Friday, January 23, 2009

Lineage and Instructors

To new readers of this blog, I'd like to introduce my instructors.

I started mid-70's with Sihing Steve Slover, a student of Sifu John S.S. Leong. He taught us Hung Gar, which gave us a great foundation to judge real "Kung Fu". I still remember my first lesson, Say Ping Ma (and some stretches). We also learned a lot about Christian ethics.

Around 1979, I was introduced to Yau Kung Mun. Not as a student, just friend to friend. Around 1980, I managed to find the kwoon in San Francisco's Chinatown, and observe a couple of students training.

In 1982, I finally settled my schedule down (after completing BUD/S) and was invited to start training in Yau Kung Mun. This association has continued to this day. I saw my Sifu, Sifu Loi Lok Fu (Ralph Ferreiro) certify his first Sifu's (Dusty and Billy), and had the honor of being certified by him in May of 2003. I have also trained Yau Kung Mun under Sifu Garry Hearfield in Sydney, Australia. I credit my training with Sifu for teaching me to apply the sets, and being a kung fu man that can fight, not just perform beautiful forms.

Along the way, I have also trained under Jerry Peterson (San Soo/SCARS), Ray Dionaldo (Filipino Combat Systems) and a host of others. James Keating's ComTech has had a large part in opening my eyes to the universality of movement that is inherent in all the arts.

I have trained with many people over the years, all of whom have contributed to what I am today. Thank you to all the people involved, it has been great training with you and I hope to be training for another 34 years.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Saam Mun Kuen

Saam Mun Kuen (Three Door Fist) (also spelled Sum Mun Kuen)- departs from the traditional cross pattern of footwork found in Siu Sup Ji Kuen, moving at 45 degree angles in addition to the linear patterns.

This is a more active form, moving the body into and out of range, with lots of close in type hand work and combinations. Some large circular motions in conjunction with the footwork make this set look pretty cool.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Video Clip

Came across this today. Great example of the aggressive footwork applications.

Yin Ching Kuen

Yin Ching Kuen

Taught as the third form by Sifu Garry Hearfield in Australia, and as an advanced level form by Sifu Loi Lok Fu in the US, Yin Ching Kuen seems to have a lot of Hung Gar/Choy Lee Fut type of movements - longer punches, more circular punches, etc. Also contains some dynamic tension sections. A very good set to use to develop fitness (one of the longest sets), hand combinations and footwork.

From - "Ying Ching Kuen - contains a lot of dynamic tension, muscle building, external ging & rib training. This is a cleansing form (health), hard chi kung."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dai Sup Ji Kuen

The third set taught (by my Sifu, Sifu Loi Lok Fu) in the curriculum is Dai Sup Ji Kuen - Large Ten Pattern Fist.

Like Siu Sup Ji Kuen, it's footwork when viewed from above resembles a cross pattern (+) similar to the Chinese character for the number ten.

The set contains some interesting changes in direction, introduces some more hand combination's and, being named "Large" ten pattern fist, is a little longer and more complicated than Siu Sup Ji Kuen.

In my opinion, these three sets (Tong Gee Kuen, Siu Sup Ji Kuen and Dai Sup Ji Kuen) form the nucleus of a very effective fighting system. Of course, it is up to the student (and for the instructor to distill) to practice diligently, examine the movements carefully, and develop a proper mindset to enable use of these techniques for self-protection.

Train the basics, they are what the advanced techniques are based on (stance, footwork, conditioning, fighting experience to develop the spirit).

Siu Sup Ji Kuen

Siu Sup Ji Kuen - Small Ten Patter Fist - is the second set taught in Yau Kung Mun. It is named after the pattern formed on the ground, the Chinese character for the number 10, a plus sign.

Like Tong Gee Kuen, it is a fairly simple, aggressive set, very suitable for self protection. The set introduces some interesting footwork and a few 'hidden' throws and locking techniques.

As an aside, many styles use the same naming convention - after the pattern formed. Gung Gee Fook Fu Kuen from Hung Gar comes to mind - Character "I" Tiger Subduing Fist.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tong Gee Kuen

Generally taught as the first set, it is full of extremely useful fighting combination's, teaching the student how to move, strike and kick. Not very flashy, but designed to impart basic competence and aggression (forward movement) from the beginning.

I was told it translated as "through the joint" fist, referring to the method of punching used.

From personal experience, I have seen students who had not trained formally for about 15 years, able to perform the set - it is drilled that intensely and is that effective.

By the way, the name of the style, Yau Kung Mun, translates as "Sect of Flexible Power". A word by word translation is "Soft Hard Door".

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome to 2009, and a new post

Happy New Year!

An ongoing series is starting today - Yau Kung Mun sets (at least the ones I know).

Starting off with the "Stance Set" - we would start every class in San Diego with this simple set of movements. It is a great way to practice the basics (stance, hand strikes, kicks). Combined with the first two sets, you have a very good fighting system.

Way long ago, I saw some YKM workouts in Washington State and in San Francisco's Chinatown, and they all started with the Stance Set (after bowing in and observing courtesies, of course).

After the Stance Set, we moved into physical training (leglifts, pushups, saam sing, etc). Then on to the sets practice (forms, kuen, kata, whatever your art calls them).

If you want to learn more about the sets we will be discussing, contact me.