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