Friday Fu with Shifu…April 09

25 04 2009

It was a cold windy day. I had spent part of it working on the Chuk Kai Tai Chi Praying Mantis Federation website, adding last years tounry pix, part of it napping trying to get my bio rhythm back to normal after working the all nighter on Tues. I was not really into making the trip to Campbell,  but with a lot of will power I did. I did not want to miss training on Hsing Yi with Art Sihing.  However as thing go, that did not happen.

Friday Kung Fu is a gathering of Eng Shifu’s advance students and other seniors from the Tai Chi Praying Mantis System for training and sharing at Eng Shifu’s school. Afterward we have a meal and talk of misc topics.


There was the pleasant surprise this Friday of Art Sihing’s Sifu visiting. William Fong Sisuk does not come out much and it is always good to see him. He was visiting Eng Shifu tonight having came down with Art Sihing ( Sihing and Shixong are terms for elder brother in Cantonese and Mandarin, sometimes I switch and mix, my bad).  Shifu is an older student of the late Grand Master, but he has a lot of respect for William Fong, who is considered the youngest of the 8th generation Masters from Sigung’s school. I first heard of him from a write up in an old Inside Kung Fu magazine edition. There was an article on him and Tai Chi Praying Mantis. Later when I moved to the northern Ca I tried to locate him to do an interview, but could not find him teaching anywhere. Later as I became more involved with the Federation I was able to meet him via Eng Shifu and Art Shixong. Since then I have had several meetings and talks with him.

When I arrived at Sifu’s I ended up sitting next to Fong Sisuk and we got to chat for a while. He asked what I was up to these days. I told him about visiting Aikido, and Wing Chun classes as well as teaching soon at the Jujitsu school. We spoke about Wing Chun, Jujitsu and Aikido the similar aspects of them and our Mantis. He had some back ground in Wing Chun so was very familiar with it. It said Jujitsu was very similar to our mantis because we have so many locks and controls with in the style as does Jujitsu. He felt Wing Chun is a good art but not one for people just beginning Kung Fu. He felt it was a specialty art of higher level than most beginners could understand. Like our Mantis, we have new comers start in the basics of Shaolin and Jing Mo training before doing Praying Mantis.

It was not a long talk but interesting. He also spoke about the history of Wing Chun and why there are no high kicks. Not because it is a southern art with a history of not using kicks but, because it was developed by a woman and it was not “col” for them to open their legs wide like that for high kicks. We also spoke on the tradition of Northern Legs and Southern Fists and the famous fighter who was taller than many southern Chinese and use hidden kicks. Which to the southern Chinese were not common, also he dressed in traditional long robes which also hid his leg movements. You did not know about the kick until after you had been hit.

After short while we and several of the others, my seniors went out the the training hall to work on the Wooden Dummy.


Sigong has a wooden dummy set in our system. Fong Sisuk say it was developed with Sigong and Sigung’s brother who was a Wing Chun player. Neither style use the wooden dummy to develop power , it is not used to hit hard as in to train the forearms, but to learn how to flow from one technique to another. Our uses more locks, traps and controls, with a lot of footwork, hops and jumps. Our power comes from spiraling action not from body pushing direct line punches. Fong Sisuk said that our style like the insect is not about power overcoming might it is about skill. It is skill that enables the Mantis to kill larger prey.


Wing Chun is similar from being developed by a female with less muscle mass than a man, it is about skill and technique not size and power. It was amazing to watching Fong Sisuk demo the form, he was all over the Dummy locks traps, hooks, kicks, hopping , angles, elbow and shoulder strikes. He said it had been 30 years since he worked on the Dummy but watching him one would never guess. He said it was all body memory.


One of the cool techniques he demo’d from the Wooden Dummy practice , beside the seizing which he demo’d on me, ouch!! were the hidden punches. Which were delivered under a blocking or trapped arm, where one could not see the punch to defend. Not only was it a surprise, it was fast. I felt two fast punches  on my ribs when only expecting my arm to be locked… sugoi!

When Shifu said it was time to eat, we adjourned to his office (usually we eat in the training hall) as there were only a few of us tonight. Fong Sisuk told us stories of Sigung’s past and training methods in such things as iron body and how he ( Sigong ) came to study Mantis. Which was because a Bandit who was a Mantis Player almost killed him, such was his skill, even though Sigong had spent his youth as a Shaolin monk.  He as said there are many things of Sigung’s that are lost now because he did not get to teach them, such as horse back archery and his medicine skills. Sigung worked as a security guard on horseback after he left Shaolin. He did not do Kung Fu for fun and to have a lot of trophies to get students. His art was refined in real life and death encounters. His trophy was to come home alive.

I did not get the review lesson in Hsing Yi I planned on for the evening, but I did get more than I planned on. As usual it was a worth while trip to Shifu’s for Friday Fu




4 responses

25 04 2009

Hello, can we exchange our link.
Add me in your blogroll, I will also add u.
mail me

26 04 2009

Very cool. I wish I had your discipline.

26 04 2009

Thanks D, but you do, You get up every day, raise two kids ( 3 with E) go to work, meditate, take care of your home and self…different arts, same discipline.

27 04 2009
Tania – da best. Keep it going!
Have a nice day

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