Thailand

For any of you worried about travelling here, life is going on as normal, the Thai people are and continue to be wonderful people, life can be hard here as anywhere else in the world, so don’t let the media put you off meeting some of the best people you will ever meet and experiencing a culture rich in heritage. Support the Thai people not politics!!!

Work Life balance

Work to live not live to work is the old saying, difficult when you suddenly go from a little work to 7 days a week, in life we have to be prepared for anything and everything and juggling work and home life alongside training no different, we just have to make time in our busy lives to exercise and be healthy, for me it means extending an already long day a little bit longer to accommodate my training, I might not always feel like training but always feel 100% better after I do. Try to aim for a balance, everything in moderation as Chu Sifu often told me, nothing to extreme that way the body can recover and the mind is at ease.

Feeling good

It has been about a month now since I first started to retrain and familiarise myself with Chu Gar Kuen. I have only been doing the forms, Hei Gung and some dummy training for now as it has been  a while since I trained it properly as previously just maintaining the skills I had learned.

With the backing and support of my Kung Fu brother and Senior student of Sil Lum Hung Kuen,  Sifu John Farrell I am going to make Chu Gar Kuen training open for anyone who has a serious minded attitude and is willing to put in the effort to learn this unique style.

I am writing a book to introduce people to Chu Gar kuen and also we have a domain name so watch this space for more information, if anybody interested then get in touch.

Chu Gar Kuen History and Training

For my 150th post I thought I would shed some light on this style of Chinese Gung Fu firstly this style originates in Toisan, or it is where my teacher learned it. It is not a version of Chu family or Chow family preying mantis, it might share some similarities but that is normal for the area and styles that existed.

My teacher is Chu Siu Woon and he has been teaching in Manchester, England for well over 45 years, he  has been teaching Chu Gar Hung Kuen for all those years, and had always said the Hei Gung was from Tibet and the Gung Fu was from China and he had two styles, the first a village boxing style and the second a short arm style to counter the longer and medium range systems, he had taught little bits but very little, it was not until 1991/2 that he started to teach me on a one to one basis, the training I undertook was twice a day 6 days a week for 6 years in that time I learned about how the wooden dummy is constructed and used, the conditioning of the Phoenix eye fist and iron palm plus the bridge arm conditioning needed for this style. There are three hand forms short, medium and long range but they are all short range, they refer to the use of the hand or arm in combat and so are just called short , medium and long. Before starting the one to one training with Chu Sifu I had already been training these forms for a few years they were never demonstrated in their entirety and only the most senior students knew them.

The other training I did was conditioning of the body through Hei Gung skills and other training methods using weights and also ropes and pullies to strengthen the area required, this was supplemented with sensitivity exercises using the wooden dummy. Other techniques were drilled in a linear fashion, and as I was the only student then they were carried out on my own as was all the other training, if we were interrupted during training I stopped immediately and did not resume until the person or persons had gone and if other students then I would start again the next day but usually I made sure to do the conditioning and dummy before anyone else arrived. some of the conditioning was general stuff but a lot was specialised specifically for Chu Gar Kuen.

The complete system is three empty hand forms, a broadsword form, long pole techniques, dummy training and conditioning, Hei Gung and a unique kicking style that is very hard to train. It is not such a difficult system to learn but it is a difficult system due to the amount of training and conditioning needed to be effective, it is based on solid principles and footwork, designed to do maximum damage in minimum time.

I feel very proud and privileged to have been given this system to safeguard and it is a very unique link to an earlier age where the only goal was to defeat your opponent as quickly as possible.

My hope is that a family member will want to learn this unique style or a senior from my Gung Fu brother John Farrell’s group it is not for the faint hearted, it needs a good grounding in a Gung Fu system that has covered basic power development and strong basics, if anyone wants to learn this unique style then get in touch, I cant promise I will teach it to you, but it would be a start. Don’t ask me to expound in print about how you can learn this style only by training it can you understand it.

The Purpose Of Dao

Xiantianism_symbol_yellowThe Purpose of Dao (Tao)*1 is:
1. To venerate the Heavens and the Earth.
2. To worship God*2 and revere the Zhu-Tian-Shen-Sheng*3.
3. To be patriotic, loyal, and responsible.
4. To be of virtuous character and uphold the Rules of Propriety.
5. To carry out the filial duties to one’s parents*4.
6. To honor and respect one’s teachers and elders.
7. To be faithful to friends.
8. To live harmoniously with neighbors.
9. To rid oneself of bad habits and evil, and to pursue good thoughts and deeds.
10. To expound upon the Five Bonds of Human Relationships*5 and the Eight Cardinal Virtues*6.
11. To preach the main principles of the founders of the five world religions.
12. To obey and respectfully practice the Four Ethical Principles*7, the Three Mainstays of Social Order*8, and the Five Constant Virtues*9.
13. To cleanse the mind, purify the soul and eliminate unclean thoughts.
14. To cultivate one’s true-self*10 by utilizing untruths*11.
15. To recover one’s original Buddha-nature*12.
16. To continually develop one’s innate wisdom and natural abilities until perfection is achieved.
17. To establish and reach one’s own goals and to help others do so.
18. To transform the world into a peaceful, honest, and orderly society.
19. To enlighten the minds of people and enable them to return to a state of benevolence.
By pursuing this path, to bring the world into a state of equality, fraternity, harmony, welfare, and justice – the World of Da-Tong (Dah-Torng)

Lineage, ego or link to the past?

To me as a lifelong martial artist to search for the purest and closest method to the source has been a goal, it is not always possible due to time and location but I have been very very lucky in that I have been able to travel and experience training with teachers who have been at the top of their chosen arts and who have deemed me a good enough person to impart their knowledge. I know some will think claiming lineage in this or that is about collecting something or ego, but I can assure you I have only ever tried to get to the source or close as I can in the arts I teach or am proficient in from a view that the closer I am to the source then the teaching and training experience will enable me to grasp the basics and train them as they were meant. I don’t want to come across as disrespectful to anyone and I certainly don’t claim to be the best at the things I do, but for me lineage is an important step in the learning and understanding ladder or maybe I am getting to be an old man, reminiscing about when I started out, anyway for anyone out there who is interested I will offer my lineage in the Chinese systems I train and teach.

Lineage2A friend told me an old African saying

A man with no past is a man with no future !

Something to think about?