Sep 15, 2012

Modern Warriors

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After a break, we have a cracker of a documentary titled The Modern Warrior. This film features some of the most prominent martial artists from the 1980s through to the new millenia giving practical, succinct views and advice on martial arts and combat. These are masters, fighters and practitioners who have gone through the grind. You may not agree with all that is said, but overall this is excellent survey of the state of martial arts in the Western world circa mid-2000s. [Note: the film starts slow and builds up speed from there.]

[Update: the original The Modern Warrior video has been removed from YouTube. In its place we present a short music video featuring Western Boxing, maintaining the theme of  'Modern Warriors'.]

Jul 1, 2012

Clarity and Intent in Martial Arts Forms

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It's common to see Choy Lee Fut's (other spellings Choy Lay Fut, Choy Li Fut) forms being executed forcefully these days often sans clarity and grace. This Buk Sing Choy Lee Fut demonstration by a Choy Lee Fut master in China takes a more genteel route. Once could discern the techniques and intent more clearly. Buk Sing is a branch of Choy Lee Fut which is known for its small number of forms, less than five, as compared to mainstream Choy Lee Fut which can have dozens of them.

May 15, 2012

Choy Lee Fut's Ching Jong: The Balance Dummy

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Here's a rather nice demo of a Choy Lee Fut wooden dummy form By Sifu Mark Whelan. Unlike Wing Chun which is uses only one type of dummy, Choy Lee Fut has more than ten. This particular one is the Ching Jong or Balance Dummy because, as the video will show, it is used for training moving side to side, up and down, in and out. Sifu Mark Whelan is a disciple of Grandmaster Chen Yong Fa, the great great grandson of Choy Lee Fut's founder, Chan Heung.

Related Posts
Choy Lay Fut Wooden Dummy
The Eighteen Dummies of Choy Lee Fut

Apr 30, 2012

Ultimate Weapons: Assault Rifles and Accessories

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Moving up from submachine guns, this week's series is on assault rifles and accessories.
  • LWRC M6 PSD: Originally designed for the Navy SEALS, the LWRC M6 PSD is capable of penetrating soft armor and hard barriers.
  • Ferfrans SOAR: An assault rifle designed as an improvement of the M16A1, AR-15 and M4 rifles
  • CornerShot: Allows its operator to both see and attack an armed target, without exposing the operator to counterattack.
  • M32 Grenade Launcher: A semi-automatic grenade launcher that can fire all 6 rounds in less than 3 seconds!
  • The Simon: the SIMON rifle grenade is capable of breaching any type of door!
  • The Beowulf: Snap the Beowulf .50 Cal receiver on an M16 platform, and watch the large .50 caliber ammunition make mincemeat out of motor vehicles.
This will be all for Ultimate Weapons for now, normal kung fu programming to resume in our next post.

Picture Credit: Cornershot

Apr 21, 2012

Ultimate Weapons: Submachine Guns

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This week's series is on submachine guns, which combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol.
  • FN P90: NATO wanted a new type of personal defense weapon, and they received the P90, a sub machine gun for the future.
  • Knight's PDW: Highly mobile and portable for stealth operations, the Knight's PDW is a reliable compact system
  • Heckler & Koch MP7: Smaller than a conventional submachine gun, the MP7 A1 is capable of rifle-like effectiveness.
  • Uzi: The Uzi is a family of Israeli open bolt, blowback-operated submachine guns.
  • Magpul FMG9 The Magpul FMG-9 is a prototype for a new generation of folding submachine guns
  • Heckler & Koch G36: The compact folding G36 is built for close-quarter combat in tight spaces and underwater missions.

Notes: The G36 is an assault rifle, grouped here as a comparison. The previous two Ultimate Weapon posts have been edited to provide clickable links and more vivid thumbnails. Photo Credit: IMFDB

Apr 14, 2012

Ultimate Weapons: Artillery (Part 2)

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Continuing our coverage of Discovery Channel's Ultimate Weapons documentary, here are the other 4 artillery weapons featured:
  • NLOS Cannon: With the power of computer networking and hybrid engine technology, the NLOS Cannon offers stealth and accuracy in a lightweight platform.
  • PzH 2000: Combining precision engineering with 8rpm, the PzH 2000 is a lethal highly-automated artillery system.
  • Stryker MGS: A lightweight mobile gun system, the Stryker MGS is perfectly adapted to the modern battlefield.
  • Dillon Aero: The Dillon Aero Gatling Gun is capable of pumping out 3,000 shots per minute! Though no a cannon, it is almost cannon-like in the the quantum of output.

Note: The Dillon Aero is a heavy machine gun, grouped here for its firepower.
Photo Credit: Defence Review

Apr 8, 2012

Ultimate Weapons: Artillery (Part 1)

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In the West, the sophistication of martial arts has exploded with the use of science and technology in weaponry. Over the next few posts, we will take a look at latest developments in modern weaponry and armaments with clips from the Discovery channel's Ultimate Weapons documentary.

We start off where we left off from the previous post. The Coast Guard's 25mm gun wasn't quite the best weapon to sink a 164 ft (50 metre) fishing vessel. It was reported it took more than four hours to get the job done, and only after a larger caliber gun was brought to bear. This larger gun would likely be the 57mm MK 110 Naval Gun.

We thus kick off this Ultimate Weapons series the MK 100 and three other artillery systems:
  • MK 110 Naval Gun: The MK 110 delivers high rates of fire with extreme accuracy against surface, airborne and shore-based threats.
  • Archer Artillery System: Unloading 20 rounds in 2.5 minutes Swedish designed Archer is designed to work at all hours in all weather conditions.
  • M777 Howitzer: Weighing in at 4.7 tons , the M777 gives the military a lighter artillery weapon to be transported around the battlefield.
  • Dragon Fire II: Capable of firing at a target within 18 seconds in any direction, it is no wonder why the Dragon Fire II heavy mortar was designed by the U.S. Marine Corps.

Picture Credit: Wikipedia

Apr 6, 2012

United States Coast Guard 25mm Cannon

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The trending news this past few days is about the abandoned Japanese fishing vessel 'ghost ship' Ryou-Un Maru, set adrift by the tsunami, was sunk by United States Coast Guard using 25mm cannon fire.

What does a patrol boat mounted cannon look like? Here are two videos of the 25mm cannon in action. The first shows the cannon being used to sink a boat. The second shows a concert of 7.62mm M240 (heard but not shown in the video) 12.7mm M2 guns (the gun on the left), and a 25mm M242 cannon (the gun in the foreground) being used in target practice. The deeper sounding the gunfire, the higher the caliber of the gun.

Picture Credit: Wikipedia

Mar 19, 2012

The Power of Empathy

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Following the previous post, here's another unconventional Kung Fu clip. Because this video was probably made within a tight budget, it is not as polished as full professional productions. But keep on watching! The clip starts slow but finishes well, you might need to watch it twice to appreciate the message. What has this got to do with Kung Fu? A bit more than what most people may realize.

Mar 10, 2012

People Are Awesome

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After many weeks of serious martial arts posts, here's something modern and spirited. As we have always maintained kung fu, high skill, is not the province of martial arts only. This clip is a remarkable result of many modern kung fu: intrepid sportsmen, talented videographers and a clever compiler. Watch and see what we mean.

Mar 4, 2012

Zhao Bao: The Secret Taijiquan Lineage

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Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) was generally considered to be represented by six main branches or lineages: Chen, Yang, Hao, Wu, Sun, each being the family name of the founder. In recent years, another lineage came into public prominence: Zhao Bao. Named after a town in Henan, rather than the founder, Zhao Bao Tai Chi Chuan, though new to the scene, is said to be the most ancient of the lineages.
The tenets of Zhao Bao Tai Chi emphasize simplicity, stressing that one should be as “hard as iron, soft as cotton, slippery as a fish, and tenacious as glue.” Its philosophy is expressed in the composition of its stances, in movements that harmonize and flow with the anatomy of the human body. Its aesthetic draws inspiration from nature with the goal of achieving movement as light as a cloud and as fluid as water.
This post has two clips. The first is an amazing demonstration of a Zhao Bao form by Master Liu Jingquan. The second is of Master Wang Qingsheng displaying Fajin (force generation) skills at a village get-together.

Feb 12, 2012

Tai Chi Boxing: The Ultimate Combat Art?

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To kick off February 2012 and the Year of the Dragon, we have a two-hour special documentary on Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) from the Chinese online TV network CNTV.

Compared to the recent raft of dumbed down reality-TV type martial arts documentaries from the West, this full length production takes a different tack: it places Taijiquan under a scientific microscope to determine whether it is just a fancy, slow motion dance or a real martial art.

Due the length of this video series, leisure pace as compared to our normal action packed videos and bounty of technical details, this series will suit connoisseurs. Presented here in four videos with English subtitles.

Photo Credit: Jing Institute

Feb 4, 2012

Japanese Bladesmithing: How Katanas are Made

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In the previous post, we had a quick overview of how the Malay Kris, is made, and saw how sophisticated the process can be. Moving our focus from South East Asia to North Asia, Japan too has a very sophisticated blade making tradition. This 4 part German documentary with English subtitles covers in detail how the renowned Katana is forged and made. [The picture above shows an upturned Katana blade sans its handle.]
The Katana made from a specialized Japanese steel called Tamahagane which consist of combinations of hard, high carbon steel and tough, low carbon steel. High-carbon steel is harder and able to hold a sharper edge but it is more brittle and may break in combat. The low carbon core makes the sword more malleable, making it able to absorb impacts without breaking but becoming blunt in the process.
Picture Credit: Japanese Swords

Jan 25, 2012

The Master Keris Maker

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The kris or keris is a dagger strongly associated with the culture of Indonesia, Malaysia, Southern Thailand and Brunei. The kris is famous for its distinctive wavy blade but many have straight blades as well. The numbers of waves is always odd numbered, ranging from three to thirteen. A kris' aesthetic value covers the dhapur, the form and design of the blade, the pamor, the pattern of metal alloy decoration on the blade, and tangguh referring to the age and origin of a kris.

The making of a kris was the specialised duty of craftsmen called empu. A blade smith, or empu, makes the blade in layers of different iron ores and meteorite nickel. Some blades can be made in a relatively short time, while more legendary weapons take years to complete. In high quality kris blades, the metal is folded dozens or hundreds of times and handled with the utmost precision.

This clip shows traditional keris maker Muhammad Daud of Malaysia making keris'es in the traditional way without metalwork assistants or motorized grinders. He is part of the fast fading generation of traditional Malay craftsmen.

Picture Credit: Yazir Tamizi

Jan 23, 2012

Fist of Legend

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The Chinese diaspora celebrate the Chinese New Year this week. It is a tradition for Hong Kong movie makers to release blockbusters during this time in hope of riding higher viewership during to the extended break the community takes at this time of the year.

Harking to the good old kung fu blockbuster days here an action scene from the movie Fist of Legend, starring Jet Li. His opponent is Peking Opera graduate Chin Siu-Ho. Jet Li has retired from making any more kung fu flicks, but he has this message for the world:
Everything he (Jet Li) has ever wanted to tell the world can be found in three of his films: the message of Hero is that the suffering of one person can never be as significant as the suffering of a nation; Unleashed shows that violence is never a solution and Fearless tells that the biggest enemy of a person is himself. Li thinks that the greatest weapon is a smile and the largest power is love.

Jan 13, 2012

Chinese Martial Arts Weapons

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Chinese Martial Arts sport a wide variety of weapons in its arsenal.These weapons evolved from battlefields eg. spears and halberds; personal accessories eg fan; and personal weapons eg. the dagger.

In this remarkable clip, which gets our vote as the best short video on Chinese Martial Arts or Kung Fu weapons, Professor Jonathan Barbary of Fatsan Bak Mei provides a quick fire overview of the numerous weapons he had learnt from different Masters:

Fatsan Bak Mei (Sifus Lao Wei Kei and Chan Yau Mun)
  • Pole, Fork, Fan, Double Axes, Butterfly Knives, Straight Sword, Broadsword
Northern Mantis (from Sifu Teddy Lai)
  • Spear, Cymbals, Abacus, Small Pipe, Flute, Umbrella.
Northern Mantis (from Sifu Tse Wai Ming)
  • Double Tiger Hook, Lashing Staff, Horse Cut Saber, Double Short Spear, Saber with Shield, Double Ring, Emei Picks, Double Short Staff, Double Broadsword, Big Axe, Monk Spade.

Jan 8, 2012

Filipino Kombatan

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Kombatan is a Filipino Martial Art (FMA) founded by Grandmaster Ernesto Presas. It is a blend of many other arts including Arnis, Dumog, Sinawali, Sibat, Mano Mano and Espada v Daga. In this clip his son Ernesto Presas Junior provides an impressive demonstration of Kombatan stick and empty hand techniques. In Filipino arts, the stick is a training tool for the machete.

Jan 2, 2012

Secrets of the Warrior's Power

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To kick start 2012 and wind down the festive break, we have a fabulous full length Discovery Channel documentary on Chinese Kungfu featuring notable masters such as Pang Qingfu, Shi Yang Ming and Chan Pui.

Some background information on the masters: Pang Qingfu starred as the villain in Jet Li's Shaolin Temple. In real life, he is just as tough a Kung Fu master specializing in Qinna, the art of joint locks. Shi Yang Ming is a genuine ex-Shaolin Temple monk who defected to the US during the first Shaolin Temple monks tour of the United States. Chan Pui is a master of Wah Lum (Bamboo Forest) Kungfu which is a combination of Northern Praying Mantis and Tam Tui (Spring Legs Kung Fu).

Picture Credit: Wikimedia

[Note: Broken links in the previous two posts on Pak Mei have been fixed.]

Jan 1, 2012

Fatsan Pak Mei

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Speaking of Pak Mei or White Eyebrow Kungfu branches, there's a much lesser known branch of this art centred in the Fatsan area in Guangdong, China. This clip shows a montage of techniques of this branch as demonstrated here by Jonathan Barbary, one of only two Westerners who were taught Fatsan Pak Mei by Fatsan masters.

Related Posts: Pak Mei Application, Advanced Pak Mei: The Nine Step Push

Vietnamese Bak Mei

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This is Pak Mei's Nice Step Push or Gau Bo Toi form from the Vietnamese branch of Pak Mei. Compared to the previous clip, which was performed gently by Hong Kong Pak Mei master Ringo Lo, this Nice Step Push is more much vigorous.

Related Post: Advanced Pak Mei: The Nine Step Push