5 Elements Tong Bei Quan.

February 15, 2008

Purportedly over 2000 years old, Tong Bei has always remained a mystifying art form to me.

Reading the many books that I got about this, I am expecting to see more “ape” movements; after all it’s believed to be fashioned as the “white ape”.

However, most of the performances I’ve witnessed so far are very Wushu-ish; aerial techniques, fast extended long-bridge techniques that cuts more of a PiQua or FanZi delivery. 

One of my Tong Bei books described “whipping” as the main mode of power execution which is missing in most performances I’ve seen.

Found a youku clip recently, which I believe, reflects White Ape Tong Bei succinctly….at least close to everything that I’ve read about this great system.

Back in the early 80s in Singapore, there was this sudden explosion of CKF books/magazines and VCDs from mainland China.

And I mean EXPLOSION! Every bookshop and there are many in sunny Singapore, was carrying tittles by the hundreds; any thing you care to pick from Shaolin, Wudang, Kun Lun, Tien Shan, Emei blah blah blah….. Friends said this is because mainland realized what a marketable “commodity” TCMAs had become – what with Bruce Lee leaving a mark everywhere.

For an aficionado like me, this sudden barrage of CKF materials was music of course…and it also meant that I had to make do with an old car when all my peers were zipping around in the latest models.

Arrrh the things we do for love…

Many of the titles released were relatively “unknown” styles like this next clip – Tai Yi Quan.

An internal WuDang sub-style, I have never seen this in action until many years later when a group of mainlanders were in Singapore for a MA expo.

Yup, back then Singapore was very dynamic when it comes to TCMA, there was always something happening – competitions, gatherings, exchanges etc etc.

Those were the days……

Actually things are not that bad even now, Singapore was one of the first few places that Tony Jaa toured to promote his debut “Ong Bak”.

There you go…..





Read about this form in an old Kung Fu book published in the 40s, I think. My dad gave that book to me; no photos just some hand-drawn illustrations and this Hung Gar form, accordingly to the book, is an advanced “short-bridge” form. The same is mentioned in this DVD from China.

Funny thing is that I have never seen this form done by any of the Hung Gar exponents I know personally. The common “taming tiger” form, of course, being “Character Ten Taming Tiger”. 

This is my second encounter with the form and both are demonstrated by mainlanders.

Still can’t figure out how to link youku clips here ….. so……

Found this really nice clip about Yue Jia Crane boxing; first heard about this style a few years back. Been to their website (in Chinese) and I was hoping to see more of this style in action.

The way they execute their Crane techniques reminds me of a Sifu I once met in Singapore – the same smooth graceful flow with many subtle techniques that sometimes escape the eyes of those watching.

I am reposting the “chin-na” portion of the clip and looking at the fingers seizing – maybe that’s what those small movements are for; taking the opponent’s fingers…

You can view the entire clip :-


After my earlier entry about mainland Wuzu, a Wuzu friend here, spoke to me about how mainland is trying to “rewrite” histories of some traditional CKF.

A sensitive topic, I was trying my best to stay impartial and seeing how emotional he got during the discussion, I cannot help but think that this must be a common issue, affecting many, especially with styles that have shifted their hub to outside of mainland….

Wuzu, in my experience, has always been divided with dissimilar lines putting forth respective version of founders, histories and lineages. Still, for many years, these lines are able to co-exist cordially and occasionally even congregate and interact – all in good faith.

I think they are many, like me, who celebrate the diversity found within this style – makes examination all the more stimulating. Some lines are more skewed towards Shaolin, others are very White Crane-ish blah blah blah…

So why the furor now I asked my friend?

I suspect, as with many other styles of CKF, it’s a matter of “control”. To be perceived as the most “original” sometimes mean dominance and this could be translated to monetary returns and so on….

Everybody wants to rule the world – who sang that?

So to push oneself as the most “original” , “the real deal” and “most effective” is the trend and mainland understands this perfectly.

Cultural tourism is big there and I am not saying that they cannot do whatever they are doing – this is a “free” world after all.

Like in all things, the onus in on the “consumers” to pick.

When you want to take up kung fu; what is your goal?

It’s kind of like me walking into a local sport shop here to look for a pair of sneakers – you got your “Adidas” and also “Abibas”…..

And no one can tell you what to pick……














Chinese video clip sites.

February 10, 2008

Been spending time browsing youku, 56 etc etc – you know all the Chinese video sites and surprise, surprise found some of my youtube clips reposted.

Well as long as it’s in the name of spreading and sharing, no problemo with me.

I am reposting some of youku clips myself; like this one – “Youth Fists” from youku.

Got some old books published on “Youth Fists” and I wonder if they are the same form. 

I’ll check and post some scans from the book.

Another thing I found on youku, they are posting ENTIRE movie and TV series – wow! 

Time to brush up on my Hanyu and look deeper…..




Sawadeekup – Muay Thai.

February 9, 2008

Muay Thai – my path is crossing with this deadly efficient fighting art once again. 

Back some years ago, I was in Singapore and working with one of my Saolim sihings, Collin Chan. 

Collin, a successful businessman wanted to introduce Muay Thai into Singapore and there I was finding myself involved…in a very small way….. 

It was through Collin that I met Stephan Fox, the current General Secretary of World Muay Thai Council. 

Originally a Wing Chun man, Stephan went on to do and later became a champion in his Muay Thai career. 

And now that we are mooting the idea of launching Muay Thai in Malaysia; who else would I go to for guidance? 

Collin and Stephan, of course and that exactly why I will be flying to Singapore this month end – to explore…. 

To me Muay Thai is what effective fighting is all about – keep it uncomplicated and keep training repetitiously, solo and with a partner. 

To learn how to fight, you got to fight and that’s precisely why Muay Thai is so highly regarded as a “fighting art”.

It’s all about “fights”……









February 9, 2008

Downloaded 2 more clips from youku.

The first is a mainland produced documentary series and this particular clip focuses on Choy Li Fut.

Love the portion where the Sifu describes the 3 components of this style….

The second clip is about Tai Chi push hand – one of the better ones I’ve seen.

You know what, you should really go to youku and view all these entirely….


sany0073.jpg Master Liew Joon Mew, Chu Gar Internal Jin Praying Mantis.

sany0076.jpg Master Kong Shu Ming, Hakka Suppressing Tiger Fists.

sany0087.jpg  Master Leong, Whooping Crane.


Since I am spending CNY here in Kuching, it’s only appropriate that I should visit some of the masters to pay my respect.

The company also wanted to present them with a small token gift as a mark of appreciation for all that they have contributed and for all the forthcoming projects we got planned to work together.

Personally, I am very grateful to all the masters who have graciously imparted so much knowledge to help me in my research; so much information to digest! 

Tina and another director from the company hopped over to Penang to do the same with the Penang masters.

And end of this month, I will be in Singapore again, first to meet with Stephen Fox and also to call on some of the schools to pay respect.

This is so thrilling; one of my Saolim sihings is arranging for 2 of Ven. Sek most senior surviving disciples for a video shooting session …..

2 Saolim senior sisoks talking to me about their training with Ven. Sek and demonstrating  – what more could I ask for?

The New Year is starting to look pretty good already……




2 more clips.

February 8, 2008

2 more clips:-

The first is from Emei Tu Men and a form called “San Jiao Zhuang” or “3 Corners/Angles Postures”.

What so unusual about this form, you might ask? Well, I have been working with a group of TCMA exponents here in Sarawak doing a style they call “San Jiao Zhuang” – a Hakka style.

And as I recall, when talking to them about origin, “Emei” was briefly mentioned; just like some of the Hakka Mantis here claim lineage to Emei.

Well, with the Hakka, you’ll never know since they were the “gypsies” of China and they could have picked up knowledge from any of the places they passed through back then….

Clip 2 is another that I downloaded from youku – Mai Gei Wong Wing Chun. I really like this and I am sure you will too….