петак, 3. јун 2022.

Understaning White Crane - History

          It is impossible to fully understand White Crane with the knowledge of only physical (martial) aspect of the style. In order to fully understand any martial style from Fujian province we have to understand social, political, economic, religious and cultural aspect of every life during the last decades of Ming dynasty and entre reign of Ching dynasty. We have to understand the worldview of Kung Fu practitioners of that particular period when White Crane or the style which was a predecessor of White Crane came to existence.

           Social, political and economic aspects of late Ming dynasty period when, according to the existing evidence White Crane has been created, will not be main subject of this article, they will be mentioned when needed to give the right context to the presented material. These areas are too wide to be properly explained and they go way beyond the format of this blog. These subjects should be a subject of a separate book or, at best, each of these subjects should be explained separately in a books dedicated solely to the specific theme.

        Brief history of the style, as commonly accepted among most of the White Crane practitioners will be presented. First description of a fighting style that resembles White Crane can be found in the middle 1500’s in Fujian province. Description of that style fit not White Crane but many other Fujian styles which, obviously share same origin and are quite similar, so much so that untrained individual can’t actually tell them apart. When exactly White Crane was created remains a mystery, serious historical research, done by professional historians was never conducted. Although some research has been done, it was conducted by White Crane practitioners and it doesn't give defintive answer to any of the question about White Crane history.

            Still, the fact remains that White Crane is one of the oldest form of Southern Chinese boxing, it has a long history and abundant historical records. In terms of the documents currently available to researchers, White Crane practitioners claim that the material related to style exceeds that of any other Southern styles. From the boxing manuals it is obvious that White Crane had already formulated a complete system and principles much earlier than any other Southern Kung Fu.  

           In the article “Yong Chun White Crane Boxing – development and revolution”, Master Su Ying Han and Master Li Gang theorize that early White Crane Boxing may only have included sparring. The completed forms emerged out of the research and development of later generations of practitioners.

             Early White Crane Boxing Method, was a collection of postures, applications and footwork which were practiced individually, the forms were short sequences or simple repetitive movements. As “Fang Qiniang’s White Crane 15 Postures” from the “White Crane Spiritual Ancestor True Transmission Method” records, these fifteen postures were the earliest seen recorded in any boxing manual. Similar short forms are today preserved in some Wing Chun styles under the name “San Sik”.

           Like all local martial arts, White Crane never ceased to evolve; although we cannot make a determination as to when the core structure of White Crane was formulated, by the time of Emperors Qianlong (1735-1796) it was already at a mature stage of development, it can be said that it was the first complete Kung Fu style in a form and shape that we know Chinese Martial Arts today. By the Jiaqing era (1796-1820), it had developed into one of the most influential styles in Fujian Province and it help shaping kung fu in South of Chine for centuries.

           One of the evidence of this is karate manual known as Bubishi preserved in Okinawa. Although there are some controversies about the content of this manual and its connection to White Crane and martial arts in general but it is still treasured as the most important Karate manual.

           Bubishi was transmitted from Fujian to Okinawa and its contents include the philosophy of Shaolin Boxing, legendary history, fighting applications, Chinese herbal medicine and applications, secret of pressure point applications, etc. How and when Bubishi came to Okinawa still remains unknown. Most traditional karate or Bubishi researchers believe, that the manual arrived in Okinawa around 1850. It is likely that the Bubishi had several different editions, and the surviving example is a compilation of several handwritten copies. Regardless, the Bubishi had arrived in Okinawa by the middle of the 19th Century, clearly demonstrating that White Crane had already formulated its system at the very latest by the beginning of the 19th Century.

          In addition, even though some researchers believe several other Fujianese styles, like Taizu Quan, Luohan Quan were formed earlier than White Crane, there is no hard evidence to support this view; these styles do not have a boxing manuals or other documents that predate White Crane. Conversely, from the point of view of applications, principles for expression of power (fajin), or forms, from different technical perspectives, Taizu Quan, Hujun Quan, Luohan Quan, Five Ancestor, all retain the flavor of White Crane and were obviously influenced by it.

             In the past two hundred years, White Crane not only led the development of martial arts in Fujian and the surrounding areas, but its influence extended to Taiwan, Japan and its southern influence extended to Guangdong. It was Fujian’s most influential and most widely transmitted style. White Crane has lineages in Fuzhou, Yong Chun, Quanzhou and Zhangzhou. According to the research of lineage holder Master Li Gang, as White Crane had its most dynamic development in Yong Chun County, and as many of the representative masters came from there, people naturally placed the words Yong Chun and White Crane together to become Yong Chun White Crane or even Yong Chun Boxing. We can also find traces of White Crane influence in the north. Some of White Crane basic principles and training methods can be found in several northern styles.

Over time White Crane underwent several generations of transmission and promotion to become the most widely practiced style in Fujian Province, it could not avoid evolving and developing. Few masters, who had a strong technical foundation and had unique insights into White Crane Boxing, through compiling their own practical fighting experience, would undergo an arduous process of inner cultivation, and would come to certain realizations. They would innovate upon the structure of White Crane boxing, thus developing their own unique styles and forming their own system and a new school. Five main Crane styles differentiated from the original proto-style, Flying (Fei He), Crying (Ming He), Feeding (Shi He), Shaking (Zong He) and Sleeping (Su He) Crane. It is important to notice that Crying Crane was a mix of the older Crane styles and Lohan Quan.

 

 

           Most Crane styles trace their origin to Fang Qiniang and her father. There are many different origin stories, some are simple and to the point while some quite elaborate, beautiful with elements of the fantasy and fiction. Most White Crane lineage holders believe that Fang Qinang and her father Fang Zhong were not mythical characters but real historical figures. According to the traditions of the Lee family branch of Flying Crane, Qiniang was born in the mid-17th century.

            The White Crane creation story has several points worth noting, first it is different from other Southern styles, as the White Crane story in its many versions does not make an reference to the burning of the Shaolin temple as a determining factor in its origin. The only exception is the version related by Master Liu Gu from the Feeding Crane style in Taiwan. This version was made in 2005. As this is a recent version, it probably was influenced by other legends of the Southern Shaolin Temple. Although Fang Zhong had studied the Shaolin Boxing style, the White Crane style arose spontaneously and was not influenced by other styles. This speaks to Fujian White Crane’s independence and innovation, which is amply supported by White Crane’s applications and principles. Anotehr Version that conncets White Crane with Saholin temple is Wingn Chun creation story, putting Ng Mui as the founder of White Crane at Shaolin temple. There is no metion of Ng Mui in White Crane circles what so ever.

           Second, is that the place of origin for White Crane is a temple. From the research of Li Gang and Su Ying Han, White Crane was created at a place called Bai Lian Temple in Funing Zhou. According to Master Liu Gu of Taiwan, Fang Qilang’s temple was called Sha Lian Temple and was located in Fuzhou. Master Li’s version places it in Fang Zhang Guang’s home in Lishiu County in Chuzhou.  Although the three places of origin are different, if one looks carefully Funing Zhou is located in the North East of Fujian, and is very close to Zhejiang, and Chuzhou is the southernmost magistracy in Zhejiang and borders with Fujian. So even though the oral records state different places of origin to a certain extent they are not in conflict, but give us a strong historical indication that the origin of White Crane was in an area located between Zhejiang and Fujian.

           Third, White Crane is the first and the oldest Kung Fu styles in a form and shape we know Kung Fu today. There are claims that other styles are older or influenced White Crane but there is no evidence for such claims.

           Fourth, the formation of White Crane is closely connected with the worship of the Crane Spirit. First of all, almost all the creation myths center upon the Fang Qiniang watching the crane and learning from it, most of this stories put Fang Qinang in the temple at the time when encounters with the Crane happens. One version even anthropomorphizes the crane into a “Crane Spirit.” Cranes, or herons as they are also referred to as, play an important role in Chinese mythology. In Chinese culture, the crane is venerated as the prince of all feathered creatures and thus has a legendary status. Embodying longevity and peace, it is the second most favored bird symbol after the phoenix. In Taiwan there is a White Crane array, religious procession that includes Crane spirit and martial arts

         Fifth, the emergence of White Crane Boxing was probably the greatest breakthrough in Fujian martial arts. This kind of internal - “Seemingly hard but not hard, seemingly soft but not soft” martial principle, had not been seen before and can be said to break open the source foundation for Southern “internal martial arts”.

            Last decade brought increased interest in White Crane Kung Fu. Many people who practice styles related to White Crane engage in research and training of the style, searching the technical and historical roots of their own arts. The study of White Crane is currently a hot topic in the study of Southern martial arts, whether it on the mainland China or in Taiwan. Many research papers were published on this topic. However, the focus is rarely put on the origin of White Crane. Most practitioners accept the theory put forward by Li Gang or Su Ying Han regarding its origin in the Shunzhi period. As we have not as yet been able to find any historical evidence of the existence of Fang Zhong or Fang Qiniang, from an academic perspective we can only view them as popular martial arts legends (or symbolic figures).

According to White Crane traditions, from the end of the Qianlong period to the beginning of the Jiaqing period, White Crane had already reached the fifth or sixth generation. Most surviving manuals can be traced back to this period. According to Su Ying Han’s theory, the author of the “Taoyuan Boxing” is the fifth generation master Xiao Bo Shi and the book was written in the middle of the Qianjia period, “The Vital Principles - related in person” was written by the 5th generation practitioner Zhen Qiao during the Qianglong period; “The True Method transmitted by the White Crane Spiritual Ancestor” was written during the Qianlong period, etc.

            If we assume that twenty to twenty five years makes up a generation, 5 to 6 generations represents about a hundred to a hundred and fifty years. If White Crane had reached the fifth or sixth generation in 1820, then the earliest date for the origin of White Crane is 1670 and the latest is 1770. 1670 is during the reign of the Emperor Kangxi, with the death of the Emperor Shunzhi only nine years before. 1770 is during the height of the Emperor Qianlong’s reign.

                                    


          What is interesting about White Crane is the fact that it is, as mentioned before, first complete Kung Fu style, not only in a sense of technical content, training focus and training methods, but also in a sense of deeper spiritual and health practice today known as “internal” training. White Crane was internal art before Tai Chi, Ba Gua and Xing I, the big three of “internal arts, even came to existence in a form we know them today. That spiritual and health practice is the main subject of this book.

          Another interesting thing should be said about the history of White Crane. Some authors have an opinion that creation of the style was a result of socio-political processes during the end of the Ming and beginning of the Qing dynasty and it was inevitable. According to their own words: “Many scholars believe that the internal arts, especially White Crane as the first truly internal style, appeared when the Han people were under being heavily oppressed by the military and political power of the Northern tribes, and were forced to reassess their cultural identity. One part of this was the internalization of Han Culture, demonstrated in the emergence of martial arts principles such as “using the soft to overcome the hard”, “using the stillness to overcome movement”, which had a direct relationship with the social background and cultural migration, and was a basic automatic response and adjustment in response to the gross assault on the native civilization. Finally, in the Ming-Qing era there was a special trend that was popular in the Fujian region – the popularity of the masculinity. This trend to differing extents influenced the development of different cultural phenomena, including what a part of body culture – popular martial arts. From the perspective of the big wave of cultural history, the essence of Han culture giving rise to “internalization” was an important factor in the rise of the popularity of masculinity.”

           Talking about White Crane history wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Taiwan. Taiwan is the last oasis of traditional Chinese martial arts.

            Taiwan has specific place in history of Chinese people and specific place in Kung Fu history and development. There were several aboriginal tribes who live on Taiwan for thousands of years. First settlers from China came in 1100’s on Penghu island but first serious colonization started after fall of Ming dynasty and Koxinga’s war against the Dutch. In 1661 Koxinga took the island from Dutch, he planned to make  Taiwan a base where he will raise an army to overthrone  the Ching  and  return Ming Dynasty to power. Koxinga died in 1662 and Ching took over the island several decades later. First wave of settlers who came from Fujian province bringing their martial arts were Koxinga’s soldiers. Most of them were pirates or ex Ming officers and soldier, both experienced warriors with great martial skills. After fall of the island in the hands of Manchurians many of these people and their descendants scattered all over the island in order to avoid capture and they preserved their martial arts as a crucial survival tool. Many of these styles died out in China but still exist on Taiwan. Several very old White Crane like styles, probably from Koxinga’s time are still preserved in Taiwan.

         Let’s keep in mind that during the Ching’s rule martial arts practice was forbidden in China, it was forbidden on Taiwan as well but government has very weak influence and almost no power outside of the city walls of Tainan where people freely practiced their arts without fear of capture. Over time, many people from Fujian province came to Taiwan and many arts now lost in mainland China are still preserved here.

           Other big group of people who came to Taiwan is Hakka people from Guangdong province. They brought their martial styles but they were still closed to outsiders and did not teach outside their ethnic group so information about their arts are very limited. What we know is that Hakka arts practiced in Taiwan are very close to White Crane in every possible way.

           Because of the weak government control Taiwan was a center of anti-dynastic activities for centuries. First revolutionary groups are formed on Taiwan, some are still active, to mention “Heaven and Earth society “ as one of the most famous. Legend about Southern Shaolin was invented in Tainan in order to give common origin for various martial and revolutionary sects all over Chine and bring a sense of unity and brotherhood. For centuries Taiwan preserved southern, mostly Fujianese martial styles. There is a large number of White Crane styles today which cannot be found anywhere else as well as other, less known styles like “Golden Eagle”, Wing Chun (same name as wildly known style from Foshan, but totally different art), some form of Yue Fei boxing  to mention just a few. A large number of styles are still secret and practiced only by family members.  All these styles, today mostly concentrated in the South of the island bare strong resemblance among each other and they all have White Crane “signature” 

           Just like 400 years before, in 1948 people massively escaped Chine in a search for a refuge, when communists came to power. Same thing happened all over again, but this time refugees were mostly from north of China. A large number of prominent “soft styles” masters came to Taiwan as well as the masters of Bajiquan, Long Fist, Mantis boxing, Pigua and others. While Kung Fu practice was strictly forbidden in China it was supported by government on Taiwan. Many masters of White Crane and other Fujian styles also came to Taiwan through Kinmen islands which belong to Taiwan and are located just a few kilometers from China. Many people think that Bruce Lee is the most significant person for introducing Chinese martial arts to rest of the world but they are wrong. Decades before Bruce westerners were coming to Taiwan and learned Kung Fu, “internal” systems mostly. During the time when China was behind the “Iron Curtain” Taiwan was the place where most of the people came to learn Kung Fu. Many of the Taiwanese instructors traveled over the world spreading Chinese martial arts and many of them immigrated to the “west” permanently setting up the schools and teaching their arts. Taiwan was and still is primary source for Tai Chi , Ba Gua, Hsing Yi and other “soft “arts and was and still is primary source for large number of White Crane styles as well as Northern Mantis boxing.

         Today, White Crane is a disappearing art. Under the pressure of “cultural revolution” majority of the teachers simply stopped practicing the art in Fujian. In Taiwan, the style was always been practiced by small number of people and carefully kept behind ‘closed doors”. It has never reached the popularity of Tai Chi or other internal styles and there is only a handful of schools outside Taiwan including Hong Kong and Malaysia. Only a few teachers traveled to the west to teach this beautiful art, and even fewer people from came to learn it at its source. Despite being one of the most complete Chinese martial styles in every possible way, it still stays almost completely unknown to wider public.

          This situation caused that information about White Crane mostly came from the people who never actually practiced the art and there is a lot of misinformation about history, technical content and training approach of the art. Even today when information about almost everything and anything can be found online, White Crane remains elusive and there is very little valid information about the style.


          

понедељак, 11. април 2022.

Wing Chun - completely misunderstood

 

From the time Bruce Lee had died, Wing Chun was and still is advertised as the omnipotent style which offers solution for any possible fighting scenario. Marketing is so strong that there isn’t even a smallest piece of truth about the style anymore. Exaggeration, hype and outright lies replaced true facts about the art. Fiction became the truth, people believe instead to test and know. This situation is not a surprise. Wing Chun is  a big business, many people earn good money from it and of course they would do anything to attract as many customers as they can. The other problem that caused unrealistic  view of the art is the fact that generations of “masters” didn’t fight, so they developed the art in the direction completely opposite of the efficiency they claim the art possesses.

All this caused that Wing Chun became a laughing stock in martial arts world. Numerous fights showed that Wing Chun simply can’t resist other arts, that simply has no tools for the real fight, at least that is how other martial artists perceive Wing Chun.

So, what is the real truth about Wing Chun, is it really completely worthless for real fighting? The answer is, yes and no. The way Wing Chun is practiced now makes it completely worthless for fighting purposes, and this is not a consequence of the style’s technical content but complete misunderstanding what was Wing Chun created for and because of completely wrong use of the art. The way Wing Chun is practiced and used now can be described as driving a tractor in a speed race. What most people fail to understand, mostly because mythology built around the art, have completely wrong idea what Wing Chun is. People take is as some kind of supreme warrior art, while Wing Chun is something completely else.

Wing Chun was created by the members of the read boats to be used on the read boats, nothing more and nothing else. It is highly specialized art made for very specific environment, not only physical , but also historical and political  and cultural. Art’s technical content perfectly fits the condition on the red boats, hence, short distance , no footwork, centerline, straight punches, chi sao. These things perfectly work in confined spaces where it is impossible to move, impossible to attack from the side, impossible to use grappling and also very hard to “debridge” once the contact is established. Wing Chun was created for solely for fighting in those conditions, its technical content and fighting strategies are adjusted to perfectly  fork in that environment. It is free to say that there isn’t a better art for fighting in confined spaces that Wing Chun.

On the other hand, if we try to use Wing Chun outside the environment for which it was created for we face several serious problems. All the advantages Wing Chun has when used in confined spaces become its disadvantages when used in different kind of environment. Lack of footwork, centerline, one (short) fighting distance, bridging…

We have to be aware that Wing Chu was not created to be used in open spaces and it is not technically nor tactically equipped to be used outside the original settings for which it was created for. How will practitioners resolve this problem is up to them, and there are several different solutions. What is important is to understand the true purpose of the art and then work on its deficiencies if the practitioner intends to use it for competition or self-defense, or simply work on the art with its original purpose and train other arts for fighting in different environments

уторак, 1. март 2022.

Huo Yuan Jia

 

Huo Yuan Jia was born on 18 January 1868, the middle of three brothers  as the fourth of ten children in the village of Xiaonanhe which is today part of the Tianjin municipality. His father Huo Endi practiced a style of fighting known as Mizongquan and earned a living as a farmer and also as armed protection escorting merchant caravans to Manchuria and back.

Young Huo Yuan Jia was born weak and susceptible to illnessso his father refused to train him in the martial arts. It is said that he has asthma but that claim probably came from the movie “Fearless” there are no data what kind of illness young Huo suffered from. Huo Endi hired Chen Seng-ho, a tutor from Japan, to teach his son academics and moral values. In return, Chen was taught the Huo family's style of martial arts. Huo still desired to learn martial arts, against his father's wishes, so he observed his father teaching his students martial arts in the day and secretly practiced at night with Chen. In 1890, a martial artist from Henan visited the Huo family and fought with Huo's elder brother, who lost. To the surprise of his family, Huo fought with his brother's opponent and defeated the latter. Promising his father he would not take part in any competitions (a promise he would eventually break), his father agreed to train him and soon  Huo Yuanjia surpassed both of his brothers in skill. Huo joined his father at work as a caravan guard. At one occassion while escorting a group of monks, Huo was confronted by a group of bandits, who threatened to attack the monks. Huo fought the bandit chief and defeated him. The news about this fight spread quickly and this was a beginning of Huo’s fame

Soon after, in 1896 like a lot of other young men at the time, Huo Yuanjia migrated to the city. In Tianjin, did a variety of odd jobs including warehouseman and bill collector (house thug) for a promising young Tianjin merchant named Nong Jinsun  who dealt in herbs and Chinese medicines. Nong and Huo were to form a lifetime friendship.



 In 1902, Huo responded to a challenge advertised by a Russian wrestler in Xiyuan Park, Tianjin. The wrestler openly called the Chinese "sick men of Asia" because no one accepted his challenge to a fight. The Russian allegedly forfeited when Huo accepted his challenge and told Huo that he was merely putting on a performance to make a living and apologised for his earlier remark in the newspaper. 

In 1909, another foreign fighter, the English boxer Hercules O’Brien, put an advertisement in the Shanghai newspapers insulting the Chinese as weak. Huo asked his friends to go to Shanghai and arrange a fight. After considerable negotiations the terms of the fight were settled. According to most of the accounts, O’Brien grew so concerned about Huo’s fearsome reputation that he ended up fleeing the country and apparently the fight never took place.

Both of these stories couldn’t be proved true or false, simply there are not written evidence to support or disapprove any of these claims. 

Huo capitalized on his fame and with the help of investors, including his old friend Nong Jinsun, established his legacy: the Chin Woo Physical Training Centre later changed to "Chin Woo Athletic Association". He attracted many students as well as the attention of some of China’s leading figures. Sun Yat-sen himself praised the school and said, regarding the association, “To make a country strong, everyone must practice the martial arts. Dr. Sun even graced the school with his calligraphy inscribing the words for martial spirit  and giving it as a gift to the association. 

Huo Yuanjia died relatively young, and his death is surrounded by myth and mystery. According to the story told by Huo’s descendants, the Japanese Judo Association came to Huo Yuanjia’s school to ask for a competition. A disciple of Huo disciples broke the arm of one of the association leaders. After that, the Japanese nursed a grudge against Huo but feigned friendship. When Huo became ill, they took him to a Japanese doctor who then poisoned Huo.

Other sources say that it was Huo who, in competition, defeated the head of the Japanese Judo association. At the banquet that night, Huo suddenly became ill, violently coughing. Huo was taken to a Japanese hospital where he was given, allegedly on purpose, the wrong medicine. He then died a short time later. 

Like a lot of famous figures whose lives become encrusted by myth and legend, we might never know the actual truth. Huo apparently suffered from some kind of respiratory problem most of his life and it is not impossible that this might also have led to his death especially after nearly two decades in competitive fighting. Nevertheless, the story of the Japanese treacherously poisoning China’s most patriotic wushu champion persists. In 1989, Huo's and his wife's graves were excavated and their remains were relocated elsewhere. Black spots were discovered in Huo's pelvic bones. The Tianjin Municipality Police Laboratory confirmed that they contained arsenic. However, it is difficult to ascertain whether Huo's death was caused by malicious poisoning or by the prescription of medicine. This was because arsenic trioxide has been used therapeutically for approximately 2,400 years as part of traditional Chinese medicine. 

Huo became as a symbol, both in the early 20th century as well as today, of Chinese patriotism and nationalism. Legend about him grew over time, especially when he became a hero of Wu Xia novels.

уторак, 25. јануар 2022.

New Book Relelase - "White Crane - Basic technique"


New book about basic techniques of Shaking Crane (Zong He Quan) is available on Amazon. This book is continuation of my previous "White Crane - secrets of internal power". "White Crane- basic technique" is a training manual that introduces the reader with basic concepts and basic teachniques of Zong He Style.






                                            White Crane - Basic Technique 

петак, 17. децембар 2021.

Justifing Evil

I want to talk about very interesting thing in martial arts. Before we start I suggest the reader to check the article about the role of the heroes in human society and especially martial arts

 Heroes in Martial arts

People will have heroes, especially in people who practice traditional martial arts. I am not a psychologist or sociologist  but it is more than obvious that traditional martial arts attracts certain kind of people.  What is interesting, people not only completely disregard negative things their heroes did or stand for but they aggressively defend those negativities. While many of  “martial heroes” were drug addicts, gamblers and abusive spouses and parents, these things belong to the domain of private life and do not impact society on larger scale. As if having a junkie or a man who beats his wife and children as a role model is not bad enough, people worship racist, criminals, fascist,  psychopaths… Following link shows some of the most popular martial idols,worshipped by millions today. 

Martial Idols

When confronted with facts considering their idols, people become aggressive and they are trying a justify their behavior by any means necessary. Let’s  analyze few of these people. Probably the most famous and worshipped almost as deity is Miyamoto Musashi, described as a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, strategist, writer and rōnin and a perfect warrior. In reality he was a man who killed others for pure pleasure of killing under the excuse of improving and testing his skills. Among his victims were also unarmed children. I will not debate his “philosophical”  achievements, everyone has a right to choose what philosophy is for him. Anyway, when confronted with a fact that Musashi killed people for no real reason, that he wondered around challenging people for death duels just because he enjoyed in that, his worshippers say that he had no other choice, that he lived in a time when something like that was usual practice and that he did nothing wrong. Killing a 13 years old child is wrong in any era, in any culture, just this should be enough to make people rethink who do they worship. About that he had no choice and death dues were norm of the time, that was not true. Without detail historic analysis ( all the data about the period in which  Musshi’s lived are publically available and easy to find) it enough to say that Musashi caused a lot disturbance with his way of life and what he did was certainly not a norm of behavior at the time. Even if they claim is true (which is definitely not), what Musashi did is completely unacceptable in modern society and worshiping  Musashi today is the same as worshipping a serial killer. There are many heroes throughout history, Japan also does not lack real heroes, many of those heroes killed many people defending their countries and their people. And those people are heroes because they fought for a right cause , for right reasons, when all other options were exhausted and they had no choice.

Let’s look at another example. Yip Man today is worshipped as a god, his martial style, Wing Chun, is often practiced more as cult than martial art. Besides the fact that he was a gambler and opium user, he was also a racist. When confronted with the fact that he was a racist his followers say he was just man of his time!!! Hitler was also a man of his time. Racism cannot be justified under any circumstances. No one in the right mind would say that segregation in U.S. was right, although it was a social norm of the time. Same Wing Chun people will condemn the racism in U.S or any other place but they will justify racism of their idol. 

There aremany examples like this but these two perfectly describe how followers of traditional martial arts justify things for which people today would end up in prison. 

среда, 10. новембар 2021.

Chopsticks as a weapon ?




Chopsticks are shaped pairs of equal-length sticks that have been used as kitchen and eating utensils in most of East Asia. They are held in the dominant hand, secured by fingers, and wielded as extensions of the hand, to pick up food. First used by the Chinese, chopsticks later spread to other East Asian cultural sphere countries including Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. As ethnic Chinese emigrated, the use of chopsticks as eating utensils for certain ethnic food took hold in South and Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand. In India (mainly in Himalayan region), Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Nepal, chopsticks are generally used to consume noodles.


Ancient Chopsticks 




Historical evidence of putting together two sticks to use during cooking or eating have been found in East Asia and the Middle East. The earliest versions were probably twigs used to retrieve food from cooking pots. The fabled ruins of Yin, in Henan province, provided not only the earliest examples of Chinese writing but also the first known chopsticks—bronze sets found in tombs at the site. Capable of reaching deep into boiling pots of water or oil, early chopsticks were used mainly for cooking. It wasn’t until A.D. 400 that people began eating with the utensils. This happened when a population boom across China sapped resources and forced cooks to develop cost-saving habits. They began chopping food into smaller pieces that required less cooking fuel—and happened to be perfect for the tweezers-like grip of chopsticks.. This new method of cooking made it unnecessary to have knives at the dinner table—a practice that also jibed with the non-violent teachings of Confucius, as expressed in one of his numerous quotable quotations: "The honorable and upright man keeps well away from both the slaughterhouse and the kitchen. And he allows no knives on his table." During the Chinese dynastic times, silver chopsticks were sometimes used because it was believed they would turn black if they came in contact with poisoned food. This practice must have led to some unfortunate misunderstandings—it's now known that silver has no reaction to arsenic or cyanide, but can change color if it comes into contact with garlic, onions, or rotten eggs, all of which release hydrogen sulfide.  Wood and bamboo were the natural early forms of chopsticks, and are still the most common materials today. In time bone, ivory, bronze, brass, silver, gold, jade, agate, coral and other exotic materials have been used, especially for wealthy chopstick owners. Ancient sets of chopsticks in China were commonly found with a knife and pouch, and chopsticks were frequently bound together at the handle end by a chain. Disposable chopsticks are modern invention, in the past everyone had his own pair of chopsticks and they were usually made from some kind of durable material so they could last long. 


Silver Chopstics 


Chopsticks are traditionally utilized as an improvised weapon. Martial artists have trained with them and carried them not as much as weapons but for having a meal for centuries, but they make excellent improvised emergency weapon for certain situations where taking out the main weapon is not easy, for example while sitting in the restaurant during a meal. While chopsticks don’t have enough weight and the grip really doesn’t allow firm hold of a weapon, therefore they can’t be considered a lethal weapon, they can definitely hurt the opponent and give time to the fighter to either escape or reach the main weapon.  Of course, in the past chopsticks were made form durable and heavier materials, some kind of metal and hardwood and could be used as weapon in the case of emergency or as a concealed weapon. Modern, light, disposable bamboo chopsticks can’t be used as weapon. 



Ancient chopstics set with a small knife as a part of the set


Chopsticks can be used as a weapon in three different ways, and can be trained in three different ways of technique development. It can be used as a throwing blade. There was a wide variety of throwing darts used in ancient China that are similar in length and weight with chopsticks. Throwing any kind of dart is technically really complicated and hard and requires a lot of training. Chopsticks can be also used as a stabbing weapon. Technique for this kind of using is similar to other short blades techniques with a difference that chopsticks can’t cut, they can only be used for stabbing. Chopsticks can be also used as tool \weapon in joint lock (Chin Na) techniques.

Most of Kung Fu styles do not use chopsticks as weapons. There are only few rare styles in China and two Ju Jutsu styles in Japan that teach use of chopsticks as a weapon. Snake Crane Wing Chun is one of the rare Kung Fu styles that uses chopsticks as a weapon and as a training tool to enhance the strength and mobility of the joints.