The Shaolin Butterfly Kung Fu
I was getting nowhere studying Kung Fu.
I had twenty plus years of Karate, knew aikido and a bit of Wing Chuna nd Northern Shaolin, but I wanted the temple stuff!
I wanted the things you saw in those great Shaw Brothers movies!
I wanted unique training methods wherein Kung Fu would burst over me and I would suddenly know the secrets of the universe!
One day this fellow walks in, gives his name as Richard, and wants to take Karate.
But I knew he knew something. His attitude, the calm in his eyes…he knew something.
So we talked, and it turned out he knew Tai Chi and Pa Kua, and…Shaolin.
Real Shaolin. Fut Ga Shaolin, which is ‘Five Monks,’ and is so named after the five monks who escaped the burning of the Shaolin temple hundreds of years before.
Now, why did he want to study Karate?
Well, actually, he didn’t. I mean, a little, but what he really wanted was a place to work out.
So we ended up trading systems.
I taught him Karate, and he taught me Shaolin.
Form by form, we went through, and the ancient mysteries, well, they didn’t burst over me, they sort of dribbled.
Don’t get me wrong, it was cool, it was exciting, but, it was also not very logical.
Same as any martial art these days, and more than most (it had had a long time to get messed up), the whole thing was made up of random sequences of motion.
Not everything worked.
Took a long time to learn.
I was in heaven, of course, dribble or burst. But I kept looking for the key to the whole thing.
And there, in one of the forms, was a sequence of steps, and suddenly the dribble did burst.
Man, I took that footwork and began matrixing it. Worked it from every angle, and plugged in Shaolin concepts one after the other.
That opened the door, broke the dam, put fireworks in the sky.
I remember spending hours and hours, late at night, working out in the middle of the street. Didn’t have a dojo in the house, so I just went out in the street, stepped out of the way of the occasional car, and worked my way through Shaolin.
Now it made sense!
Now it was EASY to learn.
And I didn’t give up any of the ancient stuff. Same moves are still there, same techniques, but everything is rearranged so that it makes sense, so that the chi still comes from the moves, but the moves come slick and easy and logical, arranged in perfect order.
I renamed what I was doing The Shaolin Butterfly. The footwork, you see, looked like the wings of a butterfly.
And that is how one of the oldest and most respected forms of gung fu, Fut Ga (Five Monks), became upgraded, empowered, and matrixed.
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