Kung -Fu Interview

Sensei Canna offers insight into the real world of self defense!

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Postby J.Iovinelli » Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:02 am

The truth is the Chinese military has always been the greatest population of martial artists and then bodyguards and then common folk along with bandits and thieves.

Quoted for Truth!
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Postby J.Iovinelli » Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:40 am

It is nice people get all wrapped up in a style and preserving it's heritage and stuff.

IMHO, back in ancient times I am sure there really was not specific styles. It was a family or a particular practitioner that was followed by another group. It was just "fighting techniques". They made up names on the fly to call what they did something. Creating names to sell their product if need be.

The people just did what worked for them. Migrating and changing with the times. A new type of weapon comes out, they would incorporate it. A guy moves into town from another city and the melt styles together.

All-and-all people have to do whats right for them. IMHO it is just the people who want to financially benefit from a style who put it up on a pedestal. OR Some people just like that kind of structure. A solid path to follow. I do not mean to offend anyone nor this was not directed at anyone.

At the Chinese Boxing Institute International we take from many arts. Wing Chun, JKD, Fukian White Crane, Pakua, Hsingi, TaiChi, Walu, Stone Killer Monkey, Chinese wrestling, Chin-na, Dog boxing, Western Boxing etc...They all have stuff to teach us. All have their individual strong points.

We structure all the techniques that we like and have learned into "Boards". There are hand boards, Kicking, Traverses, Defenders, Chin-na, Skill Drill, Duels, Footwork boards etc...

At the end of the day a technique is a technique. Who care where it came from or what it's called as long as it works. And who cares if it is Okinawan, Chinese or Greek for that matter.

The point is any good teacher that teaches a fighting art should take what works and pass it along.

This is why I pursued Uechi. That's what we do. Study a style, analyze it, pull out the benefits and move along with our pursuit of fighting.

I hope that does not offend the traditionalist, but that is just my "bag". Like I heard people talk about here, I have a core style which is just my personal preference.

P.S. I have come across some people on the street that have never gone to a MA class in their life but they were awesome pugilist with natural ability. To them is was just fighting their was no art about it.

"Fight the good Fight"
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Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:37 pm

P.S. I have come across some people on the street that have never gone to a MA class in their life but they were awesome pugilist with natural ability. To them is was just fighting their was no art about it.

Thank you Joe...all in a nutshell....

I have been arguing this point for years...and some of us can be denial about what a street fight/survival is really all about.

A little scrawny punk with a weapon and intent..can and will kill the best of us...art be damned. :(
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Postby Rick Wilson » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:59 am

“Chinese martial Arts Training Manuals: A Historical Survey” by Brian Kennedy and Elizabeth Gua is an excellent book and I am just getting into it.

It begins with a look at the historians of Chinese martial arts. The real historians who tried to get passed all the spin put on each style and past all the BS.

And all of these truth seekers are ridiculed by many in the community because they reflect that martial arts are for fighting and not fancy spiritual practices – or rather historically this is the root of martial arts. Those trying to sell them as other things ostracize them.

Tang Hao (1897 to 1959) is one of those tell it like it really is guys.

For example his studies into the creation of Taiji and Shaolin disrupted folks because he (page 48) “used lots of historical material to prove that Bodhidharma and Zhang San Feng knew nothing about martial arts, and the theory that Shaolin martial arts started from the Indian monk Bodhidharma and that Taijiquan was invented by Zhang San Feng was incorrect.”

The book lists many Chinese historians who all faced the same resistance to facts historically documented over the stories the style had created and spun over time.

It also lists Western historians such as Stanley E. Henning who commented (page 67) on “the fact that the origins of the Chinese martial arts, including boxing, are rooted in the military, not religious practice.”

The fact is that martial arts and such physical violent practice was simply not what intellectuals did. In fact, most martial artists were illiterate (as was most of the world’s population) for a very long time. Martial arts were looked down upon.

Pulp fiction writing glorified the Shaolin myth making it commercially profitable to be linked to magic monks.

Martial arts were the study of violence.

They are watered down when that aspect is forgotten.

Now just as then that attitude will not sit well with those who make a living “selling” the magic and the myths.

I look forward to this book as it moves into a glimpse at the martial arts manuals that because of their rarity were selectively passed down or recorded as soon as literacy became more prevalent. Just a quick note that there seems to be a lot of recorded striking and grappling and weapons and while exercise does play some part the exercises are all focused on improving the martial practice. These are the martial art manuals of china and they focus on fighting.
Rick Wilson

Postby Rick Wilson » Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:00 am

“Chinese martial Arts Training Manuals: A Historical Survey by Brian Kennedy and Elizabeth Guo, Page 133:

“The question of who read Chinese Martial Arts training manuals (See Chapter 11, ‘The Audience’) ties in with the issue of who made a living through their martial art. Contrary to the movie and popular Western impression, most martial artists of Qing-era China were not wise, grizzled monks. Nor were they brave, handsome knight-errants. They had far more mundane ways to pay the bills.

The most widespread employer of martial artists in either the Qing Dynasty or the Republican period was the military. That should come as no surprise, but the basic reality is often overlooked. Most of the people of these periods who seriously studied and practiced martial arts did so as a necessary part of their military training and career.”

Time and time again we see that the common view of Chinese martial arts both here in the West and the East is based on pulp fiction novels rather than the harsh reality.

Many prefer to believe the magic monk myth than the fact that martial arts were a physical skill like any other trade.

Many ignore the fact that the upper society looked down upon the martial arts as a mere physical trade.

But this is no different than here in the West and our glorification of the frontier and gunslingers.

We have the pulp fiction novels and movies again to thank for visions of two knight-errants meeting in the street for a “fair” gun fight.

The old versions of the shootout at the OK corral are a great example. A line of lawmen walking bravely to face the cowardly hiding bad guys. Forensic reviews of the battle show a completely different version and one much closer to a one with people shooting bullets at you.

Or how about stories of the thug Billy the Kid who was in the end ambushed as he entered his hotel room.

Or how about General Custer and his last stand? Do many know what a butcher he was and what a horrifically poor general?

No we prefer the pulp fiction novel portraits of brave gunslingers having fast draw duels rather than the truth.

And so it is with Chinese Martial arts.

Early pulp fiction novels and movies of today give us magic monks leaping from tree branch to tree branch squaring off to do battle against an hundred foes with the secret techniques a wise grizzled old monk passed on solely to them.

Not true folks.

People have been figuring out how to bash each other better since the first caveman wanted that piece of food the other guy was eating.

It was only later on in an effort to “raise” in stature the martial arts from a mundane physical skill to something loftier that character building and spirituality became a part of it.

And most certainly the Chinese Martial Arts began as fighting systems and not a series of exercises. IMHO of course :wink:
Rick Wilson

Postby J.Iovinelli » Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:27 am

I have been arguing this point for years...and some of us can be denial about what a street fight/survival is really all about.

Then allow me to rock the boat some more. You know what burns my butt, beside a 3 foot flame?

The whole mystic about MA in general. People think it is some magical, mystical, secretive, artsy bad boys club.

It is just fighting. How to fight, when to fight, when not to fight etc....

Sure people wrap all kind of moral properties to it, like defending one country or family or honor.

But it all boils down to: you are learning to hurt another human and you are probably taking great joy in learning how to do it.

It may be a game to some people, a sport to others, it may be a topic of debate for other people you may even wrap it into a art form. But you are still just practicing fighting with the goal to one day hurt or even do something worse to another human, justified or not.

NOTE: A good reason why the orientals wrap philosophy in there teaching. To prevent the misuse of pugilism. Similar to a western gunfighter following the word of the lord.

If you did not want to fight or learn to fight you could do much better with Contemplative Meditation prayer and yoga.

Hence if this is your goal, to fight, whether obvious or not, why does the nationality, the style or the traditions even matter?

Why do you train out of your everyday cloths without shoes? I know I wear shoes all the time, in fighting I want to use that to my advantage. So that's the way I train.

Hey I am all for tradition but you have to get on either one side of the fence or the other. Do you want to be a “defender” or do you want to be a historian?

I hope this did not offend anyone. I have much respect for historians. It is nice to carry forefathers traditions from the past.

I just like to learn from the past and advance into the future!
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Well...this ...

Postby Van Canna » Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:46 am

...From Rory is very apropos...

Meditations on Violence
by Rory Miller, May 22, 2008

Violence is what it is

...There is a parallel between the unicorn and violence. Just as travelers’ tales passing from person to person and place to place and century to century managed to morph the reality of the rhinoceros into the fable of the unicorn,

the insular tradition and history of each dojo has morphed a primal understanding of violence into the modern ritual of martial arts.

Just as the grey and wrinkled skin of the rhinoceros has become the glossy white coat of the unicorn, the smells, and sounds, and gut-wrenching fear of close-up personal violence has somehow spawned the beautiful cinema of the action adventure movie and the crisp precision of the martial arts. In today’s world, who are the real experts on violence?

The Priests of Mars. The minute you don a black belt, the minute you step in front of a class to teach, you are seen as an expert on violence.

It doesn’t matter if you have absorbed a complete philosophical system with your martial art. It doesn’t matter if the art gave you, for the first time, the confidence to view the world as a pacifist.

It doesn’t matter if you studied as a window to another age and culture. It doesn’t matter that you have found enlightenment in kata or learned to blend in harmony with the force of your attacker.

It doesn’t matter because you are about to teach a martial art, an art dedicated to Mars, the God of War. A MARtial art. Even if somewhere over the years you have lost sight of this, your students have not. You wear a black belt. You are an expert on violence. You kick ass.

You are a priest of Mars.

The simple truth is that many of these experts, these priests of Mars, have no experience with violence.

Very, very few have experienced enough to critically look at what they have been taught, and what they are teaching, and separate the myth from the reality.

The Super Star. Do you ever notice that weight lifters don’t look like boxers? For that matter, if you watch fencing matches you see a lot of tall skinny guys, Judo matches tend to be won by short, stocky judoka—basically, none of them look like body builders.

But action stars usually do. Unless they want to appeal to the goth/techno market, in which case they are really skinny, pale-complected, and wear a lot of black.

The idea is the same—pretty sells. In the media world, everything is about attraction.

The fighters look pretty, not the gnarled, scarred up, sometimes toothless fighters that I know. The fights look pretty, too—you can actually see the action and even identify specific techniques.

They are paced for dramatic content. A movie fight doesn’t end when the hero or villain would naturally be lying in a pool of bloody vomit, clutching his abdomen and gurgling.

It ends at the moment the director thinks the audience is hyped and not bored yet.

Even when they try to be realistic, it’s about the spectacle. The very fact that the camera can see what is going on is unrealistic.

In smoke and dust and rain and the melee of bodies or the flash of gunfire, the person right in the middle of it can’t reliably tell what is going on.

And the fighting caters to the audience’s idea of fair. It’s almost always a close fight to the very end, won by a slim margin…

I’ll tell you right now that as a public servant who runs a tactical team if I ever, ever play it fair, if I ever take chances with my men or hostages in order to cater to some half-assed idea of fair play, fire me.

Fair doesn’t happen in real life, not if the bad guys have anything to say about it and not if the professional good guys do, either. I always wanted to see a movie with Conan talking ##### in a bar and looking down to see a knife sticking out of his stomach with no idea how it got there.

The Story. Maybe this is a metaphor, maybe it is a model: Things are what they are. Violence is what it is. You are you, no more and no less—but humans can’t leave simple things alone.

One of the ways we complicate things is by telling stories, especially stories about ourselves. This story we tell ourselves is our identity. The essence of every good story is conflict.

So our identity, the central character of this story that we tell ourselves, is based largely on how we deal with conflict. If there has been little conflict in the life, the character, our identity, is mostly fictional.

I present this as a warning. You are what you are, not what you think you are. Violence is what it is, not necessarily what you have been told.

You can read more about this subject in Rory Miller's new book "Meditations on Violence".
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Postby Stryke » Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:07 am

Outstanding Van , the absolute truth , anyone who professes to teach martial arts at an expert level and says it isnt on some level intended/about being effective for fighting be very wary .


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