Author's Note: One of my Western Gongfu students once navigated his way to Sai Kung Town and caught the local bus which travelled in a loop throughout the countryside of Sia Kung. We had given him the name and map coordinates of our Ancestral Village - and he found it - but there was a catch. When he rang the bell in the middle of nowhere to get-off (many of the Hakka villages are hidden from obvious view and must be accessed through a think cover of trees - the bus-driver, seeing that he was alone, refused to open the door. The driver explained that this was a Hakka area and that these people are renowned for their aggressive tendencies. The driver was under strict orders not to let any Westerners (unaccompanied by Chinese people) to get into trouble in areas they do not understand or are not familiar with. Therefore, my student had to safely return to Sai Kung Town. ACW (17.11.2023)
Sai Kung is a Hakka coastal area of the North East New Territories where our ancestral Chan Village is (or was) located. The area is now a very well structured National Park. Sai Kung is also a town which lends its name to the region. We have visited many times and never had any trouble navigating. Hundreds of years ago, the migrating Hakka people planted sustainable forests as part of the charcoal trade they pursued. These forests strewn the hills and valleys to this day.
We have never heard of hikers going missing - as hikers have no reason to enter these areas. Still, things change and the graphics on the maps contained this episode show where our Gongfu took root in South China after migrating from North and Central China many years ago. The Hakka people who occupied these areas used to be highly aggressive to uninvited guests. This martial attitude stems from the history of the place and the reality of the Hakka-Punti Clan Wars of the mid-1800s which killed millions. This was poor quality land that the Hakka had to cultivate and then defend from Cantonese (Punti) attack.
2023-10-17 Global Times Editor: Li Yan
Lined up neatly, over 50 ancient explosive weapons were recently excavated at the Badaling Great Wall in Beijing.
A total of 59 stone bombs were discovered by archaeologists along the western section of the Badaling Great Wall in Beijing’s Yanqing district. Ma Lüwei, an archaeologist specializing in ancient Chinese military history, told the Global Times that the stone bombs were major weapons used to “defend against enemy invasion” along the Great Wall during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
“The bomb was often installed in medium-sized hollow bits of stone. Those weapons were easy to make and were also very handy for soldiers to throw them down at invaders while standing on the Great Wall,” Ma told the Global Times.
Shang Heng, an associate research fellow at the Beijing Institute of Archaeology, said the stone bombs possessed “big explosive power” and were once the preference of Qi Jiguang, a Ming Dynasty military general who made major contributions to China’s military system and strategy as well as the innovation of military weapons.
Those 59 stone bombs were found inscribed with orders at one of the Great Wall’s station houses that were once used for standing guards watching out for the enemy. The space was later identified by archaeologists as a warehouse for storing weapons.
Prior to the new discovery, no similar “warehouses” had been found along the Beijing sections of the Great Wall.
Besides the weapon warehouse, other ancient buildings along the Great Wall, such as a “horse face” wall, an ancient wall used on the Great Wall that allowed soldiers to climb up and shoot arrows, were also discovered during the latest archaeological project.
A stone fort that was once used to support cannons was also discovered along the Beijing Great Wall for the first time.
Archaeologist Wang Meng told the Global Times that these relics shed light on the functions and design planning of the Great Wall.
The new discoveries at the Badaling Great Wall reflect China’s continuous research and conservation efforts concerning the Great Wall. Taking Beijing for example, between 2000 to 2022 more than 110 project were carried out to preserve the Beijing section of the Great Wall, which is known for having the most complex buildings and geological conditions compared to other Great Wall sections such as those in the provinces of Hebei, Gansu and Shaanxi.
Twenty-two years of conservation efforts have achieved a great deal. In 2021, a project aimed at rescuing the Liugou section of the Great Wall in the Yanqing district helped identify exactly how the Ming Dynasty Great Wall was constructed. A year later, ancient everyday objects such as plates, scissors and bowls were discovered along the Jiankou section of the Great Wall, providing insight into the daily life of soldiers stationed along the wall.
“The Great Wall holds value not only for its remarkable architecture, but also the cultural and historical connections to ancient Chinese people’s lives, their unity as well as their spirit,” historian Fang Gang told the Global Times.
Among all the projects, the Great Wall National Cultural Park, scheduled for completion in 2035, is China’s blueprint for integrating Great Wall resources nationwide into one landscape. The strategy aims to preserve the legacy of the Great Wall, while also extending its reach into fields such as cultural tourism.
A total of 37 provincial-level planning projects have been carried out so far in 2023. A total of 16 have been completed, including one to promote the establishment of Great Wall museums in Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province.
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Dressed in a hide coat, wool pants, and leather boots, the rider was buried with her saddle “placed on her buttocks as if she was seated on it,” the team note. And it clearly isn’t just for show: the saddle shows “[o]bvious traces of repair,” they write, showing that it was “intensively used and maintained” throughout its lifetime.
Recently, an international archaeological team discovered the earliest known saddle at an excavation site in China. The saddle was found in a tomb in a cemetery in Yanghai, Xinjiang, China. The tomb was built for a common woman who was wearing what seems to be a 'saddle' - positioned so it looks as if the deceased person was still sitting upon it - as if in life.
Research shows the tomb owner and saddle are from about 2,700 years ago. Previous research has found that the domestication of horses first occurred around 6,000 years ago, although during the initial stages of domestication, the animals were used solely as a source of meat and milk. It is thought that horse riding took another 1,000 years to develop. Shortly thereafter, riders began looking for ways to cushion the forces of riding.
Researchers believe saddles likely originated as pads strapped to a horse's back. The saddle found is constructed externally from cowhide and is internally padded using deer and camel hair - as well as straw filling. This saddle was designed to assist riders sit with greater stability whilst sat on horseback - so that arrows could be fired from a bow with greater accuracy - whether the horse was standing still or engaged in movement.
There are no stirrups on this Xinjiang saddle - as is to be expected. However, a simple stirrup has been found in ancient India dating to the 2nd century BCE - but stirrups were not used by the Greeks or Romans and did not appear in Europe until the 8th century CE. This saddle found in China predates the ancient saddles previously found in the Central and Western Eurasian Steppes. The earliest known saddles date back to between the 5th-3rd centuries BCE - leaving researchers to conclude that China is the earliest known civilization in the world to have designed, made and used saddles.
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2,700-Year-Old Saddle Found In Ancient Chinese Tomb Is Oldest Ever Discovered
Coxinga (1624-1662) lived about 100-years after Yasuke in Japan. However, he was half-Japanese himself and possessed a personal bodyguard known as the 'Black Guard' comprised of African men freed from Portuguese slavery by Chinese forces. A pictures survives of one of these African men. Coxinga is famous for taking-on - and defeating the Dutch forces on Taiwan - and was granted that staus of 'King' of that island by the Ming Emperor of China. Coxinga was a Ming Dynasty General - the child of a Chinese man and a Japanese woman!
The Chinese language texts make much of the Dutch being defeated. This may have been the first military engagement between China and the West. Perhaps the Black Guard had a pivotal role. The drawn picture shows the African man carrying the Guan Dao (the blade of Lord Guan) - a high status weapon! Portuguese slavery must have been prolific! I once visited Portugal for a holiday and was astonished to find their tour guides talking about their slave-trading past with a sense of pride! Britain takes a different path and tends to deny it!
This Japanese technique is written using two Chinese and one Japanese ideogram - with all three ideograms being routinely used in the Japanese written language - and two ideograms ('1' and '2') being used in the Chinese written language:
腰 - Japanese - Koshi (Chinese: yao1) = waist, hips and midsection
投 - Japanese - Na (Chinese: tou2) = throw, blend, redirect and reject
げ - Japanese - Ge = down, low, depth and ground
Interestingly, with regards the ideogram '腰' (Koshi) - both the Japanese and Chinese language dictionaries give an identical (and exact) physical location. Therefore, 'Koshi' represents the 'waist' (or the anatomical 'space' between the hips) situated toward the front of the body - whilst the back of the body corresponds 'Koshi' to the 'small of the back' or the 'lumbar' region. Although neither dictionary mentions the centre of gravity of the body - or the 'lower dantian' (both situated three-inches below the naval) it seems clear that such a 'special' area is implied. I think this assumption receives support as 'Koshi' is also used to refer to the 'kidney' area - perhaps slightly higher than the lumbar a 'cold' area significant within traditional Japanese and Chinese medicine.
Although 腰 (yao1) is prevalent within Chinese martial arts (used to counter an opponent through penetrating their technique, blending with it and redirecting it) - 'Koshinage (腰投げ)' is a 'distinct' Japanese physical interpretation not found in China. When the Chinese government took Sō Dōshin (宗道臣) [1911-1980] to a Japanese Court in the early 1970s (an event covered in one of Donn F. Draeger's books on 'Modern Budo') - part of the evidence accepted by this Court that his style of 'Shorinji Kempo' ('Shaolin Gongfu') was NOT of Chinese origin - is that nearly all of its techniques include 'Koshinage' (the BBC chose to omit this Court verdict in its 1980 'Way of Warrior' series). Cooperation of this type is a Japanese cultural development - and is not found in China's traditional arts - even though the concept is present (and used in a different manner). However, I would note that the use of squat-kicks is found in Chinese arts and are used in exactly the same manner as this documentary suggests - although our Hakka style places a great deal on toughening the legs to take continuous impact (similar to Muay Thai fighters in Thailand) and keep effectively moving. The only Karate-Do style I have encountered that has squat-kicks is Goju Ryu.
These ideograms are written in Old Chinese Script - but pronounced using Japanese and Okinawan language.
[square] brackets = Chinese pronunciations
(round) brackets = Japanese-Okinawan pronunciations
a) 補 (Ho) = [bu3] - increase, aid, repair, supplement, mend, compensate and nourish
b) 助 (Jo) = [zhu4] - help, support, augment and assist
c) 運 (Un) = [yun4] - transport, carry, utilise, revolve, buoyancy and fate
d) 動 (Do) = [dong4] - move, act, alter, momentum and touch
It seems that the four ideograms are deployed using two couplets:
1) 補助 (Hojo) = supplement and auxiliary [Buzhu]
2) 運動 (Undo) = sporting and competitive vigorous movement [Yundong]
The following is a contemporary webpage from Taiwan (auto-translated into 'English' entitled '法規內容-教育部運動發展基金補助各級學校運動團隊作業要點') continuously uses the term '補助運動' (Hojo Undo - Buzhu Yundong) - which is used exclusively to refer to 'supplementary sporting exercises':
Regulations (Content) - Ministry of Education - Sports Development Fund - Subsidies for Main School Team Sports - At All Levels
The inclusion of the terms 'buoyancy', 'touch', 'transport', 'momentum' and 'fate' - all suggest an 'internal' management of the 'external' (physical) body (through the attainment of an 'effortless momentum'). Therefore, although this term is common-place in China - the mastery it refers to is certainly not common-place. On the one-hand, a man or woman might train to win a Gold Medal or World Title - but these achievements (as important as they are for the 'Nation') only fall inside the 'external' component of this term. On the other-hand, Karate-Do Styles such as Goju Ryu exemplify the principle of the 'internal' superseding the 'external' - even though a lifetime must be spent subsumed in the 'external' whilst attempting to understand this relationship and transition into the infinitely powerful 'internal' position. Of course, ultimately, both the 'external' and the 'internal' integrate into a perfect, functioning 'whole' - as can be seen during a perfect execution of a Kata.
HONG KONG, July 20 (Xinhua) -- The man, the myth, the legend. Bruce Lee was all of these things and more. On July 20, 1973, the world lost one of its most iconic and influential figures when he passed away suddenly at the age of 32. Yet, 50 years later, his legacy lives on, larger than life and more resonant than ever.
Tourists flock to the Avenue of Stars along the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, a place of pilgrimage for Bruce Lee fans from around the world.
They pause at Lee's bronze statue to pay tribute to the martial arts master, often laying flowers at the base of the two-meter-high effigy that showcases Lee's classic Jeet Kune Do move, inspired by his final complete film, "Enter the Dragon."
Source: Xinhua Editor: huaxia 2023-20-07
Shin Yong-woo from South Korea is one such fan who has travelled over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) to pay homage to his hero. He stood before the statue, dressed in black pants with his bare chest exposed, just like Lee frozen in frame by the monument. With a pair of nunchaku in his hands, Shin began his performance, twirling the weapons with fluid precision. A fan since he was nine years old, Shin credited Lee with inspiring him to learn Chinese martial arts.
Some pay their respects with a simple bow or a moment of silence, while others perform their own martial arts routines in front of the statue, channelling their inner Bruce Lee.
Unlike Shin, who reveres Lee's Kung Fu as a physical art form, Patrick Weber from Britain is more drawn to the deeper meaning and philosophy behind Lee's teachings. Weber held a 25-year-old "Enter the Dragon" poster as he took photos in front of the bronze statue. He also brought a thick album that documents his more than 50-year journey as a fan.
Lee's legacy includes a collection of inspiring and insightful quotes that have resonated with people of all ages and backgrounds. "The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering." "The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus." "Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one."
"I love his philosophy on life," Weber said. "And the multiculturalism he portrayed was exactly what the world needed at the time."
Born in San Francisco in 1940, Lee spent much of his childhood and formative years in Hong Kong, where his father was a well-known Cantonese opera singer.
It was in Hong Kong that Lee began to study martial arts. His passion for Kung Fu and his innovative approach to martial arts quickly earned him a following in Hong Kong, where he starred in several successful films and TV shows. His fame and influence soon spread to other parts of China and Asia, inspiring a new generation of martial artists and popularizing Chinese culture and philosophy around the world.
As one of Hollywood's most influential Chinese American actors, Lee introduced Chinese martial arts and its underlying culture and philosophy to the world through his films, and even brought the term "Kung Fu" into the English language. His confident portrayal of Chinese culture in martial arts movies continues to inspire people decades later.
"He's so cool!" said Sophie Uekawa from Japan as she looked at the statue, reminiscing about her teenage years several decades ago. "In 1973, Bruce Lee's movies became a sensation in Japan when they were first released. The queues for his films were so long that they stretched for several blocks, and 'Enter the Dragon' played for more than a year in one cinema before it was taken."
In recent days, a series of commemorative events in Hong Kong have confirmed the enduring influence of the Chinese Kung Fu culture that Lee represented. The "Bruce Lee: A Timeless Classic" exhibition opened at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, showcasing various books, stamps, and figurines related to the superstar from different eras. The museum also has a permanent exhibition introducing his life story.
Inside the exhibition hall, a wall of famous quotes presents Lee's philosophy: "Using no way as a way, having no limitation as limitation," "Success is a journey, not a destination," and more.
Wang Wei, who works in the education industry, included the exhibition as one of the stops for Chinese mainland students on their educational tour of Hong Kong.
"Bruce Lee is an important part of Hong Kong's pop culture and represents the Chinese spirit and character embodied by the people of Hong Kong," Wang said. "With a profound understanding of Chinese culture, he showcased the confidence of Chinese culture through Kung Fu."
The Bruce Lee Foundation is holding its first "Camp Bruce Lee" event in Asia at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, where about 30 primary school students from Hong Kong are experiencing Jeet Kune Do and learning about the star through various art forms over a few days.
"This movie is about the history of Japanese imperialism invading China in the last century ..." Inside the museum, the guide points to a still from the movie "Fist of Fury" and introduces the plot to the young campers while explaining the national history. The still captures the moment when Lee's character Chen Zhen kicks down the "Sick Man of East Asia" sign in the movie.
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Feature: Enter the Dragon -- Bruce Lee's legacy still inspiring 50 years after his passing
The Chen Taijiquan Style technique and expression featured on this Telegram Channel site – entitled in the written Persian language as ‘Taijiquan is the Endless Way’ (تای چی راه بی پایان) – is very good! The grey-bearded teacher is named ‘Maziar Kebat’ (مازیار کتابت) – which might mean ‘Master Kebat’ – and he lives in the Fars Province of Southwest Iran. The setting is beautiful as is the high quality of the martial technique! I suspect that we may assume from this that ‘Taijiquan’ is considered ‘Halal’ within the faith of Islam – a fact which grants the practitioners a certain enhanced ‘virtue’. In China, Islam (and Muslims) are greatly respected for a) their spiritual purity and b) their martial integrity! Good to see Taijiquan in Iran and the people united in practice!
At the end of the day, in a threatening position, an individual purporting to practice a traditional (Chinese) martial arts - must be able not to win trophies or gain coloured belts or sashes - but rather REMOVE the systemic threat existing in the immediate environment through the use of a 'decisive' act of disciplined violence. Unlike the modified martial arts used within modern sports, an 'effective' technique being deployed in a 'live' situation does NOT need to look good or conform to an unreasonable 'aesthetic'. The person being threatened, at the moment the decisive action is being deployed, is entirely on their own for the duration of the conflict. Whatever happens next becomes a matter entirely of their own affair - as other people (logically) tend to 'distance' themselves from the conflict as a matter of life-preservation and self-defence by association. Of course, the action might go wrong and the chosen technique fail to work. Above, a conflict begins between two young men (speaking Putonghua) arguing over who has the right to 'sell' in a certain area - with an Old Man attempting to de-escalate the situation. The young man launches a 'punching' attack which works precisely as intended. The armed young man is knocked down and is unconscious for a short time. He is kept in place by a foot on the chest - as NO further action is used against him once the knife is taken away from him. As you can see - violence is a horrible answer to any question - and a well disciplined and peaceful society is preferred over that of a violent situation. In this circumstance, the young man with the knife may well be suffering from mental health issues that now need to be treated. Although violence is NOT the answer - even though it may be required at certain times - when violence is needed it must be decisive enough to END the over-all level of existential violence and prevent any further damage to society and the people living in it!
Hong Kong: D-Day 79th Anniversary (1944-2023) – Remembering Master Chan Tin Sang (陳天生) During WWII! (6.6.2023)
Our Chinese grandfather - Chan Tin Sang (1924-1993) fought as part of the 'People's Militia' (with his Section also known as the 'Hakka Resistance') in the Hong Kong and New Territories region. When he recalled these events years later – he often described this time period (1941-1945) as ‘The years covered in blood.’ - as there was never a time that he was not covered in his own blood or the blood of his enemies. Hong Kong had been under the imperialist rule of the British from 1841-1941 - when the Imperial Japanese Army successfully overran the area - killing thousands of ethnic Chinese POWs and civilians in the process! Thousands of ethnic Indian and 'White' British soldiers were killed in combat, wounded and taken into captivity (where many were tortured). What follows is description of what the ethnic Chinese people experienced throughout Hong Kong and the New Territories – a reality either deliberately ignored or simply not known by Western historians and biographers. Part of the problem is not simply political bias or historical preference (although these two issues undoubtedly play their part) - but rather that not ALL ethnic Chinese people understood fully what was happening! The ‘White’ British Administration did not trust the ethnic Chinese population – as they were afraid of homegrown uprisings – but positively detested the Imperial Japanese! This is why the British Authorities ‘refused’ to arm the ethnic Chinese population at the beginning of the Japanese troubles! Rumours of a fifth column in Kowloon turned out not to be true (these groups were comprised of Japanese sleeper cells activated to meet and assist the incoming Japanese troops).
As the British Authorities did not arm the local ethnic Chinese populations with modern firearms – these people (comprised of the Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien and Teochew ethnic groups amongst others) had to rely upon their traditional martial arts skills to fight the Japanese invaders. This was NOT a problem as the ethnic Chinese attitudes were still very ‘feudalistic’ at the time and the martial arts incredibly effective on the battlefield and in self-defence encounters! How did (modern) British arms enter the area? This seems to have been through a behind-the-scenes agreement between the CPC and the British government. The People's Militia was organised by the Communist Party of China (CPC) - as the Nationalist government had no interest in Hong Kong being part of a united China again (for the British this must have been a tricky business as the CPC was not formally in power in China - nor was it ‘recognised’ by any ruling government outside the USSR). It is remarkable that given CPC troubles being experienced in Central and Northern China at the time (fighting the Nationalists and the Japanese) that it was able to 'project' its power into what was then a very distant and remote area – but the understanding that had been reached between the CPC and the British allowed a small trickle of UK arms into the region to be used by the local Chinese people! This 'Resistance' movement against the Imperial Japanese was permitted providing the CPC power structure (together with the British arms) be 'withdrawn' from the region following the eventual defeat of the Imperial Japanese!
Our Hakka Chinese family clan in Sai Kung suffered terribly at the hands of the brutal Japanese - with women and girls routinely 'raped', 'tortured' and 'murdered'! Not only do we possess eye-witness accounts of this barbarism - but long before the internet the Japanese liked to 'photograph' (and sometimes 'film') their crimes for all to see! These are crimes that the Japanese committed all over China and Asia - and which the Japanese government has yet to properly acknowledge and apologise for! Chan Tin Sang was 17-years old in 1941 and 21-years old in 1945 - when the war ended. During that time, he lost most of his immediate relatives and was accustomed to fighting ‘hand-to-hand' with the fanatical Japanese soldiers - using his Hakka martial arts skills to survive (his father died fighting in this manner in 1944). Later, in search of a better life - Chan Tin Sang came to England in 1956 when he was 32-years old. He worked hard for 10-years in what became London's 'new' Chinatown and finally saved up enough money to bring his wife and daughters to the UK (as they already possessed 'British Citizenship') in 1966 (when he was 42-years old). He passed away in 1993 when he was 69-years old - which was quite old at the time - but many believe that the years of deprivation (and continuous violence) he experienced between 1941-1945 definitely shortened his lifespan. Sometimes - as individuals and groups - we possess no choice. By the time the Western allies were landing on Normandy 79-years ago – the Japanese Occupiers were still strong and effective throughout Hong Kong and the New Territories! It would be with the entry of the Soviet Red Army (during late 1945) into Manchuria that begin the demise of the Imperial Japanese Army and signal the return of the British to Hong Kong!
Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles (b. 1967) - Lineage (Generational) Inheritor of the Ch'an Dao Hakka Gongfu System.