Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another Year's Worth of Blogs

Pak Mei Kung Fu: Martial Concepts & Training Methods by W. Pang
This is another year's worth of martial material specific to Pak Mei Kung Fu but relevant to many traditional Chinese martial arts.
180 pages of informative text; 1 dedication page to the Cheung Family, 4 diagrams.
Thank you for all of your support and friendship throughout all these years.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pak Mei Kung Fu: Southern Style Staff !

Think of this as the last several months' worth of blogs!

Available directly from our site:


Monday, March 29, 2010

Needle Through Brick – Straight to the Heart

Needle Through Brick – It’s FINALLY out on DVD!
This great documentary from Season of Light Pictures was originally titled: The Fighting Arts of Borneo. If you are a hardcore traditional Chinese martial arts practitioner, this documentary speaks directly to you.

This was slated to come out in 2007 after making the rounds in the Indie Film Festival circuit. We all waited with anticipation after seeing the trailer on YouTube, and then… (2008 came and went) and then… (2009 came and went) and then… until now. But, it was well worth the wait.

It’s a well-paced, well-edited documentary spotlighting Malaysia’s pockets of aging “crouching tigers and hidden dragons” descending from Chinese martial expatriates who escaped from the Chinese Communist Party’s control of mainland China in 1949. Faced with the prospect of an untimely and unfortunate demise of their arts due to the overwhelming circumstances of modernization, these unsung, everyday masters struggle between past experiences of “eating bitter” to achieve their Kung Fu, present indifferences toward their passions and pursuits, and an uncertain future with regard not only to traditional Chinese martial arts, but more so toward the culture and customs of a people.

For those of you familiar with his efforts, Master Eric Ling – whose chronicles of Malaysian Chinese martial arts masters has been a staple on YouTube for the past several years, has a big role in this documentary. His Fujian White Crane fighting skills are impeccable.

With the younger generation, it is through the athletic and aesthetic appeal of modern wushu that a glimpse of traditional Chinese martial arts survives. It is with hope and wishful thinking that a handful of these youthful devotees will look for the deeper meaning of what they do by reaching out to these elder warriors for the wisdom and understanding to comprehend the true essence of Kung Fu as a survival art in every sense of the term.

Needle Through Brick is an important look at how traditional Chinese martial arts is enduring not only in Malaysia, but throughout the entire world today.

Available on today!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

2010: Year of the Metal Tiger

4708: A Year of Changes, Flexibility, and Adaptations

Traditionally, Tiger years are years filled with change – sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better. It can make or break you. But more importantly, it defines you.
It’s a year to be calm during the storm and composed under enormous pressure.

Sounds a lot like training in martial arts: to face the most difficult of life’s challenges with a focused mind, determined spirit, and refined clarity.

But for this moment, let’s focus on the more positive characteristics of the tiger that are so revered by martial artists:

In Chinese culture, the tiger is a symbol of strength and ferocity. It is believed that the strength of an animal is derived from its bones – the stronger the animal, the stronger its bones must be. This includes the muscles, tendons and ligaments that are affiliated with the bones. As a result, the tiger is associated with bone strengthening according to the Shaolin tradition pertaining to the Five Animals, or Five Shaolin Shapes. Since the marrow of the bones sustains and supports the body’s essential functions, which in turn defines physical power, the best animal to emulate was the tiger. It is in this manner that the tiger came to become one of the Five Shaolin Shapes.
With regard to status, the title of a tiger is typically bestowed upon famous warriors or champion fighters. Guangdong Sahp Fu (廣東十虎; Guangdong or Canton’s Ten Tigers), Dunggong Maahng Fu (東江猛虎; Dunggong’s Fierce Tiger), and Dunggong Saam Fu (東江三虎; Dunggong’s Three Tigers) are just a few examples of the prestigious tiger designation. A famous Chinese proverb states that a mountain cannot have two tigers on it – making reference to the tiger’s territoriality, dominance and aggression. These characteristics are the tiger’s primary qualities that are traditionally emphasized in Pak Mei Kung Fu.
Fu bui (虎背) or tiger back refers to the strength that is needed to appropriately command this body part. As one of the essential components of luk ging (六勁) – the 6 sectors of integrated force production, the back needs to be firm yet flexible to assist in the execution of the refined force known as ging (勁). The practitioner’s back needs to embody the likeness of a tiger in a predatory position – ready to pounce on its prey.
As one of nature’s most fearsome mammals, the tiger is well-known for its stalking and hunting abilities. There is the ubiquitous fu jaau (虎爪) in Southern Chinese martial arts, made famous most by the patterns performed by Lau Gaa Fai (劉家輝), or Gordon Liu – aka The Master Killer, Chi Kuan Chun / Chik Gun Gwan (戚冠軍), and Alexander Fu Sheng (傅聲) of Shaw Brothers fame. In Pak Mei Kung Fu, the fu bouh (虎步), or tiger stepping, imitates the mammal’s advancing movements and retreating patterns – regulating the range and controlling the rate of attack. This form of footwork facilitates the smooth transition of movements without compromising the integrity of the practitioner’s stance or balance in the same mannerisms and cadences of a stalking tiger in nature.

It’s no wonder that there’s an entire year dedicated to this amazing animal.

So here’s to 4708 – a year of strength, fortitude, and inspiration.

Train hard. Practice wisely.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Deleted Scenes…

In their current November/December 2009 issue, the great people at Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine gave us an opportunity to share with everyone a little bit about our butterfly swords – Jeui Wan Lau Yip Seung Dou (追魂柳葉雙刀), or The Spirit Chasing Willow Leaf Swords.

There’s really no other print magazine in publication right now that covers Chinese martial arts in the manner that they do at Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine. With a bimonthly magazine, a comprehensive website and discussion forum, and even a monthly online sweepstakes, it’s the biggest Chinese martial arts promoting platform on this planet. (They’re also the innovators of the “Got Qi” t-shirt.)

Anyway, if this sounds like one big plug for them – it is! The reality is Kung Fu has remained a strong presence in the massive realm of martial arts due to their grassroots efforts and our willingness to be a part of it. Just think of life without Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine and you’ll understand exactly how influential they have been and continue to be.

Getting back to the article, if you enjoy it, send Gene Ching a quick note to let them know. We’ll keep ‘em coming as long as you stay interested – but, you have to let them know.

In the meantime, this series of techniques didn’t quite make the cut in the magazine, but here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Bare Hand Application to Single Broadsword vs. Double Butterfly Swords:
Photo #1: The attacker punches with his right which is countered by the defender’s kam sau (擒手), or latching hand.
Photo #2: The attacker follows up with a left body shot which is redirected by the defender with waan sau (圜手), encircling hands.
Photo 3: As the attacker continues his assault with a right hook, the defender steps into the strike, trapping and placing the attacker into an arm bar with chuk sau (束手), or restraining hands.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Does your Kung Fu Change Over Time?


When you’ve been married to a particular system or style of martial arts for a good part of your training life, it’s natural for this question to come up.

The answer to this issue is one that requires self-reflection: Have you changed over a good part of your life?
Are you the same person you were 5 years ago? Do you do things differently now than when you did them 5 years ago?

As you can see, the answer lies with you, not your Kung Fu.

Even without ever cross-training in another martial art, your Kung Fu changes because you change. Whether it’s your body, your lifestyle, your particular stage in life… change is inevitable. It lets you know that things are no longer the same, and your ability to adapt to these ever-changing, ever-evolving scenarios is what separates the good from the best.

You should stop and ask yourself:
How have I developed?
How have I been influenced by my experiences, not only in martial arts, but in life?
Have I become a better person?

And, it can go either way – you could have gotten better, or you can get worse.

With traditional Kung Fu, we tend to think of change as a bad thing, as if we’ve become disloyal to our sifu or to the style. For many of us who have trained under a “square-minded” or old-old school teacher, this is what we have been conditioned to believe – that if we don’t follow things to the letter, we’ll never get the system. So we slave away at filling our cup of our teacher’s teachings until it overflows, believing that our “stuff” is invincible… until we meet better, stronger, smarter, faster adversaries. Then, what? Do you keep doing things the way that you’ve always done because your teacher told you to, or do you change?

The very basis of Kung Fu is to accomplish something through hard work. But, that hard work needs to have a goal that is relevant to both your needs and the conditions of your time period or it merely becomes wasted effort.

Strive to keep your Kung Fu alive.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Square One…

There are many components that form the structure of training in traditional Chinese martial arts.

Depending on the context in which these methods are taught and practiced, some are good, some are outdated, and some need to be clearly defined in order for them to be understood and appreciated.

Typically, traditional training in Southern Chinese martial arts emphasizes:

歷史 lik si (history)
獨練 duk lin (individual training)
練功 lin gung (drill for skill)
對練 deui lin (partnered training)
自衛 ji wai (self-defense)
兵器 bing hei (weaponry)
拳理 kyun lei (fighting theory)
氣功 hei gung (breath/energy skill)
跌打 dit da (fall and hit / traumatic healing)
舞獅 mou si (lion dancing)

For the most part, a practitioner may train in each of these areas; a disciple may learn them; a sifu (teacher) may understand them; and, a master will be able to properly pass them on to a subsequent generation.

The beauty in attempting to embrace a system in its entirety is that it is a discipline – one that would ideally transfer its finest attributes across all aspects and sectors of a practitioner’s life. However, it is also important to understand that not everyone approaches a study of martial arts in this manner - and that needs to be respected.

In some systems, certain characteristics of training may be deemphasized or even absent due to the instructor’s perception of its relevance to the curriculum. For instance, lion dancing may not be a part of a teacher’s syllabus. Does this mean that the system is lacking – which can lead to questions about its integrity as a whole? Absolutely not. This just points to the fact that the instructor may have never learned this aspect of the art or has deemed it unsupportive toward developing one’s fighting orientation. [Within our lineage, Master Kwong Man Fong does not teach lion dance.]

In Pak Mei Kung Fu, the emphasis has always been on fighting (then again, so is every martial art’s focus; otherwise, they wouldn’t be called martial arts).
In your twenties, something such as iron palm training is considered essential to your conditioning and imperative to your progress (also, you really have no choice when your sifu says that you have to do it).
But as we age and our life situations shift, iron palm may not necessarily be the best area of concentration for our efforts.
Instead, deepening your knowledge of self-defense within the system’s principles may better suit your needs; or furthering your energy output from cultivating and enhancing your understanding of hei gung, or energy circulation; or even expanding your herbal awareness arising from that curious formula for dit da jau that always accelerated the healing of your bruises from iron palm training.

As a potential student or an established veteran of the arts, it is always important to assess what your priorities are, what stage your life is currently in, and where you eventually want to be with regard to your journey in the arts.

Ultimately, the art becomes yours. But, you must acknowledge that it is, rather than pass it on as representative of an established style or system.