Tag Archives: uechi ryu karate

White Crane Kung Fu Provides The Missing Link In Karate

Did White Crane Kung Fu Became Karate!

White Crane Kung Fu is a powerful and old Chinese Martial Art. It is said to have been developed by a daughter of the Fang family in Fujian province, but this may not be true. Track the lineage back a little further and there seems to be a definite link to Bak Mei.

white crane kung fu

Can you do this?

To understand this old kung fu style, one should probably analyze such karate kata as Sanchin and Hakutsuru. Sanchin kata, in particular, is present in many Karate schools, but the earliest, and least diluted version can be found in Uechi Ryu Karate. Examining the form in that system and one will see the dependence on the hourglass stance and a similarity of hand motion.

The problem with the Japanese versions, in this writer’s opinion, is that the forms are taught either for dynamic tension (body building), breathing, or just technique. If one looks to the earlier versions of the White Crane Forms, one will see the motions rendered more for development of Chi. The moves are softer, yet the stance is harder, and the mind is thus allowed to instill imagination and will into the movements.

Go back even earlier, to the Bak Mei variation of white crane kung fu, and one will see an explosiveness that is designed for intense combat. The fists don’t come back to the body between ‘launches,’ and the entire body lurches into each movement. The result is a quickness and ferocity that outdoes karate variations of the forms.

The history of this kata can be confusing. There are the Okinawan/Japanese versions, and this is connected to China predominately through the art of Kanbun Uechi. He is said to have spent a decade and a half learning three kung fu forms, all of which have resemblance to Chinese White Crane Kung Fu.

In China, the legend is that this unique kung fu was created by a female of the Fang family. She is said to have studied kung fu with her father, and then to have been inspired by the self defense movements of a white crane that fended off a stick she thrust at it. While there does seem to be a connection, it seems more like a teaching legend, and the truth is probably a lineage, rather than an inspiration.

The strongest likelihood is that these forms were passed down from Bak Mei Kung Fu. Bak Mei is practiced in the Fujian (Fukien) province, and the martial art could easily have been studied by the Fang family. This allows for the likelihood of the Karate connection, also.

In summary, if one examines the structure and moves of the form, paying attention to Uechi Karate versions of Sanchin and the Bak Mei versions of Jik Bo, one can see a definite relationship. The author recommends seeking out all versions of the kata, and defining them for focus on dynamic tension, breathing, technique, explosiveness, or whatever you wish to explore. Such forms as Sanchin, Hakutsuru, and the like are very pure in their white crane kung fu history, and could easily be the missing connection to Karate.

Find out more about the creation of such arts as White Crane Kung Fu, and how to make your Kung Fu system the best it can be. Head to Monster Martial Arts.
white crane gung fu

Using Bunkai Applications to Define the True Art

To find and develop Karate as a True Art, and this would include Shotokan, Goju, Uechi, or various other types of the art, one should always look to the techniques. The bunkai are the kata made real, they are concepts made to work. They are the heart of the monster that is The True Art.

The first step, in making your art work, is to make your stance work. The forms teach how to get into stances from a variety of directions and previous postures. So one should practice the movements of the kata until this concept of transitioning from stance to stance can be done without thought.

The second step, if you are going to make the karate forms real, is to make sure your limbs are set in positions that are functional. There are many arm positions in the martial arts techniques where your limbs cannot support weight, and therefore can’t really make the technique work. You must examine your patterns and altar arm positions until they become functional in real world situations.

The third step is to have proper body alignment between the floor and the target. The body is a chain of muscles and bones from earth to strike (block), and you must make sure that every piece of the body is properly aligned. The old wisdom, a chain is as strong as its weakest link, is certainly important here.

The fourth step if you are going to make karate moves become significant, is to work on your breathing. Breathing should be relaxed, but intent upon keeping the abdomen taut, especially upon striking, or getting struck. Breathing simply for the sake of breathing, as is done in the art of Goju Ryu Karate, must be inspected for real function, and possibly altered if you are going to have real martial arts self defense.

The fifth and final step, and ultimately the most necessary, is that you must have Coordinated Body Motion (CBM) when you use your body to do martial arts. You must harmonize all motion, taking into account the length and mass of every muscle and limb. You must understand how this all relates to real world timing, and you must make your body motions respect this concept of harmony.

An intriguing tidbit of data is that martial arts fighting has very little to do with finding The True Art. As a matter of fact, fighting tends to disrupt the mental processes that are necessary to put the pieces together that will resurrect your martial art. This piece of information is something that the old masters understood, and not just because they were old.

Any art can be a great art, but it always requires a great sensei, and a great student. The purpose of this bit of writing has been to educate students to be their own great teachers. Ultimately, your progress is up to you, and if you understand that then it will be easy to use Karate techniques to find the True Art.

You can get a lot more data on how to make your art perfect at Monster Martial Arts.