Tag Archives: incense shop kung fu

The Original Concept of Karate

Okay,
the last newsletter should have warmed you up,
I’m about to throw a big fat pitch to you,
and I hope you knock it out of the park.
It is going to require a half hour or so of your time,
so clear your desk,
pour yourself a sodie pop,
put your feet up,
and get ready to invest in some real martial arts.

First,
for those who don’t know,
the first half of this little idea
of Concept Curves in the Martial Arts, is located here…

http://monstermartialarts.com/finding-the-true-heart-of-the-martial-arts/

So catch up with us,
and hurry back.

Now,
before I get rolling on this original concept of Karate
I want to know if you checked out
the original concept of Jeet Kune Do.
You can find it at the tale end of this video on youtube…

‘Jeet Kune Do’s Wing Chun roots with Guro Dan Inosanto’

And,
my question for you is this…
Did you see the mistake in the concept?
Did you see what was wrong with it?
Or at least what was wrong with the application of it?

It’s simple,
in the three distances being matrixed
trapping, punch and kicking,
the kicking and punching was being done
at the hand held bag distance.
Simply,
when the student punched or kicked,
he was punching and kicking the hand held pads,
and this is not the actual distance of a fight.
The body of the fellow holding the glove
is too far back.

Several things result because of this.

The student is training to punch and kick at the wrong distance.
And, the student is not focusing on ‘control,’
which is so crucial to learning proper technique.
The student is seeking power
and forsaking the right distance.
This is done in the name of reality,
but,
in one sense,
it may explain why JKD practitioners
don’t dominate something like the UFC.

Okay,
I actually wanted to say this,
point this error in JKD out,
just as an example of how arts degrade.
Bruce understood it.
He discovered it,
and he did an amazing job of
boiling the concepts down to workability.
But what he taught is not being
fully understood by his students.
Yes,
his direct students get it,
but not to the point where they will be able to
cement it into their student’s heads quite as efficiently.
And so the art becomes less,
and,
here’s something to think about,
can you see a day in the distant future,
where JKD will be done for health?
And will be derided because it’s not so good for self defense?
Hey,
that’s the concept curve of the martial arts,
so it could well happen.

Okay,
this is all just a sidetrack to the point I wanted to make today.
I wanted to get into the real concept behind Karate.
This will teach the ‘Concept Curve’ like nothing else.

In the beginning,
on Okinawa,
the teachers all knew each other,
traded techniques,
and one fellow put them into forms,
and another fellow ‘advertised’ them.
Caused a big ‘Golden Age’ of Karate.
But let’s look at one specific style of Karate,
it will probably be the best
for proving my curving concepts theory.
Uechi Ryu.

You trace Uechi Ryu back to Kanbun Uechi,
and Kanbun Uechi learned his art in China.
Specifically,
Uechi Ryu is supposed to have come from Pan Gai Noon,
and Pan Gai Noon is supposed to have been
a type of Temple Boxing,
I believe from the Fukien province,
and that linked back to the White Crane Kung Fu system.
Aand,
eventually,
in some areas it became known as
incense shop kung fu.
Not kidding.
Do a little research
and see if you can agree with me on all of this.

Now,
Karate done Uechi Style
is done with the whole body made TIGHT!
Lots of heavy breathing.
Lots of brutal blocking.

Read those three things again,
they are going to come back to haunt you
in the not so distant paragraph.

So,
do a youtube search for karate.
Generally speaking,
you will find those three items in all styles.
And,
in Uechi,
you will find these three concepts in spades.
These guys train like rocks,
bash on each other,
breath loudly and deeply,
and…that’s what they do.
Okay?

Now,
go youtube some White Crane
First,
I suggest this one…

Incense Shop Boxing – Southern Shaolin Luohan Fist

Or,
take a look at this one…

Incense Shop Boxing

Okay,
do you see what I see?
Uechi Ryu is HARD style.
But White Crane,
which Uechi is supposed to have come from,
is softer.
You still see some of the moves,
and some of the force,
maybe even some of the forms,
or at least moves
and there is still a somewhat violent expulsion of energy,
but you can see the energy is different,
a little more internal,
most important,
you can see the linkage of the moves between White Crane
and some of the Uechi form moves,
and even concepts.

And,
you can even see some tai chi type moves,
which may speak to the origins of White Crane,
or perhaps just the commonality of martial arts in China.

So in the beginning
Uechi was not hard.
But the people who brought it from China
didn’t understand it,
wanted the power without the deep thought,
so they made the art hard.

That’s point one.
Point two is going to be a killer,
and here the three items I spoke of
are coming back to bite you in the butt.

Point two is this…
White Crane was invented by a woman.

Yes,
women can be fierce fighters,
but they are NOT obsessed with power.
They are generally NOT brutal.
And they do not lock their bodies into rock solid stances.

Sure,
there can be exceptions,
but since we’ve already seen
that the soft of White Crane became the hard of karate,
why can’t we see that the soft of White Crane,
as demonstrated on these youtube videos,
came from an even softer,
even feminine source?

Now,
the lady who invented White Crane
had studied Shaolin,
so she was doubtless acquainted with hard.
But whatever she had of hard,
was handled by the necessity
of her NOT bashing bones with bigger,
stronger, brutal men.

She did kung fu like a lady,
slipping and redirecting.
And some of the stories I have read back this up,
and the theories I have come up with,
for instance that you have to know the hard
before you can learn the soft,
back this up.
Or
techniques become softer because of age,
(or in this case because of physical necessity)
and so on,
back this up.

And,
incidentally,
there is WONDERFUL parallel,
in that a woman developing Wing Chun.
The same ideas,
the same conditions,
result.

Now,
what does this have to do with the price of butter in Manchuria?
Simple.

The concept discovered and promoted by a woman
was degraded by people who didn’t understand her concept,
and wanted the power,
and didn’t want to think about what they were doing.
And these Chinese fellows passed it on to Uechi
and it degraded further,
victim to a lack of understanding,
and an obsession with power.

It’s funny,
we follow the old masters,
think the art was immaculate with them,
but that’s not the truth.
They made the same mistakes,
often greater mistakes,
and they passed down something and called it an art,
and nobody ever called them on it.

I’m not speaking of challenge matches and such,
but of calm, cool, clear, logical thinking,
I’m talking about people thinking through there concepts
and figuring out this soft thing,
this…curve of concept thing.

But it is THAT type of thought
that will enable you to get to the heart of the art,
and to master it.

Now,
disclaimer,
I am not telling you to give up harsh training methods,
I am asking that you understand them,
that you explore them,
and that you adapt them not just to force,
but to flow.
Learn how to use that outward block to ‘guide.’
Change that slam of the leg in that throwing technique,
into a subtle knee motion
that is difficult to see.

The truth is this:
There are three elements in the martial arts.
Speed…power…technique.

Of the three, technique is the most important.
Technique won’t require speed,
because if you study technique
you will gain foresight,
you will see attacks coming,
and you will not need speed.

Technique won’t require power,
but rather a subtle understanding of how leverage works,
of how joints can be manipulated with a touch,
instead of a bash.

Speed and power will diminish with age.
Or they will not even exist if you are weak and scrawny,
or (please excuse me for this one) ladylike.

Technique is what it is about.
When you seek knowledge
you don’t seek speed or power,
you seek the understanding of how the body works,
and,
ultimately,
how the universe works.

Okay,
I hope this makes sense,
it is a hard thing to put in words,
as simple as it is.
but I have tried.
So…
obligatory advertisement time.
I hate to have to tell you this,
but my white-haired granny’s dog needs medicine.
Poor thing. (Sniff, sniff)
So you simply must consider looking at

Matrix Tai Chi Chuan

Yeah,
I know it’s not White Crane,
but it is soft,
woman soft,
and it will work,
and better than most arts.
But,
first you have to do it,
you have to look at it.
You must explore it until it does work.

And that’s the way everything in life is.

Look at, explore, master.

Now,
don’t forget to check out
Dale Gilliland’s great interview with me….

And have yourself a funomenal work out!
Al

BTW
Have you checked out my novel?
Monkeyland?
It’s on Amazon,
but you’ll probably have to look for it.
Amazon tends to hide the good stuff.