Friday Fu w/Shifu…Jan 2011…Live blades n Blood

30 01 2011

The end of the month, time for the advance students monthly closed door session with Eng Shifu at the Campbell school. It was an exceptionally interesting class for me tonight. William Fong Sisuk was there. He is always interesting to listen to his talks and see his demos. Tonight he was starting off on speaking about a Sabre that was brought to class by his senior student who he is teaching the set to along with another.

This is a heavy blade it was used he said to fight the samurai and Japanese soldiers during the invasion of China. It is heavy steel and used in close quarters, which is the weak point of the samurai blade/warrior. Because of it’s design and weight it is also a two handed blade. It is not used to directly stop a samurai blade but it can if needed. Like a Katana it is made to cut through, flesh and bone.

This was weapon taught to the common people and battlefield soldiers as the Japanese were killing men, women and children. He said there are many many sets with this weapon. None of them are standard. The only standard was the design of this sword. A few are very complex sets and training ways came about, but most were simple and practical. The emperor told all the local Kung Fu masters to develop a way of fighting with this sword and teach the locals of the town to fight back against the Japanese. The set he was teaching was one of the more complex but effective sets. While watching the set one could see how this was an effective battlefield weapon.

During on part of a demo Sisuk, was showing how to move in a do a block. He just barely touched the wrist of his student and  ended up cutting him. The sword was just that sharp.

Another thing covered tonight was how different styles in Kung Fu developed because of regional Chinese cultures. The study of Kung Fu is not just about studying fighting it is about Culture, medicine, knowing the human body and history. He also explained that it is not so much that Shaolin developed all these martial arts styles, but they had the means to collect and spread them in some type of format. Back in the day only the monk got to travel from town to town, province to province, in pursuit of their Spiritual training and goals. They were the one who learned the different styles and tradition of the many areas. All of this was filtered through their Buddhist or Taoist principles.

I went through Hsing Yi I was relearning with Art Sihing, which lead to a discussion of the animals and 5 elements in styles. I learned about how the five elements are interpreted, how they are expressed. Sisuk used two different style’s “water” strikes to demo. Then he explained the nature of the technique and principles. Then he went of to explain something about understanding and applying the principles and needing the physical training as well as the mind and spirit. Without both parts one was not a whole martial artist. It was very much like words from the Kyohon.

Another level of things we spoke about, as I got to talk with him alone for a while while my classmate were off practicing was the nature of Chinese and Japanese in study and philosophy and how that showed up in the marital Arts.

Before we broke for food time. I asked Fong Sisuk, with his exposure to others styles and a background of Hung Gar, why did he choose focus on Mantis. His answer was; Mantis to me covers all the aspects combat. It also embodies the higher art form of control. Not just hurt or kill the control techniques imbody to Buddhist nature of compassion via control and seizure. Also not just the control on an opponent, also needed, perhaps even more so was the control of oneself.

It was one of the more interesting session of our monthly Friday night practices for me as it was Kung Fu Beyond just combat.



One response

1 02 2011

Wow… considerable trust there. Although I’d be honoured to be second kaizoe while my teacher shot at a target, I’m not sure how I’d feel about the equivalent of standing there with an apple on my head while he shot at that!

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