The Soul of Kung Fu - National Geographic
In my lunchroom the National Geographic had a article about the explosion of Kung Fu as China increases its influence around the world. Cinematic versus traditional. Very interesting read for an outsider who wonders if there are in fact authentic masters out there, doing things as they have been done.
I like the pictures too.
Did anyone read this, and would the conflict between the old and new ways of doing Shaolin be similar in most other Kung Fu styles. After Mao I wonder is there really is any authentic anymore.
I have the paper copy of this, it was a great, outstanding, well researched article.
Originally Posted by KO'd N DOA
No real lip service was paid to Shaolin, the article distinguished (as you said ) between the cinematic "history" (that everyone "knows") and the real history as recorded on Shaolin steles and other historical artifacts.
At the end of the day Shaolin is (and always was) more about Buddhism than martial combat. It is more the monastery's history of being involved in Chinese dynastic warfare, the development of their world famous fighting methods (first with the staff and later empty handed), and the movies that glamorized them that made the Western eye view them as "martial". The ancient monks definitely fought in battles (there is historical evidence), but obviously there are no thieves, emperors, or generals around these days to draw gong-fu training monks into combat.
There are still Buddhist monks in China practicing the ancient arts...but you won't see those at the Shaolin Temple (tm), which is a historical tourist attraction. More likely you'll find them doing what they do outside of the public eye, like Shi Dejian training on cliff faces nearby.
Keep in mind that surrounding the Song Mountain temple is a horde of martial arts schools that cater to the local and global interest for training in the "r34l Shaolin". Of course a lot of it is taking advantage, but if you look closely enough you'll find monks who appear to live the "traditional Shaolin" way, and by that I mean Buddhist monks who train gong fu for reasons other than impressing tourists.
That said, two of the masters mention by NatGeo (Yang Guiwu and Shi Dejian) are definitely worthy of looking into...lots of stuff online especially for the latter.
Some techniques review (slow).
Old video of Yang Guiwu (the dying master the article is about).
Last edited by W. Rabbit; 8/18/2011 10:31am at .
Reading that these superschools are the ones who were used at the Olympics, they did look quite spectacular doing their performances.
Korea did the same for their Olympics. I'm still having trouble buying that because China is awash with money today, that the world is drawn to Kung Fu. Whereas Lee, Li, Chan, Carridine, set the foundation whereby we even know what it is.
<long-winded opinion incoming...>
Originally Posted by KO'd N DOA
I think the world is drawn to China in general, being such a world treasure in terms of art, history, literature, and as the communist influences relax and free trade influences grow, it'll help the West understand why it's worthwhile to study China, and particularly the wealth of their martial arts.
For a while the only things the Western world knew about China was the food.
What I have learned is that a lot of what is Chinese is misunderstood (this into about a two year study of my personal misconceptions about China) by the West: their martial arts, exceedingly so, hence the vast confusion about kung fu and it's history...its applicability.
Chinese generals of the past stood in amazement of Shaolin fighting techniques on the battlefield, and they recorded their amazement in rock and wood monuments that are as old as 600 AD. As the Shaolin developed their empty handed systems later in the Ming period, their legends had already spread throughout China.
But China itself was very closed off until the 19th/20th centuries...and, after 4 millenia of cultural growth and on the cusp of joining the world culture....they experienced a brutal communist takeover and subsequent cultural "cleansing" that persists to this day.
Like other emergent nations (e.g. Egypt, Iran), the youth of the country are rebelling against the regimes that basically control the cultural sharing that could otherwise happen....the Great Firewall of China is the best modern example of this...young Chinese hackers still find ways around it and share that knowledge so that they can communicate effectively with the outside world.
Now, we're seeing the same sort of "softening" of communism in China that occurred in Germany and the Eastern Bloc in the 1980s...I think that as that continues, the world will come to understand kung fu a lot better than it ever could have from Enter the Dragon, Kung Fu, or dare I say it Master Killer/36thCOS. Better understanding will cultivate a better respect for the value of kung fu.
Last edited by W. Rabbit; 8/18/2011 11:34am at .
:happy:Food? A gross simplification, methinks.
Here is Blighty we were watching "The Water Margin" some 30 years ago - and the repeats.
We were taught the Chinese Revolution (Sun Yat Sen) in school and its allusion to The Opium Wars. The latter wasn't too involved but the period up to The Long March and Mao was also taught. This in our Secondary Schools. The US experience may be different.
That apart, I thoroughly enjoyed China (Beijing to Xian some 4 years ago) but was too knackered to get up for the 5AM Tai Chi classes. So, a reason for me to go back (which I will, I intend to go from Hongkers to Xian via Shaolin and Wudan.
The vids. I liked the first one and I shall steal his techniques. The second one articulating the disturbed bricks as a result of a Tiger Form? Bollocks.:happy:
Well, it's erosion from generations of people stomping the same spots. Any style can do it :)
Originally Posted by Eddie Hardon
Interested in what you mean by Hong ker...is that slang for Hong Kong?
Originally Posted by Eddie Hardon
I know this term as a subculture of Chinese nationalist hackers (hong ker, "honkers", The Red Guest) from studying that group about a decade ago.
Unlike the big kung fu academies, which stress acrobatics and kickboxing, Hu teaches his 200 boys and a few girls the traditional Shaolin kung fu forms that Yang Guiwu passed on to him.
I assume the bolded refers to Sanda. And the traditionalist vids seem to be 2 man compliant forms and air punching. I can't believe this is being viewed favourably here.
It was just a technique demonstration for a visiting film maker.
Originally Posted by Lindz
Holy ****..my bad Lindz, you and I talked about this before back in May.
Let's just link to that thread...no need to rehash. There are many other videos with more live contact.
Last edited by W. Rabbit; 8/18/2011 11:58pm at .
Derp. I must have been unsatisfied with the previous outcome to have forgotten it.
Originally Posted by W. Rabbit