Jan 28, 2010

Tracking Down A Guitarist

The identity of the anonymous guitarist (see previous post) remained a mystery until New York Times columnist Virginia Heffernan tracked him down - he turned out to be a young, self-taught, South Korean guitarist, Lim Jeong HyunRead More

Jan 27, 2010

YouTube Sensation

An anonymous guitarist rocketed into YouTube's all time most popular videos list amassing an astonishing 70 million views and more than 300,000 comments. To find out why, check out the video.

Jan 26, 2010

Stellar Thaipusam

The Tamil festival of Thaipusam for 2010 is celebrated on Saturday, January 30th.  The word Thaipusam consists of two words: Thai which is roughly the Tamil equivalent of January, and Pusam which is considered a star. When the  moon goes past Pusam during the month of Thai then Thaipusam is celebrated.

Pusam corresponds astronomically to the Cancri star cluster - no astrology here, this is all astronomy.  The Cancri cluster is shown as an inverted Y in the picture.

In 2007 there was buzz in the astronomical world when a fifth planet was found to orbit the star ar the top of the inverted Y.  This star, 55 Cancri, is 41 light years from earth and is the only star with that many planets other than our own solar system found so far.  Coincidental discovery or otherwise, hats off to the ancient star gazers and Happy Thaipusam to our Hindu readers.

Jan 25, 2010

The Measure of Success

The measure of success is not in the result but the effort.
Mahatma Gandhi

Think about it...

[Photo: Wikispaces]

Jan 24, 2010

Rudinara Salinger Residence

Abstracted from Ahmad Faizal Yahya's fotopages post: Built in six and a half years and completed in 1993 by a Master Builder from Kelantan, this residence won the prestigous Aga Khan Award in 1998 under the residence category. Built mostly using chengal and resah wood; the former is one of the toughest wood in the world. Believe it or not, this house was built without a single nail and no proper measuring tape was used!  According to the owner of the residence, Dato' Dr. Haji Rudi Salinger, the late Master Builder Ibrahim bin Adam had only one eye and one arm.  A Master Builder indeed. [Photo: Ahmad Faizal Yahya]

Jan 23, 2010

A Rare Silat Form

This video features a Silat Golok Seliwa Betawi form by Guru Bang HusinSilat Seliwa is the name of the style, Golok is a short machete and Betawi is an old name for Jakarta, Indonesia.  Notice how the form is done in one continuous take, without pauses, unlike the start and stop you may see in many other martial arts, and how the old master smiles throughout. Totally impressive.

Jan 22, 2010

Solid Stances and Forceful Sounds

This is a demonstration of Five Ancestors or Wuzuquan boxing.  Normally associated with Fujian, this version comes from Zhejiang, Fujian's northern neighbour. Check out the solidness of the practitioner's stance and the use of strongly articulated sounds for force generation.  An example of traditional Kung Fu.

Jan 21, 2010

Authentic Monkey Kung Fu

Over time a particular kung fu  school may branch out into a number of sub-schools. Within certain styles, these branches later get into intense debates among themselves as to which school is the best, the most authentic etc.  Here we have a short clip of Monkey Kung Fu in action.  In this instance, there is no question as to the authenticity of the exponent!

Jan 20, 2010

The Giant Hamster

This is the first article on unkungfu, a term coined here by us at Daily Kung Fu.  Unkungfu is the opposite of kungfu.

A hamster doubles in weight every week from birth until it matures in around 3-4 weeks.  What happens if a hamster matures only after 1 year?  Watch this scary, thought provoking video. From Fast Company.

Jan 19, 2010

Top 10 Jackie Chan Stunts

To round off a trilogy of movie related snippets, we have a montage of Jackie Chan's top 10 stunts. Well known kung fu actor Jackie Chan is a graduate of the renowned Peking Opera School of Hong Kong. Although the word 'opera' is normally associated with theatrics, traditional Chinese Opera schools also provide extremely rigorous martial arts training.

From Wikipedia: historically, pupils had been handpicked at a young age by a teacher, or sifu, and trained for a period of seven to ten years, on contract from their parents. As the teacher provided food and accommodation for the pupils during this period, they accrued a debt to the teacher that was later repaid through performance earnings.

Practice at the Peking Opera School was very strict. The students had been signed into contracts that would allow the instructors to punish them up until death. Training would take place up to 18 hours a day and included stretching, weapons training, acrobatics, martial arts and acting.

Jan 18, 2010

Silambam Master

On the topic of movies, here is a Tamil classic from 1966 titled Mugarasi starring the legendary MG Ramachandran aka MGR.  The movie centres on the ancient Tamil martial art of Silambam.  In this cut, MGR uses a pair of maduvu made from deer horns to fight two stick wielding Silambam opponents. Captured off a TV playback, the video is a bit fuzzy and you have to turn up the audio. But check out the original production quality; they don't make them like this anymore. India

Jan 17, 2010

Sticky Hands of Wing Chun

In last year's hit kung fu movie Ip Man, the titular character, Wing Chun Grandmaster Ip Man, was portrayed as being the father to a young son Ip Chun. Well, the young son is a real person as is now an 85 year old Sifu living in Hong Kong. Shown in this video is Sifu Ip Chun demonstrating Chi Sao or sticky hands with his students.

 Sticky hands is a technique whereby a kung fu practitioner senses and counters the attack of an opponent by touch instead of sight. Though sticky hands is typically associated with Wing Chun, similar methods are found in other martial arts, such as push hands in taiji and rolling hands in bagua.  Hong Kong

Jan 16, 2010

Apple Kung Fu

Though Steve Jobs did not finish college, Stanford University invited the Apple CEO to give its 2005 Commencement Address. Find yourself a quiet place and watch his remarkable speech from start to finish. The speech contains some technical references but do keep watching till the end of video. An outstanding example of skill through effort. United States

Jan 15, 2010

Fearless Kitty

A feline vs canine matchup illustrates the inner kung fu principles of courage and stillness.  For further examples of cat 'kung fu' see here. Croatia

Jan 14, 2010

Wild Cat Silat

For practical self-defense, an essential skill is the handling of knife packing opponents. In the West, the weapon of choice for assailants are daggers and flick knives; in Southern Asia, Africa and South America it is the machete or parang.  

In Chinese Kung Fu, weapons training is typically taught last. This is said to be the result of Chinese authorities banning civilian weapons during various periods in its history.

However, the martial arts of South East Asia did not come under under such restrictive governance, so in some of its arts, weapons are taught first.   This video showcases Silat Kucing Liar, literally, Wild Cat Silat. The two exponents in the video are not fighting or sparring, just doing drills; but note the fluidity and suppleness that is the hallmark of traditional Silat. Indonesia

Jan 13, 2010

Fengshui Grandmaster

Fengshui Grandmaster Yap Cheng Hai gives a delightful modern take on a traditional Tibetan mantra. More well known as a fengshui teacher and practitioner, Grandmaster Yap is also an accomplished kung fu master in diverse styles such as Five Ancestors, Wumei, Fukien Hung Gar, Shuai Jiao and Bagua.  Truly an all rounded, old school kung fu master. Russia

Jan 12, 2010

Petite Kung Fu

A petite Choy Lay Fut practitioner demonstrates some pretty mean punches while working the pads. These days, girls need kung fu skills to deal with "just another day at the school" situations like this. United States

Jan 11, 2010

Noodle Kung Fu

Did you know there is a lot of kung fu in serving up Fried Noodles aka Chow Mein in the West or Char Kuey Teow in South East Asia?

It can come down to the wok and spatula used, the flame control, the exact frying duration, the ingredients, the order and timing the ingredients are added during frying and whether the chef pays full and undivided attention during cooking. 

Many street versions of this fare are over-fried. You know it is over done when you see charred food and blacken debris in the dish. These burnt bits not only taste and smell bad, but are also carcinogenic.   This photo from BusybodyMom shows a Fried Noodle dish done right. Notice the bean sprouts are crunchy looking, this is because they were added towards the end of the frying process. So do double check your Fried Noodles next time you tuck into one! Malaysia

Jan 10, 2010

Needle Through Brick

Needle Through Brick is a documentary about the decline of traditional art and culture in the face of a rapidly changing world through the eyes of traditional Chinese Kung Fu masters. Made by US-based Season of Light Pictures, it is said to be in post production or awaiting release. Looks beautifully put together with a greater depth and insight than the standard kung fu pop fare. Malaysia

Update: The DVD has been released and is available from www.needlethroughbrick.com.

Jan 9, 2010

Katana Zen

An astounding demonstration of swordsmanship by Sensei Isao Machii. The video starts slow but gets going a quarter way through at 2:12 when Sensei Machii clean slices through an upright, rolled bamboo mat multiple times without toppling it!  Kung fu ninja skill at its finest. Japan

Jan 8, 2010

Rotund Silat Tiger

This video shows Guru Besar Jerry Jacobs, who despite his ample physique, performing fluid ground fighting movements from Pukulan Cimande Pusaka Harimau while practising with his son Bryan Jacobs. More information on this fascinating style is available here and here. United States

Jan 7, 2010

Karate vs Kung Fu

A sparring session between Kyukoshinkai Karate and Drunken Boxing Kung Fu practitioners. Though the Kung Fu practitioners seem to have their butt whupped, watch closely and you will see that they are pretty relaxed throughout, so it is a fair exchange. The karatekas, even with their fight dial turned to low, stay true to the martial spirit of their art. Japan

Jan 6, 2010

Southern Praying Mantis

Hilarious video of Sifu Ip Chee Keung of Chow Family Mantis Kung Fu. From their London website: the greatest difference of this style is Kiu Sao, very strong arms, and the cultivation of Ging Lik, energy and power. This refined strength allows the Mantis to create and release great power in a very short distance. [Note: this video contains profanities.] United Kingdom

Jan 5, 2010

White Crane Master

From Kung Fu Magazine, an article on Fujian White Crane Master Su Yinghan.  An abstract:

Q: Could you give some advice to a White Crane beginner?
A: I think that the most important principle they should bear in mind is that they should never give way to impatience. Do kung fu as if it is a very common thing that you must do every day. Take the Three Wars [Sam Chien] for instance; one should do it many times a day. There are no variations to this simple set of movements which may keep one excited. There is nothing but repetition. Read moreChina

Jan 4, 2010

Iron Dummy

From Taiwan comes a 360° metal dummy, seen here being worked on by Master Huang Jeng Bin who is from a Taiji and Fukien White Crane kung fu lineage. Unlike modern hung punching bags, kung fu dummies are anchored at the base. Sports equipment manufacturers recognized this ancient feature and introduced modern punching dummies. Taiwan

Jan 3, 2010

Amazing Manipur Double Sword

Thang Ta is a martial art from the state of Manipur in northeastern India, at its border with Myanmar. This video shows an amazing Thang Ta demonstration: the use of double swords at body hugging range. At this proximity, the kung fu must be superb, or the swords will seriously harm its wielder. Amazing stuff from exotic India!  India

Jan 2, 2010

The Big Boss Kicks Off

To kick matters off, we have a primate showing Kung Fu skills. We have loads of interesting stuff coming up, so stay tuned for the best in Kung Fu action!  China

Jan 1, 2010

Peyton Conway March

There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life - happiness, freedom, and peace of mind - are always attained by giving them to someone else.
Peyton Conway March