Kung -Fu Interview

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Kung -Fu Interview

Postby hoshin » Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:15 pm

i just got done listening to the Darin Y interview. there was some posts on another thread about Darin's comments about kung fu oringinaly being for health rather then combat. then evolving over time to include combat components.
while i personally didnt find anything that was said offensive to me i can understand if other chinese practitioners could take it wrong.
i will say the interview was just one mans opinion. the history of matial arts is full of conjecture and mythology. there are so little facts involved anyone could make up anything, compleatly pull something out of their @$$ and would not be anymore or anyless correct.
i will admit i do not agree with Darin's statement but on the other hand i do agree with his comment reflecting and expressing the view point of the many chinese martial artists he has met.
in the same thought.....
DR. Leung Ting , 10th level M.O.C. WING TSUN ASS. , founder of INTERNATIONAL CHINESE MARTIAL ART FEDERATION . wrote in one of his books...

Chinese martial arts are all the time developing in two directions,
one torward skills for practical fighting the other torwards skills in demonstative preformances.
Techniques with an aim for the practical fighting are usually formulated according to kung fu theories, thus they bear practical purposes, for the purpose of obtaining the best effect in attack and defense. practicality of technical movements, and not beauty of gestures ,are being emphasized. for this reason , the more practical the movements the simpler and less impressive they look.
as for techniques employed for demonstrative purposes, stress is placed on the beauty of gestures. for this reason movements are refined to give a pleasant lookto the audience.
many kung fu practitioners will state their techniques are practical for real fighting , but as a matter of fact they are simply worth only for demonstrations, when the partner is cooperative to the practioner.
furthermore many demonstative movements or entire forms are never meant for real fights but are simply for strengthening apperance and thus neglect its effect on practicality.

he goes on to state later, that kung fu was used like a side show to attract an audience so medicine hawkers could sell their goods. some what reminds me of PT. Barnum.

Darin's comments are not so far off from the chinese view that Buddhi darma was the creater of chinese martial arts to help bring back the health of the ailling monks in the nothern shaolin temple.
again mythology.
the more logical side would be that Alexander the Great who brought his Pankration fighting as far as the border of India then being passed along the silk road to the chinese is more plausable. but still conjecture at best.

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Postby Stryke » Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:39 pm

Simply put I think his logic is backwards

I think it`s gone from the martial to the holistic towards the health .

I also think china is so diverse you could almost find anything there

and there has been so much cultural and societal change , that finding the lineages and unbroken teachings could be very difficult these days .

theres along history of martial arts being used for fighting , and the reason they swept the world was no because they were ineffective , but the fact they offered something more than boxing and wrestling at a point in time , a point in time where the physical aspect of these arts were focused on .

regardless , they are good fighting arts when trained in that manner , after all two arms two legs .

Postby hoshin » Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:32 am

part of my point was that what Darin said may not be of his own thought process but rather the oral tradition passed on from teacher to student with in the chinese community.
i somehow feel wrong defending what someone else said but i have heard the same story and sentiment from many other sources. be it right or wrong.
on the other side of the coin lets define the word martial.. i belive it means military and i would argue that kung fu and karate does not come from a military backround.
International Hopological society defines the difference between civil arts and military arts.
all military or "man at arms" combat systems revolve and evolve around the use of weapons and hand to hand techniques are secondary at best.
so i would argue that the history of kung fu and karate do not have a military backround but rather a civil backround. the suporting facts lie within the systems them selves. the content and how the systems are structualy built.
example; all men at arms within known chinese history have worn armor, no warrior would use a fist or foot to strike armor when a spear or dagger would be more effective.
military combat has always been a group activity and does not favor the individual. historic combative tactics has employed the phalanx, rows and colum , flank calvery ect. if you stood as an individual you were dead.
i can then only take the guess that these arts had a more civil backround, for individual self defense and maybe possibly dare i say unarmed monks or more of my opinion combat sports like pankration from Macedonia.
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Postby Stryke » Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:46 am

were getting of topic , but I agree that theres probably a large civil segment to the arts , however having said that most chinese arts were weapons influenced .

But I use martial strictly in the fighting sense not the strict sense of the word but the common usage , though Im sure there are military influences historically , none of this stuff arose in a vaccumm , and they are very living evolving traditions historically .

but all in all I think the fact there fighting arts is prety self evident , and to say there mainly excercise is naive , as George said theyed be better of going for a run .

Postby J.Iovinelli » Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:25 pm


I have listened to the interview. I like to start by saying I have a high level of respect for *any* martial artist. I also have great respect for Mr. Mattson and Mr. Yee both very accomplished and dedicated practitioners. I salute them both for their years of dedication.

I feel it is almost racist (for lack of a better word, Def: a belief that differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement) to group all Chinese martial artist into non sparring and non combative practitioners. That is if I understood it correctly.

I will admit that the Chinese Cultural Revolution played much havoc on Chinese Martial Arts. Although, in those years some good combative stuff was going on in Taiwan. The mainland is now really getting it together as regards to putting the martial back in the art.

In Wing Chun we do chi sau. Full contact, no gloves, but controlled so we learn. Taiji we do push hands, Pakua we do Circle hands, Hsing-i has energy duels ect... They are all like sparring to some degree. All fierce, the way we do them anyways. All used to build different skill sets.

I believe Sparring is a drill or duel. I do not feel it is a game that people play to see who is better. Drills and duels are meant to build skills. No drill or duel is perfect, there is always an under laying factor that will not allow it to be 100% real.

I believe sparring (or even point sparring) will help you with MANY needed skills for a real encounter, but unless the subject of the drills knows what is lacking it will give them a false sense of security. Just sparring alone will not build a good combat technician.

If I may pose an example.

Student "A" is good at sparring. In class he is the “big dog”. He holds Sanchin so outside gate is like hitting a wall. He blocks his inside gate and chest with big gloves. His head and groin are wide open, but he is big so he always wins. Student "A" gets in a fight. The first thing a person does is poke him right in the nose followed by a right hook that breaks his jaw.

I have seen it more than once. A person gets mad and rushes in hands at chest because that is what muscle memory dictates.

Any drill and duel needs to be closely monitored by an instructor. IMHO, if you just send white and green belts out into a ring and yell ”Get it on” they will probably not learn much.

These are the things I was always taught to work on in any drill, duel or sparring.

1. Rooting: Sinking and relaxing the body mass to increase stability.
2. Yielding: Never opposing force.
3. Sticking: Using forward pressure to close the gap between you and your opponent and to control your opponent once contact is made. Sticking expedites the climax of the encounter.
4. Centeredness: The mastering of your own complete balance and the conquering of your opponent’s balance.
5. Six-Nine Theory: The theory of change. A boxer guided by six-nine theory retains the ability to change energy and tactics at any moment in combat. He never overextends and never commits himself to an allornothing gambit. Six-nine theory also entails a philosophy favoring techniques with a high percentage of payoff.
6. Unitary Theory: The development of maximum power and speed, not by reliance on the muscles, but by training every part of the body to work in unison, and by learning to draw fully on the body’s internal resources.
7. Projection: Turning energy within the body into force directed at a point outside the body.
8. Line and Angle: The study of the angles of the body and the lines of attack to promote efficiency in defense and economy in the projection of energy. With an appreciation of line and angle, you can fend off attacks with subtle movements, sometimes of less than an inch. You eliminate wasted motions that delay seizing the offensive and create openings for further attacks. You avoid clashing with your opponent head on, but instead maneuver to his weak angle, where you need less power to vanquish him.
9. Body State: A special development of the muscles that allows energy to circulate freely and project powerfully. This entails a pervasiveness of energy throughout the entire body, rather than the segmenting of energy into isolated parts of the body.
10. Mind-Hit: The mastery of the mental dimensions of combat. This is a broad category that includes methods of disrupting an opponent’s mental focus.

In fighting, the art itself is just the catalyst to build skills.

This is the method of my Chinese Martial Art (or Chinese Boxing). It will help me grow in what ever style I work in.
- joe
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Postby Rick Wilson » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:13 pm

Well I personally agree with Marcus that the martial application or physical violence applications came long before the health benefits. (Yeah a big shock that Marcus and I agree :P )

I also feel a greater fallacy is the belief that all Chinese Martial Arts originated in the Temples. Here is an old post from my forum.

Bursting the Shaolin Myth as the originators of all MAs

There is a great section in Adam Hsu’s “The Sword Polisher’s Record: The Way of Kung Fu” that addressed the myth of Shaolin very well. (Pages 59 – 65. A book I highly recommend.

First of all we need to apply some simple logic to this thought that all MAs came from the Shaolin temples.

Ta Mo or Bhodidarma is said to have come from China 506 – 56 AD and or 42- - 589 AD. There are many questions now if this person actually existed but accepting that he did to think no martial art existed before he arrived is to ignore thousands of years of Chinese history. That is just not logical.

Let us also consider that he was to have founded Zen Buddhism and yet there are Chinese MAs based in Taoism. Odd thing that yes?

In addition it was not until 1644 –1912 AD that Shaolin was starting to be mentioned in connection to MAs. During the Qing dynasty some fictional books “Sword-man” were written and much of what is believed about the Shaolin temples comes from those works of fiction. This book spoke of a number of Shaolin temples yet only the one in Henan can be established as having been real.

Once the term Shaolin began to be “popular” many instructors laid claim to it to improve the sale of their arts. (McDojos have existed since the beginning.)

Many people will tell you that all martial arts began in the Shaolin temples and while some certainly did it is illogical to think they all did.

So let us burst the Shaolin and Da Mo myth and accept that with thousands of years of war behind them before he was supposed to show up the Chinese had figured out a few things.

And let us focus on that war aspect for a moment.

War = Fighting = Martial Arts. First and foremost. The many side benefits came later for all if not most martial arts.

This is just my opinion.

Mr Yee is certainly entitled to his opinion and has the right to publicly express it.

Just as I am entitled to disagree.

Don’t know the man and never heard of him until I listened to the interview so nothing personal just a disagreement.
Rick Wilson

Postby hoshin » Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:19 am

hey Rick thanks for the comments good to see you here.
my over all point was that the "legend" states that TA MO taught the shaolin monks exersizes because they were in poor health. later they were turned to fighting technique due to emperial pressure. as unlikely as this is, if that is the excepted legend ,it is the excepted legend. if Darin was only re- telling the excepted story is it really fair to hope all over the guy ? the story is not new. Is Darin gulible ,, i wont say,, that would be impolite.
my other point is that the martial systems as they stand show no signs within the systems to point at a "man at arms" base system IE the profesional warrior.
i feel it is more likely as i said before they were systems for civilians and maybe body guards and the like. or have always existed as a sport type combat like pankration.

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Postby Rick Wilson » Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:55 am

Hi Steve:

There are distinct paths in martial arts.

In China they are varied.

There were arts derived and created in and for the military that migrated out into the civilian population.

There were arts developed for personal use and body guard work that then migrated over into the military.

And then there are the Shaolin arts. Were they taught by Ta Mo at all? Did he even exist?

According to many “stories” most of the arts in the temple were created as fighting styles by watching animals.

Were there some exercises introduced to the monks for health that developed into fighting systems? Possibly I would rule nothing out.

The point of issue is the blanketing of all Chinese martial arts as mere exercise rather than the study of violence.

Is it fair to jump all over him?

See Van’s post from my forum on the passion with which we all view and train our martial arts.

It is all an expression of that passion rather than a personal assault.
Rick Wilson

Postby Stryke » Tue Jun 03, 2008 5:03 am

Who`s been hopped all over ?

disagreement is fine isnt it ?

the only thing Ive stated is that karate trained with a certain focus can be very practical as a fighting art , and I dont beleive it was always primarily for excercise .

Is that controversial ?

Postby Laird2 » Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:52 am

I'm rather puzzled by the interview. Darrin who apparently does lots of Kung fu claims it is exercise. Darrin is also reported by GEM to have won lots of tournaments. Were these Uechi-ryu tournaments? Because kung fu is exercise these fights must have been karate fights. Were these like the oki world tournament or something like that?

I know nothing of Mr.Yee he is obviously held in high reguard as George has him on the board and has spoken highly of him on this site. But I really know nothing about who this man is. I don’t know what he bases his claims upon. So Darrin claims it’s just exercise but I missed his providing the source to this statement. Is it his opinion or is it something he is repeating that he has told.

Postby f.Channell » Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:30 am

Picture your testing for your sandan and one of the black belt test board members jumps over the table and spars the testees.
That's Darin.

I have heard he's won 80 tournaments, but it was before I knew him.
We did both compete in Kata last summer at an event. Kind of a last minute thing for me.

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Postby f.Channell » Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:21 pm

I don't train any Chinese martial arts, don't even consider Uechi to be Chinese frankly. It reached it's fruition in Okinawa and due to the fact I've never seen a Chinese person (other than Darin) do it I consider it Okinawan.
I do know with my Japanese Ko-ryu it traces back 20 headmasters to a "divine inspiration". This is common in lots of art. Mountain trolls were great fighters back then and happy to share. :lol:
So the initial intent of the training is lost to the pages of history for sure.

I've never seen a book which uses original source documents written by a historian so Martial books to me beyond teaching techniques aren't viable.

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Postby Valkenar » Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:21 pm

Laird2 wrote:I'm rather puzzled by the interview. Darrin who apparently does lots of Kung fu claims it is exercise.

I don't claim to know Darrin's complete history, but in addition to whatever Kung fu he has done (or still does) he is also a nanadan under Bob Campbell.

http://bbregistry.uechi-ryu.com/index.p ... =bysurname

It sounded to me like he picked up Uechi because he liked the more combative (for lack of a better term) focus it had compared to the Kung fu he had practiced exclusively before.

Again, I don't know him well, but from the interview and various seminars at summer camps, I have never gotten the impression that he thinks kung fu is totally lacking in martial value, just that the way it was taught to him lacked certain pieces that he felt are necessary for what he wanted to do.
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Postby Van Canna » Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:40 pm

Interesting discussion.

George was also very much surprised by Darin’s statements, as we all were…given the popular knowledge of the Shaolin monks, temples …the developing of empty hands fighting skills against oppression and confiscation of weapons and other stories.

But he probably was speaking in generalities…failing to mention the Shaolin monks exception, we see here… maybe he meant to but did not get to it in the interview.


Darrin is also reported by GEM to have won lots of tournaments. Were these Uechi-Ryu tournaments? Because kung fu is exercise these fights must have been karate fights. Were these like the oki world tournament or something like that?

Many who know Darin were also surprised by his comments on the history, given that Darin has spoken extensively, and openly, of his having fought hundreds of underground full contact fights in China, as well as other countries.

So if China has or had such underground fights…there must have been a martial underground to kung Fu other than for the purpose of just exercise that Darin did not get to explain in the interview.

Perhaps George should follow up with another interview to cover that martial aspect of Kung Fu developments.

I think another person we may ask, who is a fountain of knowledge, is Bob Campbell sensei, who has lived in Hong Kong for years, and is a student of China’s culture and speaks fluent mandarin.

Hopefully he will input here.
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Postby Van Canna » Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:00 pm

Picture your testing for your sandan and one of the black belt test board members jumps over the table and spars the testees.
That's Darin.

I don't get it...why would he do that? And which board are you referring to? And does the board allow it, and why? :?
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