May 31, 2010

Mixed Martial Arts

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The term Mixed Martial Arts is associated with the cage fighting sport where boxing, kickboxing and grappling techniques predominate. In lower case, it could also be thought of as martial arts which evolved in the West which is a blend of various traditional martial lines. Also known as eclectic or hybrid styles, these arts could be named after the primary style in the blend or less commonly be given a new name altogether.

Due to the plethora of arts being offered to the public in the West, it has became possible for practitioners to mix arts from highly diverse lineages. In this clip, Guro Dan Inosanto who studied Kali, Karate, Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai, Silat, Shoot, Brazilian Ju Jitsu among others shows a take down drill from Silat. Of note, Silat traditionalists have opined that the the shin block to a kick is a Muay Thai technique, which is not normally used in Silat.  This is an example of the evolution of mixed martial arts in the West.

May 30, 2010

Muay Thai in Action

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Following from the previous post on Muay Thai, this clip ups the pace with a live demo of Muay Thai techniques. Muay Thai has a feared reputation of taking on all comers due to their known and less known fighting techniques, and intense training. Lately Sanda, MMA, TKD and other arts have been able to close the gap a bit by studying the art closely and offering counters and exploits. In ring fighting though, there is no respectable substitute to arduous training and Muay Thai fighters train from young and they train hard, as such Muay Thai remains a formidable art.

Related Post: 15 Muay Thai Combat Techniques

May 29, 2010

15 Muay Thai Combat Techniques

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In our first Indochinese martial art clip. we have fifteen techniques from the art of Muay Thai (literally Thai Boxing). Muay Thai shares some similarities with pradal serey from Cambodia, tomoi from Malaysia, lethwei from Myanmar and muay lao from Laos. It is also referred to as the "Art of Eight Limbs" because it makes use of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes, thus using eight "points of contact", as opposed to "two points" (fists) in Western boxing and "four points" (hands and feet) used in sport-oriented martial arts.

May 27, 2010

Hung Gar Combat Applications: Ten Combat Hands

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Here's a high def clip of Hung Gar's Ten Combat Hands demonstrated by Sifu Yui Chow from New York Hung Ga. Hung Gar has a tradition of poetic names for their forms and techniques, from, the Ten Hands are:
Po Pai Sao - Side Tiger Claw
his technique emphasizes the use of the side tiger claw (jut ming fu). The key points of this technique are: Use the tiger claw to lock and crush the throat (fung hau), which will stop the breath; poke the opponent's eyes, which causes blindness. The object of po pai sau is to block and grab your opponent's punch while stepping back into a side bow stance, then at the same time use your side tiger claw to strike the throat or chin.

Cern Gwa Choy Faht - Double Backfist
The emphasis is on the double fist (cern gwa choy faht) smashing downward upon your opponent's face, which causes multiple fractures to the facial structure including the cheekbone, bridge of nose and eye sockets. This technique counters well against a collar grab. As with all hung ga techniques the cern gwa choy faht will only work when used in conjunction with the hung ga footwork. 

Tong Tin Kuen Faht - Heaven Piercing Fist
This technique emphasizes the uppercut (heaven piercing fist) to the floating ribs. Speed, power and violent aggressive transition from stance to stance is essential for maximum effectiveness of tong tin kuen faht, as with all techniques such as, gum gao gin sao (golden scissor hand) and gwa choy faht (backfist).

Ngaw Fu Cum Yang - Hungry Tiger Catches The Lamb
In this technique, the hung ga tiger claw is emphasized. This is shown by the vise-like grip used to crush the groin and the tearing by the hands to seal the chi and gouge the eyes. When the fingertips of the tiger claw dig into the particular accupoints in the face, you can cause disruption and blockage of chi and blood flow into the opponent's brain, as well as severely damaging the eye organs. 

Man Fu Ha San - Angry Tiger Descends The Mountain
In this particular grappling technique, the tiger claw is used to exert tremendous pressure onto the opponent's elbow joint. By sinking the stance, coupled with the lock onto the joint, the opponent's elbow can be seriously and permanently destroyed. 

San Ban Dan Gwai - Squeeze And Crush This technique puts emphasis on stancework, using pulling, twisting and sinking. Sau ban dan gwai is also known as dai ma gwai cho (take the horse back to the stable).

Won Won Bao Hok - Reincarnation Of The Fulfilled Crane
In this particular technique, the crane's beak is targeted to the opponent's eye. By using the whipping motion of the attacking arm, the "beak" essentially pierces into the ocular cavity of the skull, thereby destroying the eye. 

Hau Gi Tao Toe - Monkey Steals The Peach
This technique is used to twist tendons and break bones (usually fingers and collarbones). The key points here are to grab, squeeze, twist and lock on to your opponent's attack. By grabbing the fingers and twisting up (also called tiger climbs up mountain) you will subdue and break the fingers. When attacking the collarbone and using all four key points, you will not only cause the bone to break, but also cause severe nerve and tendon damage. 

Cern Fei Wu Dip - Double Flying Butterfly
This technique is used to damage and dislocate the tailbone. The key points here are to use a strong tiger claw for grabbing and low twisting stances to develop power for striking. Double flying butterflies got its name because the hand and foot positions are open and form the shape of a butterfly.

Fu Pao Cern Kuen - Tiger Leopard Fist
In this technique, emphasis is placed on slapping the ears with double leopard paw strikes. This forces air into the ear drums, which causes them to explode and disorients the opponent. You can also use fu pao cern kuen to attack your opponent's eyes. 

Related Post: Hung Gar Iron Wire Set

May 26, 2010

Tibetan Crane vs Street Punk

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Sometimes you cannot turn the other cheek, so you gotta fight. In this clip, a martial arts trained student takes on another who comes from a community reputed to be natural fighters. First and foremost, the martial arts student showed courage and that probably won him half the battle. The other half is the long overhead strike, a useful technique against uninitiated opponents who lead with short jabs. The martial art looks like Tibetan White Crane (or similar) which is known for retaining its fighting form and techniques in competition matches, unlike many other martial arts.

Related Post: Tibetan White Crane

May 25, 2010

Fukien Wingchun White Crane Sticking Hands

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We have earlier highlighted Yongchun (Wing Chun in Cantonese, Eng Choon in Fukien) White Crane, from the Yongchun province of Fujian, and hypothesized a possibility of a connection between Yongchun White Crane and Cantonese Wing Chun. To evaluate this hypothesis further, let's have a look a Yongchun White Crane's Chi Sao or Sticking Hands demonstrated here by Sifu George Buza and his son Matias. Looks quite far from Wing Chun Chi Sao, and more like knocking hands, doesn't it?  Or does it?

Related Post: Yongchun White Crane

May 23, 2010

Beagle Shows Escape Fu

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In our first ever canine only clip, a Beagle (right?) shows escape fu. (Readers who strongly prefer felines over canines please consider this caper simply as an illustration of biodiversity at work.) In addition to escape fu, Beagles are also armed with scent fu:
Alongside the Bloodhound, the Beagle has one of the best developed senses of smell of any dog. Scientists tested the scenting abilities of various breeds by putting a mouse in a one acre field (one football field) and timing how long it took the dogs to find it. The Beagles found it in less than a minute, while Fox Terriers took 15 minutes and Scottish Terriers failed to find it at all.
Readers who have be given the once over by a Beagle at customs and immigration may now know why Snoppy is the dog of choice.

Related Posts: Fearless Kitty

May 21, 2010

Russian AK-47 vs American M16

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Here's something for gadget fans, a matchup between the AK47 and the M16. According to the clip, the AK47 is a machine gun which doubles as a rifle, whereas the M16 is a rifle which doubles as a machine gun. The M16 is more accurate for longer distances while the AK47 comes into its own at shorter distances typical in foot soldier fire fights. Sounds a bit like the Northern versus Southern Shaolin dichotomy.

Related Post: Real Western Kung Fu, Automatic Firepower

May 19, 2010

Automatic Firepower

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The previous post showed a robbery carried out using machetes. Dangerous as machetes are, the targets handled the situation well by showing guts and keeping in constant motion. That made it harder for the robbers to make clean swings with their machetes.

This next clip showcases decidedly more high tech weaponry. Known as the North Hollywood Robbery of 1997, this incident is said to be the most dramatic robbery gun fight ever captured on film. Two robbers armed with AK-47 machine guns, armor piercing bullets and body armor took on 300 police officers armed with Glocks and shotguns.

This is an example of the effectiveness of automatic weapons and the leverage they provide. The use of armor piercing bullets is particularly nasty; these bullets go right through cars, engine blocks and concrete walls.

Related Post: Daylight Robbery

May 18, 2010

Daylight Robbery

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Do you need kung fu or martial arts? You can train for years and nothing happens. Besides benefits such as health, networking and culture, is the martial part really that important?

It is, in a flash, taken-for-granted peace can turn into a frightening maelstrom, and years of training will be called upon. Watch as robbers in an unnamed South East Asian country trail a businessman, who had just withdrawn large amounts of cash from a bank, to his factory and set upon him at the gate. This is a common crime in this particular country, citizens may notice loiterers around banks who are on the lookout for targets. Anti-loitering laws may help but it will be tough to enforce in this free wheeling part of world.

The clip is 5 mins long, the action is between the 1 min and 3 min mark.

Related Posts: Sister Sends Them Packing, Jewelry Shop Robbery

May 17, 2010

Needle Through Brick Found

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We have earlier featured a trailer on a documentary about traditional kung fu in Borneo, titled Needle Through Brick. Directed by Patrick Daly and produced by Season of Light Pictures, it received mentions and accolades at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and the Mexican International Film Festival.

The documentary is about the struggle for survival of traditional arts in the face of rampant modernization. It features a host of masters including those from Fong Yang, Southern Mantis, Five Ancestors and Hung Gar. This film is not the standard kungfu chopsuey or shallow kungfu reality show. Rather, it is a slow paced yet gripping narrative, to be imbibed like pot of good tea.

Watch out for the scene where the documentary makers are taken to visit humble food stalls and shops where kung fu masters work incognito as small time retailers. And don't miss the end, the message is at the end. The main commentator in the film is Fuzhou White Crane exponent Eric Ling who was technical advisor to the shoot according to sources.

The DVD is available for purchase here. Or watch the full length version over the net here. The web version has slightly muted and off-sync audio. The video is streaming only so it can't be replayed without streaming again.  It also seems to work best using the latest Firefox browser, older browsers may receive an error message. Give it a try anyway, it's quite a watch.

Hat-tip: Kungfu Magazine
Related Post: Needle Through Brick

May 15, 2010

The Pounce of Silat Harimau

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Oriental martial arts often use animals as inspiration for their arts or techniques. One animal popular across a broad range of martial arts is the tiger. And contrary to what outsiders might think, the tiger is used not only as an iconic emblem, but the animal's moves, strategies and techniques can also be incorporated into a particular art as well. Beyond the layman's general perception of the tiger as a dangerous animal, even for zoologists, the tiger is known as a particularly formidable combatant:
Tigers may [despatch] such formidable predators as leopards, pythons and even crocodiles on occasion, although predators typically avoid one another. When seized by a crocodile, a tiger will strike at the reptile's eyes with its paws [Wikipedia].
This clip (ignore the guy standing with his arm akimbo) is a demonstration of harimau or tiger techniques from Silat. Note the use of the pounce, an effective bridging technique whether in the wild, in Silat, or in Mixed Martial Arts.

Related Post: Rotund Silat Tiger

May 14, 2010

Iron Throat Qigong

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The two brothers in the previous clip are the nephews of ex-Shaolin monk Zhang Lipeng. Like nephew, like uncle. In this clip, Sifu Zhang demonstrates extreme iron throat qigong by using a stiff spear to push a car. Notice in the close up shots the spear head actually lodges in the soft notch at the base of the throat, not the sternum and the use of a car as resistance rather than cooperative spear holders.

As an interesting aside, when asked to define kung fu, Sifu Zhang has this to say: Kung fu means training one movement for ten, twenty years. Each movement then can be used twenty, thirty ways in combat. This is real kung fu.

Related Post: Starting Golden Bell

May 13, 2010

Starting Golden Bell

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These two brothers, Li Fung and Li Yuen, are the nephews of Zhang Lipeng, a well known ex-Shaolin monk. In this probably one of its kind clip, the young brothers demonstrate the art of Iron Shirt (Golden Bell), a feat which is normally performed by seasoned adult practitioners. Many advanced martial arts include some form of Iron Shirt in their training for both health and combat purposes. The training of some traditions involved gradual buildup of resistance to hits while others concentrate on standing meditation, breathing and semi-isometric exercises.

May 11, 2010

Northern Mantis Training Camp

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To round off this short series on Northern Mantis, here's a clip of a Mantis training camp conducted in Poland by Shifu Slawomir Milczarek. From the YouTube description:
The majority of the drills shown are for developing skill at the basic and intermediate level (chuji and zhongji sanda) , with some advanced level free-fighting (gaoji sanda) methods addressed, including the use of elbows. This kind of sanda is distinct from sports sanda and is trained for self defence as opposed to competition.
Of note in the clip are the combat emphasis, the one-against-many drills, closed in fighting for a girl, gang fighting(!) and how at the end of the clip, two exponents who had just mixed it up tooth-and-nail seem to be having great fun out of it.

Update: The instructor in the video is Shifu Brendan Tunks of Tanglang Quan She Australia.

Related Post: Northern Mantis Drills, Northern Mantis Wooden Dummy

May 10, 2010

Northern Mantis Wooden Dummy

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The Wooden Dummy is a training aid associated primarily with Wing Chun, and to a lesser degree, Choy Lay Fut and Hung Gar. Outside of these Cantonese arts, there are not many other publicly known use of the Dummy by other martial traditions, especially those from the North, with the notable exception of Northern Praying Mantis.

In this demonstration, Richard A. Tolson demonstrates three drills from the Northern Mantis Dummy: Gou Lou Chui (Hook, Grapple & Strike), Lou Lou Zhao (Grapple, Grapple & Claw), Tiao Tiao Zhao (Flick, Flick & Claw). While some schools of Wing Chun tend to caress the dummy, watch how Northern Mantis gives it a really good whack.

Related Posts: Iron Dummy, Dummy Attack, Plus Sized Dummy

Northern Mantis Drills

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After a week's break, it's back to our standard staple of pugilistic kung fu. To get the show warmed up again, we have a double clip of Northern Mantis combat drills conducted by Shifu Mike Dasargo and a student. Note the young lady has gotten past the dainty hands typical of female beginners and is mixing it well with her Shifu.  Within Northern Mantis, there are many two person empty hand drills, among them are:
  • Sticking Hands 
  • Trapping Hands
  • Black Tiger Ambush
  • Peach Flower Blooming
  • Stealing and Connecting 
  • Crushing Steps 
  • Eighteen Ancestors 
  • Avoiding the Rigid 
  • Stabbing Fist 
  • White Ape Comes Out From The Cave 
  • Plum Flower Hands 
  • Mantis Comes Out From The Cave 
These drills are said to be a bridge between forms and sparring.

Reference: Northern Mantis,
Related Posts: Petite Kung Fu

May 9, 2010

Yogic Flying

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Not quite levitation, but "yogic flying" which, as this clip explains, can range from simple hops to the veritable magic carpet ride. Watch this tongue-in-cheek National Geographic coverage of the practice of yogic flying, which comes with a pun filled, disbelieving narrative. We do not not normally cover psychic or transcendental stuff in this channel, but this clip makes the cut because of its novelty quotient and reputable producer. And it seems levitation has been explained by science. Disclaimer: we are neither physicists nor yogis.

Related Posts: Yogi Levitates on Dutch Television, The Secret of Levitation Revealed

May 8, 2010

The Secret of Levitation Revealed

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Well, as it turns out the levitation shown in the previous video is likely an illusionist trick. Perceptive viewers who suspected the stick next to the yogi might be a magician prop have got it right. Watch the video for full details, but don't miss the finale tomorrow.

Related Post: Yogi Levitates on Dutch Televison

May 7, 2010

Yogi Levitates on Dutch Television

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Yoga, another ancient art, shares some of the characteristics and challenges of kung fu. Like kung fu, it has many fine techniques and secrets, and like Shaolin kung fu, it is said to have originated from India. In select kung fu schools, the subcontinent's yogic heritage is still evident in some of their training practices.

But unlike the decline in interest in kung fu since the roaring 70s, yoga is going through a worldwide boom. One of the touted feats of yoga is levitation, a capability which is said to be achievable at the higher levels of yoga and meditation. In this first of a three part series, we have a clip of a Dutch yogi performing levitation and other minor feats live on Dutch TV. In the next two days, we will examine whether this levitation is real or otherwise. Try not to jump ahead or jump to conclusions, or you will miss the fun.

[Q&A: Where's the kick butt kung fu? We're having a short fisticuffs break, stay tuned for the return of more visceral action.]

Related Posts: Ninja Yoga

May 6, 2010

Diligent Wushu

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This is a short news item on wushu performer Lee Wei-Jen of Canada. In the clip it is mentioned she trains 6 hours a day, 7 days a week, a training regime comparable to what the old school exponents went through.

For martial traditionalists, it could be a bit distressing to see a young talent like her spending so much time and effort in training only part of the art (large fluid movements) with many traditional components probably left out (power, combat intent, self-defence applications etc). This is analogous to a student who spends all her time studying geography, to the exclusion of mathematics, science, literature, arts and other subjects.

Perhaps not all is lost, she might later find a teacher who could parlay her wushu skills into a more complete martial art, or her current mentors may already be tutoring her on the matter.

Regardless of the completeness of her art or otherwise, Lee Wei-Jen's diligence is most commendable. In fact, it is said that many martial arts are partial in scope. Paradoxically, the more partial the art, the more convinced the practitioners are their art is complete and superior. This is a big topic by itself, but let's hear it from the old masters: keep on learning.

Related Posts: Monkey vs Capoeira, Traditional Shaolin

May 4, 2010

Way of The Mantis

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Here's something different. It's an animated story which alludes to Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu's founding legends. Check out the innovative, zen-like graphics, refreshingly different from the animate-every-single-hair approach of Hollywood. The animators Joe Daniels and Jedidiah Mitchell created this clip for their degree thesis at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and subsequently won first prize for student aninmation at the 2006 Seattle 2Dornot2D Animation Festival.

J.K. Rowling at Harvard University

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We have previously featured Steve Jobs' famous speech at Stanford University's 2005 Commencement (Graduation) and after sifting through dozens of other speeches, we finally found one which is comparable to Steve Jobs' in is memorableness. This speech by author J.K Rowling was delivered at Harvard University's Commencement of 2008. In it she talks about Failure and Imagination. A stirring oratory, not to be missed.

Thanks to Sifu Boh for the video tip.
Related Posts: Apple Kung Fu

May 2, 2010

The Seasons of Life

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After an extended run on the kick butt aspects of kung fu, let's take an equally extended break from pugilism and have a look at the more creative side of life. This ad, by British retailer John Lewis, cleverly summarizes The Seasons / Passage / Cycle of Life in a one and a half minute clip and is gathering some buzz in the UK.

The ad's theme is never to knowingly undersell. That is, if you have something precious you mustn't undersell it. A subtle yet poignant message, it's about value as much as price, but goes far beyond these. It also perhaps reminds one not to waste a single minute of one's life, much of which will soon come to pass in a blink of an eye.

Related Posts: One Chance in Life 1, One Chance in Life 2

Kung Fu from A Bygone Era

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The good folks over at have managed to dig up some old Malaysian martial art footages and are making them available for viewing at their site. This clip shows a kung fu exhibition from the 1960s which featured kung fu stunts, including the spear-in-the-throat feat. But instead of a flexible wooden spear used in modern demonstrations, the old school master uses a thick iron bar instead. Notice the old Sifu's head is held up unlike how modern performers do it. These old school masters who learnt their art before World World II are a different class from the post-war Kung Fu generations. Check out the clip, of kung fu from a bygone era.

Related Post: Needle Through Brick

May 1, 2010

Coastal Missile System

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Continuing our occasional coverage of what we term as Western Kung Fu, this clip showcases the Russian CLUB-M multi-functional mobile coastal missile system. To understand what this system does, watch the video, a marvel of computer generated graphics and tight scripting. For martial arts fans look out for the last missile attack - it looks like a high tech version of double hook punches.

Related Post: Real Western Kung Fu