Sep 25, 2011

Ninja Cat and Other Wins

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It has been quite a while since we last featured "Wins" at Daily Kung Fu. Here's one today - as a reminder that there is a lot of kung fu out there. So take a break, go out, get some sunshine and meet some ordinary and extraordinary folks.

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

Sep 23, 2011

The 7 Fighting Principles of Eagle Claw Boxing

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Eagle Claw Boxing or Ying Jow Pai uses the hands like the talons of an eagle to grip, manipulate, lock, crush, throw and strike an opponent. It differs from the Tiger Claw in that tearing and raking is not emphasized. This clip is a good introduction to The 7 Fighting Principles of Eagle Claw Boxing from the school of Grandmaster Leung Shum. For those who can't catch the Cantonese phrases spoken by the demonstrator, the seven principles are:

1. Jow Da, Cum Na
  • Jow Da: Using the fingers to make a claw grab the opponent's hand tightly then punch immediately.  Being able to use short distance power is essential.  Jow da should be practiced all the time so that anytime you claw, a punch will follow as an immediate reaction.
  • Cum Na: Cum na is locking an opponent so that he cannot move.
2. Fun Gun, Chaw Quat
  • Fun Gun:  Eagle claw fingers should be made hard like steel and used like pliers.  When using a claw, the fingertips should be placed over the joint, vein, or pressure point. The finger power should be strong enough to break a vein. Twist and separate the muscles, tendons, and ligaments
  • Chaw Quat:  When using eagle claw locking techniques, the position of the hands and pressure used should be such that they can dislocate and break joints and bones.
3. Dim Yut, Bye Hei
  • Dim Yut: Dim Yut, or Dim Mak, is using a finger jab to strike an opponent in a vital pressure point to cause series harm. Strike pressure points and inflict pain.
  • Bye Hei:  The claw should be strong enough to block the flow of an opponent's blood or chi, or to stop his breathing.  Seize the throat and arteries to stop the breath, blood flow or chi.
4. Cow Wai, Saw Fung
  • Cow Wai:  When an opponent punches, claw and press the arm to either break it or to lock him so he can't move. Use his power to lock him. Lock and break in one action.
  • Saw Fung:  Control an opponent with fast, smooth blocks and "Jow Da" so he can't get in a strike.  Prevent him from using any technique. Lock and control in one action.
5. Sim Jim, Tong Na
  • Sim Jim:  Use twisting body movements together with blocks to avoid being it.  This principle calls for the use of twisting, jumping, and dropping to the floor. Twist, jump or drop away from an attack.
  • Tong Na:  Use jumping movements when fighting such as jump kicks. Incorporate jumping techniques with fighting.
6. Diu Cow, Fing Law
  • Diu Cow:  Control an opponent at all times.  This can be done with the use of smooth blocks and "Jow Da, Cum Na."
  • Fing Law:  Use pushes and pulls to make your opponent lose his balance.  When an opponent punches, block and use soft power to push him away.  You can push and then pull in, or pull in and then push away.
7. Noi Sup, Chung Dit
  • Noi Sup:  When an opponent punches and your block is not fast enough, use the body movements to absorb the blow, such as shifting back.  The waist must be very smooth, moving like a snake.
  • Chung Dit:  Chung dit involves the use of floor techniques and learning to fall softly.  when you are pushed, swept, or thrown, you should be able to land softly so you don't get hurt.
Edited and reprinted from:

Sep 18, 2011

The Secret Shaolin Temple - Part 2

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The previous post covered Peter Owen-Jones introduction to the hidden monastery, community life and a question and answer session with a resident monk. In this second portion, he discovers Shaolin medicine, a novice nun, brotherhood and Zen.

Related Post: The Secret Shaolin Temple - Part 1

Sep 17, 2011

The Secret Shaolin Temple - Part 1

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Weekend is here and we have a cracker of a find for readers. This gets our vote as the best Shaolin documentary we have come across from East or West. There's much more to Shaolin then is portrayed by popular media as advanced fisticuffs.

This video is abstracted from the BBC documentary, Extreme Pilgrim, where an English vicar Peter Owen-Jones traveled to the Northern Shaolin temple to find out more about its philosophy and practices. But he didn't find anything there noteworthy of his search.

Upon further enquiry, he managed to locate a secret monastery deep in the mountains where renowned Shaolin fighting monk Shi Dejian has secluded himself. Watch this first of a two part series.

Sep 11, 2011

Art of the Japanese Sword

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This is a clip on Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu (Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō Ryū) which is reputed to be Japan's oldest and most traditional sword school and considered the pinnacle of classic Japanese martial arts. This Ryu (tradition) is the source from which many classical Japanese martial arts have evolved.

The term Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu is derived from:
  • Tenshin Shoden means "Heavenly Ordained"
  • Katori refers to the traditional shinto temple situated in Katori city
  • Shinto is the traditional religion of japan
  • Ryu means tradition, style or school

Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu nartial curriculum:
  • Iaijutsu (sword-drawing art)
  • Kenjutsu (sword art)
  • Bojutsu (staff art)
  • Naginatajutsu (glaive art)
  • Jujitsu (flexible art)
  • Shurikenjutsu (throwing blade art)
  • Ninjutsu (espionage art)
  • Sojutsu (spear art)
  • Senjutsu (tactics)
  • Chikujojutsu (field fortification art).

References: Tenshinshodenkatorishintoryu,  Sugino Ha

Sep 10, 2011

Showdown: Capoeira, Karate, Muay Thai, Taekwondo

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How do the kicks of four major martial arts styles compare in speed and force? National Geographic's Fight Science puts Capoeira, Karate, Muay Thai and Karate to the test under scientific conditions. Or as scientific as reality TV shows can be. But it's pretty good watch. You may be surprised with the results. Though the subtitles and text are in Korean the narrative and dialogue is in English.

Related Post: Tiger Kungfu vs Real Tiger

Sep 4, 2011

Qinggong: Balance and Light Feet

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The Qinggong (Gravity Defying Kung Fu) shown in the previous post looks more like Ninja skills than what is traditionally considered as Qinggong which covers more than just scrambling up walls. This next clip shows some traditional Qinggong training exercises, namely:
  • Weighted Hopping
  • Balance Brick Stepping
  • Balance Basin Stepping
In the last exercise the basin is first filled with sand or earth which is then slowly removed. When the basin is full of sand it is easier to walk on the rim without tipping the basin over but with lesser and lesser sand, keeping balance while stepping gets increasingly difficult. Thus, Qinggong is also about extreme balance and having light feet. It is not related to flying kicks, as shown in the photo above, and flying swordsmen as popularized in movies.

Related Post: Qinggong: Gravity Defying Kung Fu

Sep 3, 2011

Qinggong: Gravity Defying Kung Fu

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Qinggong (Gravity Defying Skill) is a skill in Kung Fu which is said to allow a master to jump up to and down from high walls. There is debate whether this is a fictional ability created by authors of martial arts books. From what we understand it is or was a real deal which has been lost. Contemporary displays of Qinggong, as is shown in this clip, is impressive but it might not be the Qinggong of yore. The Qinggong shown in this clip has a Western counterpart - Parkour.

Related Post: Parkour and the Art of Moving

Sep 2, 2011

Iron Monk: The Prequel

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In fact, prior to his involvement in Iron Monk, Shifu Shi Yan Zi and his students made an amateur video titled Enter Shaolin which tells of a gang victim seeking refuge at the UK Shaolin Temple. All campy fun, towards the end Shifu Shi Yan Zi kicks the daylights out of the whole bunch of yobs. One might say it looks kinda unrealistic but wait - watch the second video shown below the first - you might not think its unrealistic after all. [Note: watch the first video followed by the second.]

Related Post: The Iron Monk

Sep 1, 2011

The Iron Monk

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We haven't run a movie trailer here for sometime, so here's one today: Iron Monk. Starring Shifu Shi Yanzi, a real Shaolin monk who runs the UK branch of the Shaolin temple - both sanctioned by the northern Shaolin temple in China. The trailer description says no wires or CGI were used in the action scenes, so the action seems a bit tamer than what one might be used to from over-choreographed kungfu-on-steriods movies. Interesting watch though and the synopsis sounds promising:
A fierce new Triad boss arrives in London’s Chinatown to find his profits have tumbled. The cause? An enigmatic Shaolin Monk has turned people away from drugs and prostitution; his guidance is now their ‘protection’. The Triad try and force the Monk to leave but years of meditation have given him incredible kung fu skills. The Monk soon finds himself fighting to save not only his life but also the values he holds most sacred.