I came to a mysterious place – it has three lanes and seven allies...
All will be filled by a ‘Martial Self-Cultivation General Assembly’ full of mystery and ritual...
Later – there will be an unveiling involving an apprenticeship ceremony!
The spiritual essence of the martial arts will be slowly revealed and exhibited...
This is when the spirit and the physicality of the White Crane will take to the air yet again!
The Form is pure, the mind is ‘still’ the body is fully prepared (relaxed and tenses in equal measure).
The whoop cries out across Jiugao – such ather old. It was developed by a woman known as ‘Fang Niqiang’ (方七娘) or ‘Fang Seventh Female’ - she was the only daughter (and the seventh born) out of the seven children produced by her father – Fang Zhong (方种)! Fang Niqiang lived during the Kangxi (康熙) period of the Qing Dynasty (1662-1722 CE) and was taught in the Funing (福宁) area of Fujian by a Shaolin Master outside the North Gate (北门 - Bei Men). Although Fang Zhong possessed at least six sons – it was this woman who possessed the correct character and virtue to be a disciple of this renowned local Shaolin Master! is the power of the Red-Crowned (Manchurian0 Crane!
The long beak acquires food without moving or disturbing the surface of the calm water...
Yet with great penetrative power the beak of the crane can meet any unexpected guest...
The red eyes can detect movement far away – and not lose track of any approach!
The slender legs tread through water but are never overcome – always ready to step and evade!
The wings gracefully unfold to shield, block and parry – whilst lifting the crane in flight!
The neck is slim and yet vast – it can swallow the world – and regurgitate the content!
Those who master these mysterious attributes of this tradition attain to immortality!
(This poem is in memory of the late ‘Whooping Crane Fist’ Master - Chen Shiding [陈世鼎])
During the Daoguang (道光) era of the Qing Dynasty (1820–1850 CE) - Zheng Li was exiled in the Fuzhou area with his disciples. One of his disciples was named ‘Lin Shixian’ (林世咸) and it is this man (known as being from the Quanzhou area) who is considered the Founding Patriarch of the ‘Whooping Crane Fist’ (鸣鹤拳 - Ming He Quan) martial system. One day, Lin Shixian visited the Buddhist ‘High Convent’ (高庵 - Gao An) Temple (堂 - Tang) situated in the Yixu area of Fuzhou. Here, he encountered a Shaolin monk who was an expert in the ‘Shaolin Arahant Fist’ (少林罗汉拳 - Shao Lin Luo Han Quan) system. They agreed to participate in a friendly sparring match whereby Lin Shixian impressed and mesmerised the crowd with the beauty and majesty of his ‘White Crane Fist’ ability! Although considered a draw – both men became very good friends and shared their respective knowledge with one another!
The esteemed Shaolin monk had a disciple named ‘Lin Dachong’ (林达崇) - who was also called ‘Pan Yu Ba’ (盘屿八) - who witnessed this sparring match and who was transfixed by the ‘White Crane Fist’ that he saw, and he decided to follow Lin Shixian back to his home in Quanzhou. Lin Dachong believed that the ‘White Crane Fist’ was truly magical and mysterious! Lin Dachong knelt down with respect in front of Lin Shixian and begged to be accepted as his disciple! He also made the request that Lin Shixian stay and teach him in the Pan Yu area of Fuzhou! Although Lin Shixian was a very strict and serious individual – he agreed to accept Lin Dachong as a disciple AND to stay and teach him in Pan Yu! This is why Pan Yu has become the birthplace of the ‘Whooping Crane Fist’ both in China and abroad! When Lin Dachong became a great teacher in his own right, he took on a disciple named ‘Xie Chongxiang’ (谢崇祥) to whom he taught the true essence of his martial arts style! Xie Chongxiang was a shoemaker in the Daibian (岱边) Village of the Guhuai (古槐) Township located in the Changle County area of Fuzhou! Xie Chongxiang was known locally as ‘Xie Ru Ru’ (谢如如) and by his martial arts students as ‘Ru Shi’ (如师). Xie Ru Ru became very famous and attracted hundreds of students and disciples. One such disciple was from the Chinese region of Ryukyu (which was invaded and occupied by Japan in 1879 and which is now known as ‘Okinawa’). This man was called ‘Higaonna Kanryo’ (东恩纳宽量 - Dong En Na Kuan Liang) [1853-1915] and he was the expert of the ‘Naha Hand' (那霸手 - Na Ba Shou) fighting system from the Ryukyu. He was a Master of ancient martial techniques involving the old weaponry of his island nation (古武道 Gu Wu Dao) - known in Japan as ‘Kobudo’. He was from a village in the Western area of Naha city. He arrived in our area of Fuzhou in 1877 and had specifically made the journey (across the sea) to pay his respects to ‘Ru Shi’. Xie Ru Ru accepted him as a disciple and taught him intensely for three full years before Higaonna Kanryo returned to Ryukyu where he started teaching ‘China Hand’ (唐手 - Tang Shou). This is how ‘Whooping Crane Fist’ was introduced into Okinawa and Japan – and explains how later it evolved into modern ‘Karate-Do’ (now termed ‘Empty Hand Way’). Although typical of a Chinese folk martial art found in the Fuzhou area - ‘Whooping Crane Fist’ has now developed into the Goju Ryu style of Karate-Do – which is now very popular in Japan and throughout the world!
Old Mr Yu (余) has told us about these facts. He is qualified in science and engineering (working in the car industry in his youth) and believes that martial arts should be studied through scientific facts. He has viewed important historical documents and has checked these facts with many other learned individuals. He explained that when young he held the prejudiced and bias views of the traditional mind-set – but after receiving an advanced education and learning about the scientific method – he understood that an objective fact must be established through multiple points of references and not through one dominant and yet limited point of view! This is why he abandoned his sectarian views and started listening to others and holding debates with many different types of people! This is how he improved his personal knowledge and strengthened his understanding of the theory and practicing of Fuzhou martial arts! Old Mr Yu believes that martial arts should be a kind of learning through communication. For modern people, such a profound learning experience is very important! Chinese martial arts must pay attention to progressive change. It is not enough to learn a single movement, and the profound essence of a movement cannot be learned overnight. Therefore, students come to visit and study every year! Only when you have a profound interest will you understand the breadth and depth of genuine martial arts (武术 - Wu Shu). Therefore, many foreign friends come to Fuzhou to learn genuine Chinese martial arts - including ‘Earthquake Fist’ (地术拳 - De Shu Quan), ‘Crane Fist’ (鹤拳 - He Quan) and ‘Arahant Fist’ (罗汉拳 - Luo Han Quan), etc, as well as many other martial style, systems and schools! Due to this diversification, extensive circles of world-wide communication have developed between Chinese people and people from all over the world! This is how the Fuzhou martial culture has developed modern China and brought a profound meaning to the lives of countless individuals from all around the world! This is how many different people use an element of ancient China martial culture in a manner which links many different people together! The attitude today is that Chinese martial culture now belongs not only to the Chinese people – but also to the many different people of the world! We must all study and learn together with an attitude of mutual respect! With regards to modern, Japanese Karate-Do – please come to Fuzhou and we will show you where your ‘Chinese’ martial art originates! We now preserve our traditional Chinese martial arts – but we now share these martial arts with everybody around the world who wants to learn!
Xiao Yujun (小鱼君) - can you give a basic description and outline of the ‘Whooping Crane Fist’ style’ How old is it and what is its history?
According to legend, ‘Whooping Crane Fist’ developed from the ‘Yongchun’ (咏春) variant of Fujian ‘White Crane Fist’ (白鹤拳 - Bai He Quan). Due to various outside influences and experiences, the ‘Whooping Crane Fist’ style gradually evolved out of the Fujian ‘White Crane Fist’ style and took its place as a legitimate Fuzhou self-defence and self-cultivation system! Regarding history, the length of existence for Fujian ‘White Crane Fist’ is really quite long.
There have been at least four great generations of Yongchun name clans who have significantly developed, preserved and passed on the ‘essence’ (精 - Jing) of the ‘White Crane Fist’ style! This style was passed on by the great Qing Dynasty martial artist known as ‘Zheng Li’ (郑礼), but has also been preserved as family traditions within the Lin (林), Chen (陳), Cai (蔡), Qiu (邱), Wu (吴), Xu (许), Kang (康), Zhou (周), Yan (颜), Zhang (张) and Li (李) clans amongst now many others in China and around the world. This exceptional group is referred to (and known) as the Twenty-Eight ‘Heroic Geniuses’ (英俊 - Ying Jun) - as every single individual became famous!
图为福州武术协会副会长 黄腾先生 柠檬｜摄
图为 余丹秋老师（图左）和林善泉老师（图右） 柠檬｜摄