Feb 28, 2010

Parkour and The Art of Moving

The art of transversing urban landscapes is also found in the West. Termed Parkour, its origins is credited to David Belle of France. It is not known if martial arts influenced Parkour, but David Belle is noted in his Wikipedia entry as having earned a Black Belt in Kung Fu from, strangely, India. Whatever its origins, sit back and enjoy an impressive display of skill and guts by Parkour practitioners.

Feb 27, 2010

Ninja Kung Fu

Here's a demonstration of “Ninja" skills from a police officer from China. First brought to public attention by Jackie Chan with his acrobatic stunts, these street utility skills are a distinct component of traditional martial arts which takes cognizance of a built environment dimension to fisticuffs.

Feb 26, 2010

One Chance in Life II

Here's another montage under the One Chance in Life theme.

Related Post: One Chance in Life 1

Feb 25, 2010

One Chance in Life

The producer of this astounding video montage may have meant Once in A Lifetime or One in A Million, but One Chance in Life is also a pretty good title. Watch the near misses and ponder:

Yesterday is the past.
Tomorrow is yet to come.
Today is a miracle.
Your one chance in life.

Feb 24, 2010

Master of Kungfu and The Internet

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit is the founder of Shaolin Wahnam Kung Fu. However, this article is not about his martial arts but instead touches on internet fu.

Grandmaster Wong is an internet pioneer who started his web presence way back in 1997. Before the term blog was even coined, he published a regular Question and Answer column on his website which he hand crafted himself, and which is maintained till this day.

And before YouTube came into prominence, Grandmaster Wong was already showing kung fu videos on his website. All these would be what might be termed as social media today, but he had preceded all these trends well before they became mainstream.

And if you are thinking ebook marketing, his bestselling paperback The Art of Chi Kung (1993) remains unsurpassed as one of the best survey of Chi Kung techniques available in English. Using bold and innovative techniques, Grandmaster Wong build his kung fu school from a small town club into an international institution. A master of kung fu and the internet.

Feb 23, 2010

Girl Kung Fu

After a series of heavy duty martial arts articles, let's take a break and marvel at some amazing feminine kung fu. Why is this girl showing a two finger “sword hand" gesture used  in certain martial arts for pressure point attacks? Click here to find out more.

Feb 22, 2010

The Secrets of Taiji Soft Power

Thanks to the open mindedness of contemporary teachers and to modern publishing technology like YouTube, hitherto closely guarded kung fu secrets have been made available to the general public.

In this ground breaking clip, Master Chen Zhong Hua reveals how Chen Taiji techniques can be used to redirect the force of opponents and uproot them.

These techniques, when honed by long practice, may explain how the elder bagua master in the previous clip managed to bounce off visitors with seemingly little movement or effort.  There are other factors involved but having good body mechanics and structure are the simple essentials in advanced kung fu practice.

Feb 21, 2010

Old Master Bounces Off Visitors

In this clip, a 94 year old bagua grandmaster bounces visitors around effortlessly in a demonstration of refined power, much to the amusement of bystanders.

Is this for real?  It's real, watch the next episode, as Daily Kung Fu reveals how this is done. There is no mysterious qi or metaphysics involved here; the old master simply has superb kung fu.

Feb 20, 2010

Kalaripayattu Reaches The West

Traditional eastern martial arts tend to take on a more edgy, street fighting persona in the west. In this clip, two British Kalaripayattu practitioners mix it up and one of them gets to remember the exchange vividly.

Kerala Kalaripayattu Kettukari

Although a number of martial arts are said to have their origins in India, in India itself today, there are only a handful of publicly known martial arts left. In this clip, two Kalaripayattu practitioners from Kerala go through a dynamic Kettukari (long stick) drill, at a training pace which is seldom seen in other stick arts.

Feb 19, 2010

The Sarong As A Weapon

On the topic of weapons, an antithesis to the heavy axe is the softest of soft weapons: the sarong or loincloth. Watch as Guru Besar Herman Suwanda of Pencak Silat Mande Mudah demonstrates how a sarong is used in combat. Now, this is one weapon you can pack to the pub or carry in your car totally legit.

For martial illustration and discussion purposes only.

Feb 18, 2010

Sister Sends Them Packing

Here's another dramatic crime scene.  If you haven't seen the previous video, Jewelry Shop Robbery, watch that first because it is a perlude to this video.

In the prior video, the store owner uses an iron rod to defend himself against a robber but does not quite get the job done. In this clip however, the store clerk wields a long axe and sends the robber packing.

The intrepid young lady certainly picked the right tool for the job.  The axe is a formidable street legal weapon; it has a weighted sweet spot and a bladed head which, if sharpened, could resolve a bad situation with just one good swing.

For martial illustration and discussion only.

Jewelry Shop Robbery

Today's post goes into a bit of reality TV. The clip shows a live robbery at a jewelry shop at London's Eastend.

It illustrates why martial arts are still needed in certain emergency situations, and why in the advanced levels of some arts, specific techniques are taught to end confrontations like this very quickly, and sometimes very violently.

Feb 17, 2010

Eskrima Master Gets The Better of Two Dudes

Two dudes try to get an elderly Eskrima master to jump through hoops for a video demo, but the old master turns the tables on them. Some neat weapon skills and hilarity ensues.

Feb 16, 2010

Pinky Meets His Match

Pinky meets his match in a snow covered German battlefield.

Pinky: Lunch smells good...

...Click here for the rest of the story.

Feb 15, 2010

Ip Man vs Sifu Liu

This scene at the start of the movie Ip Man shows Wing Chun master Ip Man sparring with a challenger Sifu Liu. The action shown here most closely resembles what Wing Chun combat might look like; for the rest of the movie, the fight sequences are the standard kung fu chop suey fare. Thus, this one scene covers just about all the Wing Chun found in the film.

Old School Training

In this humorous clip, multi-award winning Lion Dance Sifu Siow Ho Phiew of Malaysia explains during a Melbourne seminar how he uses the cane to reinforce teaching. Sifu Siow speaks in Cantonese in the clip but his animated gestures are self explanatory. Towards the end he summarizes: the first two times when I correct a mistake, they are verbal, the third time, it is through a sharp crack of the cane, then they will remember!

Feb 14, 2010

Year of The Tiger

Here's some cultural fun, not to be taken too seriously. This is the time of the year feng shui and astrology consultants put forth their predictions for the coming Tiger Year.

Particularly interesting is the forecast for people born in different years. Many sources tend to be a bit vague or abstruse, but the following list from Paul Ng is notably clear and concise. To determine your animal sign, if you don't know it already, click here.  Then check the list below to find out your fortune for the year.  Happy (Tiger) New Year!

Click here for the animal-by-animal predictions.

Feb 13, 2010

Tiger Kung Fu

As a lead in to the Year of The Tiger, here's a video of Pinky's bigger cousin kicking homo sapien butts.

Note: Slightly crude commentary comes on after 1:48.

Tiger Narrative

The is the riverting narrative to the above post via Surabi Santosh.

The forest department received a message early on May 19th 2004 about a large tiger which had ambushed two cows near Tamuli Pathar village, which is close to the boundary of the Kaziranga National Park in the north-eastern Assam state.


Feb 12, 2010

Fujian Green Lion

The Lion Dance is generally associated with the public performances of select martial arts schools of Southern China. Typically, the lion is depicted as being cutesy and playful, but this is just the Cantonese lion. The Fujian green lion, in contrast, is a fearsome looking creature and always game for a fight, as shown in this clip.

Feb 11, 2010

Russian Army Dance

Dance has long had an association with martial arts.  Examples of martial inspired dance include the Māori Haka, Malay Silat Pulut, Chinese Lion Dance and even the Indian Bharatanatyam.

In some of these traditions, dance forms are taught at the beginner's level to provide students with a foundation in body dynamics, while combat applications are covered only at advanced levels of training.

Over time some of these dance forms split from their martial origins and evolve into pure dance forms. Showcased here is an exhilarating Cossack dance which maintains a distinct martial flavor.

Feb 10, 2010

Waltzing Matilda

As an interlude, here's an iconic song from Skippy's home country, sung here by The Seekers as a lead in to a football final (hence the cut overs to men in shorts).

Boxing Kangaroo

Speaking of animals with different ideas, this kangaroo has its own designs on how a TV interview should be conducted. Fair dinkum, Skippy!

For martial arts enthusiasts: the kangaroo exemplifies the principle of facing an opponent square, with all four limbs ready for attack and defence as found in a small minority of styles. In contrast, many other martial arts face the opponent at an angle, from slightly off square to completely side facing. Which tactic is better is a matter of debate.

The Great Cat Escape

This cat is collared, chained and in the close custody of a burly officer; it is also about to be boxed for shipment by animal control staff. But the puss has different ideas. See how a cat demonstrates the spirit and practice of 'Never Give Up'. Way to go, Pinky.

Feb 8, 2010

Dummy Attack

Also based in the West are the martial arts of Asian masters who have migrated there.  In their new home, some of these arts have assimilated the Western values of flair, openness and market orientation.

In this video Wing Chun (Eternal Spring Kung Fu) instructor Master Wong demonstrates the use of a wooden dummy for combat practice. The number 116 you see in the background refers to the number of techniques contained within the Wooden Dummy form of his lineage. Until recently, this form was a secret taught only to advanced students.

Speaking of market orientation, notice the ads at the start, end, top and bottom of the video!  To dismiss the ad at the bottom, click on the [x] button.

Choy Lay Fut Demonstration

Although much of kung fu and Asian martial arts are still the province of masters and practitioners in the Asia, these arts have also flourished in the West. Shown here is Choy Lay Fut Sifu Michael Parrella of New York demonstrating a technique from his style.

Feb 7, 2010

I Dreamed A Dream

Here's an updated version of Susan Boyle's sensational YouTube hit, courtesy of MySpace.  For those who have not seen this before, or may not even have heard of Susan Boyle, go on, have a look.  For those who have, this MySpace version is a bit more complete and offers better video quality.  Enjoy! Click here to view the video.

Feb 6, 2010

The Geometry of Art

Can straight lines be found in circles? Can angularity be derived from roundness? To see how ancient Islamic masters craft out intriguing patterns from overlapping circles, click here.

The Value of Time

Everyone who is faced with mortality ask for more time.
While everyone who still has time make excuses for procrastination.
Ali ibn Abi Talib

Book: The Sacred Foundations of Justice in Islam (Amazon)

Feb 5, 2010

Crowd Thriller

Here's a martial arts demo which is more gymnastics than martial, but because it is done with such energy and showmanship, it's a worthwhile and fun watch. The performer Steve Terada studied Karate, Tang So Doo, Taekwondo and Wushu.

Play YouTube Videos Smoothly

YouTube not playing smoothly?  Here is a hack: 1) click on the video 2) do not watch it immediately 3) turn off the sound or pause the video 4) do something else and let the video download 5) when the video has fully downloaded, click the play button and there you have it: smooth playing YouTube videos.

Feb 4, 2010

Traditional Shaolin

Seen a “Shaolin Kung Fu by Monks" show lately? Chances are neither are the performers monks nor are they from Shaolin. Instead, according to kung fu insiders, these performers are modern wushu acrobats, with shaved heads, hired to to perform “Shaolin" shows.

Modern wushu tend to be more gymnastics-like with a surfeit of somersaults, flips, vaults, jumps and other acrobatic elements. On the other hand, traditional kung fu is more grounded and performed forcefully with combat intent, as shown in this video.

Feb 3, 2010

Silat Movie

There hasn't been a prominent silat movie released in years. Perhaps the martial arts genre is overdone, what with Hong Kong filmmakers' increasingly contrived fly-by-wire productions, lukewarm Western attempts and the random Thai offerings.

Sportingly jumping into the fray is Merantau (Migration), an Indonesian silat movie which tells of a village silat expert who travels to the city and gets into some big-time action. This movie recently made its run in selected Asian countries, for those interested in a sampler, click on the video (some violent content).

Video of a Mountain Hike

As a finale to our Huashan pictorial series, here is a short clip of what it would be like climbing the mountain. Watching while eating not recommended.

Feb 2, 2010

More Huashan Hiking

Continuing from our previous post on Huashan mountains, here are further hair raising shots of the Huashan trail.  Click here for part 2 of the pictorial.

Huashan Hiking

The usual morning neighbourhood jog getting a bit ho-hum? Fancy a mountain hike?  Try Huashan for a change. Click here for a full pictorial spread.

Feb 1, 2010

The Value of Learning

Henry Ford once had a problem with the generators in his factory. He hired electrical genius Charles Steinmetz to figure out the problem, which he did.  Ford received a bill for an outrageous $10,000. Steinmetz broke down the bill as follows:
- $10 to tinker with the generators
- $9,990 for years of learning how to tinker.
Ford paid the bill. 

[Via Wired, Picture: Philatelic Database]