The funny thing is that component movements of the Islamic martial art of 'Chaquan' looks identical to our 'Hakka' Longfist Style - even down to the applications - but Longfist is generic and certainly not rare! It comprises hundreds (or thousands) of Northern Styles and is common-place (it has even penetrated a number of Southern Styles). We all approach these movements from our different lineage perspectives - but all traditions use the 'external', 'Internal' and 'Integrated' aspects of ancient Chinese science.
My research suggests that the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE) instigated a country-wide martial culture - probably through a specially constructed manual comprised of illustrations and basic directions. As the Qin Emperor expanded the model of the Qin State (originally situated in Northwest China) across the whole of the conquered territories of what is today considered 'China' (which excluded at the time the swamp-infested area of what is now Fujian province) - this 'unity' of culture spread over a massive geographical area and converted every village into a military barracks - and ordered that every local man, women and child became a 'soldier' serving the Qin State whilst having to train in a standardised martial art (both 'armed' and 'unarmed').
This makes Longfist over two-thousand years old - and pre-existing the arrival of Muslims in China by about 1,200 years! The Arab merchants constructed their Chaquan version of Longfist from what they saw around them in the areas of China they had settled within (possibly acquired from the families of the Chinese women they married). Of course, this specialised Longfist was then taught to non-Muslim Chinese people (for various reasons) over-time - so that today Chaquan is practiced by millions of ethnic Han people - as well as Hui Chinese-Muslims. Hakka gongfu is typically 'Confucian' with Buddhist and Daoist overtones. There are theories, however, that suggest the 'Qin' and 'Han' Dynasties may have been 'Hakka' - that is founded by displaced peoples who originally lived on the edges of geographical Northern China (before migrating Southward) and which had developed cultures that mixed 'Han' and 'non-Han' (Barbarian) cultural elements together.
This history is disputed, but certainly DNA studies have linked (modern) Hakka women living within South China with (Evenk) women living today in Siberia. Certainly, our Spear Forms were originally practiced (in-part) whilst riding a Steppe pony and gripping and steering the animal with the legs - whilst keeping the hands free to wield the spear from one side to the other without striking the animal's head. Later, when ponies were nolonger available - the 'Horse Stance' was developed to take their place in training. The 'Horse Stance' used to prepare the practitioner by building the lower-body strength for riding a Steppe pony through 'holding' the stance for long periods of time. Today, most practitioners use this method for strength-building - but have no knowledge of the historical development behind its structure.
The Chinese language description states that Seisan Kata derives from a 'Form' found within the 'Incense Shop Fist' (香店拳 - Xiang Dian Quan) Style. Xiangdian is a district in Fuzhou City, Fujian province. This is one of the thousands of lineages completely uneffected by the political changes in China - and which has been falsely recorded in the West as 'being wiped out', etc. This is the Chinese language encyclopaedia page:
'香店拳源于清乾隆年间。南少林武僧智远为报香店人救命之恩，在此密传罗汉拳，隐名为“香店拳”。后经香店历代拳师吸取各派精华，形成了独特的香店拳，并流传于海内外。  香店拳是内外合一、硬气功兼练的技法拳种，分上、中、下三盘，善于短打近攻。武术套路有硬三战、三战等十多种套路，甚为独特。'
'Incense Shop Fist (香店拳 - Xiang Dian Quan) originated during the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty (1735-1796). The Southern Shaolin Temple Warrior-Monk named 'Zhiyuan' (智远) - in order to save the lives of the people living in the 'Xiangdian' area of Fuzhou City - secretly conveyed to them the techniques retained within the Shaolin gongfu Style known as Luohan Fist (罗汉拳 - Luo Han Quan). As he wanted to keep this interaction 'secret' - Zhiyuan referred to this Style as being called 'Xiangdian Fist' - giving the impression it was a local form of fighting already known by the people. As time progressed, however, Zhiyuan integrated (and absorbed) the essence of many other (different) gongfu arts and slowly the 'Xiangdian Fist' started to evolve - becoming very different from Luohan Fist. The effectiveness of this Style became famous and it was spread throughout China and abroad. Xiangdian Fist incorporates the unity of the 'internal' and 'external' (内外合一 - Nei Wai He Ye) and 'firm' qigong (硬气功 - Ying Qi Gong), etc. All this ability is manifested simultaneously in the mind and body of an advanced practitioner. The opponent is peppered with close-in and short-range (very powerful) techniques delivered to the continuously varying heights of high, middle and low. There are at least ten different and unique 'Forms' - including a 'firm' (hard) version of 'San Zhan' (三战) or 'Three Battles'.'
A well-known Xiangdian Fist Master today is 'Yan Mengyong' (严孟永) [b. 1950] who started training with his uncle - Fang Ligui (房利贵) - in 1968. In November 1978, he was invited to participate in the First Wushu Observation and Performance Conference in Fujian Province with his master - Fang Ligui - and won an award. Since then, Master Yan Mengyong has taught Disciples from all over China - with his gongfu spreading to Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States - as well as many other places!
I read the following short extract in a book entitled 'When China Ruled the Seas - The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne (1405-1433)' By Louise Levathes (OUP), 1994, Pages 173-174 - which explains the difference in policy between two emperors with one applying expansion and sharing with no thought to the cost - with the other emperor closing China off from the outside world! In all of this, and following the settlement of the 36 Fujian families to 'Liuqiu' - the 'King' of 'Ryukyu' is mentioned:
'At first the changes were hardly perceptible. Emissaries continued their missions to China's shores. But in 1436, when Nanjing officials repeatedly appealed to the court for more craftsman, their request was summarily denied. Concerned about the burden on the people, Zhu Zhanji's successor halted construction in shipyards and urged frugal economic practices. In 1437, after paying tribute, the King of Ryukyu Island (south of Japan) asked the emperor for new court costumes, which had been given to his envoys since the beginning of the dynasty. The ones he had, he said, had "become old." And who knew when he would be able to return to China? The seas were now "dangerous and difficult." The emperor, however, declined to grant the King's request. The following year, the Siamese mission to the court was robbed of its cargo of pearls, gold, and jade by two dishonest officials in Guangdong. Through no fault of his own, the Siamese ambassador arrived in court without tribute. Such behaviour from local officials would have been impossible to imagine in the Yongle reign. That same year, the emperor sent a message to the King of Java saying that the "envoy" he had sent was wild and drunk and had caused the deaths of several people, including himself. "You should be more careful," the emperor commanded, "in choosing envoys in the future."'
I have copy-typed this for your records. Indeed, the author worked at the time for National Geographic (c. 1990) and had carried-out a great deal of her research in China - using Chinese language sources. (I believe the John Hopkins Center for Chinese and American Studies at Nanjing University in Jiangsu province, is very popular and respected amongst Chinese people). Interestingly, and rather disappointedly, this is the only 'Ryukyu' reference in her entire book!
Author’s Note: I am of the opinion that the Chinese language term ‘Tang Shou’ (唐手) or ‘Tang Hand’ refers to the totality of the perfected cultural production that was the Tang Dynasty of ancient China! As such, the term ‘Tang Shou’ (唐手) does not – and was never intended – to refer to a school (or system) of Chinese martial arts! In other words, the product being received (Chinese martial arts) - became confused (and conflated) with the culturally defined transmission process (Chinese treasure fleets)! The fact that this confusion has entered into Western discourse as such, represents an error in historical interpretation that must be ironed-out if the genuine history of Karate-Do is to be ascertained. The Karate-Do of Okinawa (and Japan) possesses ‘many histories’ and this article intends to clarify and rectify a problem with historical interpretation relating to perhaps the ‘first transmission’ of Chinese martial arts to the Ryukyu Islands. This process was probably enhanced by the fact the Japanese government sent at least fifteen cultural missions of its own to Tang Dynasty China between 630-894 CE! Until evidence suggests otherwise, I am of the opinion that the earliest martial transmission occurred between the 7th and 10th centuries CE, and comprised of Chinese envoys travelling to Ryukyu and teaching the inhabitants, and various Japanese citizens visiting China, learning whatever martial arts were available and bringing this body of knowledge back to Japan! . Whether any of this initial transmission survives in the diverse modern-day Karate-Do (or Okinawan ‘Te’) techniques (or ‘Kata’) is a matter of interesting conjecture. My personal belief is that it does. As for the meaning of the Chinese ideogram ‘唐’ (tang2) - it is comprised of the following components:
Upper Particle = 广 (guang3) - broad, wide, extensive and vast.
Middle Particle = 肀 (yu4) - to write with a brush.
Lower Particle = 口 (kou3) - to speak, announce and to order.
This would suggest that the Tang (唐) Dynasty defined itself through its intention (and ability) to develop, maintain, preserve, spread and share what its exponents believed to be its vastly superior culture! The Tang Dynasty possessed the ability to grow vast forests, harvest the wood in a sustainable manner, build vast armadas of ships, staff those ships with hundreds of suitably trained and qualified people and then fill the holds of these ships with all kinds of cultural treasures intended to enrich and inspire the people living in all the discoverable areas outside of the geographical China! I think this interpretation supports my idea that ‘Tang Shou’ (唐手) does not represent the name of a particular style of Chinese martial arts, but rather is a collective term encompassing all the cultural crafts, artifacts and abilities that the skilled people of the Tang Dynasty could produce! ACW (28.8.2022)
Chinese language historical encyclopaedias record a number of diplomatic missions between Tang Dynasty China and the Ryukyu Islands – with the Ryukyu Kingdom being a considered as a tributary State of China (alongside ‘Kyushu’ and other places). As part of these missions, Chinese Envoys conveyed various types of armed and unarmed martial arts to the people of the Ryukyu and Kyushu Islands as a ‘gift’ from the emperor of China (records also discuss similar missions to ‘Honshu’ or the Japanese Mainland as in those days the Japanese Authorities encouraged interaction between its own citizens and Chinese people – encouraging as much learning of Chinese culture as was possible). The Chinese martial arts conveyed were part of the general Chinese missions which were known as ‘Chinese Hand’ (唐手 - Tang Shou) - a term used to refer to the spread of a broad array of Chinese culture. Overtime, the term ‘Chinese Hand’ (唐手 - Tang Shou) lost the meaning pertaining to the act of spreading a general body of Chinese cultural information – and came instead to be associated only with the one element of that transmission – namely the ‘martial’. In other words, in and of itself, ‘Chinese Hand’ (唐手 - Tang Shou) should not (and does not) refer to the practice of Chinese martial arts – even though it has become synonymous with the historical analysis of the Okinawan and Japanese martial art now known today as ‘Karate-Do’.
The cultures of Kyushu and Ryukyu already possessed their own indigenous martial arts traditions (distinct from those found in China or Mainland Japan) during the time of the Tang Dynasty. These local fighting traditions began the process of ‘integrating’ with (and slowly transforming) the transmitted Chinese martial arts – often developing and changing the original structure and purpose. As these Chinese martial arts arrived as part of a greater cultural gift transmitted by the Tang Dynasty – this explains why these diverse fighting systems became known by the general name of ‘Tang Shou’ (唐手) - with ‘Tang’ (唐) being used to denote ‘China’ in general, but also the ‘ruling’ Dynasty during which time the transmission is believed to have occurred! If the martial art referred to was transmitted during the Song (宋), Yuan (元), Ming (明) or even Qing (清) eras – then logic dictates that the fighting systems in question would have been named after those Dynasties! This thinking holds true, even if these Chinese martial arts were part of much broader Chinese cultural exchanges!
Another point to consider is the use of the ideogram ‘手’ (shou3) - literally denoting an ‘open’ hand (with four fingers and thumb being present) - which in and of itself does not represent anything particularly ‘martial’ within Chinese fighting culture! Indeed, when combined with the ideogram ‘高’ (gao1) - as in ‘高手’ (Gao Shou) - the concept of ‘expert master’ is formed! This is someone who possesses a ‘greater perception’ because they have attained a ‘higher point of view’ and are able to ‘act’ in the physical world by using their ‘hands’ (and by logical implication - the rest of their body) to perform a superior type of transformative labour, which progressively alters the human world! Therefore, whereas ‘高手’ (Gao Shou) implies an exceptional (individual) being who possesses the ability to transform the world through the use of their superior action (in whatever form) – when the term ‘Tang Shou’ (唐手) is used, I believe it refers to the culture of the ‘Tang Dynasty’ in general, elements of which were exported out of the geographical boundaries of what we would now term ‘China’ - as part of various diplomatic missions to other parts of the world (effectively spreading Confucian spiritual and material culture). Chinese martial arts may well have comprised part of these so-called ‘civilising’ gifts – but the martial arts themselves would not have originally been termed ‘Tang Shou’ (唐手) - but held this title only in the sense of being transmitted as a ‘gift’. The Chinese diplomatic mission would have been termed ‘Tang Shou’ (唐手) - comprising of thousands of different aspects of Chinese culture – with martial arts representing just one aspect.
In general, a physical art designed for martial purposes would be designated within Chinese cultural parlance by the term ‘拳’ (quan2). To understand why this ideogram denotes a ‘closed’ or ‘clenched’ fist, its structure must be examined in greater detail. At the start, it is important to understand that the ideogram ‘拳’ does contain the ideogram ‘手’ (shou3) - but only as a modified particle, the reasons for which I shall now explain. The ideogram ‘拳’ (quan2) is comprised of the following constituent parts:
Top Particle (Phonetic) = ‘龹’ which is a contraction of ‘𢍏’ (juan4) - to roll rice into a ball.
Lower Particle (Compound) = ‘手’ (shou3) - an open hand with four fingers and a thumb.
The key to transforming ‘an open-hand to a closed-hand' lies in the inherent meaning of the upper particle ‘𢍏’ (juan4):
Top Particle = 釆 (bian4) - sorting rice, distinguishing and discriminating.
Lower Particle = 廾 (gong3) - two hands pushing outward, bowing in salute and to surround and encircle.
We may then state that ‘拳’ (quan2) a hand is ‘closed’ or ‘clenched’ (although not necessarily with ‘force’), so that rice may be mixed, separated and rolled into balls. A hand maybe ‘closed’ but at the same time it possesses a tremendous skill which differentiates between every action that must be carried-out and performed! At the highest level of martial arts mastery, the ‘closed’ hand remains ‘relaxed’ even when ‘closed’ - as the bone structure is held perfectly aligned without undue effort – so that bodyweight can be effortless transmitted without hindrance through it and into the opponent. The bodyweight of the opponent can also be ‘borrowed’ temporarily by allowing it to enter the aligned bone structure before ‘ejecting’ it out of the fist with tremendous penetrative force! If the Tang Dynasty Authorities intended for the martial arts to be named after themselves (which I doubt), then they would have used a term such as ‘Tang Quan’ (唐拳) - or ‘Tang Fist’. More to the point, when emperors and officials did develop systems of martial arts – they usually gave it their own personal names!
Translated By Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD ( © )
Yongchun (永春) White Crane Fist (白鹤拳 - Bai He Quan) is one of the seven major martial arts styles developed in Fujian Province. It was created during the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties and has spread throughout China, Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States. It is a national heritage of immeasurable cultural importance!
The Southern Shaolin Fighting Method (南少林拳法 - Nan Shao Lin Quan Fa) - which developed during the Tang and Song Dynasties – was popular in Fujian by the middle of the Ming Dynasty. In the Fujian area of Yongchun - no matter whether in the city or the countryside - there were countless practitioners of martial arts! The Southern Shaolin System was prevalent but with such styles as ‘Taizu’ (太祖) or ‘Grand Ancestor’ and ‘Houquan’ (猴拳) or ‘Monkey Fist’ being very prevalent! The area was economically and culturally prosperous! The ‘History of the Ming Dynasty’ (明史 - Ming Shi), Volume 91, Martial Aspiration Three (兵志三 - Bing Zhi San) - Recollections (记载 - Ji Zai) states: ‘The people of Yongchun possess tremendous fighting-spirit and are highly skilled in martial arts practice!’ Therefore, it can be historically proved that the Yongchun people's practice of martial arts has been highly developed as early as the middle of the Ming Dynasty!
Yongchun White Crane Fist is one of the seven major fighting styles developed in Fujian Province. It was founded during the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. It takes the ‘White Crane’ bird as its spiritual, psychological and physical inspiration (形 - Xing) or ‘Form’ (‘Kata’ in Japanese martial arts) and manifests this inspiration in its general fighting method! The White Crane practitioner understands how to ‘move’ and remain ‘still’ - and how to transition between these two states with a smooth and non-confused accuracy controlled by an underlying higher knowledge that embraces the practitioner, the opponent and the environment! Furthermore, a White Crane practitioner fully comprehends the ‘empty’ (虚 - Xu) and the ‘full’ (实 - Shi) and how and when each is to be used so that the opponent is continuously ‘uprooted’ - whilst the White Crane practitioner is continuously strengthened! All the energy channels in the body (the eight extraordinary and the twelve ordinary) are opened, unified and fully functioning (transporting and strengthening Qi 精, Jing 氣 and Shen 神)! As this is the case, the mind, body and spirit are unified, just as the bones and joints are aligned (allowing the bodyweight to drop into the ground – and effortlessly rebound back up and out of the body – through the relevant striking areas). All movement is perfectly timed, and the speed is so fast that an opponent has difficulty discerning the blows as they are naturally ‘released’ from the limbs of the White Crane practitioner! The hands and feet alternate with a perfect timing and balance that is bewildering to encounter! The White Crane practitioner can ‘vary’ the 'speed’ of each blow so as to bypass the habitual (and expected) movements of an opponent’s defensive reactions! The White Crane practitioner can be as solid as a mountain or as light a feather – depending upon the ‘intention’ of the practitioner and the necessity of the moment! Those who master these ‘internal’ Shaolin martial arts can appear to ‘manifest’ and ‘disappear’ at will – as they manipulate the perception of the opponent! This is why there is said to be a blend of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ martial techniques! This style has been circulating in China and Southeast Asia for more than 300 years, and it is popular in Europe and the United States. As a consequence, this type of Chinese martial art is considered a quintessential manifestation of Chinese martial culture!
According to research - Ip Man (叶问 - Ye Wen) who is well-known at home and abroad as the teacher of the great Bruce Lee – taught his style of ‘Wing Chun Fist’ (咏春拳 - Yong Chun Quan) which was heavily influenced by the fighting techniques of Yongchun White Crane Fist. Bruce Lee used all this martial arts knowledge to later develop his system of fighting termed ‘Jeet Kune Do’ (截拳道 - Jie Quan Dao)! Furthermore, Chinese, Okinawan and Japanese scholars all agree that the style of fighting known as ‘Goju Ryu Karate-Do' (刚柔流空手道 - Gang Rou Liu Kong Shou Dao) has its theoretical and technical roots firmly embedded in the fertile martial ground that is Yongchun White Crane Fist!
Chen Hong (陈弘) - the President of the China Yongchun White Crane Fist Research Association - pointed out that there are many technical similarities between Fujian Yongchun White Crane Fist and the Guangdong martial style known as ‘Wing Chun Kune’ (咏春拳 - Yong Chun Quan)! For instance, before issuing a blow, the Yongchun White Crane Fist practitioner must first centre his or her own mind, body and spirit – gather up the accumulated energy and direct this ball of power toward the ‘centre-line’ of the opponent’s body! This gather and emitting ‘internal’ and ‘external’ power through the Conception Vessel 任脉 - Ren Mai) - whilst targeting the Conception Vessel of the opponent! This is the real meaning behind the ‘Centre-Line Theory’ which many only pay lip-service to. This is identical to the ‘Centre-Line’ theory as found in Wing Chun (and many other martial systems)! Furthermore, Wing Chun is also famous for the power its practitioners produce during their ‘one-inch punch’ demonstrations! This is termed ‘寸劲’ (Cum Jin) or ‘inch strength’ or the ability to generate ‘explosive short-range power’! Within Yongchun White Crane Fist, this same ability is known as ‘寸劲节力’ (Cum Jin Jie Li) or ‘inch power direct energy’! In both systems the feet are generally rooted with the knees remaining flexible to accommodate a dextrous upper body which delivers fast and massively powerful blows of all descriptions, landing at all levels! These include open and closed hands, fore-arms, elbow-strikes, upper-arms, shoulder and blows with the head! The torso ‘twists’ left and right through the pelvis and around the spine – whilst swaying and leaning left and right (forward and back at oblique angles) – all through, around, away from and back to the ‘centre-line’! The famous ‘chi-sow’ (黐手 - Chi Shou) or ‘stick hand’ technique of Wing Chun is very similar to the ‘pan shou’ (盘手) ‘enveloping hand’ technique found in Yongchun White Crane Fist! Although Wing Chun has been developed for more than 100 years, and is a renowned style of fighting, nevertheless, the shadow of Yongchun White Crane Fist still clearly looms in the background!
Chen Hong (陈弘) has been researching the theory and practice of Yongchun White Crane Fist for many years, particularly with regards to practitioners living or taking refuge within Guangdong! During the Qing Dynasty reign of emperors Xianfeng (咸丰) [reigned 1850-1861] - and the Tongzhi (同治) emperor (reigned 1861-1875) - there lived a couple of Yongchun White Crane Masters named ‘Lin Jun’ (林俊) and Chen Hu (陈湖) who took an active part in the Peasant Uprisings! Indeed, many such martial arts Masters participated in these uprising! Hong Xiuquan (洪秀全) led the ‘Taiping Heavenly Kingdom’ uprising which engulfed large parts of China – including Fujian province! ‘Lin Jun’ (林俊) was personally appointed by Hong Xiuquan (洪秀全) as one of the ‘Strong Kings of Three Thousand Years’ - stationed in the Fujian area! This gave him command of thousands of Taiping troops! Despite many early victories and tremendous battles – the Taiping were defeated, and the surviving rebels had to flee! Many of these fugitives fled all over China whilst being pursued by a Qing Army led by ‘Zou Zongtang’ (左宗棠) - which drove them out of Fujian and into the Guangdong and Zhejiang areas – where the Yongchun White Crane Fist practitioners had to adopt disguises and live secret lives (whilst teaching disciples behind the scenes – often at night)! These survivors were inspired by ‘Lin Jun’ (林俊) - where his reputation is still bright and shining in China today!
During the mid-Qing Dynasty, with the increasingly frequent unofficial cultural exchanges between Okinawa (Ryukyu), Japan and Taiwan, some White Crane Fist disciples went to Dongying (东瀛) to teach martial arts; many Japanese merchants who travelled to the Mainland for business and employment, also began to learn White Crane Fist and transmitted it back to Japan. During 1877, Higaonna Kanryo travelled from Okinawa to Fuzhou and studied Yongchun White Crane Fist. After three years of intense training, Higaonna Kanryo returned to his home in Okinawa – transmitting White Crane Fist as he went! After integrating White Crane Fist with Okinawan fighting techniques – the art of ‘Goju Ryu’ Karate-Do was eventually developed (by Miyagi Chojun – the key disciple of Higaonna Kanryo in Okinawa). It is clear from this example that White Crane Fist rejuvenated the Okinawan fighting arts! Another example lies with ‘Wang Xiangui’ (吴贤贵) who used to work for the Fuzhou Tower River Water Ministry (福州台江水部的 - Fu Zhou Tai Jiang Shui Bu) - but in 1912 he travelled to Okinawa where he met Higaonna Kanryo – who had established the ‘Eternal Light’ (永光 - Yongguang) Tea Shop (茶行 - Cha Xing). As he saw that Higaonna Kanryo and his disciples already knew ‘Yongchun White Crane Fist’ - he decided to teach the Okinawans the ‘Whooping Crane Fist’ (鸣鹤拳 - Ming He Quan) variant! It was the disciples of Higaonna Kanryo who had trained with Wu Xiangui that formed the ‘Okinawa Strong Foundation Association’ (冲绳刚泊会 - Chong Sheng Gang Po Hui)! Tokashiki, the President of Japan's Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate-Do Association, has been searching for many years to find the identity of the Chinese Masters who taught Higaonna Kanryo! Finally, the source of Yongchun White Crane Fist in Okinawa was discovered in Fujian - and a "remarkable monument" was raised in the Fujian Provincial Sports Centre (in 1990)!
During October 1928, the first national martial arts examination was held in Nanjing since its abolition in 1911 – following the overthrow and abolition of the Qing Dynasty and its feudalist and imperialistic system! Yongchun County in Fujian sent a martial arts expert known as ‘Jin jing’ (晋京) - who placed first in every category and won every available award! Indeed, Yongchun as a place was awarded with the title ‘Central Hall of Martial Arts Execellence’ (中央国术馆 - Zhong Yang Guo Shu Guan)! This meant that a government-sponsored centre of martial arts practice was established, legally protected and funded in the Fujian area! The advent of Yongchun White Crane Fist in the 20th century served to strengthen China not only in the eyes of its own people – but also in the eyes of those across the world – a view held and expressed by Mr. Tan Kah Kee (陈嘉庚) - who further stated, ‘China as a country has been strengthened by the vigour of our own martial arts!’ He also said, ‘Promote the strengthening essence and eradicate the weak!’ During August 1929, in his honour, he requested that the Yongchun White Crane Fist School contribute to the formation of a ‘Central Martial Arts Hall Southern Fujian Martial Arts Touring and Exhibition Group’ be formed to travel around China and to do so abroad! Its first performance was at ‘Xingma’ (星马) - but became the first martial arts delegation to go abroad in the history of Chinese Martial arts - creating a precedent for overseas cultural exchanges focusing upon martial culture!
Mr. Tan Kah Kee met with all the members of the martial arts troupe many times to promote the concept of ‘strengthening the country by promoting martial arts’, and on the spot, he gave the correct title to the Southern Fujian Martial Arts Troupe: ‘Who is the sick man of East Asia – Certainly not the Chinese people! This shame is eradicated by the mastery of Wu Weiyang (武维扬)! Do not forget that the grandsons and granddaughters of the Yellow Emperor can be reborn anywhere – even as fishes! Perhaps the Heros of the Central Plane Create Cities that are dry!’
In 2008, Yongchun White Crane Fist was included in the national heritage list as being of immeasurable cultural value! Today, there are an estimated 100,000 practitioners of Yongchun White Crane Fist, with thousands of experts and hundreds of top-class Masters! Fuzhou has also successfully held the first World Conference for Yongchun White Crane Fist – which attracted thousands of diverse people from all over the world – including many hundreds of Karate-Do practitioners! Yongchun White Crane Fist has also been a vehicle for good-natured and friendly exchanges across the straits! Throughout the martial arts competitions of the world - Yongchun White Crane Fist practitioners won more than 1,000 awards in various competitions at all levels! This style of martial culture is deeply rooted in Okinawa and across the world! As the theoretical and technical foundation for Okinawan Karate-Do – particularly GoJu Ryu – Yong Chun White Crane Fist has inspired a rich academic research genre, that has spread from educational facilities and on to the internet, as well as in books and in films! There have even been theatre performances, plays and other ‘live’ action and educational activities! At the same time, Yongchun White Crane Fist is entering the fields of health, culture and tourism, etc., and its comprehensive and all-round positive effect is becoming increasingly apparent. The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, Moldova, Poland, the United States, Sweden, Switzerland, Iran, Malaysia and other countries, as well as Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, have all established professional organizations for the inheritance and practice of Yongchun White Crane Fist - in order to establish the ‘World Yongchun White Crane Fist Association' - which now has now laid a solid foundation.
Reporter: Ceng Guangtai (曾广太)
Correspondents: Chen Hong (陈弘) & Zhou Lili (周莉莉) - Text & Photographs (Except Signatured)
Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles (b. 1967) - Lineage (Generational) Inheritor of the Ch'an Dao Hakka Gongfu System.