Nahm Sa Mun Pai (Herbal Drinks)

It is always inspiring to me when I meet a teacher who has so much to offer and does so freely without any prejudice or secrecy.

Ajarn Mallie is such a teacher this weekend I spent with her learning to make herbal drinks hot or cold was a great time. It is not easy work and takes 3 people a couple of hours but the rewards are worth it a natural product that is great tasting and healthy.

I hope to continue my training under Ajarn Mallie she has such a wealth of knowledge  I feel I need to take advantage of the opportunity as it may not come again.

Great Day

I had a great day yesterday learning how to make Steamed Pork Buns and Siu Mai as well as other things.

I have rekindled my passion for cooking especially, Thai food and the great tasting street and snack food.

Over the last four years I have studied with some great teachers of Thai food and yesterday was with Ajarn Mallie who has a great knowledge including the use of Sa Mun Pai (herbs and flowers etc).

I hope to continue my learning and I am forever trying to improve my own specialties of Thai sweets and maybe offer tuition to others who wish to partake of the special flavours of the land of smiles.

Shaolin Temple

This blog relates to a conversation I had with Sifu Chu regarding the Shaolin temple in Southern China. His teacher Go Lo Tin was a lay priest from this temple and so it is a direct oral transmission.

Within the temple there were various chambers where a student would study with a teacher. Unlike the movies, progress was not through the chambers, but to stay within the one and learn everything the teacher had to offer. The student would be allocated to a teacher depending on body type, attitude and also to the needs of the temple and the people it served. The various teachings would be in weapons and empty hand, with the pole being the main weapon taught and the various animal styles would be studied.

After graduating the student could stay or leave. If he chose to leave it would be through a red door and the student would return to the world to help others, as they would also have studied healing as well as martial arts.

The significance of the red door is why the style is called Chu Gar Hung Kuen, Chu Family Red Boxing. It honours the Emperor Chu Hung Mo and the Shaolin temple.

Sifu John Farrell

I am writing about my good friend John Farrell. John is not widely known in general martial arts circles but to many of the older generation martial artist, he is known as a long time practitioner of Shaolin Gung Fu and senior student of Chu Shui Woon.

John has over 40 years training and teaching most of that time spent with Chu Sifu. In the early days of the martial arts boom in the UK John trained with teachers Sifu Alan Lamb and Danny Connor before seeking out Master Chu and training with him at the New Moon Restaurant in Gatley.

He found what he was looking for and since has been devoted to learning, teaching and propagating his teachers way through demonstrations and Lion Dance.

John has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Chinese Gung Fu and in particular Northern and Southern styles, he is also an authority on Chinese Lion Dance and has a vast knowledge of the different greens to be picked.

I would encourage anyone to seek him out if you want to learn authentic, traditional Chinese Gung Fu and I find myself fortunate to be his friend and Gung Fu brother for over 30 years a friendship forged in a traditional system with a traditional teacher who has given us a gift to share with the world but only to those brave enough to seek us out.

John and his brother Peter have gone about training and teaching in their own way not involved with politics or commercialism just passing on what they have learned to those who ask, little known, appreciated by a few loyal students

But treasured by me.

My thanks to you both for you friendship and brotherhood.

Impoverished son

The Parable of the Impoverished Son From the Lotus Sutra Chapter 4, Belief and Understanding

Once a boy ran away from home and wandered for many years becoming more and more poor and confused.

The boy’s father loved his son very much, but had no idea where to find him. As time went on, the father became very rich.

Fifty years passed. One day, the son showed up at his father’s estate. He did not know whose grand home this was, but wondered if he could find a job there. The father recognized his son, and set messengers to greet him. The father was overjoyed that his son had returned.

But the son misunderstood. He thought the messengers were trying to arrest him for doing something wrong.

The father saw his son’s fear and confusion. He realized his son was not ready to accept the truth, so he told the messengers to leave his son alone.

Later the father had some of his servants dress in rags. He had these servants go to his son and offer him a job shoveling excrement. The son had been living so poorly for so long, he saw this job as a wonderful

Over the years, the father showed an interest in his son. He praised him, increasing his pay, and gave him better jobs. But he never told him his true identity.

After twenty years, the father was old and near death. By then the son was in charge of all of the wealthy man’s business. The son had become a responsible but humble man.

Finally, just before his death, the father gathered all of his friends and all the powerful people of the city to his bedside. He revealed then the true identity of his son. The son inherited all of the wealth.