I was researching if I could find any direct connection between Goju Ryu Karate-Do and Kobudo - and I found this video:
Kanryo in this instance is written as '贤亮' - which does not quite match the Chinese ideograms used to spell the name of 'Higaonna Kanryo' (東恩納 寛量):
1) For the name of this Style of 'Kanryo' Kobudo we have the following two Chinese ideograms of:
a) 贤 = (xian2) - 'Ken' in Japanese
b) 亮 = (liang4) - 'Ryo' in Japanese
This would suggest the name of this Kobudo (贤亮) should read 'Kenryo' (Virtuous Brilliance) in English translation - and not 'Kanryo' which seems to be the convention as used in the West.
2) The name of Higaonna Kanryo is written as '東恩納 寛量' - with the last two ideograms forming his first name of 'Kanryo':
a) 寛 = (kuan1) - 'Kan' in Japanese
b) 量 = (liang2) - 'Ryo' in Japanese
The name of 'Kanryo' (寛量) in this instance translates into English as 'Kan' (寛) being 'Kind (Gentle) Big Hearted' and 'Ryo' (量) as 'Limitless'. Kanryo might mean a 'boundless heart and mind', however, the first ideogram 'Kan' (寛) also denotes a ram (or goat) with horns ready to fight in any direction.
This exercise demonstrates the importance of logical and correct research. This Kobudo should be transliterated into English as 'Kenryo' and not 'Kanryo' as it exists - as this could - at first glance - suggest a (false) direct link between Higaonna Kanryo and this Style of Kobudo. Of course, the person and the Style could well be linked - but not in the sense of an associated 'first name'- unfortunately!
This is a very small snapshot of the gongfu videos available in China. The family styles are rugged, unpolished, and historically practiced and passed on in secret. Only recently has Chinese culture changed to accommodate routine public display. These arts were never wiped-out and the genuine Masters do not live in Taiwan. Although different, these arts look similar in their rawness to the genuine Hakka arts designed for communal health and defence - and not sport or leisure, etc. In other words, how your teaching of Gpju Ryu came across to me in Hereford.
It is difficult to say whether an art is 'external' or 'internal' - as a genuine art includes both aspects 'integrated' (zagong) at essence - with practitioners choosing to emphasis which aspect suits the situation. Many Taiwanese practitioners take-on an 'aggressive' tendency to match the tone of their government - and therefore appear 'external'. It is the expected thing. Master Zhao Ming Wang often holds seminars in Beijing for Daoist self-cultivation - and hundreds of Taiwanese attend all pledging their loyalty to the Mainland - so I suppose it is a case of swings and roundabouts! The 'Double-Daggers' remind me of 'Sai'!
Many Fujian Gongfu Vidoes (YouKu)
Traditional Martial Arts Yongchun White Crane Fist 007 Basic Routine - Guan Gong Removes Boots (Fujian)
Traditional Martial Arts Yongchun White Crane Fist 006 Basic Routines - Great One-Thousand [Da Qian] (Fujian)
Traditional Martial Arts Yongchun White Crane Fist 012 Basic Routines - Double-Daggers (Fujian)
Traditional Martial Arts Yongchun White Crane Fist 014 Basic Routines Equipment Hooked Sickle Spear (Fujian)
Traditional Martial Arts - Dragon Respect Fist (Long Zun Quan) 002 - 108 Forms (Fujian)
Traditional Martial Arts Yujiaquan 001 Yu Family Fist (Fujian)
Traditional Martial Arts Yongchun White Crane Fist 016 Basic Rake (Tiger Form) - (Fujian)
PS: Three extra videos from different Styles:
Bench Vs Staff
Single Jian (Gim)
Traditional Wushu Xingyiquan 013 Paired Practice - Close-Quarter Cannon-Striking Body-Shot Law - Featuring Zhang Jisheng (张吉生) - jìn Gairuì (靳改瑞)
Karate is mentioned just once, and even then, more or less in haste, and certainty not in any historical depth! This is disappointing from a book comprising of over 550 pages! Professor Mitsugu Sakihara provides a fascinating 'Afterword' and about ten-pages of corrections, deletions and other necessary 'errata' clarifications. Again, with a ground-breaking book of such historical scope and ambition - this type of 'correction' by an Asian academic fully armed with the latest research is nothing to be ashamed of - as a vast majority of the historical wealth presented within this books stands up to Japanese and Okinawan academic scrutiny! Of course, we must all be careful to correctly discern 'fact' from 'fiction', 'truth' from 'myth' and 'lies' from 'truth'! I present this data to add the over-all research into the fascinating history of Okinawan Karate-Do - much of which originates in Southern China, indigenous Okinawan martial culture and it would seem - the fighting arts of South-East Asia (Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia, etc) or even Indo-China (Vietnam)! George Kerr's research into the origin of Karate-Do is not referenced (so we do not know where he acquired his information) - but he is of the opinion that 'Karate' was brought back to the Ryukyu Islands by Ryukyu sailors visiting (and training in the martial arts of) South-East Asia and/or Vietnam - and not China! I have heard a similar idea expressed in some Japanese and Chinese language articles - but only in as much as suggesting 'some' Karate-Do techniques (such as the 'round-house' kick) originated within the martial culture of South-East Asia - but not the complete system! Whatever the case, to consider all the available data - the data must be made available to all - and freedom of thought will do the rest!
When the British Authorities 'Surrendered' on Christmas Day, 1941, the Japanese Imperial Army began their reign of terror and endless massacres of th local Chinese population of the New Territories and Hong Kong Island - sparing no one in their path! The Japanese Imperialists were joined by the Sikh contingent of the British Police and British Army - who changed sides and aligned themselves with Japanese fascism! The Sikh leader at the time mistakenly believed that India would be 'freed' by the Japanese fascists! I suspect the Sikh's were surprised when the Imperial Japanese began massacring the Indian population as well - seeing the Indians, Europeans and Chinese as being racially inferior! The Hakka Chinese population of the New Territories and Hong Kong Island elected (through their Clan Associations) to continue to fight the invading Imperial Japanese using traditional weaponry and unarmed martial arts skills. This was necessary as the British imperialists had withheld all modern weaponry from the hands of the indigenous Chinese population as it was believed the ethnic (local) Chinese would form a 'Communist' insurgency and attempt to other throw British rule! The Hakka Chinese put up a very good fight and inflicted thousands of casualties upon the Japanese.
The Hong Kong Navy consisted of one motorboat captained by an 'Admiral Chan' who had a wooden-leg. When the Japanese began the final push onto Hong Kong Island - his boat was quickly sank and he was marooned on a small island in Hong Kong harbour. The Japanese recall that this old man took-off his wooden-leg and used it to batter senseless any Japanese soldier who tried to take his little island! Remarkably, Admiral Chan was rescued from his predicament and went on to live well beyond the end of WWII!
Our Chinese Grandmother - Cheung Yiet-Tai - used to tell us the horrific stories of the Japanese atrocities carried-out in the New Territories by the Imperial Japanese Army! Master Chan Tin Sang was 17-years-old in 1941 when the anti-Japanese fighting started in the Hong Kong region - whilst Cheung Yiet-Tai was also 17-years-old. The Imperial Japanese had started a campaign of the mass rape of young girls and women. Cheung Yiet-Tai had to hide whilst her mother was gang-raped, hung-up by her hair, 'skinned' and then finally burned to death! This was a terrible fate that befell many thousands of young Chinese women and girls! Whilst the female Chinese population hide with their children in the many cave systems throughout the coastal areas, the the Chinese men formed a guerrilla army and took to covert military action. This fighting was absolutely brutal and each day saw hundreds of Chinese men NOT returning to their awaiting families!
When the returning British retook control of Hong Kong in 1945 - they were astonished to hear that the local Chinese Hakka population had continued to fight between 1941-1945 without the aid of modern weaponry - and suffered around 10,000 casualties! The British then erected a monument in the New Territories recognising the bravery of t Hakka Chinese people (or a least this was the story I was told - but it seems the local villagers raised this monument themselves - with the British only taking credit later when they realised they could do nothing about it - see below). In 1956, Master Chan Tin Sang came to the UK and worked hard for ten-years before saving enough money to bring his wife and two daughter to Britain in 1966. The Hakka Chinese people are known for migrating to find a better life! A Chinese-language history documents describes one area of the Hong Kong resistance to Japanese terror when it states:
'Wujiaoteng Village is a Hakka village with a patriotic tradition. It was the base of the Hong Kong and Kowloon Independent Brigade of the Dongjiang Column in the era of Japanese occupation. After the outbreak of the Pacific War on December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked and quickly occupied Hong Kong. In more than three years of anti-Japanese guerrilla war, the Hong Kong and Kowloon Brigade attacked the Japanese army many times, and eliminated the notorious Japanese spy Toaki, as well as many other traitors and secret agents. The maritime squadron frequently attacked the Japanese shipping lanes in the waters near Hong Kong. It experienced more than ten major naval battles. It captured 13 enemy ships, sank 10 ships, and intercepted hundreds of tons of cargo and delivered them to the Dongjiang Column Headquarters. The Hong Kong and Kowloon Brigade also rescued allied pilots on many occasions and assisted the Allied forces in obtaining military intelligence. In early 1942, an anti-Japanese guerrilla squad came to Wujiaoteng Village and began a counterattack against the Japanese army. They attacked Kai Tak Airport, bombed the Japanese Railway No. 4 in Kowloon and the arsenal, etc., and made immortal military exploits. The Japanese army hated this Hakka Chinese Unit and encircled and wiped out Wujiaoteng Village many times, but the guerrillas repeatedly escaped danger under the protection of the villagers. During the Japanese occupation, the invaders launched more than ten raids on Wujiaoteng and surrounding (Hakka) villages. On September 25, 1942, the second day of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Japanese army surrounded Wujiaoteng Village in the early morning, forcing the masses to surrender their traditional self-defence weapons and give the guerrillas. The village chief Li Shifan and others were not afraid of pouring water, burning fire, or being stepped on horses. They were tight-lipped and were sacrificed heroically. In February 1943, half a year after the incident, on the hillside near Wujiaoteng Village, the Guangdong Provincial Interim Committee and the Dongjiang Military and Political Committee held a joint meeting to implement the instructions of the Southern Bureau of the Communist Party of China and summarize the experience of the anti-Japanese guerrilla war in the Dongjiang and Zhujiang areas. The lessons and plans for future work are known as the "Wu Jiao Teng Conference" in history. The meeting is of great significance to the work of the Dongjiang Column, the Guangdong area, and the anti-Japanese work of the Dongjiang Military and Political Committee. Subsequently, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China instructed to change the designation of the Guangdong People's Anti-Japanese Guerrilla Corps to the Dongjiang Column of the Guangdong People's Anti-Japanese Guerrilla Corps, which has seven groups under its jurisdiction. Zeng Sheng was the commander and Yin Linping was the political commissar. On December 2, 1943, the Dongjiang Column was formally established. The Hong Kong and Kowloon (Hakka) Brigade was one of the first seven teams of the Dongjiang Column. What is less known is that the radio station of the Dongjiang Column was also hidden for eight months in Shishuijian near Wujiaoteng Village, continuously transmitting signals, allowing Guangdong to keep in touch with Yan'an. Without this radio station, the anti-Japanese war in Hong Kong and even Guangdong would be very critical. During this period of time, the hidden management of the radio station was kept extremely secret The logistical work of the radio station depended on the villagers Lin Mao, Lin Chuan's uncle and nephew (they took fishing boats to join the troops dealing with maritime traffic) and their family of 4 people climbing mountains and ridges for secret acquisitions. In April 1943, the Japanese army "mopped up" Shishuijian, but our radio station had already been safely transferred. The Japanese army arrested villager Lin San, tied him to a tree and beat him severely, forcing him to confess the whereabouts of the radio. In the end, the Japanese army killed him and set fire to five houses... During the Anti-Japanese War, 40 youths from Wujiaoteng Village said goodbye to their hometowns and joined the guerrillas without hesitation. 9 Anti-Japanese journalists successively sacrificed for the country and the welfare of Hong Kong. After the victory of the War of Resistance Against Japan, in order to commemorate the villagers and guerrillas who sacrificed their lives for the War of Resistance Against Japan, in October 1951, the villagers spontaneously built a monument for the martyrs, which was rebuilt in 1985. As the original site was located in a remote, steep and sloping mountain slope, until December 2009, the monument was relocated to the current site with funding from the SAR government.'
The external method of withdrawing blood flow away from the surface of the body involves either bathing in very cold water – or rubbing ice all over the body. The cold closes the capillaries and diverts blood flow away from the surface skin area as if the outside environment were very cold and the body had to defend itself against the possibility of ‘freezing’. Blood flow (as ‘heat’) is diverted away from the surface area and into the inner organs to keep the much more important inner organs functionally healthily. For fighting that could risk the possibility of the surface body becoming bruised or cut – with drawing the blood supply away from the surface skin is an important attribute. Within the Ch’an Dao Style we do not make use of the this ‘external’ version of closing the surface capillaries using ‘ice’ or ‘cold water’, indeed, we do not any external substance. We practice a Hakka Gongfu (internal) meditational method which ‘withdraws’ blood supply from the capillaries as a matter of cultivated ‘will-power’. Just as the mind conceives the requirement for the outer blood flow to be diverted toward the inner organs – the body makes the adjustments. As sparring of this kind traditionally occurs between 10 am-12 pm – the Hakka Gongfu practitioner often finds the blood flow habitually ‘withdrawing’ in the morning so that, for instance, it would be difficult for a doctor or a nurse to take a sample of the blood from the arms or hands – as the capillaries are ‘closed’ at the surface where the needle penetrates. Blood flow returns to the surface of the skin as the body heads into the afternoon – unless a sparring match or honour match is set to happen. This prevents extensive bruising and cuts that might lose a lot of blood. Following the meditation usually means that the capillaries will close regularly every morning and open in the afternoon. Very advanced Masters of the Hakka Gongfu martial arts have been said to stop the extensive bleeding often associated with terrible wounds such as having hands or feet partly or fully chopped-off! Although unconscious this ability has saved their lives.
I was recently asked (by a prominent [British] Muay Thai practitioner) to write a short text about the cultural differences between ‘Western’ Thai Boxers when compared with ethnic ‘Thai’ Muay Thai counter-parts. He was particularly interested in the different cultural patterns of ‘effort’ that are in effect in the Thai Boxing ring in Thailand. He explained to me that he knows full well that many dedicated and very respectful Westerners travel to Thailand to compete in ethnic Thai Boxing competitions (not ‘adjusted’ to the sensitivities of the international community) - and as soon as they step-off the aeroplane suffer the beginnings of a psychological collapse and the development of tremendous feelings of doubt!
Furthermore, despite bravery and stoicism – as soon as the ‘smiling’ Muay Thai Warriors the ring and being the traditional ‘Ram Muay Wai Kru’ - an ancient ritual of respect that praise the Hindu God – Rama – as well as the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha – a very strong sense of ‘alienation’ manifests. This sense of ‘cultural’ distinction is made even more pronounced as the Thai practitioner also ‘praises’ his or her family ancestors, parents, teachers and fellow students, etc. Perhaps this is one of its main purposes. This ‘dance’ is in fact a ‘secret’ martial art that only true Muay Thai Masters know how to interpret and use in combat. Muay Thai Masters have told me that it is a Thai manifestation of ‘internal’ martial art similar to the Taijiquan of China – which is often performed nowadays to ‘music’ as is the ‘Ram Muay’ (this is the shortened title my ethnic Thai friends us who live in the Warwick area of the UK).
I have had the privilege to train in the UK with students of Master Sken and Master Toddy over the years – despite never meeting these two experts in person. When some of these practitioners have passed through Sutton (South London) - they have come into our gongfu training hall on Sunday mornings and we have worked together. They have always been respectful, tough and very dedicated. Other than this contact with Muay Thai, my family frequent the Buddhapadipa Temple in Wimbledon, and on occasion, the Forest Hermitage (Wat Santidhamma) in Warwickshire – both of which serve the British ethnic Thai population and the Theravada Buddhism they practice. Years ago, when I lived in Hereford, I sparred full-on with ethnic Thai visitors and I was impressed with their ‘relaxed’ attitude and ‘fierce’ manifestation when fighting! I was inspired by how they live and breathe Buddhism first and foremost – and throw punches and kicks only after they have learned the Buddha’s Teaching fully! This is why I often seek-out special Theravada Bhikkhus living in the Buddhist temples in the UK. Unlike in the Thai villages and forests – this is not a common occurrence in the UK – but occasionally I get lucky!
I have also discovered that the Head Monks are often reticent to discuss this issue in the temple due to many Westerners developing the wrong attitude about Buddhism and Muay Thai. The way this works is that if the Head Monk wanted Westerners to learn Muay Thai – he would make its presence known and organise access. When I have discovered Muay Thai practice in the Buddhist temples – it has always been by mistake. This has also included incidents of special ‘tattooing’ sessions – whereby ‘sacred’ images and spiritually empowered mantras are ‘tapped’ into the skin – using a pointed-bone and coloured ink... These marks are considered ‘sacred’ and ‘divine’ as they grant the carrier with special spiritual powers. Interestingly, when I asked the Head Monk about how a person should begin their practice of Muay Thai? He answered that I should read the Pali Suttas about ‘correct breathing’, and about ‘stilling the mind’ - whilst living in an isolated meditation hut for at least three-years. Without this foundation of ‘Dhamma’ - I was told – I cannot practice ‘genuine’ Muay Thai.
The traditional Chinese martial arts probably evolved from ancient rituals pertaining to shamans ‘dancing’ or otherwise purposely ‘moving’ in a highly ritualised manner premised upon the behaviour of living animals and the spirit of animals, etc. The shamans dressed in furs, wore make-up, jewellery and elaborate head-dresses. The manifestation of the shaman would change depending upon which animals was being represented. The head-wear might well have contained various types of ‘horns’ or ‘antlers’, etc. Although communication with the ‘hidden’ spiritual realm – these shaman (around 2000 BCE or more) was believed to possess ‘special’ or ‘magical’ martial skills assumed to be the product of spiritual influence. The ‘Huangdi Neijing’ (黃帝內經) states that the daily ‘shapes’ made with the body, determine the strength of the internal energy-flow, and the general health of the individual’s mind and body. This observation is often used as one of the main medical principles behind the justification for the structure of ‘Forms’ as used within develop Chinese martial arts.
Overtime, the ‘dances’ took-on a special significance, and came to represent particular ‘styles’ of Chinese martial arts premised upon the behaviour patterns of animals ‘fighting’ for their lives in self-defence! Although the mind is ‘calmed’ and ‘strengthened’, martial skill is attained not from the spiritual realm, but is rather slowly acquired through continuous, physical repetition and critical assessment from those who have more experience. The ‘Forms’ of Chinese martial arts are vehicles for preserving, maintaining and transmitting the martial secrets of particular lineages. The concept of martial arts being practiced this way is thousands of years old in China, and was probably developed during the Zhou Dynasty and perfected during the Qin Dynasty, etc
Thousands of men, women and children would practice together in an open area, whilst instructors led the training usually to a count – demonstrating and correcting the movements when required. These ‘Forms’ were practiced in the daylight so that every movement could be clearly seen, communicated and copied. Martial arts ‘Forms’ designed to be practiced in ‘secret’ or in the ‘darkness’ of the night – are often referred to as ‘Black’ arts (as in ‘hidden’). These ‘Black’ arts are not practiced in the open, but rather behind ‘closed’ doors. Rather ‘Light’ or ‘dark’ martial arts – the ‘Forms’ involved serve exactly the same purpose and are structured in the same manner. Perhaps around thirty distinct kicking, punching, blocking, elbowing (and other strikes) are expertly weaved together in an integrated pattern of movements. Continuous practice builds technical skill and familiarity within the context of the style concerned.
The ideogram ‘形’ (xing2) is comprised of the left-hand particle ‘幵’ (jian1) - contracted to ‘开‘ - refers possibly to ‘two hairpins’ designed to make the hair ‘level’ and ‘straight’. This particle could also imply an ‘even’ and ‘flat’ open space within which martial art ‘Forms’ are practiced. However, ‘幵’ (jian1) is also created by doubling the particle ‘干’ (gan1) - with ‘干’ (gan1) representing a ‘two-pronged’ (shafted) weapon depicted during the Shang Dynasty as:
The right-hand particle is ‘彡‘ (shan1) - which literally translates as ‘three strands of hair’. This may be used to denote a large collection of objects so that when assembled everything becomes ‘clearly visible’. ‘形’ (xing2), therefore, can refer to martial arts practice being carried-out in the open and by many individuals - so that all the movements are clear and observable. Interestingly, ‘形’ (xing2) used to be written as ‘𢒈‘ (xing2) - with ‘𢒈’ being viewed as a variant of ‘丹’ (dan1). This refers to the ‘three’ energy-centres (丹田 - Dan Tian) spread throughout the body. These are areas of great importance for developing the various internal energies as found within Daoist self-cultivation. As martial arts practice develops these areas – the ideogram ‘𢒈’ would make more sense.
The related ideogram ‘型’ (xing2) is comprised of the upper particle ‘刑’ (xing2). The left-hand particle ‘幵’ (jian1) - contracted to ‘开‘ - refers possibly to ‘two hairpins’ designed to make the hair ‘level’ and ‘straight’. This particle could also imply an ‘even’ and ‘flat’ open space within which martial art ‘Forms’ are practiced. However, ‘幵’ (jian1) is also created by doubling the particle ‘干’ (gan1) - with ‘干’ (gan1) representing a ‘two-pronged’ (shafted) weapon. The right-hand particle is ‘刂’ (dao1) - a contracted version of ‘刀’ - which refers to a short, single-edged blade such as a knife. ‘刑’ (xing2), therefore, refers to the concepts of ‘punishment’, ‘sentence’, ‘punishment’, ‘massacre’, ‘slaughter’ and even ‘torture’! The lower particle is ‘土’ (tu3) which translates as ‘potters clay’, or the ‘broad earth’. As the area where martial art ‘Forms’ are practiced is thought of as ‘holy’ or ‘scared’, etc, ‘土’ (tu3) is related to the ideogram ‘社‘ (she4) - which refers to the ‘God of the Earth’. ‘型’ (xing2), then, refers to ‘martial’ or ‘violent’ movements performed in a wide-open (public) space – the technique of which can be ‘moulded’ and ‘improved’ through regular practice whilst exposed to continuous expert scrutiny.
Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles (b. 1967) - Lineage (Generational) Inheritor of the Ch'an Dao Hakka Gongfu System.