Search This Blog

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kung Fu

Hubei Province's Wudang Mountain was the site of the 30 Oct 08 3rd international "Traditional Wushu Championships."

Italian Pilli Sabrina, one of the participants, was quoted as saying,

Chinese martial arts are quite helpful to man's body and mind. Wudang Kungfu teaches me to make my heart more peaceful.  I will persist in practising in the future.

Similarly, Anthony Herron, an Internal Artist, also explains in relation to Tai Chi:

Tai Chi denotes the martial art; the practice itself just as Ba Gua (or Pa Kua or Ba Gwa) is the martial art practice.  The Chuan/Zhang suffix denote the study/philosophy of the martial art.  I engage in both the martial art and the study/philosophy.  It is the mind, body, spirit approach which cannot be separated.  As for martial arts in America/the West, most are concerned with learning how to fight/beat someone up/look pretty/get a black belt.  There is little focus on the real philosophy behind the arts.  Therefore, the art is separated from the philosophy which lends to a deformed art: people beating up others.  That deformity is as real as separating the mind and/or spirit from the body of a person; the person is mal-formed and acts/reacts abnormally.  This is the main reason that many people learn martial arts: to beat up others. [email excerpt; emph. mine, sms.]

Note: Chinese Martial Arts are generally classified into "hard style" or wai-chia (like jeet kune do, Chinese kickboxing and certain types of kung fu) and "soft style" or nei-chia (like t'ai chi, pa kua chang, and fusing-ichuan). Kung-fu literally means "done well"]


Ever since watching Enter the Dragon and other Bruce Lee (or Lee Xiao Long -- Lee, the "Little Dragon") films, I never lost my fascination with Kung Fu and have since then added Jackie Chan, Jet Li and others to my  list of favorite martial artists. Like the rest of my childhood friends, I tried my hand in some forms of this sport, particularly the Japanese-originated Shotokan Karate and Aikido.  Like them, I initially had the impression that martial art is meant for only one thing -- getting to fight off the bad guys and creating for oneself an intimidating reputation in your neighborhood.

Across the years though, I never got past the white belt and rarely ever gone physical with anybody.  I  have also forgotten my katas and, instead of developing flexilegs or flexiback, all I got now are stiff legs and an aching back.  I guess the only thing I remember about Aikido are its three basic principles which I have applied more in interpersonal relationships than in close-quarter combats:

1. Evade the force.

2. Follow the direction of the force.

3. Neutralize the force.

Behind these three principles is the admonition that both the external-aggressive/defensive and the internal/nonagrressive form of the art must be mastered.

[Watch docu on Bruce Lee here]


Martial Arts News 11.2.08 « Striking Thoughts said...

[...] of Nature gives us a little Wushu. Hubei Province’s Wudang Mountain was the site of the 30 Oct 08 3rd international “Traditional [...]

chloe said...

wow! let's go kung fu fighting now!

scott saboy said...

hehe... due to leg and back problems, i'll just have to stick to the two-stick weapon, nunchaku or shuang/er jie gun -- and for demo purposes only :)

Katana Dave said...

I have always been a fan of Bruce Lee but recently, I have come to love Jackie Chan movies too. His is a great martial artist as well and his movies never fails to make me laugh.

Both of them has actually influenced me one way or another in my sudden liking to martial arts particularly kung fu. I am also into aikido (for about a year now) and kendo (because I love swords) and all these forms of self-defense have taught me that martial arts are for self-defense and do not aim to hurt but rather to protect and attain peace.


Dragonfly said...

I couldn't agree more about how martial arts is being practiced and portrayed in the west by most. But not by all. There are still some really good, traditional schools out there. I belong to one. My teacher has a deep understanding of the philosophical principles behind real martial arts and says the primary goal is to know your "true self". He also says that once you have gone through real training both mental and physical you have no wish to hurt others just for the sake of it. Destroy the ego and you will never have reason to beat anyone else up.

scott saboy said...

right on the mark, friends. "katana" is a good choice for a name; sharp reminder of the bushido code. btw, dragonfly, my friends in liaoning province gave me the name "long fei" which, as you know, literally means "dragonfly" but which i sometimes (mis?)translate as "flying dragon." :) ganbei/kampai!