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  1. Tom Kagan is offline
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    Dark Overlord of the Bullshido Underworld

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    Posted On:
    8/23/2005 2:55pm

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     Style: Taai Si Ji Kung Fu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Bil Gee
    The standard story that seems to be passed down the Yip Man lines about Ng Mui developing a system for Wing Tsun to beat up an admirer seems to be about the only one around on the internet. Wikipedia offers a different and as far as I can determine unique origin story with Wing Chun having been developed by assassins to get past guards.

    Wikipedia Link


    there doesn't seem to be much in the way of references for this account though.

    Anyway, does anyone know whether there's any real basis for this alternative?

    Also, how many other origin stories are there floating around?

    The major problem with the claim that the style was developed by assassins to get past guards is found by examining its training progression. The style's realm is one on one, hand to hand, face to face, straight up dueling. If it were assassins which developed the art for the expressed purpose of improving their craft, then they did a great disservice to an assassin's need of the right tool for the right job.


    There is no stealth, no ambushing, no pincer maneuvours, no multiple on one overpowering, no long distance projectile weapons (e.g. crossbow), no poison formulas, or anything an assassin would need to accomplish their goal. Even in obscure variants of the style which claim a weapons arsenal which could conceivably be used by an assassin, the training methodology and progression does not support the required means assassins have known throughout the ages about what it takes to do their craft.


    Does this mean that assassins didn't learn it? No, not really. However, if they did, it was entirely incidental. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that there were assassins at the time who knew how to perform Chinese Opera, too. However, no one could reasonably suggest that a assassin was better equipped for their work because they learned to sing baritone instead of sweeping the stage.
    Last edited by Tom Kagan; 8/23/2005 2:57pm at .
  2. Bil Gee is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/23/2005 3:39pm


     Style: Wing Chun

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kagan
    The major problem with the claim that the style was developed by assassins to get past guards is found by examining its training progression. The style's realm is one on one, hand to hand, face to face, straight up dueling. If it were assassins which developed the art for the expressed purpose of improving their craft, then they did a great disservice to an assassin's need of the right tool for the right job.


    There is no stealth, no ambushing, no pincer maneuvours, no multiple on one overpowering, no long distance projectile weapons (e.g. crossbow), no poison formulas, or anything an assassin would need to accomplish their goal. Even in obscure variants of the style which claim a weapons arsenal which could conceivably be used by an assassin, the training methodology and progression does not support the required means assassins have known throughout the ages about what it takes to do their craft.


    Does this mean that assassins didn't learn it? No, not really. However, if they did, it was entirely incidental. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that there were assassins at the time who knew how to perform Chinese Opera, too. However, no one could reasonably suggest that a assassin was better equipped for their work because they learned to sing baritone instead of sweeping the stage.
    It sounds like you're describing a ninja. Did the Chineese use those sort of methods for infiltration as well?

    There is a LOT of emphasis on strikes to the throat which would stop people from shouting for help and disabling your opponent very quickly, and butterfly knives would have been easily hidden in traditional flowing robes.

    I agree though the getting passed body guards thing sounds like a more specialist skill, and I'm more inclined to think it was a trimmed down para-military version of one of the more traditional systems that could be taught to "foot soldiers" in a relatively short time span. (3 years as opposed to living as a monk for 20 years).

    But, the information is so sketchy with (from what I can gather) nothing in writing until the middle of the 20th century. So I guess we may never get passed the point of speculation.
  3. Tom Kagan is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/23/2005 5:25pm

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     Style: Taai Si Ji Kung Fu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Speculation on the past? Sure, why not. But examination of the DNA is today. No great speculation is required during an objective analysis giving strong inclination that such stories are just that: stories.

    An assassin is essentially a hunter. Such a style tailored for the craft would show characteristics of hunting: tracking, stalking, camouflage, baiting, etc. The style's DNA does not show any of this. In fact it shows the opposite: One on one, hand to hand, face to face, straight up dueling - and with a specific set of rules to conduct such a "fair fight" to boot!

    The "throat strikes" of which you speak are not a specific emphasis of the style over any other style's emphasis. Additionally if, indeed for the intent is to silence people before they can cry out and alert others, then there would be specific training on how to execute such moves from behind a potential target in a sneak attack. There is barely a shred of evidence to suggest this even when you examine the tactics of the style's knife work.


    The particular knives of the style are not suited for this task, either. Additionally, they are not a specific emphasis of the style any more than other knife based system.

    If you want to discuss the alternative folklore regarding the need to train masses quickly for some sort of insurrection, again, there would be more evidence than what is shown. First off, the style's training progression appears to be almost completely inverted. Armies throughout the ages give primary emphasis to group unity, heavy conditioning, and weapons at a very early stage of training. But when you look at the style, you find heavy conditioning and the introduction of weapons towards the end of the training progression. And at the beginning you find SiuLimTao: a solitary, detail oriented meditative form. No where else has anyone of any land trained an army this way.

    Also, armies need their soldiers in 6 weeks to 6 months. Even 3 years is too long of a period. This becomes even more acute when considering that life expectancy has only surpassed 50 years of age relatively recently,

    Additionally, if the style were used to train masses in a systematic method of a counterinsurgency, far more evidence would have survived. That's just the nature of raising an army regardless of how much a conquering force tries to eradicate records. (Besides, if it were useful to them in such a task, the conquering group would have co-opted it and the style's DNA of a training progression would be found within other clearly marked military arts.) Sorry, you may think that I am speculating, but it is a stretch of the imagination of the faith in such folklore to believe the style's DNA has a military pedigree when it has all the markings of a relatively small regional civilian art of a non-elite class of people.
  4. brianlkennedy is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/23/2005 5:50pm


     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I hate to burst anyone's bubble but by the time Crane Boxing and Wing Chun underwent most of their development as systems (i.e. the mid to late 1800s) the favored martial arts "system" of Chinese assassins was a Colt revolver at close range after having bribed the victim's bodyguards to look the other way. This approach did not require much "ninja skills" nor any great skill in Wing Chung/Crane Boxing or anything else. It required having enough political connections to get a pistol and enough money to bribe off the guards.

    Chinese martial artists of the 1800s, just like American cowboys of the 1800s, really were impressed with Sammuel Colt's little invention. As Sun Lu Tang (one of China's most famous martial artists of the late Qing dynasty) put it; "if you want to fight, get a gun".

    take care,
    Brian
  5. Bil Gee is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/23/2005 7:22pm


     Style: Wing Chun

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kagan
    Speculation on the past? Sure, why not. But examination of the DNA is today. No great speculation is required during an objective analysis giving strong inclination that such stories are just that: stories.

    An assassin is essentially a hunter. Such a style tailored for the craft would show characteristics of hunting: tracking, stalking, camouflage, baiting, etc. The style's DNA does not show any of this. In fact it shows the opposite: One on one, hand to hand, face to face, straight up dueling - and with a specific set of rules to conduct such a "fair fight" to boot!

    The "throat strikes" of which you speak are not a specific emphasis of the style over any other style's emphasis. Additionally if, indeed for the intent is to silence people before they can cry out and alert others, then there would be specific training on how to execute such moves from behind a potential target in a sneak attack. There is barely a shred of evidence to suggest this even when you examine the tactics of the style's knife work.


    The particular knives of the style are not suited for this task, either. Additionally, they are not a specific emphasis of the style any more than other knife based system.

    If you want to discuss the alternative folklore regarding the need to train masses quickly for some sort of insurrection, again, there would be more evidence than what is shown. First off, the style's training progression appears to be almost completely inverted. Armies throughout the ages give primary emphasis to group unity, heavy conditioning, and weapons at a very early stage of training. But when you look at the style, you find heavy conditioning and the introduction of weapons towards the end of the training progression. And at the beginning you find SiuLimTao: a solitary, detail oriented meditative form. No where else has anyone of any land trained an army this way.

    Also, armies need their soldiers in 6 weeks to 6 months. Even 3 years is too long of a period. This becomes even more acute when considering that life expectancy has only surpassed 50 years of age relatively recently,

    Additionally, if the style were used to train masses in a systematic method of a counterinsurgency, far more evidence would have survived. That's just the nature of raising an army regardless of how much a conquering force tries to eradicate records. (Besides, if it were useful to them in such a task, the conquering group would have co-opted it and the style's DNA of a training progression would be found within other clearly marked military arts.) Sorry, you may think that I am speculating, but it is a stretch of the imagination of the faith in such folklore to believe the style's DNA has a military pedigree when it has all the markings of a relatively small regional civilian art of a non-elite class of people.

    I don't think that you're really making an analysis that could be reasonably compared with a DNA analysis in terms of its guaranteed accuracy.

    What sources have you used for you analysis of insurgency tactics 200 years ago in China. Do records exist of how insurgents, operated? Would it have been similar to the terrorists of today?
  6. Bil Gee is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/23/2005 7:24pm


     Style: Wing Chun

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by brianlkennedy
    I hate to burst anyone's bubble but by the time Crane Boxing and Wing Chun underwent most of their development as systems (i.e. the mid to late 1800s) the favored martial arts "system" of Chinese assassins was a Colt revolver at close range after having bribed the victim's bodyguards to look the other way. This approach did not require much "ninja skills" nor any great skill in Wing Chung/Crane Boxing or anything else. It required having enough political connections to get a pistol and enough money to bribe off the guards.

    Chinese martial artists of the 1800s, just like American cowboys of the 1800s, really were impressed with Sammuel Colt's little invention. As Sun Lu Tang (one of China's most famous martial artists of the late Qing dynasty) put it; "if you want to fight, get a gun".

    take care,
    Brian
    Where they selling them with silencers back then?
  7. Dr._Tzun_Tzu is offline
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    It's pretty beat up, but it is a complete copy....

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    Posted On:
    8/23/2005 8:05pm

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     Style: EBMAS WT/ Latosa Concepts

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    DNA, it is a good way to look at it. Hard to believe we once walked on all fours or once had gills too, no evidence today, but the DNA says so...

    Modern Wing Whatever went through many changes since its creation. Notably on the Red Junk and by Leung Jan, the Bone Setter. It would seem that under Leung Jan, it became a more recreational fighting art, and was refined into the formal training sets we see today.

    Leung Ting once said in a seminar that it seemed from his research that the Knife form and some simple Empty hand Chi Sau to build reflex's for the Knives was what came first. Then the other 5 forms came in over time. The Knives where very short and concealable, very good tools for a clever assasian.

    Siu Nim Tau is very similar to Chi Kong and Chum Kiu seems like a few combos for fighting. In "Roots of WT" some other forms, in this "fighting combos flavor" are shown, from other branches. Biu Tze is a specialized form, with very specific weapons for very specific needs. The Wooden dummy has more combos, plus the kicks and footwork(and multiple opponent stuff). The Long Pole seems to be somewhat out of place in that it is a lot of long moves and Horse stance based stuff. If WT is yin, then the long pole is its yang element.

    All these other forms came in over time, as the teachers added stuff to the beginner program to keep from showing them the knives until they showed they where worthy. By Yip Mans time, few peole get the knife secrets but most of the needed movements where redistributed in the lower forms.

    "Complete Wing Chun" mentions that the red junk opera troop had many, many forms they practiced. Wing Chun came to the Troop from different sources from different perspectives, either the Nun/Yim/ husband route or from the Red Junk Cook, who was a Shaolin Master Monk hiding out. One version even has Both sources meeting up at the Boat!! Since not every person learned every form, it makes sense that the divergent branches learned different forms sometimes.

    So if it was used by assasians on the Red Junk, those secret "ninja" skills where not part of the training handed down in public to figures like Leung Jan. Most of those skills are outside the martial training anyway. Teaching these special skills would put you at greater risk, so they would have been very secret.

    As to Crane style.....um, the Nun, Ng Mui was a White Crane Temple Monk. I think thats pretty much admitting a connection. As to it being a weak and frail animal, well in the Five Animal system, it is the last animal to learn. Its moves are the most agile and require the most skill, but it trumps the other four. (Meaning you have learned the other four first, and can them beat them with themselves plus Crane) The White Crane is also a symbol of the Emperor, and thus a very highly respected symbol.

    Others have pointed out the similarity to Mantis, and one version in "Complete Wing Chun" has Mantis connections.

    Assuming then that Animal styles use the Animal for symbolism, it is not to hard to see that the story of a Nun (old Lady) and a Little Girl are also symbolic. The Movements must have the wisdom of the ages, but not require strength or major agility. The Little girl has no understanding of the world yet, so the art must be automatic. She can not be expected to have studied so many styles to recognize from visual cues what the attacker is doing, so it must be a one size fits all. Also, she may be naive enough to find herself in a bad situation and need to instantly fight her way out (last girl at a college Frat party kinda thing), so it must tap into the fight or flight subconscious, which is faster than the regular mind.

    Last, both a Nun or a little girl would not spend their every moment thinking and training violence. Wing Chun et al. attempts to be non-violent. Many of us on Bullshido or other MA forums spend most of our time think about fighting arts or training in them. These are violent thoughts. :qleft6: A Buddhist Nun or a little Girl would not have these thoughts. So Wing Chun et al. attempts to train in a more Non-violent mentally kinda way, and only returns violence on attackers to cancel it out. :5yinyang:

    :5usaribbo
    Last edited by Dr._Tzun_Tzu; 12/13/2006 9:32pm at . Reason: spelling
  8. brianlkennedy is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/23/2005 8:19pm


     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Does anyone in this thread read Chinese or have access to Chinese language materials? Just wondering because all the references are to english language stuff.

    take care,
    Brian
  9. I aint punchy!? is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/23/2005 10:18pm


     Style: Arnis, WC, Judo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr._Tzun_Tzu
    Leung Ting once said in a seminar that it seemed from his research that the Knife form and some simple Empty hand Chi Sau to build reflexs for the Kniives was what came first. Then the other 5 forms came in over time. The Knives where very short and concelable, very good tools for a clever assasian
    Firstly dont believe the hype from people from inside WT/VT mega-corporation. They well sell you stuff that sounds good. I would say that chi-sau has more in common with tai chi pushing hands than anything I have seen done with the butterfly knife. Show me one example of doing a chi-sau exercise with butterfly knives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr._Tzun_Tzu
    Siu Nim Tau is very similear to Chi Kong and Chum Kiu seems like a few combos for fighting. In "Roots of WT" some other forms, in this "fighting combos flavor" are shown, from other branchs. Biu Tze is a specilized form, with very specific weapons for very specific needs. The Wooden dummy has more combos, plus the kicks and footwork(and mulitiple opponent stuff). The Long Pole seems to be somewhat out of place in that it is alot of long moves and Horse stance based stuff. If WT is yin, then the long pole is its yang element.
    WT is not yin... by that I guess you mean internal. It is as external as any form of fighting. Just because the WC mega-McDojos try and sell you Westernized chinese traditional medicine with your soft-serve kungfu doesn't make it so.

    The Wooden dummy is mainly a footwork and form drill.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dr._Tzun_Tzu
    All these other forms came in over time, as the teachers added stuff to the beginner proram to keep from showing them the knives until they showed they where worthy. By Yip Mans time, few peole get the knife secrets but most of the needed movements where redistrubited in the lower forms.
    WC butterfly knives, as done by the people I have seen, is not much more than the form. I havenever seen WC buttefly knife sparring or many static drills . That dont mean there aren't any, but just that modern WC doesn't really have a highly developed weapons component. Thats not to say it couldn't be fixed by simply adding more 'alive' weapons training.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr._Tzun_Tzu
    As to Crane style.....um, the Nun, Ng Mui was a White Crane Temple Monk. I think thats pretty much admiting a connection. As to it being a weak and frail animal, well in the Five Animal system, it is the last animal to learn. Its moves are the most agile and require the most skill, but it trumps the other four. (Meaning you have learned the other four first, and can them beat them with themselves plus Crane) The White Crane is also a symbol of the Emperor, and thus a very highly respected symbol.
    Do you see the logical flaw here? Just because WC is probably a fusion of styles with White Crane being a big component, doesn't mean that it was invented by a probably fictional monk who was purported to do White Crane. Thats a little like arguing that because you get presents at Christmas, and Santa is said to bring presents, that Santa must exist.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dr._Tzun_Tzu
    Last, both a Nun or a little girl would not spend their every moment thinking and training violence. Wing Chun et al. attempts to be non-violent. Many of us on Bullshido or other MA forums spend most of our time think about fighting arts or training in them. These are violent thoughts. :qleft6: A Budhist Nun or a little Girl would not have these thuoghts. So Wing Chun et al. attempts to train in a more Non-violent mentally kinda way, and only returns violence on attackers to cancel it out. :5yinyang:
    :5usaribbo
    WC is a very violent style. E.g. it has eye-strikes and crushing the larynx etc etc. WC doesnot attempt to be non-violent. The only MA I am aware of that has that mentality is Aikido. Do not extrapolate your own club's view on an art that is intended to be used to kill people.

    If you don't practice fighting people in a realistic way you will never be able to defeat anyone.
  10. Lefty is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/23/2005 10:34pm


     Style: FMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    It's widely accepted that the myth of the origin of WC involving Ng Mui and Yim Wing Chun is exactly that, a myth. I mean how many female monks where there? None...

    This has been widely discussed in other WC history threads. For example, an article from the VT people: http://home.vtmuseum.org/articles/me...threvealed.php

    The myth was invented to protect revolutionaries during the civil war (around 400 years ago) by non-politicising the origin of WC.
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