Jun 29, 2010

Krabi Krabong

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Costumed, braided hair Taiyi Qigong a bit too tepid for you? Slow motion martial arts not your cup of tea? Okay, here's something a bit more smashing. This is the art of Krabi Krabong (literally sword and stick), the Thai art of sword fighting. Though a punch is a punch and an arm is an arm, martial arts are not alike. Fans of other bladed martial arts such as Kali and Wushu, should be able to see distinct differences between Krabi Krabong, with its unmistakable Indochinese cultural influence, and their bladed arts. Check out the clip, these folks really give it a go.

Related Posts: Eskrima Master Gets The Better of Two Dudes, Diligent Wushu

Jun 26, 2010

Same Master, Different Results

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This is a two clip feature on Wu Style Tajiquan (Wu Family Tai Chi Chuan). Because both clips are grainy, they won't be displayed in a larger window but will instead play on the frontpage directly (takes a few seconds to load).

The first clip, narrated in Cantonese, features third generation Wu Taiji master, Wu Kung Yi, grandson of Wu Taiji founder Wu Chuan Yu, in a 1954 public match against Chan Hak Fu, a Tibetan White Crane master. The match, declared a draw, resulted in much controversy as observers opined there didn't seem to be much kung fu on display despite the eminence of the two masters.

Wu Kung Yi was taught by his father, Wu Chien Chuan. One of the senior disciples of the Master Wu Chien Chuan was famous kung fu master Ma Yueh Liang. In the second clip, Master Ma demonstrates the famous Taiji fajin (power burst) against all comers from a crowd.

One obvious question is why didn't Master Wu Kung Yi use Taiji or fajin in his public match. Something to ponder about, what do you think?

Jun 24, 2010

Wudang Taiyi Qigong

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In common with hatha yoga, advanced qigong exercises may involve flexibility and suppleness drills. Besides health benefits, suppleness is also important in combat. In this audio-less clip, Master Master Yuan Xiu Gang demonstrates movements from Wudang Taiyi (Grand Celestial Branch, not Taiji, Grand Ultimate) qigong. These movements are somewhat reminiscent of Taiji perhaps because Taiji is said to have originated from Wudang as well.  While the two previous clips show power packed qigong, this one presents a softer side of the art.

Related Post: Iron Arm Qigong

Jun 22, 2010

Iron Arm Qigong

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Not quite as dramatic as the previous clip but outstanding nonetheless, this one showcases a branch of qigong which concerns body hardening. These armour skills include iron shirt, golden bell and in this case, iron arm. Watch as a Wuzuquan master demonstrates his remarkable iron arm skills. How is this skill achieved? It may involve regular hitting, the application or ingestion of herbs and qigong.

This is in contrast to northern iron shirt training which focuses on standing meditation. Whatever the training technique, the iron arm is a useful tool for self defence, the practitioner gets to carry two iron rods or baseball bats with him all the time, and these can used to take out the limbs of opponents at the word go.

Related Post: Extraordinary Qigong

Jun 20, 2010

Extraordinary Qigong

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This qigong clip gets our vote as the most dramatic one available on YouTube. Extracted from the documentary Ring of Fire, it shows Indonesian Chinese qigong master John Chang performing a series of feats under the watchful eyes of Western observers and scientists. Not to be missed.

Related Posts: Heat Emitting Qigong

Jun 19, 2010

The Shin Kicks of Chuojiao

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One of the trademark kicks of Chuojiao is then shin kick. This is not the Muay Thai roundhouse kick where the shin is used to strike the head, ribs and legs of opponents. In Chuojiao, the tables are turned, the shin is now the target of attacks. Since the shin is hard bone and the foot is not, this technique requires foot conditioning and the use of shoes as weaponry support. Watch as Chujiao exponents demonstrate the shin kick in this clip.

Related Post: The Art of Piercing Kicks

Jun 18, 2010

The Art of Piercing Kicks

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Chuojiao, literally Piercing Foot, is a northern Chinese martial art renowned for its kicking techniques. In this clip, a Chuojiao instructor shows how Chuojiao's version of the sidekick is executed and how it differs from the standard taekwondo side kick.

As the instructions are in Polish (we think), this won't make too much sense to non side kickers. But for those who are familiar with taekwondo or karate side kicks, they may well be able to discern the differences despite the language barrier. For the non-initiated though, one side kick looks like another. But this is martial arts, it might look the same but it is not the same. From what we gather, the Chuojiao side kick has the following distinguishing features:
  • Lesser or no knee chamber
  • Added hip rock for power
  • Shorter back leg skip
  • Unlocked joints on landing kick

Jun 15, 2010

Karate + Judo = Kudo

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Kudo, or its full name Daidojuku, is a hybrid Japanese martial art founded in 1981 by Takashi Azuma, a former Kyokushin karate champion, which combines karate and judo. Later, techniques from other martial arts were added including those from Muay Thai, boxing and jujitsu. Competition rules in this style allow the use of joint locks and punches and elbows to the head. For safety, full face helmets are worn. Watch as Kudo competitors take it to the mat. You can't beat karate for all out visceral action, none of the splippity-slap of some martial arts, nor the to-and-fro, stop-and-start monotony of modern fighting championships.

Note: The video stops at 3:20 though its duration is 4:23 in total.

Related Post: Karate Kumite

Jun 13, 2010

Wing Chun Wooden Dummy

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Here's a clip of Wing Chun's wooden dummy form from an innovative camera angle - the practitioner's point of view. The form itself looks like it is from the Yip Man school. Nothing spectacular here, just something for newbies to have a look at. Though it must be noted the practitioner seems to be demonstrating a toned down version of the form.

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

Jun 12, 2010

Muay Boran, Old Muay Thai

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The art of Muay Thai is noted for its viciousness in ring fighting - it showed the way how knees, elbows and a spartan few kicks can be used to good effect. Even then, martial art traditionalists in Thailand lament Muay Thai is a watered down ring sport, compared to its original form Muay Boran:
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the modern boxing ring was introduced and codified rules were put into place. These included the rules that the fighters should wear western gloves and cotton coverlets over their feet and ankles. Many of the old techniques were either banned or became impractical for the new type of matches. form was referred to as muay boran or ancient boxing.

Traditionally, Muay Thai masters would teach the techniques of muay boran to advanced students but this is not often done today. Professional boxers consider it a waste of training time for them to learn techniques that they won't be able to use in competitions and tournaments. Even in Thailand it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a school willing to teach it; they prefer to focus on "modern" Muay Thai, as this is more easily exploitable as a form of income.
In this clip, two practitioners demonstrate Muay Boran; it looks pretty much like Muay Thai though Muay Boran is supposed to be distinguished by its low stances and long bridges.

Related Post: Muay Thai in Action, 15 Muay Thai Combat Techniques

Jun 11, 2010

Karate Kumite

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Let's take a short break from qigong, and revert to our favorite past-time: fisticuffs. Contrary to what some kung fu martial artists might think, traditional karate is more than a match for their 'kung fu'. Old karate is said to be influenced by Fukien martial arts and exhibits some of its combat essentials. Karate has three main training components:
  • Kihon - fundamentals
  • Kata - forms
  • Kumite - sparring
Different types of Kumite:
  • Gohon kumite - step back, block, counterattack
  • Ippon kumite - one step sparring, typically used for self defense drills
  • Sanbon kumite - three step sparring, typically used to develop speed, strength, and technique
  • Kiso kumite - structured sparring drawn from a kata
  • Jiyu kumite - free sparring
These categorizations may not ring a bell, but they are powerful training tools.  Watch as Shotokan karate practitioners duke it out. No quarter asked, no quarter given.

Hat tip: Kungfu Magazine

Jun 9, 2010

How To Be A Bouncer

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In this clip, Taiji Grandmaster Wang Yongquan demonstrates Fajin (Power Transmission) in a Qigong like feat. Though Fajin looks like the Empty Force shown two clips back, the underlying principles are said to be different. Whereas Empty Force tends towards the realm of energy, Fajin is grounded in highly refined bio mechanics. This skill is only attainable through deeply technical and detailed training. Here's what Grandmaster Wang has to say about practicing kung fu:
Many students of Taijiquan practice incorrectly - first learn the routine, and only after they are skilled at it they explore the principles; what they do not understand is that through this empty practice without principles their bodies already get used to the incorrect way of practice, stiff, inflexible, with physical strength.

Once the students want to explore the principles, the way they move (with stiff and inflexible strength) already becomes habitual and the problems are very difficult to get rid of; and although they practice correctly for a long time later, Internal Strength (Nei Jin) is out of their grasp and there is no way that they can reach deep understanding of high skill levels.
Note: The video is 4 minutes long, the last 2 minutes is repetitious.

Related Posts: Empty Force I. Empty Force II, Old Master Bounces Off Visitors. The Secrets of Taiji Soft Power

Jun 7, 2010

Heat Emitting Qigong

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Here's a different type of qigong. In this clip Master Zhou Ting Jue performs a qigong feat akin to pyrokinesis where he uses Qi (internal energy) to heat water and heal patients. Being based in California, Master Zhou, who doesn't shy away from the public eye, has been subjected to much scrutiny and skepticism. As a measure of his skill, he has kept his practice and reputation intact despite the close examination.

Related Posts: Empty Force I, Empty Force II

Jun 4, 2010

Empty Force II

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Here's another clip of Master Shi Ming handling his students at will. Skeptics contend the students are just being obeisance to their teacher and question how the old master would fare with independent observers. Proponents say the exercise could be dangerous if performed with non-initiates. Either way, the taste of the pudding is in the eating, so one may need to get oneself to a park at 5am in the morning where old masters gather to find out the truth of the matter.

If getting to a park at 5am in the morning is an unsurmountable challenge, you can alternatively stay tuned to this channel, read between the lines, keep an open mind, and we might just be able to tease out a small measure of the secrets of the old masters.

Related Post: Empty Force I

Empty Force I

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Early morning in parks in China, one can find old masters teaching kung fu and qigong. To learn, the requirements could simply be diligence, a bit of humility and getting to the park at 5 am in the morning. In this clip filmed in 1993, American journalist Bill Moyers catches up with Master Shi Ming (Master Shr) at the Purple Bamboo Park in Beijing. In it, Master Shi Ming demonstrates Empty Force (Ling Kong Jin), where he is seemingly able to physically manipulate his students by just lightly touching them.

Jun 1, 2010

Season Break

Okay folks, end of May is the end of Season One at Daily Kungfu. We're taking a short break and will be back in fall (autumn in the Northern Hemisphere) for a new season.

But wait! We have loads of interesting content on hand, so articles will continue to be posted twice a week, at midweek and/or weekends.

Coming next is a series on Qigong, the mysterious art of mind and energy. Qigong is said to be used in advanced levels of martial arts and is associated with superlative feats. Though we are open minded about the subject, it is our general policy not to promote transcendental matters in this channel, as such the series will be presented from a a modern and fun viewpoint. Stay tuned for more exciting kung fu action!

Picture: Shaolin monk and Qigong exponent Hu Qiong.