Mar 31, 2010

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie (1835 - 1919) helped build the formidable American steel industry, a process that turned an impoverished young Scottish immigrant into one of the richest entrepreneurs of his times. Later in his life, Carnegie sold his steel business and gave his fortune away to cultural, educational and scientific institutions. It is not recorded whether Carnegie studied any sort of pugilism but some of his thoughts are congruent with martial arts philosophies.

The amassing of wealth is one of the worse species of idolatry.
No idol is more debasing than the worship of money. 

Do your duty and a little more and the future will take care of itself.

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision.
It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.

No amount of ability is of the slightest avail without honor.

And here is the prime condition of success, the great secret: concentrate your energy, thought, and capital exclusively upon the business in which you are engaged. Having begun in one line, resolve to fight it out on that line, to lead in it; adopt every improvement, have the best machinery, and know the most about it.

‡ Carnegie wrote this in his younger days before he became immensely rich. Did he eventually contradict his own advice? Perhaps not, this precept could even be one of the basis of his success - Carnegie could tell the difference between the tool and the objective.

[Source: Wikipedia, PBSWow4U, EvanCarmichael. Image: CMU]

Related Posts: Peyton March, Apple Kungfu, The Giant Hamster, The Measure of Success, One Chance in Life

Mar 30, 2010

In A Master's Eyes

Couldn't leave this one out. This clip is from the movie Taiji Master we showcased earlier. It shows Taiji Master Yang Lu Chan facing his first opponent, a taekwondo master, in a seven level pagoda challenge. Though a seven level challenge sounds like a fun watch, it turned out to be mostly chop-suey action, so we won't be playing it here except for the first level. To the uninitiated, this clip looks like having some neat moves, but in a Master's eyes, much more could be discerned:
The Taijiquan master was fighting with a master from Cho-sen, which is the old name for Korea. Notice that Yang Lu Chan mainly retreated to avoid the fast and powerful kicks from his opponent.

The patterns used by Yang Lu Chan were Jade Girl, Cloud Hands (reversed movements), Fierce Dragon, Low Stance, Single Whip, Playing the Lute, Thrust Punch, Double Punches, Closing, Push Boat, Carry Tiger and Ground Kick. Except for the last pattern, all these patterns can be found in our Taijiquan. Nevertheless, Ground Kick is found in our Shaolin Kungfu as Spiritual Monkey Tests Cave.

As in Wahnam Taijiquan too, Yang Lu Chan often used Low Stance to avoid the opponent's kicks. At the end of the combat, while the opponent were panting, Yang Lu Chan was calm and unruffled, which is also the case in Shaolin Wahnam.

There are, however, some differences in combat philosophy between that shown in the video clip and in Wahnam Taijiquan. We would not spin around the way it was shown at the beginning of the combat when responding to a series of round-house and reversed round-house kicks. We would also not block a round-house kick using Jade Girl.

Rather, we would respond with Low Stance, or if we are skilful enough, spin into the opponent following his turning momentum so that we would land behind him. Moreover, in using Low Stance we would prefer a Reversed Bow-Arrow Stance instead of a frontal Horse-Riding Stance.  [edited, from]
Experienced masters could quickly distinguish fighting patterns and would have ready counters at hand.

Related Posts: Taijiquan vs BaguazhangTaiji Master, The Finale

Mar 29, 2010

Cool Guy II

Here's AZO again (see previous post). AZO is an animator at Uber Entertainment by day. That's a nice job fit, his dexterous skills should be a nice animation template for arcade kung fu fight scenes. This is Part 2 of a two part series.

Related Posts: Top 10 Jackie Chan StuntsNinja Kung FuParkour and The Art of MovingNinja Yoga

Cool Guy I

Time for a fisticuff break. Kung fu is not just about fighting, watch Burmese American Aung Zaw Oo (aka AZO) demonstrate some kool kung fu of his own. This part of I of a two part series.

Related Posts: Top 10 Jackie Chan StuntsNinja Kung FuParkour and The Art of MovingNinja Yoga,

Mar 28, 2010

Push and Sticking Hands in Silat

Push Hands and Sticking (Sticky) Hands are normally associated with the Taiji and Wing Chun respectively. But did you know that these training methods are found within Silat as well?  Watch as Kang Gending Raspuzi of Silat Garis Paksi (Pivot Line Silat), explains some of the basic forms of his style, with the accompaniment of enchanting traditional Indonesian music, and then demonstrates Silat's version of Push Hands and Sticking Hands. Notice how a push can be turned into a more serious attack and how Kang Gending Raspuzi follows his opponent after he pushes them down.  [A translation of the brief opening remarks: Silat Garis Paksi has ten fundamental forms; each form is performed in three ways: sitting, standing and with footwork.]

Related Posts: Silat Garis PaksiTaijiquan vs XingyiquanSticky Hands of Wing Chun

Mar 27, 2010

Silat Garis Paksi

Silat Garis Paksi is a contemporary Silat style created by Kang Gending Raspuzi of Java who studied under various teachers and Silat styles. Among the styles are Sekar Pusaka, Budhi Kancana, Setia Wargi, Timbalan, Cikalong, Cimande, Sanalika and Sahbandar. Garis Paksi itself means Pivot Line which, though unexplained in the school's website, hints at rich martial art possibilities because both Pivot and Line are, separately, key concepts in some martial arts. As we have noted previously (see links below), the signature of Silat is smooth, fluid moves and as you can see from the video, Silat Garis Paksi is no different.

Related Posts: Wild Cat SilatA Rare Silat Form

Mar 26, 2010

Trailer From Ip Man II

Freshly uploaded to YouTube, here's the trailer of Ip Man 2, the sequel to the movie Ip Man which we covered earlier (see links below). Without wanting to be a wet blanket, looking at the trailer, the movie comes across as the standard melodramatic Hong Kong fare, especially the finale. It's either going to be a karateka or a big mean caucasian boxer.

Note though two interesting scenes: the roof top training arena and the low cross stance by Ip Man's opponent in the table top fight scene. Roof top kung fu training was a common fixture in crowded cities of Hong Kong and Singapore. The otherwise unused space provided an open, well ventilated location and privacy from unwanted attention. The other scene shows an application of the low cross stance: a twisting, low dodge which can be turned into a counter offensive.

Related Posts: Sticky Hands of Wing ChunIp Man vs Sifu Liu

Mar 25, 2010

The Eclectic Martial Art of Krav Maga

Krav Maga, another Western martial art, is an eclectic hand-to-hand combat system which involves wrestling, grappling and striking techniques. Its basic principles include counter attacking as soon as possible or attacking preemptively. Targeting attacks to the body's most vulnerable points such as the eyes, jaw, throat, groin, knee etc. Neutralising the opponent as quickly as possible by responding with an unbroken stream of counter attacks and if necessary a take down/joint break. Maintaining awareness of surroundings whilst dealing with the threat in order to look for escape routes, further attackers, objects that could be used to defend or help attack. [Wikipedia]

Mar 24, 2010

The Russian Martial Art of Systema

Systema is a Russian martial art that is gaining some buzz among martial arts newbies. There are a number of theories regarding its origins, here is one which may tally with what you will see in this video from Russian Martial Art.

The various forms of modern Systema are evolutions of an intensive research and development project carried out by several generations of hand to hand combat instructors at the Dinamo training facility in Moscow between roughly 1920-1980. That would place Systema in the same stream of military close-combat training as combat SAMBO and related styles such as SAMOZ, which was developed by V.A. Spiridonov. The stylistic influences on modern Systema would include numerous national martial arts styles, military close-combat systems and indigenous Russian combat styles as well as aspects of sports science, biomechanics and sports psychology as these disciplines were incorporated into the Dinamo close-combat research and development project during the 20th century. [Wikipedia]

Mar 23, 2010

Taiji Master, The Finale

This is the finale of the movie Taiji Master produced by Jiao Yin Publication of China. The match up is between Taijiquan and an unnamed long fist style. The opponent is an imperial figure who roughed up Yang Lu Chan's sifu. Nice ending, have a look.

Mar 22, 2010

Taijiquan vs Baguazhang

For smackdown enthusiasts looking for some real action from internal artists, for submission aficionados who wonder how practitioners moving in slow motion can fight another who goes round in circles, we've got just the clip for you. Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to present the ultimate internal art matchup: Taijiquan vs Baguazhang.  Actually, the fight scene is from an imagined duel between Taijiquan Master Yang Lu Chan and Baquazhang Master Dong Hai Chuan from the movie Taiji Master.

Mar 21, 2010

Taijiquan vs Xingyiquan

In this showdown, Chen Taiji Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang takes on challenger 'Xingyi Master', Liao Bai [the quotes are because there isn't much information available in English to cite Liao Bai's Xingyi lineage].

The video has generated much debate, with some commentators saying they were disappointed they didn't see an MMA type smackdown conclusion, some opined Liao Bai got the better of Chen Xiaowang, while others discerned Chen Xiaowang did well. Watch the video and judge for yourself. More on this matchup and Grandmaster Chen in a future special series.

Taijiquan vs Bajiquan

Here's another matchup involving Taijiquan, this time against a northern art Bajiquan. The Taiji exponent looks to have the upper hand once he closes in while the Baiji exponent runs out of options at close range. But Bajiquan itself is not lacking in this respect:

The major features of Bajiquan include elbow strikes, arm/fist punches, hip checks, and strikes with the shoulder. All techniques are executed with a short power, developed through training; in Chinese martial arts, Baji is famous for its fast movements. Baji focuses on in-fighting, entering from a longer range with Baji's distinctive charging step.

The essence of Bajiquan lies in jin, or power-issuing methods, particularly fajin (explosive power). The style contains six types of jin, eight different ways to hit and several principles of power usage. Unlike most western forms of martial arts which require swinging motion to create momentum, most of Bajiquan's moves utilize a one-hit push-strike method from very close range. The bulk of the damage is dealt through the momentary acceleration that travels up from the waist to the limb and further magnified by the charging step known as zhen jiao.  [Wikipedia]

Mar 20, 2010

The Pacman Boxer

Filipino sensation Manny Pacquiao is the first ever boxer to win seven world titles in seven weight divisions: flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, superfeatherweight, lightweight, light welterweight and welterweight.

Last year, he was conferred a host of prestigious awards: 2009 ESPN Fighter of the Year, 2009 ESPN Knockout of the Year, 2009 ESPY Awards Best Fighter, 2009 TIME 100 Most Influential People, 2009 Forbes Magazine Celebrity 100, 2009 Sports Illustrated Fighter of the Year, 2009 The Ring Magazine Knockout of the Year, 2009 World's Greatest Ever Featherweight, 2009 World's Greatest Ever (2nd).

Check out the video and try to discover what makes Manny Pacquiao such a winning fighter in the ring.

Mar 19, 2010

Hung Gar Iron Wire Set

Tid Sin Kuen (or Tit Sin Kuen), the “iron wire set” is the highest, most advanced set in Hung Gar gungfu.

Tid Sin Kuen has always been regarded as the "secret" set of the style, the set that a master only passes to his best disciples. Only after perfectly mastering most of the prerequisite "fist" and weapon sets could a student proceed to practicing the Tid Sin Kuen. Tid Sin Kuen is mainly an internal set and if practiced incorrectly may cause internal injuries. Occasions where students tried practicing the set without any guidance reportedly complain about pain in the chest, dizziness or even vomiting blood. Therefore the student must be perfectly ready - both spiritually and physically - when he starts to learn Tid Sin Kuen.  Read more.

Mar 18, 2010

The Principle of Aiki

In an earlier article, we featured Sifu Siow Ho Phiew's old school method of using the cane as a teaching aid.

In this video (turn up the volume), which is an interview, not our usual action packed clip, Aikido instructor Lia Suzuki tells how her teacher uses a softer method to correct students in class:
If I have to choose the one thing which is the most valuable teaching fron Takeda Sensei, I think it would be how he teaches, the way he teaches, is phenomenal and very aiki in spirit.

When someone is turning in the wrong direction for a technique for example, he never says "No, not that way, this way instead!" Instead, he always says things like "Exactly, great, now try the same thing, only turn in the opposite direction".

Or if you are hunched over with lousy posture, he doesn't tell you your posture is lousy. He tells you straighten your back even more. So it is very positive and encouraging and creates a positive learning environment for people.
As you can see, there are many ways up the mountain.

A Tale from Angampora

Angampora is the native martial art of the Sinhalese community of Sri Lanka. This clip of Angaporam is a bit MTV-ish, but what is interesting about this art is its history, do read it till the end:
Sri Lanka fell under the British rule in 1815. Immediately thereafter the martial art schools appear to have been banned. Practice of martial art was prohibited and any who defied were persecuted. Thus began the era in which, an art that protected the people of the island for over 2500 years, was being forced to oblivion.

However, our ancestors who knew the value of this great martial art, in a last bid to save the knowledge, have then turned into secretly preserving it within the families. Although part of the knowledge was still lost, this fortunately had saved Angam Kalawa totally being lost to the future generations. We are lucky to have teachers, still among us, who have the knowledge to pass on techniques in unarmed combat, grips, stick and sword fighting and techniques of a variety of other weapons.

As mentioned earlier the prohibition of practicing our martial art was one of the first things that appear to have happened immediately after the British started to rule the country. Thus for the next 133 years i.e. till 1948 when the island was granted independence by the British Empire, a systematic campaign has been carried out to eradicate the great traditional martial art which was the national pride of the Sri Lankans. However even after independence the expected revival of the art cannot be observed as the prohibition imposed by the British was continued by the new rulers. Finally in the year 2002 only steps were taken by the Government to recognize Angam Kalawa as part of our heritage. []
If you like traditional martial arts and have benefited from it, remember the hardship and sacrifice that past teachers went through to bring their art to this generation. Do not be the generation to lose it.

Mar 17, 2010

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Mar 16, 2010

YouTube Tips and Hacks

YouTube not playing smoothly? Sources indicate some regions may be facing ISP issues. Click here to benchmark your YouTube download speed against the average speeds in your city, state, country and the world. In the meantime, here is a simple hack to get smooth playing YouTube videos:
1. Click on the video.
2. Do not watch it immediately .
3. Turn off the sound or, better still, pause the video.
4. Do something else and let the video download.
5. When the video has been fully downloaded, click the play button and there you have it: smooth playing YouTube videos.

Cross Lock Fist

Sifu Wong Jan Yum demonstrates the Sup Gee Leen Wan Kow Da form of Choy Lay Fut. Sup Gee Leen Wan Kow Dah Kuen, loosely translated as Cross Lock Fist, is the main hand form in the Choy Lay Fut system. The form is famous for being a long and challenging set, which contains many of Choy Lay Fut's core fighting techniques.

Via: Kungfu Magazine

Mar 15, 2010

Feminine Origins

After a weekend of  masculine rough-and-tumble, here's something different. A number of martial arts claim ancestry to lady founders. Among them is Wing Chun which, according to its lineage history, is descended from a lady founder Wing Chun who in turned learned the art from Wu Mei, a Shaolin nun.

Given its feminine origins, if Wing Chun is practiced with a womanly emphasis, how might it look like? Let's go back in time and speculate on a feminine rendition of Wing Chun with this clip of a young lady from Jun Mo Wing Chun performing the first form of Wing Chun, Siu Lim Tao.

[Notes: This video clip contains new age music.  Wing Chun features prominently in this blog because the art has a higher number of interesting, offbeat clips in English.]

Mar 14, 2010

Pak Mei Application

In part two of our weekend feature on Pak Mei Kung Fu, we have two clips on the Futsan branch of Pak Mei as demonstrated by Sifu Jonathan Barbary. Then we have a clip showing Instructor Ed Wong from the Cheung Lai Chuen branch training a student in Fau Chum Tun Tou (Float, Sink, Swallow, Spit).

Click here to view the clips.

Mar 13, 2010

White Eyebrow Kung Fu

This inaugural weekend special features Pak Mei, the White Eyebrow Kungfu, a style with a reputation for speed, power and combat effectiveness.

The first clip shows Pak Mei instructor Ed Wong doing push ups. While most people are familiar with the ordinary push up, not many are aware of advanced versions of this simple exercise found in martial arts. The second clip shows a unique sit up exercise of Bak Mei which uses a pole for leverage. The third clip shows Sifu Andy Chung doing a Pak Mei form. Watch out for more clips tomorrow as we show how Bak Mei is used in combat.

Click here to view the clips

Mar 12, 2010

Plus Sized Dummy

Different Wing Chun schools emphasize different training objectives for the use of the Wooden Dummy. Among them are techniques, footwork and power. Some schools work the dummy gently, others strike it real hard. The Vietnam Wing Chun school falls in the latter category; their version of the wooden dummy is also rather plus sized. Check out the video to find out more.

An Uneven Contest

The previous two clips show polite exchanges, but exchanges could also be very impolite. In the past, an ill considered challenge can result in severe consequences. In this clip, a large skill difference between two opponents results in a swift and brutal conclusion to a match up.

Mar 11, 2010

Southern Mantis vs Choy Lay Fut

On the topic of fighting, this old clip show Southern Mantis Master Gin Fook Mark sparring with an unidentified Choy Lay Fut practitioner. One party seems better trained than the other but this does not mean one art is better than the other.

 Kudos to both practitioners for taking it to the floor on camera. Exchange of ideas among members of the old school were more common in the past, less so in modern times.

Mar 10, 2010

When Silat Masters Fight

The word fight is normally associated with violence, but savagery is not the only game in town. In this Silat match up, there are no ugly fisticuffs, but still there is a fight going on in earnest, in a subtle way. Watch as masters from Silat Gayong, Silat Gayung Fatani, Silat Serending duke it out after a Silat meet.

Mar 9, 2010

Blade Fighting Seminar

Want to get into some action? Rather than just watch martial arts videos, here's a chance to put in some practice and crank up the adrenalin.

Pekiti Tirsia Kali is a renowned Filipino martial art with a distinct emphasis on blade fighting. Its fame has seen it featured in the recent documentaries Human Weapon and Fight Quest.

We just received note that Pekiti Tirsia Kali senior instructor Tim Waid will be conducting a two-day seminar  this weekend, March 13th-14th, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For further details, email

Mar 8, 2010

Brazilians Show How It's Done

Had enough of the latest fantasy fu movies? Longing for some good old kung fu action? Well, let these Brazilian twin brothers show how it's done. They learnt their kung fu watching old Shaw Brothers, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies!  Good stuff, miles ahead of the nonsense in the cinemas these days.

Mar 7, 2010

Boading Balls

You might have seen these balls on display in Chinese curio shops.   Made of metal or crystal, these Boading Balls are used for hand exercises and are reputed to confer health benefits by simulating the acupuncture meridians.

Beginners start with rotating the balls in their palms; it's a bit like bicycle riding, once one gets a knack of it, it's quite easy.  From there, the bar can be raised by incorporating more sophisticated techniques:
  • Rotate the balls clockwise and counterclockwise;
  • Exercise the other hand and later both hands;
  • Rotate the balls smoothly without them touching;
  • Use bigger diameter balls or more balls;
  • Rotate the balls in three dimensions;
  • Invert the hand, ie upside down;
  • Rotate with the hand in a vertical position.

Mar 6, 2010

Bear Kung Fu

This is some serious kung fu by a japanese bear. The swings are fast and fluent, and some even landed with solid thunks and bounce backs. As one commentator over at Silat TV said: where do I sign up?  Yes, I am interested in signing up too.

Via: Marcelo Rainero, Silat TV

Mar 5, 2010

Kung Fu Kid

This movie is actually billed The Karate Kid, plus an unofficial tag 2010.

This remake of the 1984 pop classic which starred Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio caused an uproar among fans because of its re-characterizations: Sensei to Sifu, Karate to Kung Fu, Pat to Jackie Chan and Ralph to Jaden Smith.

The cinematography looks great, though emo movies are not the forte of Jackie Chan whose element is in frenetic action. It has been a long while since he made one of those.  But do check out the trailer and see for yourself.

Mar 4, 2010

Real Western Kung Fu

Martial arts are generally associated with the East, although there are now recognized Western traditions such as Boxing, Savate, Systema, Krav Marga, Pankration and others. However, the real martial art of the West is its military technology. An example of this is the firearm; this video shows the crew of gun retailer Impact Guns testing a variety of handheld units. With a firearm, one does not need to study for years to acquire a lethal one strike ability, just a few hours at the shooting range should suffice. There are pros and cons, but clearly this is one time-efficient kung fu.

Mar 3, 2010

On Security and Opportunity

There is no security in this life,
only opportunity.
Douglas MacArthur

Mar 1, 2010

Ninja Yoga

Well, what can you say? Whatever you can do, the yogis can do it better. Watch the previous two clips, Ninja Kung Fu and Pakour and The Art of Moving, then this clip. Another jaw dropper from exotic India!