“Light Crane”.

July 26, 2009

This is something that very few have heard of – “Qinghequan” or “Light / Weightless Crane Boxing”.

Taught primarily in Putien Fuqing, this line of Crane encompasses all the main characteristics of Fuzhou Crane boxing, which is Flying, Feeding, Hibernating and Singing.

One of my White Crane elders taught this for a while in Singapore and since then, this line of Crane has not surface again until a couple of years back when I got hold of this article from the mainland.

The delivery of this Crane is really distinctive, not hard not soft and done in a way that is really fluid.

You know, if you are not informed, you might think this is some kind of Qigong calisthenics ….

Folks, you could not be more wrong …….

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Singing Crane technique.

July 19, 2009

Here’s a recurring technique that is found in many Singing Crane forms such as Hua Paik, Neik Saik Paik and even 2 men drills.

First a “lifting” elbow break followed by a penetrating kick to the ribs.

Singing Crane

White Crane and others.

July 10, 2009

First, apologies for the lapse in updating this blog; bogged down with work in the office and working on my main blog.

You know there are many forums out discussing associations between systems; Karate and White Crane and increasingly, Wing Chun and White Crane.

Views are so diversified that many of these discussions end up in shouting matches…. And folks ask me why I shy away from forums these days …. My life is exciting enough without the added annoyance of cyber verbal sparring.

Still, there are many good educated discussions if you are able to look through all that noise.

Comparing histories like I said is getting nowhere, what with everyone having a distinctive version and the same could be said for power generation, fighting principles and chi.

How power is generated and the role of chi in this formula is something that is almost impossible to put in words. General rules do apply but still not adequate to explain how some are able to generate power effortlessly.

And then there is the rest, huffing and puffing away …..

Maybe it’s really all about “effort” or “Kung Fu” which really means effort.

Maybe there’s a hidden method, maybe …maybe ….

I love to look for signatures, not the esoteric metaphysical invisible sort but movements and techniques that are expressed when a person moves.

It could be a certain unmistakable rhythm or little nuances that experienced eyes could discern.

Take this next Wing Chun technique for instance; this is “characteristic” White Crane hand arsenal.

When you do the “Wing Hand” in White Crane, it’s not just the fingers that you want to use but also the thumb – digging into eyes and other soft spots on your opponent.

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Yong Chun Quan.

July 3, 2009

Here’s a Crane form that came out of mainland China that appears to be a “cut and paste” creation.

The opening salute suggests Yong Chun White Crane and then you see a little “Shaolin” Crane and Flying Crane.

Actually, the whole form, to me ,smells of Wuzu except for the salute.

The “shaking hand” in the middle of the form is classic Wuzu and Taizu.

A key technique in numerous  Wuzu and Taizu forms and drills.

“10 shakes 9 are fakes. One shake is all it takes” – how many times have I heard this being repeated.

And the intro page also states that White Crane is sometimes also known as “Yong Chun Quan”.

Now this is where the mix-ups happen, Yong Chun Quan is read as “Wing Chun” in Cantonese and “Eng Choon” in Fukien.

Click on thumbnails for full view and to download.

From 3 to 8.

July 2, 2009

It is often said that “if you do not do Sanchin, you do not do White Crane”.

I think that statement sums it up; Sanchin is the bedrock upon which White Crane fighting is based on.

And many other Fukien styles use the same methodology.

TaiZu, Wuzu, Dog Boxing, Leopard, Dragon and the list goes on….

In Singing Crane, it is a misconception to say that there is no Sanchin and “Babulien” is the substitute.

SanChin is still the beginning form for many Singing Crane families in Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.

“Babulien” is the form following Sanchin and this is also the case for some Fuzhou Cranes like “Flying Crane” for example.

So we know it is not Singing Crane exclusive and in fact, not even Crane Boxing specific.

There are extant Babulien in Fukien Shaolin and Fukien Lohan …just to name 2.

Singing Crane’s Babulien take students beyond the swallowing, spitting, floating and sinking.

All 8 fundamental principles are covered in the form:

  • Swallowing
  • Spitting
  • Floating
  • Sinking
  • Springing
  • Lifting
  • Bursting
  • Rebounding

And like I said many times before, translating from Fuzhou to English is so wanting sometimes. The above, is at best, a ballpark guide.

Take another look at the last 4, my Sifu taught that those are the mechanism of “Whipping Jin” generation.

When I was in Denver last year and playing with Sigung Wayne Welch, a Pak Kua high hand, we were exploring the exact same topic.

I was taking a class through basics at that time and exaggerated on the sinking and floating physically and Wayne came up to me and said they got the same concept in Pak Kua.

Except that in their case, it’s called “spiraling”…..

A short clip here showing a segment of Babulien :-

Public Performance.

June 29, 2009

It’s common to hear me talk of TCKF performances and gatherings in my other blogsite ….

Back in the 60s/70s/80s and even 90s, my Sifus would get invited to at least half a dozen a year and it’s impolite not to attend – call it TCKF protocol if you will.

And this is typically done on a reciprocal basis, I support your dinner and you are expected to do the same for me.

I am not complaining; occasions like these are ideal for meeting new kung fu friends and renewing old ties with other schools.

Add full-courses Chinese dinner and performances on stage; I can think of worse things to do.

I tell you, much of what I know about TCKF comes from folks I meet in these gatherings.

The sad thing is that, just like many other practices, CKF dinners are slowly fading away.

Even if you do see one, it’s usually scaled down with fund raising becoming the main motivation.

Those days, every school would have their list of regular sponsors, well-wishers and other supporters providing aids all year round.

Dinners were more to show appreciation for all the assistance they are getting and not “soliciting” support.

Other schools are invited add “prestige” – you get to say thing like “half of Wu-lin showed up to give me face”….. you know, the Chinese thing.

Couple of pics from one of my school’s dinners in the 60s.

Top pic – you see my Sifu giving a opening speech.

Bottom pic – one of my sihings doing “Hua Paik”.



The mother Crane.

June 28, 2009

Here’s a view of what many think of as the “mother crane” – Yong Chun White Crane.

“Yong Chun” here points to a place in Fujian (Fukien) and is pronounced as “Eng Choon” in Fukien, “Weng Chun” in Cantonese and “In Choon” in mainstream Fuzhou.

Probably one of the reasons why there is so much confusion and debating going on in many forums out there regarding the connection between White Crane and Wing Chun Kuen – the style that the late Bruce Lee brought to the world’s attention.

Well, this entry is not about that.

For the longest time, White Crane elders everywhere would use “Shaolin Yong Chun Bai He Quan” when talking about Yong Chun White Crane attesting to the tight relationship between Shaolin and White Crane.

Many of those same elders would go on to say that Fang Chi Niang’s married her top student, Chen Si reputedly an expert in Shaolin Tiger Boxing.

And before any of you go, how could we know that for certain, well, you are right – we don’t.

But if you look at Yong Chun White Crane, the line closest to the source, you will see “Tiger” techniques interspersed in many of the forms and techniques.

Not forgetting that in my family’s Crane, every student must learn a “Tiger Crane Sanchin” simultaneously with Singing Crane’s own Sanjin.

Here’s a little info for you; in the “koon kor” or “fist song” in Fuqing for Tiger Crane Sanchin, there is a line that say:-

The Tiger is the husband and crane is the wife.

So there you go ….

Words get in the way.

June 27, 2009

No, this is not the Cranes that we do in Yong Chiaw.

Just want to use the clip to illustrate a point.

If you understand Mandarin, you’ll hear the commentary about “Zhong” and how in Fuqing, this means “shake, force,collide, push” all rolled into one.

Zhong He’s lineage originates in Cha San or “Tea Mountain” in Fuqing, Fujian China.

Video Clips.

June 26, 2009

Hey, you know what? I already posted some MingHe clips over on youtube, a few going back about 2 yrs ago …… hmmm… got to do something about me memory…..

My Sifu, Li Wen Shi, doing Tiger Crane Sanchin.

My Sihing doing Ngu Hin San Jin

Paik Po Lien / Happoren

Fuqing Paik Po Lien

Me and one of my students. I did an abridged version of Sanjin.

A good view of some of the forms that we do. The first to appear is my late Sifu Sia Mok Tai doing his “Flying Crane” with “7 Steps Needles”.

And then came forms.

June 26, 2009

Some of the major MingHe (Singing Crane) forms, from both Fuzhou & Fuqing lines, that we do in Yong Chiaw …..

Please note that I am spelling names the ways they are pronounce in Fuzhou/Fuqing.

You are going to find that almost all names are originally in those 2 dialects and later written phonetically in Mandarin.

In other words, reading the names in Mandarin and trying to make sense out of them is inaccurate.

Case in point: There is a form that we do call “Hua Paik” meaning “counteract or reverse 8”.

This is ,on occasions, written as “Hua Ba” in Mandarin which means “Flower Eight” and due to this, some are led to think that “flower” refers to some hands or feet movement. Both “Huas” sound alike with slighty differing tones.

Some of the other forms are:-

  • San Jin (Ngu Hin) – 5 Element 3 Advances.
  • Hu Hok San Cheen – Tiger Crane Sanchin.
  • Paik Po Lien – Eight Linking Steps. We do 2 separate versions. The Fuzhou version is the one adapted to become “Happoren” that you find in some Karate. The Fuqing version maintains the original “Lohan” flavor very noticeably.
  • Hua Paik – Counteract 8.
  • See Men – 4th doors. This is split in upper and lower forms.
  • Kerk Chien – Angle Battles. This is not the same as the one that Feeding Crane folks also do. Some elders did a 2nd distinct version, which, unfortunately, is lost in time.
  • Neik Seik Paik – or 28 Steps. Found its way into some Karate lines as “Nipapo”.
  • Lor Han – Lohan Fist.
  • Chong Khuang – Middle Gate or sometimes, middle guard.
  • Niek Seik Si – 24 Steps (Fuqing line)
  • Chi Kin or 7 Scenes.

Over the next few days, I’ll post some video clips of these forms.

There is also another form that is done only on the birthday of the patron saint of White Crane that is “spiritual” – a little like some Hakka styles with their “San Da”.

A form that my only remaining White Crane Sifu, Li Wen Shi, wanted to pass on to me during one of my recent trips back to Singapore.

Only issue is that I got to abstain from eating meat for 3 days prior and that made it kind of difficult for me. That entire trip only lasted 3 days in Singapore.

I even had a couple of big MACs ….so …….

Some pics from Yong Chiaw :-

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