Unfinished Business

I am 52 years old and been doing Martial Arts, most of that time but I still feel like I have unfinished business another thing to learn a style to try, I watch boxing and think yeah I should go back to it get myself back into boxing shape, just to show that I can? My training with Chu Sifu was about getting rid of ego training in an art to keep that art alive and to be part of a culture and to learn skills that are no longer taught. When I went to Krishna it was like an epiphany in a lot of ways what he was doing and showing sort of made the jigsaw whole for me, it made my Kung Fu better by opening my mind to different concepts and ideas. After illness I started Taiji but not just a mainstream style I wanted to train in a little known and rarer style, so went to Sun Style Taiji and in Dave Martin found a great guy with no ego who just wanted to do the best he could in promoting his chosen style. I am not sure where this blog is going as I write it I just need to get some thoughts down as to why after all this years I still feel I have something to prove to myself? Is it ego? is it vanity to be known as one of the best? or is it just the way I am made? I lost my dad when I was 12 years old and maybe not being able to prove to anyone that I was good at anything, academic has driven me on as I really feel within Martial Arts I have found what I was born to do, I have trained with some of the best guys in the world within their chosen arts and continue to do so when opportunity arises, as I sit here typing I think well I could train the old stuff pick up the sticks again, push myself to new heights physically and mentally, but I don’t want my mind writing cheques my body cant cash, to me that would be detrimental to my development, I think where I am I am meant to be, training in what I should be for my health and well being, I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone who cares to read this but would appreciate any thoughts you have, I have stopped at many crossroads along my Martial path, stumbled and fell many times, been kicked and punched without a blow being thrown, I suppose I have answered my own question, do I have unfinished business?yes, with myself

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.

Sil Lum Hung Kuen Jor Tow

This weapon will be familiar to anyone who does a bit of weeding in the garden as it is the Farmers Hoe.

This is a very flexible weapon in that it has a blade and a pole with which to block and attack. The shape of the head means it can also hook and strike and is quite a formidable weapon in the right hands for such an unassuming looking tool.

The form starts with the farmer with the hoe on his shoulder coming home from work in the fields he stops to wipe the sweat from his brow and looks up at the setting sun. Then he is attacked by bandits he quickly dispatches them and then carries on home, a simple farmer with his everyday tool.

Sil Lum Hung Kuen Cum Na Sao Training

This is very important in Sil Lum Hung Kuen and also Chu Gar Kuen though the training is a little different.

The first exercise was using a 25kg barbell plate and stepping into bow and arrow stance whilst pushing the hands forward holding the weight.

Next using the same weight and a partner, standing back to back pass the weight around to each other.

The third exercise was using a normal house brick, throw upwards and catch with alternate hands whilst sitting in horse stance.

Fourth exercise was again using the house brick, put the brick in front of left foot whilst in a bow and arrow stance pick up with right hand then place in front of right foot then repeat exercise with left hand continue till Sifu said stop.

Fifth exercise using 50 bamboo chopsticks or garden cane bound together, twist forwards and backwards.

Sixth exercise, use an 8 foot pole have the pole in front of you whilst in horse stance turn to bow and arrow stance performing an uppercut movement with the pole then straighten arm and lower slowly so tip touches first repeat then on opposite sides.

Seventh exercise using same pole sit in horse stance opposite your training partner, then you both turn in opposite directions into bow and arrow stance trying to keep your grip and trying to avoid the pole turning.

Cum Na Sao is a system in its own right and after these exercises there are techniques to be practiced in seizing and grabbing, then a form called 72 Cum Na Sao.

I have avoided giving the amount of repetitions, as Sifu just left you to it and you did whatever he gave you till he said stop! If you stopped or gave up he would not show you any more. So it is important to remember that when training that way, is not for everyone and it was under his supervision and control so he could stop you if you were in any difficulty. Also herbal liniment was applied after training and this might not be available, this training was very traditional and needed 100% commitment to complete.