The Maritime Silk Road linked Southern China to vast areas of the known world for over two-thousand years (since at least the Qin and Han Dynasty times (3rd century BCE)! During that time, the ancient leaders of China established seaborne links with other civilisations that sparked, trade, tribute and cultural exchanges. As the seas around South China are unpredictable, changeable and can be highly dangerous, perhaps one in every ten ships that set out from China ladened with artefacts and treasure sunk to the bottom of the sea – with a similar statistic covering ships heading to China from foreign lands! What this means is that a rich archaeological record exists on the sea floor spread all around the South China coast and surrounding coast! It is a record cultural triumph and natural disaster! Humanity’s creativity tempered by nature’s crushing hand! A great deal of the porcelain and pottery discovered on the seafloor originated in Fujian province – the area that many people visited from overseas to make contact with Chinese culture and learn intangible cultural crafts such as the martial arts! This was an exportation of another kind of Chinese creativity stored in the minds and bodies of those who learned the arts after daring to cross the dangerous seas! Fujian province became a hub for foreign visitors to China as the various Dynastic rulers limited foreign intrusion into China to initially just this area.
On occasion, should a visitor require access to the hinterland of China, permission might eventually be given, but such incidences were rare until Western cannons literally smashed their way out of this cultural enclave – and others such as the docks and warehouses that had been established around the Southern coastal areas during the 19th century! Even so, for other Asian visitors such as Higaonna Kanryo (1853-1915) who made the journey from Ryukyu (Okinawa) around 1867, the old convention still applied, and his journeying was limited to Fujian province! He studied various types of ‘Southern Fist’ (南拳 - Nan Quan) which included Fujian ‘White Crane Fist’ (白鹤拳 - Bai He Quan) and probably ‘Arahant Fist’ (十八羅漢拳 - Shi Ba Luo Han Quan). This stems from the 1989 announcement by Lin Weigong (林伟功) – an expert in Mainland China regarding the culture of Fujian province - that Higaonna Kanryo’s main martial arts teacher was thought to have been ‘Xie Chongxiang’ [谢崇祥] [1852-1930). Higaonna Kanryo travelled around 500 miles by boat from the Ryukyu Islands in 1867 – and then repeated this journey back away from China in 1881! He covered around 1000 miles of seafaring and managed to survive this journey both, despite the difficulties regarding the unpredictable weather and rough seas! Under the seas that he traversed were thousands of years of cultural artefacts – including the bones of countless people from virtually every country on earth!
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Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles (b. 1967) - Lineage (Generational) Inheritor of the Ch'an Dao Hakka Gongfu System.