Notes on Fukien White Crane
The origin of Fukien (Fujian) White Crane is derived from a woman known variously as Feng Chi Niang and Feng Qiang Liang who had originally learned Kung Fu from her father Feng Shi Yu (Fung Fei Tze) somewhere in the early Qing Dynasty. Her father had studied at Nine Lotus Mountains Shaolin Temple (which is why Wing Chun White Crane is still considered a Shaolin art today and salutes with the Shaolin salute).
Legend has it that Feng practiced Kung Fu diligently but was also a beautiful young woman who, one day at her toilet, noticed a crane basking in the sun of her garden. The crane, attracted by her shiny mirror, came to her window and tried to snatch it. Feng tried to get it back and they play fought for it. She was amazed at the skill of the crane who persistently countered her energy despite her Kung Fu. This mock battle kept up for three days and interested and disturbed her at the same time. On the third night she had a dream. In this dream the crane adopted the shape of a man and taught her a new Kung Fu based on its crane spirit.
Some versions of the story have a white haired beggar appearing at her front gate the next day. Feng treats him with kindness and in gratitude he teachers her his art, the White Crane. In other versions she realizes that her father's style could and should be modified by the actions of the crane to create a new kind of boxing with her own feminine emphasis on attacking vital spots rather than using power against power. In yet another version a more down to earth Feng was originally accosted by the giant crane when she was planting seeds and, trying to fend it off with a staff, was amazed at the bird's ability to neutralize her skills.
Anyway, Feng married and moved to Wing Chun county, Fujian Province. There she became quite well known for her skills. Her students developed the Five Styles of Fu Zhou White Crane. The crane was also eventually incorporated into the Wu Tzu or Five Ancestor style which has its own San Zhang form and is justly famous throughout South China and Southeast Asia.
White Crane is essentially a counter fighting art. The hands are very "short" in most cases just outlining the shape of the body to be protected. There are flipping and sticky wrist blocks with tight elbow positions. The style is basically frontal not to expose the practitioner but with the potential for immediate shift to either side. This implies a certain degree of symmetry to the skills. Another familiar action is the wave of the hips associated with the strong Karate punch. The movement is essentially the same in White Crane. Hips jerk and send what is known as Coiling and Flapping energy through the arm. There is also a distinct spine wave motion at the same time. The stances, too, are grounded, short and strong in the style of Sanchin. Many of the actions orient to palm strikes and clearing blocks with a sticky hand approach to covering the opponent's actions.
Styles which overtly record themselves as having some White Crane influence have passed through some famous instructors such as Bushi Matsumura, a Royal Bodyguard. Also there was Gonkenki a Chinese merchant who showed White Crane in the 19th century. Crane boxing's influence on forms is evident, obviously, in San Chin (Three Battles) which appears in both Goju and Uechi Ryu styles among others. But there are also such signs as No Hai (Crane on a Rock) and other forms.
Still more influences on Okinawan Karate are the famous military work known in Chinese as the Wu Pei Chih and in Okinawan as the Bubishi. In fact the Okinawan version of this book has 32 chapters dealing with Crane boxing. A line from this contributed the inspiration and the phrase from which the system of GoJu (Hard Soft) was named by Chojung Miyagi. Uechi Ryu takes arm positions and movements from, among other sources, the Praying Mantis style. Many styles were influenced by the almost undocumented style known as the Beggar's or Vagabond style. In fact one of the props for Beggar style deceptions of appearing to be crippled, the double crutch, is far more likely to be the inspiration for the Tonfa than the typical explanation that it was developed from a well handle.
Weapons include some which have definitely become identified with Karate. Among these are:
Iron Rod (Sai)
Crane Wing Knife (Elbow or Sleeve Knives)
FU JIAN (Fukienese) WHITE CRANE was founded by a woman named Fang Chi-Niang. She was born in Lei Chow Fu. Her father was called Fang Hui Sz. Her mother was Lee Pik Liung. Her father studied Shaolin at the Nine Lotus Mountain in Ching Chiang district. The family, moving away from hostile land lords settled at Ching Chea Mountain in Lei Fu Show at the Ching Chu Temple. Fang Chi Niang was drying grain at this temple one day when a huge white crane landed near her and started to eat up the grain. Fang quickly grabbed her staff and tried to shoo away the bird but everything she attempted was foiled by the crane: it evaded with its head, avoided strikes to its wings and pecked at the staff. Despite the knowledge shown to her by her father she was completely unsuccessful in driving off the crane. She felt frustration but also curiosity. On subsequent days, when the crane returned, she would play with it and eventually absorbed the essence of the crane's spirit.
During this era the Chien Lung Manchu Emperor ordered the Southern Shaolin Temple to be burned down. Fortunately Fang the elder escaped and took his wife and daughter to Pik Chui Liang. Fang reinstalled himself in Sah Liang Temple, FooChow. He continued to teach his daughter who eventually decided to blend her father's Shaolin with what the crane had revealed to her.
Fang Chi Niang Weng Wing Seng (from Lei Cho Fun),
Lee Fah Sieng (from Chow Ann),
Chang The Cheng,
Ling Te Sun (from Wing Chun district)
Lee Fah Sieng - Lee Mah Saw (his son)
Lee Mah Saw - Lee Kiang Ke (his son)
Lee Kiang Ke - Lee Jo Chian (his son)
Fang Chi Niang's transmission of information led to the formation of four kinds of Crane Fist which, as time passed developed into even more groups. The original four were Fe He (Flying Crane), Shi He (Eating Crane), Ming He (Screaming Crane) and either Jan He or Su He (Sleeping Crane).
Grand-Master Lee Kiang Ke (1903-1992) Lee Mah Saw taught his son, the future grandmaster Lee Kiang Ke. After ten years with his father Kiang Ke went to live for four years at White Crane Temple (Bai He An) and study under Chang "9 Dots Monk." After returning to his father he learned herbal medicine and continued helping with the teaching.
Eventually he was asked to join the KuoMingTang's 49th Division as a medic. Finally he became the teacher of the famous Da Dao soldiers. After serving his returned home them went on to Singapore for six years. Next it was KuChing in East Malaysia where he opened the "Martial Heroes Association." Several schools grew out of this initial effort.
When GM Lee retired in 1978 he passed his teaching to his son, Lee Jo Chian.
Attributes of White Crane Boxing White Crane style takes it technique and strategies from the creature itself and heightens each attribute to a special skill. For instance it utilizes the one knuckle fist (Phoenix Eye Fist) for its beak-like penetrating power. Like an agile bird it eschews confrontations of head-on power. It utilizes folding and flapping actions for elbow and hand continually exchanging with one another. Some times the crane is frontal like a posturing bird. Sometimes it turns suddenly with a surprising wing like covering. In ancient days observers were amazed at the sight of cranes taking off into flight and cracking the branches of nearby trees with the tips of their wings. This idea of extreme acceleration is still evident in the shivering fingertips of crane practitioners when they utilize this energy.
There are over 80 sets in the Crane style and many weapons including: Seven Star Staff Spear Three sectional staff Kuan Dao Cane Horse Cutting Knife Saber Tiger Fork Double Swords Double Sabers Fang Tian Butterfly Knives And (very common to Fukien arts) the sais
Other key types of training include specialized Chi Kung, body and arm conditioning and tactile listening skill drills. White Crane's influence on other styles is quite apparent.
There is a definite historical link between Crane and Okinawan Karate. We see this in older Okinawan forms such as No Hai with its Crane on the Rock posture. O-Sensei Yamaguchi, creator of GoJu, visited FooChow in Fukien and studied a number of styles including the White Crane and Praying Mantis. The SanChin stance is obviously derived from Southern Kung Fu as are the distinctive sounds used int SanChin Kata.
There is also a strong link between Crane Boxing and Taiwan. In its formative period as a Chinese province, Taiwan was a wild and wooly place always in need of top boxers. It was a thriving economy, due in part to its position and in part to the growing number of emirgrants from the oppressive Qing mainland. In the 1700's in particular top White Crane boxers came to the area and were well paid for bodyguard services. Taiwan was not passive in the development of White Crane and at times has been considered the location of the top boxers in this style. While the term "White Crane" can cover many styles, the Taiwanese representatives, even to the present day, have kept the strength and tradition of the art alive and well. See Lorne Bernard's book on the subject
LEGENDS OF THE CRANE
One classical reference that inspires martial artists and other seekers is that of Taoist Master An Qi, an immortal, who was an herb salesman. Seeking his glowing health he was commonly called "Old Father Thousand Years." A student of Chi Kung, Herbal remedies, martial arts and Taoist alchemy, he finally decided he had had enough of life in the "dust of the world." He rode a White Crane to the Isle of the Immortals, called Peng Lai where he stayed in peace and contemplation.
Fujian White Crane Kung Fu
Fujian White Crane Kung Fu, once known as Tiger Crane Combination Kung Fu has been taught by Chief Instructor Dennis Kah Swee Ngo, student of - Master Ang Liang Huat, since 1977. He has been training in this style for over 35 years. Kung Fu is his first love, but he has achieved black belt status in some of the Japanese arts as well.
Official research in China has traced the origins and history of the White Crane style of Kung Fu. The founder of the style was Fan Qiang Liang daughter of a famous Wushu Master. They moved to Fujian province after the death of her mother In the best tradition of Kung Fu her father died defending her honor from unwelcome suitors. Only seventeen at the time, she vowed revenge, joining a temple as a nun.
It is said that during this time she dreamt that she was fighting a white crane but it evaded her attacks easily, using its powerful wings to strike back at her. After the third night of this dream she realized that she should adapt her fighting style to incorporate the crane agility and grace; its ability to strike quickly and accurately.
After she married a student and moved to Yongchun county in Fujian Province, Fan Quiang Liang became a famous master . Her students/disciples later became the masters who developed the five styles of Fuzhou White Crane system. Her students spread the White Crane style and its derivatives throughout China, Southeast Asia, and to Okinawa.
This style comes from the Yongchun district, in Fujian Province, China. Fujian Province is famous throughout China for its flamboyant, fierce and efficient White Crane Kung Fu styles. For the sake of simplicity it is known as Fujian White Crane Kung Fu in the West. It is the complete system of White Crane (the tiger stance providing a strong base for the more flamboyant hand techniques of the crane).
The White Crane style that is taught by Dennis Ngo originated in the Yongchun district of the province. Although our club is world-wide, our links back to China are strong. Yongchun White Crane Kung Fu is the only White Crane style to have its origins in the Southern Shaolin temple. Our Chief Instructor has been officially commissioned by the Fujian Yongchun YiYun Wushu Society (China) to help with research into the history of the White Crane style. Fujian White Crane Kung Fu (international) is now accepted as original and from the same lineage by Yongchun White Crane Wushu (China).
Traditionally, this style was taught slowly and solidly, with heavy emphasis on stance and footwork. Mr Ngo strikes a careful balance by staying true to the traditional principals of the art whilst tailoring it to suit the culture and people of the new millennium. The art is taught hard and fast. Heavy emphasis is placed on discipline, building a strong healthy body and developing the confidence to be both polite and humble. Students are taught to fight properly so that they can appreciate the value of life and the sanctity of each person's body.
Moral discipline is pressed upon students from the very beginning to help them cope with the responsibility that the deadliness of the art places upon them. You have to go through many growing pains to achieve any real gains. In order to gain control over yourself you have to bring forth your temper, only then can you learn to control it and use it positively. The promise made between the Chief Instructor and the students is that the art will be taught properly and learnt diligently.
FUJIAN WHITE CRANE FIST: AN OUTLINE OF HISTORICAL ELEMENTS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF NAFADI.
By Fernando P. Camara//
The Nafadi (Naha-te) evolved from Quan Fa systems of the Southern China (Fujian Province). The main systems that apparently shaped this karate were the White Crane, Tiger, Five Ancestors, Hung Gar, and Golden Rooster Fists. These system share common elements. Hung Gar, for example, was originally a Tiger Fist system that incorporated Crane Fist elements during its development. Five Ancestor Fist is rooted on Ancestor Crane Fist and incorporate elements of more four systems to improve his range of applications. Feeding Crane Fist incorporated elements of Tiger Fist, and so one. When is said that White Crane Fist had a great influence on development of Okinawa karate this Crane Fist was not a pure sytem but a soft-hard system that incorporated several elements of others systems to become more efficient. The Okinawan Bubishi shows clearly the influence of a Crane Fist system and some elements of Monk Fist in its development. This log book was probably the registers of a school that according to Miyagi was transplantated from Fuzhou to Naha (Kume village) in 1828. In this paper I will resume the essentials of Fujian Crane system and its implications with the Okinawa karate through the Bubishi.
1. NAN QUAN This is the general name for the Chinese Southern (Nan) boxing (Quan), a vigorous and agressive school popular at south of the Yantze River, evolved during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and has many different styles. Among the famous are the five major styles also known as "The Five Geat Schools": the Hong-family, Cai-family (or Kojo in Okinawa's Hogen), Liu-family, Li-family, and Mo-family boxing. Dozens of other included the well known He Quan (Crane boxing) and Hu He Shuang Xing (Tiger-Crane boxing or Hung-Gar), as the Five-Ancestor boxing and Black Tiger boxing. (Wu? Li?) Nan Quan emphasizes squatting stances with a low center of gravity and steedy footwork. His fist blows are forceful. It is characterized by combinations of short moves with few jumps. Power is generated through breathing and sound articulation. Because Southern-style boxers keep their elbows and arms stiff and strong their movements are alive with combating tricks (Wu? Li?). The essence of these elements inthe Naha-te are sufficient to establish a direct route between Fujien Quan Fa and Kumemura (Kuninda), the Chinese suburb of Naha and center of the irradiation of the Naha-te.
2. HE QUAN Crane (He) boxing (Quan) was not developed in Shaolin temples, but among civilians as a boxing for self-defense and health's preservation, however, it was based in principles developed in the Shaolin boxing. It was taught in clubs set up by masters in the villages and cities. He Quan is the general name for four styles of southern boxing based in the crane movements. These are: Zong He Quan (Jumping Ccrane boxing); Fei He Quan (Flying Crane boxing); Ming He Quan (Shouting Crane boxing); Shi He Quan (Fishing Crane boxing). Su He Quan (Sleeping Crane boxing), considered by some as a fifth style, can be considered as a variant of the Zong He Quan (Yang, 1996). All He Quan had as principle the Yongchun White Crane boxing, an ancestor crane boxing developed in the ending of the 18th century or in the begining of 19th century (Wu et al., 1992). Ming He Quan and Fei He Quan would be originated from this old style (Wu et al., 1992). He Quan styles emphasizes heavily hand techniques over kicking. In order to have strong power in the hands, the stances are firmly rooted. In addition, because hand techniques are trained more than kicking techniques, the fighting range ia usually kept short. (Yang, 1996). This characteristic still remains today in Goju-ryu, To’on-ryu and Uechi-ryu karate. These four styles (or five, if we count Su He Quan as a separated style) are prevalent today and was established in the second half of the 19th century, around 1870. During the time where the Okinawan Bubishi was written, there was apparently only three styles as they are refered in this book (according Tadahiko Ohtsuka, cited by Habersetzer, 1995). They were Flying Crane, that still remains today, Playing Crane and Standing Crane, these two probably disappeared today. These would be derivated from the old Yongchun White Crane boxing.
Zong He Quan This style was founded by Fang Shipei in the reign of the Emperor Tongzhi (1862-1874) in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Fang Shipei learned Quan Fa at the Tianzhu Temple On Mount Chashan. After observing shrimps jumping out of water, dogs shaking off the water on their bodies after a swin, and trees shaking when partridges cried, he believed that the Chi is activated by vibrating/shaking movements and sound articulation. His main disciples were Lin Qinnan and "the brave five generals of Fujian": Feng Yonghua, Chen Yihe, Xiao Kongpei, Chen Daotian, and Wang Lin. They helped disseminate the Zonghe Quan (Wu et al., 1992). Boxers are required to rove around in circles with their bodies and arms relaxed. They build the power and energy through their body before passing it to their shivering hand which are held out straight (Wu et al., 1992). Zong He specializes in whiplike strikes and bumps. Because the fighting range in Crane styels is short, bumps are frequently used to put the opponent off balance, providing a chance for further attack (Yang, 1996). (Footnote: Su He Quan was founded by Lin Chuanwu from Chengmen of Fuzhou that studied this art with the Monk Jue Qing for five years in the Shimen Temple. He set up a club to teach his art. The sleeping (Su) crane (He) boxing stresses trapping the opponent by pretending to be half sleep and half wake. His actions are fast and hidden, its hand intensive and powerful, and its footwork steady and sound. It imitates the sharp claws of the crane and utilizes the power and force of opponent (Wu et al., 1992))
Ming He Quan It was founded by Lin Shinxian in the last years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Lin Shinxian was an expert in Yongchun White Crane boxing and taught in Fuzhou. He passed it on to Pan Yuba who spread it to others, but when it was passed on to shoemaker Xie Chongxiang (or Zhongxiang) in Changle, Fujien Province, it had undergone many changes. Xie set up a martial arts club to teach the Shouting Crane boxing. This style emphasizes forceful palm plays and breathing techinuqes to manifest the Qi. . (Wu et al., 1992). Xie has been considered by Tokashiki Iken and Patrick McCarthy (1995) as the Master Ryu Ryu Ko that Higashionna Kanryo would be met in Fujien and received instruction on Shouting Crane boxing. However, when we examine the Xie´s and the Higashionna´s boxing both don´t share any kata/xing or basics, besides the problem of the dates. In fact, Higashionna kata are found also in the Nakaima Norisato and Sakiyama Kitoku that would be have trained with a Ru Ru Ko in Fujien. Higashionna came one generation later these two Okinawans and he refers to Ru Ru Ko that he met as a old man (but Xie was only one year old than Higashionna). Now, it is possible that Gokenki (Wu Xiangui) has been taught by Xie or some related school because he taught kata/xing typically from this style (Nepai and possibly Paipuren). Gokenki was a generation later from Higashionna and was a White Crane master very skilful. Can be speculateed also if Miyagi, in one of his trips to Fujien with Gokenki looking for instruction and researches, would had met Xie. If he had introduced himself as “Miyagi, a student of Master Higashionna" would have he been confounded with “Higashionna” name in the oral tradition (that never was reliable as hisorical source)? So, would be have transmitted along of time the distorced information that “Higashionna has received instruction from Xie”.
Shi He Quan Founded by Fang Suignan from Beiling of Fuzhou during the turn of the Qing Dynasty and the Republic. He passed it on to Ye Shaotao from Changshan of Fuzhou. Ye also followed Zhou Zihe (Shu Shiwa in japanese, the master who taught Uechi Kanbun) to master the essential of Shihe Quan "and all its 36 tricks" (attacks to the 36 vital points). Ye practised hard for life and taught it to many disciples, making himself the master of the style (Wu et al., 1992). This style pays attention to hand tricks of claw, palm, fingertips and hooks. It centers on single-hand attack and three-point, five plum blossom stances which are steady (Wu et al., 1992). This styles specializes in using the beak (i. e., bunched fingers attacks) to attack vital points on temples, sides of the neck, sides of the chest, groin, jaws, etc, like a crane trying to catch a fish into the water with its beak (Yang, 1996).
Fei He Quan It was founded by Zheng Li in the middle of the Qing Dynasty. Zheng Li was master of the third-geneation of disciple of the Yongchun White Crane boxing. He learn the essentials of Flying-crane boxing in Fuqing and Qingzhou. This style imitates the flight, leap, wing extension, walk and stand of a crane. Both knes are locked inward in order to have strong whipping power. The stepping must be firm and the action must originate from the body, otherwise, the power will be weak. Its movements are comfortably extended, spread out, and true to life. The upper limbs are more used in the actions and movements which have a great variety of changes to deal with different situations. When the opponent is hard, flying crane boxers play supplely to soak up the hardness, and when the opponent is supple, they play hard to penetrate (Wu et al., 1992, Yang, 1996).
3. YONGCHUN QUAN (Ode to Spring Boxing, Eternal Youth Boxing) It is said to have been created by Yan Yongchun of Liancheng County in Fujian Province during the reign of Emperor Jiaqing (1796-1820) of the Qing Dynasty. Yan Si, the father of Yan Yongchun left the city of Quanzhou to escape oppression to take refuge with his family and stayed in seclusion at Liancheng. Yan Si was a Shaolin boxe master and Yan Yongchun followed her father to practise martial arts since childhood and later became a Quan Fa master herself. It is said also that one day, when Yongchun was washing clothes at a riverside, she noticed a white crane fighting a green snake. She watched the fight carefully for a long time and came to understand their fighting rules. Thereafter she combined the tangling and hissing of the crane and snake with the movements of the White Crane boxing and Southern style Shaolin boxing, forming the original Yongchun boxing also known as Yongchun White Crane boxing. After she married Ling Botao of Jiangxi Province, she taught her boxing to her husband. They set up a Quan Fa club at Liancheng to teach the art. After death of her father, Yan Yongchun and her husband travelled in Jiangxi before settling down in Guangdong Province, where they target the Yongchun boxing at Zhaoqing. In 1815 martial arts actor Huang Baohua went to perform at Zhaofing and met Liang Botao. Liang taught Huang the Yongchun boxing while Huang taught Liang cudgel plays. They both mastered the arts. In this later years, Huang Baohua passed the martial arts of the Yongchun boxing and his cudgel plays to Liang Zan who, after mastering the arts, developed them into the present day Yongchun boxing. Meanwhile the Yongchun boxing become popularrized through the efforts of their boxers who combined to improve and develop the art. These are the Yongchun features: steady stances, generation of force through Sanchin and Rokkishu ("ready stances, generation of forces, three tricks with six forces..."), fists playing close to the one's own body, usage of explosive power, stressing on real combat, focusing on completion of movements, combination of offense and defence by forcing up or crashing down the fists or feet from the opposing side. This style emphasizes speed of play, keeping fists and feet clse to one's own body for better protection, as well as to prepare for attacks and fighting the opponent at close range. When fighting, Yongchun boxers contain their chest, arch the back, close their elbows and knees, draw in their ribs, keep their thighs closed to protect the groin. When they use their feet for attack, they must also use their hands in cooperation. When they kick they do not expose their groin and when they deliver fist blows, their hands do not leave the front of their body (Wu et al., 1992). Youngchun White Crane boxing was the basis on which the system described in the Okinawan Bubishi developed. It was a popular style of boxing in Fujien in the beginning of the 19th century, and it is very possible that Okinawans had been exposed to this boxing. On the other hand, the association between this boxing and actors of the Chinese Opera increase the possibility of some exposition inside Okinawa.
4. HU HE SHUANG XING - THE TIGER-CRANE DOUBLE FORM In the early 1900´s the master Shi-Rong Lin of the Ping County, South Sea, wrote a book called "Tiger-Crane Double Shapes" (Hu He Shuang Xing) where he exposed a form (kata/xing) that he created after many researches, experiences, and studies. This sequence mixed the techniques and characteristics of the Tiger style, that is hard, and the techniques of the Crane, which is soft-hard, to become a very effective and well-known southern style practice sequence. However, there is only this single sequence, not a style (Yang, 1996). This form was incorporated into Hung Gar boxing but it still remains today as a single form largely practised in Fujien.
5. THE HISTORY OF TIGER-CRANE SYSTEM IN THE HUNG GAR GONG FU The Hung family adopted this double form Tiger-Crane in their system. The history of this form was resumed by Bucksam Kong (1983) in his book about it. Hung Gar style traces its origins back to Hung Hee Gung during the Qing Dynasty, when the Shaolin temple was destroyed by the armies of the Emperor. A monk survived to destruction and flyed to the south mountains of the China. His name was Chee Sin, a master of Shaolin boxing. Hung Hee Gung, founder of the Hung family (Gar) style, became one of his students. Hung was a very strong man, and the tiger fighting techniques were particularly suited to him. He soon became famed for his fighting prowess. During his travels Hung met a woman, Fong Wing Chun, who had developed her own fighting techniques based in the movements of a crane. According to legend, one day a crane eating Fong´s rice as it was being dried. She tried to drive the crane off with a stick, but the crane was too agile and elusive. No matter how able hard she tried, Fong found that she was unable to understand how it was able to evade her attacks. She later developed fighting techniques based on these motions. Before Hung and Fong met, her father was killed by the a strong fighter, and Fong planned to revenge her father, but being a woman she cannot defeat this strong fighter. When she met Hung she convinced him that even though he had great strenght and powerful fighting techniques, to be a more complete martial artist he should learn some evasive techniques. She offered to teach him her crane techniques in return for his help in seeking revenge on her father´s killer. Hung agree and spent the next three years perfecting a union of the tiger and crane techniques, which he later used to defeat the killer of Fong´s father. This is the history of how Tiger/Crane was created according Hung Gar tradition. This form uses tiger claw, crane´s beak, eye of the Phoenix fist, leopard´s paw, fist, tiger´s paw, elbow, kicks, and jumps.
6. THE WHITE CRANE FIST TRADITION IN THE OKINAWAN BUBISHI Okinawan Bubishi (see Alexander & Penland, 1993, McCarthy, 1995, and Harbesetzer, 1995) relates a history similar to the Hung Gar tradition but the emphasis is on crane style. While Hung´s Tiger/Crane form is predominantly tiger, in the Bubishi it is predominantly crane, and we could call this system as a Crane. In the Bubishi, the White Crane boxing was created by a woman named Fang Qiniang (or Fang Jiniang) of Yongchun village. She was the daughter of a Shaolin master, Fang Shih Yu, that was killed in a political dispute. She met a strong fighter, Zeng Cishu (or Cheung Siu Shu) specialized in the tiger style and convinced him that his strength was not all because evasive and strategic movements were superior to the brute force. She made a deal with him of teaching her crane techniques if he helped her to revenge her father’s killer. Zeng agreed and spent the next three years perfecting the union of the crane techniques with the tiger techniques, with he later used to defeat the killer of Fang´s father. Zeng could have been the creator of the Sanchin form Paipuren. There are some missing elements in the Bubishi, perhaps due to inacurate translation. There is not a Yongchun village, and Fang Jiniang could be Fong Wing Chun or Yan Yongchun, the founder of the Yongchun boxing, the ancestor form of the Fujian White Crane Fist styles. Reading about Yongchun boxing (see section 3 in this article) there is not doubt about this. Fang Jiniang in the Bubishi and Fong Wing Chun in the Hung Gar tradition are legends about the same person,Yan Yongchun. We can notice also that Zeng Cishu in the Bubishi and Hung Hee Gung in the Hung Gar tradition are the same person (see section 3). This history has many common points with the Hung Gar tradition and Fujian White Crane traditions, but the kata/xing described in the Bubishi are not found in the actual Hung Gar, nor any kata/xing of this system are found in the Bubishi. In the system described in the Bubishi, the forms are clearly from Fujian Crane Fist. So, it is possible that the Tiger references found in the Bubishi could be a symbol for the hard/yang principle. The Tiger/Crane is represented in the Bubishi as a figure where appears a woman in a white crane posture and a man in a black tiger posture. They are Fang Jiniang, the "aunt", and Zeng Cishu, the "uncle" (aunt and uncle are used by the chineses, like in Brazil, as a title of affection). This figure shows the union of the opposite principles Yin (white) and Yang (black) in their physical manifestation as a Crane (soft, maleability, female principle) and a Tiger (hard, strength, male principle), shaping a hard-soft system that Chojun Miyagi called "Goju-ryu" (Go, hard; Ju, soft) and Kanbun Uechi "Pangainoon" (half-hard, half-soft).
ELEMENTS OF THE CRANE FIST The following elements are characteristic of the Fujien Crane boxing and was summarized by Yang (1996): Southern White Crane Fist emphasizes heavily hand techniques over kicking, and in order to have a strong power in the hands the stances are firmly rooted. In addition, becasue hand techniques are trained more than kicking techniques, the fighting range between you and your opponent is usually kept short. When you fight protect the center of your body. Your arms should be held in front you with the elbows downward. In order to manifest the power strongly, store Jin in he lower spine and chest, so torso and chest should be strengthen. Jin power in generated fom the bottom of the feet and directed by the waist. This is the most essential principle in White Crane Fist. There are three main manifestations of Jin: 1. Shaking Jin: the standing root is firm and then power is generated and directed from the waist. The waist must be relaxed. Shaking Jin is emphasized in all the Crane styles. It is believed that if shaking Jin can be manifested correctly, the power generated is invincible. 2. Rebounding Jin (whipping energy): is just like the whipping of a whip forward and then rebounding it back, this generating a penetrating power. 3. Bumping Jin: Jin relies on a firm stance and uses the body to bump the opponent balance. Use the head, shoulders, elbows, sides of hips, and knees to bump.
Appendix: LUOHAN QUAN (ARHAT OR “MONK” BOXING) Because this style are associated also to Bubishi and Goju-ryu formation I will to resume some significative data. Luohan (Monk) Quan (boxing) was created by monks in the Shaolin Temple from watching and imitating the different Arhat statues in the temple, and through meditation. They added to these movements the skills of combate. This boxing use the expressions of the Arhats and hides its martial intention in the Arhat-like actions. After practising for a long time. The Arhat boxing can strengthen the physique, tone up the body, give one self-defense skills and cure diseases. The best famous master of Monk boxing in the contemporary period was master Miao Xing, called "Gold Arhat". He was a native of Dengfeng in Henan Province and knew the combat skills as wel as being fond of literal arts, specially Buddhism. He used to work on his farmland, and chanted Buddhist scriptures and practised martial arts after work. Later he traveled throughout the country and met with many Quan Fa masters. In this way he mastered the martial arts of different syles of boxing. Several years later, Miao Xing shaved his head to become a monk of the Shaolin Temple but he continued to practise his martial arts in his spare-time delving into the skills of combat. In the temple, he learned Shaolin boxing and cudgel plays with the abbot and also acupoint, touching, joint dislocating, holding and strangleholding, breathing exercises and other Shaolin-style martial arts. Whenever challenges of the Shaolin martial arts came the abbot would appoint Miao Xing to meet them and Miao was always the winner, thus earning the respect from among other monks. He was promoted supervisor of the temple and asked for teach martial arts to other monks. After the death of the abbot, Miao suceed him and also served as the chief of the Shaoin martial arts masters. He had some 5,000 monk disciples and 200 laymen disciples. In 1939, Master Miao Xing passed way at the age of 58 (Wu et al., 1992). This was the master that Miyagi met in his last travel to Shangai, China, in 1936.
Reference: - Alexander, George and Ken Penland. Bubishii, Yamazato Pub, 1993. - Habersetzer, Roland. Bubishi, Éd. AAmphora, Paris, 1995. - Iken, Tokashiki. - Kong, Bucksan. The Tiger/Crane Form of Hunng Gar Kung Fu. Ohara Pub., CA, 1983. - Li Tianji, Du Xilian. A Guide to Chinese MMartial Arts. Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, China, 1991. - McCarthy, Patrick. The Bible of Karate - BBubishi, Tuttle, 1995. - Wu Bin, Li Xingdong, Yu Gongao. Essentialss of Chinese Wushu. Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, China, 1992. - Yang, Jwing-Ming. The Essence of Shaolin WWhite Crane. YMAA Pub. Center, Mass., 1996, p. 98-99.
History: He Quan or Crane Fist is the general name for five styles of crane-imitating Chuan. The five styles are jumping crane Chuan, flying crane Chuan, crying crane Chuan, sleeping crane Chuan and eating crane Chuan, all of which have a history of some 300 years. The five crane Chuans formed their respective styles by the end of the Qing Dynasty. All the five styles are practiced in the south of China.
Zonghe Quan (Jumping Crane Chuan) In the reign of Emperor Tongzhi (1862-1874) of the Qing Dynasty, Fang Shipei, a native in Fuqing County of Fujian Province, went to learn martial arts at the Tian-zhu Temple on Mount Chashan. After 10 years of hard training he had achieved a great deal. He saw a partridge perching in a tree and the tree shaking when it cried. He realized that it was an articulation of energy. When he saw shrimps jumping out of water and dogs shaking off the water on their bodies after a swim, he realized that it was the force of vibration. Fang Shipei then tried to combine these forces in his style of Chuan to create Zonghe Quan (the jumping crane Chuan). His main disciples included Lin Qinnan and five brave generals of Fujian-Fang Yonghua, Chen Yihe, Xiao Kongpei, Chen Daotian and Wang Lin. They in turn helped disseminate the jumping crane Chuan.
Minghe Quan (Crying Crane Chuan) In the later years of the Qing Dynasty, Lin Shixian, an expert in the Yongchun white crane Chuan, went to teach his martial arts at Fuzhou. He passed it on to Pan Yuba who spread it to others. When it was passed on to shoemaker Xie Chongxiang in Changle, Fujian Province, it had undergone many changes. Xie set up a martial arts club to teach the crying crane Chuan.
SuheQuart (Sleeping Crane Chuan) Lin Chuanwu from Chengmen of Fuzhou went to study this style at the Shimen Temple. Lin studied with Monk Jue Qing for five years and then went back to Fuzhou and set up a club to teach the fist play.
Shihe Quan (Eating Crane Chuan) At the turn of the Qing Dynasty and the Republic, after learning the eating crane Chuan, Fang Suiguan from Beiling of Fuzhou passed it on to Ye Shaotao from Changshan of Fuzhou. Ye also followed Zhou Zihe to master the essentials of the eating crane Chuan and all its 36 tricks. Ye practised hard for life and taught it to many disciples, making himself the master of the style.
Feihe Quan (Flying Crane Chuan) In the middle of the Qing Dynasty, Zheng Ji, master of the third-generation of disciples of the Yongchun white crane Chuan, was fond of the flying crane Chuan and learned the essentials from Zheng Li. Zheng Ji was famous in Fuqing and Qingzhou. His style of fist play was passed down to three more generations and is still practised today. In the execution of the jumping crane Chuan, boxers are required to rove around in circles with their bodies and arms relaxed. They build the power and energy throughout their body before passing it to their shivering hands which are held out straight. The crying crane Chuan emphasizes forceful palm plays. The sleeping crane Chuan stresses trapping the opponent by pretending to be half sleep and half wake. Its actions are fast and hidden, its hand intensive and powerful, and its footwork steady and sound. It imitates the sharp claws of the crane utilizes the power and force of opponent. The eating crane Chuan pays attention to hand tricks of claw, palm, fingertips and hooks. It centers on single-hand attack and three-point, five plum blossom stances which are steady. The flying crane Chuan imitates the flight, leap, wing extension, walk and stand of a crane. Its movements are comfortably extended, spread out, and true to life. The upper limbs are more used in the actions and movements which have a great variety of changes to deal with different situations. When the opponent is hard, flying crane boxers play supplely to soak up the hardness; when the opponent is supple, they play hard to penetrate.