches, elbows and swings rely completely on the quick and powerful rotation of the hips, and sink to bring its power out.

It is often said that originally, Bajiquan and Piguaquan were the same art but split hundreds of years ago. Li Shuwen (李書文) remarried the two systems in the late 19th to early 20th century and today these two styles are often taught as complementary arts, especially in Taiwan. In fact, there is a Chinese martial arts proverb that goes: “When pigua is added to baji, gods and demons will all be terrified. When baji is added to pigua, heroes will sigh knowing they are no match against it.” (八極參劈掛,神鬼都害怕。劈掛參八極,英雄嘆莫及)

In Mainland China, Piguaquan is still often practiced as a stand-alone art as well.

Ha, all these talks about Fukien and Lotus or Lian Huay in Fukien – I thought some of you might like to hear a Fukien song entitled “12 Lotus Flowers”….

An old sad song, I remember hearing this as a small kid, this is a cover by a young Malaysian singer.

So when you see me with my MP3 player around my neck, I could be listening to Neil Young, Jay Chou or Fukien songs just like this ….. the older the better……

Kor Lian Ah, Kor Lian Ah ,Si Chai Kor Lian Tai………

SaoLim Old Guard.

March 9, 2008

This recent hop over to Singapore saw me sitting down with some SaoLim elders over at Siao Teck San School; one of the oldest SaoLim schools still teaching in the “old fashion” manner.

The few hours I spent with Sifu Lew was a real eye-opener as he took me through some of the methods that the late Ven. Sek used to train disciples.

We started out talking about the current state of affairs in SaoLim, forms, techniques and future plans and next thing you know, it’s almost 3 in the morning…..

I really respect all these old timers who stay true to the methods handed down and having no interest in changing for changing’s sake.

Their attitude is to continuously polish what they have learned to reach the highest level and this means constantly challenging their own thresholds.

Sifu Liew commented that many dismissed traditional MAs as “unusable” because they lack the knowledge of making it work in the first place.

Either they were not taught or taught by someone who is equally in the dark.

The techniques are one thing, what really counts is the training process involved to fully master them and this calls for long period of time understudying a qualified teacher.

There is no other way…….


Upcoming US trip.

March 9, 2008

The time has come to talk a little about this; my upcoming trip to the US.

Some friends:-

Russ Smith – Florida

Chas Fisher – Seattle

Ron Kamera/Wayne Hinton – Colorado

Are putting together a series of workshops/seminars and they have invited me to attend as a guest speaker/teacher.

Not my first time to the States, I was there for a couple of years before 9/11 and it has been a good 5 years since I last visited – busy with my research and studies in SE Asia.

This trip is exciting because in addition to touching base with old friends; I will be presenting my research studies for the first time outside of this region.

Also, this will be the wonderful opportunity to look for business liaisons with folks keen in the industry of traditional Asian martial arts.

I will be spending a few days in Singapore before flying to the US and this is to video my White Crane Sihing doing his Whooping Crane.

After much dialogue, my Sihing has finally agreed to put all the major Whooping Crane forms/principles in details on video. A Whopping Crane book is also in the pipeline.

Our only Whooping Crane Sifu still around, Li Wen Shi, is in his 90s and we want him to be part of the book; this project is long overdue and I am glad that all my White Crane elders recognize that and are willing to participate.

All these activities are scheduled to take place from 15th March till end of April and I will be updating this blog on the road….. again……





3 Royal Canon Fists.

March 9, 2008

Another style that has limited exposure, so far, outside of China – 3 Royal Canon Fists.

Got a fair bit of materials of this style in my library and I really love their crispy sharp expressions.

You’ll typically find terms like “hooking hand grip”, “snake body” and “emerging water dragon” used to broadly describe this style.

I’ll be posting more from this style ………


Yuan Gung technique.

March 7, 2008

Another example of Yuan Gung Quan technique application.

I am sure most of you would go – this is very common in CKF like PiQua, Northern Shaolin, Tibetan White Crane, Hungga, CLF etc etc….

The monkey that I am familar with will have you smashing into opponent’s attacking hand, go down into a squatting stance, punching opponent’s groin with the other hand and then pulling opponent’s leg to floor him.

Too wordy, I know I know….

I will shoot this technique for posting.

Btw, my monkey comes from SaoLim.