Same kick different day.

January 11, 2008

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You know how they say “same shit, different day”…but for me, nothing could be further from the truth.

Different day, different master to meet and delve into their arts, lives and plans is truly gratifying in every way.

So far, I have met with Sifu Lew Joon Miew and today I spent almost the entire day with Sifu Kong Shu Ming, Hakka Suppressing Tiger Kung Fu….

Both about 20 years my senior and lived through the tumultuous period after the Japanese invasion of this region; Kung Fu to them is never just a pastime pursuit.

Knowing how to fight is critical skill to staying alive, whether you like it or not.

To hear them both talk about their experiences, for me, is belittling – what do I know about fighting?

Competitions in my younger days, couple of altercations that got physical and some hand-to-hand combat training in the army; no where near what these 2 Sifus went through, really.

Custodian of his unique Hakka style kung fu, Sifu Kong is fully conscious of the imminence of the line stopping with him and we discussed, intensively, thoughts to preserve and propagate the art.

I might have described this elsewhere; I really love his brand of Hakka boxing. Staying very relaxed during execution, power is applied only at the point of impact. 

Personally, this is exactly the kind of “whipping” that defines Fuzhou White Crane boxing.

“Body like willow, hands like pellets”….

To be able to work this closely with these Sifus is a privilege – one that I take very seriously!

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLF.

January 10, 2008

You know, every now and then, I would receive messages asking for videos of this style or that style…

Well folks, as much as I would like to oblige every time, I have constrains.

My video collections, some from as far back as 30 – 40 years ago, are either gifts or purchased commercial releases.

These last few years, I added quite a bit through my own shooting of course.

Even then, I am usually told not to broadcast, in full, by the original owners or performers for personal reasons.

This is why I tend to upload only partial forms and sequences.

Got to respect their requests …….

With some of the masters, we are talking to them about commercially releasing their art forms and towards that, we have 8 titles slated to be launched very soon.

And I want to take this opportunity here to thank all the Sifus and elders who have graciously given me valuable materials for my study.

Over time, I wish to share these with all of you.

This next clip comes from a package of VCDs/DVDs that were given to me by GM Chai Yan Soon – the current “Jeong Mun” of Singapore Hong Seng Koon Choy Li Fut. 

Brilliantly executed form….in full…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting down to business!

January 10, 2008

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I mentioned this, briefly, in my earlier entries; some of the projects that we are embarking this year…

Well, it starting to look like I will be in the US in the spring; visiting some schools , students and  to work with folks in the business of MA books/videos etc..

My pet project is the White Crane book that my partner, Tina, has been forever, egging me to start.

Only reason that it is taking so long is because I want to ensure that I am as exact as possible when it comes to history, lineages etc… So I am continuously checking and rechecking the notes left by my Sifus and elders – consulting my Sihing to make sure that I got it all nailed down right.

The other key project this year is to launch a book documenting the Chinese and Chinese culture in Sarawak.

Not a simple book to do considering that the subject matter covers such a wide scope. So to facilitate this, I am currently working with anthropologists from a local university here – need their expertise when it comes to the historical aspects. We also got historians/demographers/sociologists to talk to – just reading those professions out loud is tongue-twisting enough!

Then there is the photography that needs to carry the story properly, detailing Chinese lifestyles then and now. Just shooting the ever changing façade of Kuching is already a painstaking enough undertaking.

We spent the last 2 days with Sifu Lew Joon Miew, Hakka Praying Mantis, for a dry run; capturing him in his daily routine and arranging for him to go to the Chinese Friendship Garden for some Kung Fu shots.

Luckily, the weather was perfect for the outdoor shoot and we were able to visualize the kind of pictorial layout we want with the pics taken….

Pics above show Sifu Lew in the Chinese Friendship Garden, Kuching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamming …… CKF style.

January 9, 2008

Right!

And before anyone start thinking that each time I meet up with the various Sifus from other styles, it always a straight-faced, clinical and dry technical interaction; I just want to say that we have our decent share of “fun”.

From discussing some of the hot online internet CKF topics where, sometimes, all sorts of screwball views are expounded to latest trends in KF movies etc, we also mess around with all sorts of improvisations, for want of a better description…

So there was this one time some months back, I was in Kuala Lumpur and sitting around talking to Sifu Tony Yap (Yip Kin WCK) and Sifu Ku Choi Wah (Ban Chung WCK”); first half of the session was all “hardcore” classical CKF.

History, forms, principles, techniques, poems and applications ….. You know, all that jazz….

Then after a short break, we got into a free style “jam” session. Everybody doing a little unrehearsed performance composed of techniques taken from various styles.

Sifu Ku Choy Wah outdid everyone with his special blend of WCK, Tai Chi, Pak Kua and Hsing I.

Now for the very first time, a sneak preview of this “lost” form …….

And of course we spoke about composing a Wing Chun/White Crane form together …..a little reverse engineering, if you like….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WuZu 5 Ancestors.

January 9, 2008

A good view of Lohan, White Crane and TaiZu all done in one breath…WuZu Quan.

These last couple of years, I was privileged enough to work with some very skilled high-hands hailing from this style and I gotta to tell you that the depth is simply amazing.

To do any one of the 5 embedded styles is a tall enough order.

What is even more remarkable is the seamless flow from one to the next; the inventor must have been very talented indeed!

In the clip, you’ll see Lohan, White Crane and TaiZu all noticeably demonstrated and like I said, in one smooth delivery.

Love it! 

 

 

 

 

 

Fukien Crane.

January 8, 2008

Another clip from the same documentary, this time featuring Sifu Dong Mu Yau.

Love the comments; “White Crane requires complete muscular relaxation. Power comes from contraction of the muscles”….

And then there is the “chi getting better with practice even in advance age”.

We put in another way; the complete relaxation and muscular contraction is like cracking a whip. The “chi” controls how hard the whip is thrown….

 

 

I recall in the days leading up to the event in Penang, some of us were already assembled in town and during one breakfast session, Sifu Liu Chang I (Feeding Crane Taiwan), Sifu Ruan Dong (Ming He China), Sifu Xiong De Lu (WuZu Sarawak) and myself were talking about the art of Southern White Crane.

We each spoke about our individual style and I mentioned an old book listing some 20 different streams of Fukien/Fuzhou Crane.

And how many lines are broken, in the last 50 – 100 years and we all agreed that to fully appreciate the whole picture, co-operation is seriously required. We each hold a piece of the puzzle, so to speak.

The crane has flown in many directions and to be able to work with all these White Crane elders is something that I am excitedly looking forward to.

Later when I was talking to Russ Smith (Goju Karate USA), the idea of getting Okinawa Karates, Fukien/Fuzhou Cranes, Wuzu and Tai Zu together for a “research” conference was broached – now that’s the kind of meeting that I will attend gladly…..

Here’s a clip taken from a “National Geographic Channel” documentary; Plum Flower School and the kind of Crane that they do in that system.

Hmmm, the way the Sifu moves in the footage reminds me so much of “Uncle Bill” in Colorado… all relaxed and then “bam!”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, a intermission in the downpour and I quickly took the opportunity to go downtown for some bright sunny outdoors photo-shoot.

And it looks like everybody in Kuching got the same thought and the old market area was flooded…with people….

Wanted to continue posting about Shaolin Lohan but after a day out, I am just too exhausted to do any more video converting for uploading. 

Do have the next clip all ready and I thought you folks might like the sleek 2 men staff form. 

“Fast and not muddled”; this clip is an excellent example.

2 Quan Zhou WuZu monks in action!

Enjoy. 

 

 

You know for the past one year or so, I have posted 368 clips over at youtube, mainly MAs related.

And in some of my clips, I love to add songs by Zhuang Xue Zhong because this is one singer who specializes in singing “feel good to be a Chinese” pop songs.

He even does Kung Fu song; like this latest one I just posted.

For those of you who understand Mandarin, you’ll find that the lyric is, really, a string of CKF concepts and attitude.

I especially love the line before the end of the clip:-

“Using both hard and soft, we are not going to bow down. Tien Ti (heaven and earth) in our hearts!”

Eeerrh, do you think youtube will write to me for “wasting” bandwidth?

Time to check out sino.com…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do it my way…

January 5, 2008

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Contrary to fallacious popular belief, I do “work” for a living.

Maybe not in the conventional 9 to 5, show up in the office and blah blah blah….

I spend a big chunk of my time working with translators to get many  old CKF materials converted into English.

Working on 2 at the moment; a Wing Chun book and another talking about CKF in SE Asia in the last 50 – 100 years.

At the same time, the company wants to publish another highlighting Chinese culture in Sarawak so there’s much raw materials acquiring to be done. Not restricted to CKF, the book also needs a proper historical perspective regarding the diasporas of various Chinese dialect group into this part of Asia.

And to do a qualified job, we need to work with anthropologists and folks in the local museums etc….and these folks could be so intense!

Then there are the clan associations and the CKF masters invited to contribute in the book…work work work….

In fact yesterday, another wet soggy one, we visited a Hakka master in his village and scouted the area for an intended outdoor photo shoot session. Found this nice little hilltop temple that is just so suitable…and did I mention it was raining when this task was being carried out? Come next week, we will have a fully loaded schedule moving around interviewing CKF masters, Chinese musicians, folks in traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Chinese cooking, temples etc etc… and I bet it’s still going to be raining…

Also twice a week, I ran a small CKF class to train some of the staff in the office. All total novices, they’re at the “crawling” phase but their enthusiasm is really encouraging and at this early stage, I work to keep training “fun”… so no 3 stars knocking or doing San Chin until you turn blue in the face….yet….

So do not let it be said that I don’t “work” for a living …. I am simply doing it “My Way”…..

The pics show 4 baby cranes learning to flex their wings…..