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 White Crane Overview

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文章數 : 69
注冊日期 : 2009-11-08

PostSubject: White Crane Overview   Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:58 pm

In Fuzhou Crane, we are taught that techniques are just but a manifestation of our fighting principles. Forms are the ways and not the ends. Every drill / forms and 2 man sets are designed to teach the body to behave in a certain manner during a fight. Of course the whole idea is to mimic a White Crane.

We have certain principles in our system.

Let me share 2 here with you.

1) Fourth door fighting: I am sure you are familiar with the door/gate concept in kung fu fighting. Wing Chun players are very skilled in hitting 2 doors simultaneously. A vertical punch to the upper door (face) and a low stamp kick to the lower door (shin) is a good example. In Fuzhou crane, we try to take every fight to the fourth door. Side stepping footwork is a BIG, BIG part of our basic training. You could say we prefer open hand strikes because they are particularly effective moving out to the fourth door. We do not just simply move to the fourth door but hit on the way getting there.

Alot of our forms make no sense if you don't master the fourth door concept. Forms are meaningless unless you understand the embedded principles. No secrets here but simply getting the key to the form is the heart of the matter. The tricky part, as far as I am concerned, is understanding the principles. In Fuzhou Crane these are transmitted in poems-like writing. If you don't have a teacher explaining - it is going to be tough.

2) Breaking bridge: Any thing your opponent put between you and him is the bridge. He jabs, you could block and counterstrike or you break the hand jabbing. You could do this with your elbow straight up on the oncoming jab for example. Use your other arm to lead his jabbing arm to your lifting elbow. The same applies to Chin-Na or throwing techniques. Opponent seizes your arm, you hit the seizing arm and break his weak spots like fingerjoints, wrists. Body Change/Body Shifting are a fundamental work in the White Crane Fist. Body changes will be used in all techniques and will be as natural as breathing or eating.

Big body movements are totally essential in White Crane. One of our basic principles is moving to opponents “fourth door”. This is kind of like side-stepping except that it is done to both the inside and outside of opponent. There is a form that we do that makes no sense if you don’t apply this body movement. Again this could be attributed to the fact that the creator is a woman who prefers to steer clear of aggressive incoming force first before counterstriking.
This is probably the other reason why Sanchin-Dachi of Karate fame doesn’t work for me. I let my stances stay more “relaxed” to facilitate my body shift.

1 principle, 1 form is the rule.

Jin:

White Crane and especially Fuzhou lineage has got a very unique rhythm even compared to the other Southern Fukien styles Kung Fu.

In White Crane, we study the crane’s singing, flying, playing, shaking, and fighting etc etc. Not only external movements’ mimicry but also internal qualities. Jin is the result of combining hardness (bones) and softness (tendons and qi) accurately. It involves the loosening of muscles, sinking of qi, contracting of tendons, and the extension of bones--all at the same time, and at the moment when they can work together to produce powerful force. As such, it requires a lot of techniques and responsiveness be able to control so many things so fast, and timing has to be very precise. Jin is an essential element of most internal martial arts.

When a crane flies, it is not strictly only the flapping movements that we are trying to imitate but more significantly the power generation. The same applies to Shaking Crane. The energy that the bird summons to shake itself dry is the study topic and aspiration for these practitioners.
There are many exercises designed to loosen the body to acquire this Jin. Most White Crane players would spend hours just doing these exercise. Without the Jin, the techniques are zilch.

Just like in Tai Chi. the forms and techniques are useless if you don’t get the Jin to work it. Master the style. Understand the motivation behind each style. Without intimate understanding, you are shooting blanks.

Movements are natural and spontaneous, fluid and objectives. There is not ballistic force, but the whip-like manifestation of the Jin.

The point’s Baihui (Hundred Meetings – Governor Vessel 20 - coronarial suture) will be aligned in the extremities of a vertical to that the spinal nerve roots will be free to the maximum response of the reflexes.

This is very much like in Tai Chi. the Baihui and Dan Tien stay aligned. The legs are properly rooted. Back leg is usually slightly bent to absorb and return incoming Jin. Power is initiated by the rear leg. The front leg directs this power. Keeping the alignment means optimum transmission of Jin from the rear leg. Any other posture would result in unnecessary dissipation along the way. Most White Crane poems emphasized this very clearly. In Ming He or Whooping Crane, you use different sounds to propel this Jin for different results. To push an opponent back or break a rib bone requires different Jin. Using the right Jin for the right job is not guesswork.

Hand posture:


The hand posture, particularly the use of the fingers, has great emphasis in the White Crane Fist. It is based on this element that the Dim Mak (Kyusho-jutsu) is possible.

Fingers/palms/wrists/elbows/forearms and the shoulders are just as important as the one-knuckle punch that we do. Beside just Dim Mak, the elbows are used comprehensively in “bridge breaking”. The one-knuckle is the typical punch precisely because it is more efficient in pressure points attacks.

Basic principles:

Each technique of the Taolu will be understood after the dynamics of the martial Jin, that is composed by four principles: to bring (Tun, "swallow") and to project (Tu, "spit out"); to raise (Pu, "floating") and to get down (Tim, "sinking").
In fact all these four principles are usually contained in one line of a poem. Every White Crane style has a more comprehensive set of principles. Finally, is necessary to understand that all secrets and principles of White Crane are in its Forms/Taolu, but the outmost of all secret is in mastering its internal energy.

Some basic principles:

Retain what is coming in, send off what is retreating. Rush in upon loss of hand contact.
Even when you do not advance, I do not relent.
Once the opponent moves, he loses his center of gravity.
Make the first move to gain control. Attack according to timing.
Precise use of timing is a skill gained through practice.
A confident attitude and a strong posture gives an advantage over the opponent.
Being alert and adapting to the situation allows maximum result with the minimum effort.
The body follows the movements of the hands. The waist and stance move as one.
Body positioning supports the hands to make proper use of the Centerline.
The mind and the eyes work simultaneously to guard against the point of attack.
Face the opponent directly as you move in. Execute three moves together.
Strike at any posture that is presented. If no posture is presented, strike when you see motion.
Beware of sneak attacks, leakage attacks and “invisible” center-breaking attacks.
Soft and relaxed energy puts the opponent in jeopardy.
Being firm and confident in trapping and striking reduces risk and allows “one hundred successes for one hundred attempts”.
Have confidence and remain cool to dominate the situation.
Occupy the inner gate to strike deep into opponent’s defence.
To win in an instant is a superior achievement.
Chase the opponent’s position with cat-like quickness. Attack his posture with bird-like rapidity.
The Ying/Yang principle must be thoroughly understood.
White Crane combat theory is limitless in its applications.
Humbly request guidance from your teacher. Understand the theory of what you are practicing.
Upon achieving the highest level of proficiency, the application of techniques will vary according to the opponent.

This is by no mean a detailed study of White Crane. I am using this as a starting point.

White Crane and especially Fuzhou lineage has got a very unique rhythm even compared to the other Southern Fukien styles of Kung Fu.

Talking White Crane:

Fujian (Mandarin) / Fukien (the commonly used Western pronunciation) or Hockien (In Fujian Dialect) is a province in Southern China.Fuzhou (Mandarin) / Foo Chow (the commonly used Western pronunciation) or Hood Chew (In Fuzhou Dialect) is a coastal town in Fujian. Fuzhou is also the capital city of Fujian.
The 2 different spoken dialects are really miles apart. The unlikenesses also extend into other aspects of life. Fuzhou is a minority group in China.

Fukien White Crane is also more frequently known as Yong Chun White Crane or Eng Choon White Crane as spoken in the Fujian dialect. Eng Choon (YongChun) is a place in Fukien, where many believed Fang Chi Niang and her husband concentrated her initial spread of her Crane Kung Fu skills.

Fuzhou White Crane is a collective term encompassing 4 major streams of White Crane. These are namely:-

1. Whooping Crane or MingHe in Mandarin
2. Feeding Crane or ShiHe
3. Flying Crane or FeiHe
4. Hibernating or ShuHe

There are 2 others Fuzhou Crane not included above are:
-
• ZhongHe or Shaking Crane – This stream recognizes a different founder altogether.
• ChongHe or Ancestral Crane – You have both a Fukien and Fuzhou Ancestral Crane.
Fuzhou Ancestral Crane is believed to predate the other 4 major Fuzhou Cranes.
Generally, if you talk to anyone about the founder of White Crane Kung Fu, you are likely to hear:-

• Fang Hui Shi – A Shaolin Lohan Boxer during the Ching Dynasty. The Manchurians were ruling China at that time and many Chinese boxers were grouping and fighting this dominion. The nucleus groups were Shaolin related. There are, according to my research, inconsistent versions of Fang’s Lohan. If you read anything out of Taiwan, Fang is likely to be reported as a Northern Shaolin Lohan Boxer. In other parts of Asia, Singapore & Malaysia for instance, he is recorded as a Southern Shaolin Lohan Boxer involved in activist activities. Kuching’s (Sarawak) Huang Yi Ing, a renowned MingHe master, held that Fang is Southern Shaolin Boxer.

The distinction is essential because of the great dissimilarities in the 2 systems and the influence it wielded over early White Crane Kung Fu development.
• Fang Chi Niang – Daughter of Fang Hui Shi. Was taught her father’s kung fu since a tender age and was roving with him. The widespread story is that she got motivated to invent White Crane Kung Fu after watching cranes in action. Whatever the case, her kung fu background is Shaolin and it stands to reason that her conception must include Shaolin elements.

There are many colorful stories revolving her life and the person she picked to marry – her best student Zheng Shi. This is uncorroborated but they are many folks who thought that Zheng was a Shaolin Tiger boxer previous to learning from Chi Niang.

Like her father, Chi Niang and her husband, were also extremely involved in clandestine activists’ work. And part of what she did was training everyday folks to fight and this she started in Yong Chun Fukien.

Chong Hok or Ancestral Crane is considered the oldest form of Crane. The Singing, Feeding, Flying and Hibernating Crane are later derivations. The Hood Chew Pak Hok emphasize this to be the oldest form of Crane boxing developed outside Shaolin. The development is credited to Fang Chi Niang, daughter of Fang Hui Shi. Chi Niang taught numerous students and some of them originated their own versions of Crane boxing.

Fang Chi Niang’s White Crane can be generally encapsulated in 2 manners:-

• Fukien – primarily Eng Choon. This is where she and her husband taught her cranework after formulation. Her father was a Shaolin Lohan Boxer and she was taught this system. So early Crane was heavily Shaolin-influenced displaying much of Shaolin’s characteristics.

• Fuzhou. There is this school of thought that says Fang and company was caught up in Shaolin revolutionary activities during that period in China. She got involved in a clandestine network known as “Tien Ti Hui” or “Heaven and Earth Society”. The leader, Chen Si Nam, was an internal kung fu expert. Many believed Fang studied internal kung fu with Chen. And when she taught her cranework in Fuzhou later on in life, her system took on a great deal of “internal” traits.

Fukien is a province in Southern China.

Fukien is also written as Fujian , Hockkien or Fook-kin depending upon which dialect you say it with.

Fuzhou is a coastal town in Fukien The capital city of Fukien. Also written as FooChow, Hockchew or Hood Chew.

Fatshan is in Canton. Fatshan is Foshan in Mandarin. This is where many Cantonese style Kung Fu flourished a couple hundreds years back. Wing Chun is one good example. In fact, in Asia, Wing Chun is more commonly known as Fatshan Wing Chun to distinguish it from Yong Chun which is Fukien White Crane.

In Mandarin. Wing Chun and Yong Chun come out sounding the same.

The difference in Fukien and Fuzhou White Crane is very pronounced. Fukien and Fuzhou Crane, internal/external premise becomes apparent from the standpoint of forms, techniques and concepts.

Shaolin Connection:

If you look at Fukien White Crane now, it is hard to miss the Shaolin and to a certain extent.

The punching is largely the Shaolin twisting punch and in many of their forms, high kicks (chest and head levels) are used.

By and large, the manner of expressing their forms is typically Shaolin.

Fukien White Crane is regarded by many Chinese researchers to be the main seminal force in Southern Kung Fu. Many styles of Southern Kung Fu are thought to be related.

Styles such as Wing Chun (Fatshan), Southern Praying Mantis, Southern Phoenix Kung Fu, Ngo Chor and Tai Chor. And if you observe these styles in action, this suggestion is not too implausible. Take for instance, Wing Chun one inch’s power punch – this is the exact same attribute pursued by White Crane.
Chi Niang and her husband joined an aggressive underground group called Tien Ti Hui or Heaven and Earth Society to fight the Manchu. Those of you who are familiar with Hong Kong produced TV Kung fu dramas must know of this society. Many of these are based on Tien Ti Hui and the many kung fu heroes who were member of this group.

Tien Ti Hui was headed by a Northerner by the name of Chen Zing Nam – supposedly an internal kung fu expert. According to some, Chen was from WuDang and others from O-Mei. This is hard to ascertain now. The one sure thing archived records point to is that Chen is from internal boxing style.
And it is after this encounter with Chen that Chi Niang’s White Crane took on quite an overhaul. Internal boxing elements were integrated and concepts like 5 elements hand became the order of the day.

Song & being internal:

松 "Song" or “relaxed” became a byword of training.

This “revamped” White Crane is what she taught in Fuzhou in the later part of her life.

In fact, if you visit most Fuzhou Cranes schools, you would find a Taoist Saint picture besides Chi Niang’s on the altar table. This is to demonstrate their Taoist or Internal roots.

So to evaluate Fukien and Fuzhou Cranes techniques is literally to compare internal and external style boxing.
Among the 4 major Fuzhou Cranes, personally I find MingHe the most “internal” in requisites.

The SanZhan (Three Battles):

Stance is usually the “San Jiao Ma” or triangular stance. This is almost the same stance found in many Tai Chi. Jin is, as a rule, launched by the rear leg.
A better way to view Fukien and Fuzhou Cranes side-by-side is to pick a common form, say San Zhan or San Chin, and scrutinize.

Jin is the result of combining hardness (bones) and softness (tendons and qi) accurately. It involves the loosening of muscles, sinking of qi, contracting of tendons, and the extension of bones--all at the same time, and at the moment when they can work together to produce powerful force.

As such, it requires a lot of techniques and responsiveness be able to control so many things so fast, and timing has to be very precise. Jin is an essential element of most internal martial arts.

Note that most internal martial arts focus on the training of tendons, as opposed to muscles. Even though tendons might be considered just a special form of muscles by medical professionals, they're vastly different from muscles when it comes to internal martial arts trainings. Many high-level martial artists don't appear to be very muscular due to their focus on tendons' trainings.

SanZhan is assigned the water element because of the Jin that one is supposed to train when doing this form. “Shui Lan” or “Water Wave” Jin is the goal. It is a little like silk cocoon Jin that you find in Chen Tai Chi except that there has more “rolling”to achieve the desired Jin.

The exercise that we do after this form goes like this:-

You stretch you right hand to my face area and I ward it of with my right palm - sort of like Wing Chun “Hu shao”. Immediately I roll my right hand towards your face and you do the exactly the same back to me. Hands are in contact throughout this drill.

And really this is how we fight, touch and go with little pause in between. You see this concept in action in all my forms, pull both palms in (palms inward) and release Jin instantly palms out. Look at my Bubulian you will see this action repeated many times “rolling” Jin. The whole idea is to stay relaxed and using the pulling in to generate the thrusting out reaction.

And this is also how we push, Jin applied in the hind leg to generate the reactive ground Jin that we direct to our hands. This is very effective if you crouch a little and then straighten your body to achieve the upwards thrust lift. A little like in Tai Chi but maybe harder in expression.

Get into the tiger claw push hand position i.e. my right claw touching the outside of your right claw. Usually the exercise is to push horizontally from left to right and vise-versa

In my system, we drop the elbow, with the claw hands still in contact, and using the dropping Jin to create the a sudden upwards palm thrust to the partner’s face.

• Punch – both the twisting YongChun and the more common “phoenix” eye punch found in Fuzhou cranes. Even here there are variations. You got the usual straight out phoenix punch sort of like the Wing Chun’s vertical punch except that you dip the knuckle at the end of execution. The idea is to hit the ribs or in-between the ribs when you are doing a middle gate punch. The other version is the “whipping” out delivery found mainly in my crane system. Here the sequence is dropping the elbow and the fist and then lashing out from this lowered position.

The energy is mainly generated by twisting of the hips with the body staying relaxed. The descriptive poem is “Body like a willow, hands like bullets”. “Shen Ru Yang Liu, Shou Ru Tan” – not standard Hanyu – phonetic.

• Elbow – My system uses the elbow in many “bridge” smashing techniques. Naturally hard at the tip makes it a good breaking tool. The breaking is done is many ways. I am going to talk about one for illustration – a beginner’s technique.

Against an incoming upper gate attack to your face, you apply a “Hu” palm deflection with one hand and smash the attacker’s hand with your other elbow. A good target is the inner side of the arm behind the thumb area – the earth point of the heart meridian. Or the outside behind the little finger – along the small intestine meridian.

The “Hu” palm and elbow in must be timed together. Or if you meet a high sweep kick to your face area, like a Muay Thai kick, you could elbow the instep area of the foot instead of blocking.

• Palm – Comes in many forms. The back palm is a whipping and slapping out weapon. This is oftentimes aimed at upper gate at the eyes. The idea it to “attack east and hit the west” Like in Fu-Hoc, you “peck” the eyes and kick the crotch in one go, we do many such combos.

Warm ups:

Warm up – very specific warm up techniques mimicking crane movements like “wings flapping” etc. These techniques are largely to relax joints and tendons – very essential for the kind of Fa-Jin that we do. An observer once remarked that we look like we are “shaking” – very true. The ‘dog shaking” jin is our aim.

Drills:

• Forms – Every body does SanZhan regardless of grades. 5 elements hand training is essential. After which, different level students would break up into smaller groups to do their own forms.

• 2 men drills – we have a very complex system of 2 men drills. Depending on levels, drills are added to enhance the mastering of forms. Sort of like application of the forms. The drills are designed with the applications in mind.

• Fighting principles drills – this is something that is “exclusive” in my system. We have 8 different principles of fighting and every principle comes with its own individual drill. Going off-line to your opponent’s blind spot, both front and back, is the entry principles. First we do the stepping and then stepping and hitting at the same time.

We don’t really do iron shirt training per se in Fuzhou Crane.

Chin-Na comes under one of our fighting principles and in White Crane we do a lot of “pinching” of soft points
We also do a lot of “bridge breaking” – all along Meridians Channels/Dim Mak points on the arms and legs. So our “push-hand” looks more like “breaking hands”. Some older folks call them “thunder hands”.

Again this is in accordance with another of our fighting principles – “When hand meets hand, you got nowhere to go”.

• Hard but not rigid, Soft but not weak.
• All movements must flow fluently.

Note that most internal martial arts focus on the training of tendons, as opposed to muscles. Even though tendons might be considered just a special form of muscles by medical professionals, they're vastly different from muscles when it comes to internal martial arts trainings. Many high-level martial artists don't appear to be very muscular due to their focus on tendons' trainings.

Types of Jin:

Understanding Power (Tong Jin),
Following Power (Tzo Jin)
Neutralizing Power (Fa Jin),
Borrowing Power (Tzeh Jin),
Sticking Power (Tzan Lien Jin),
Listening Power (Ting Jin),
Understanding Power (Tong Jin),
Following Power (Tzo Jin),
Neutralizing Power (Fa Jin),
Borrowing Power (Tzeh Jin),
Drawing up Power (Ying Jin),
Uprooting Power (Ti Jin),
Sinking Power (Chen Jin),
Controling Power (Na Jin),
Open- up Power (Kai Jin),
Close up power (Ho Jin),
Deflecting Power (Boh Jin),
Rubbing Power (Chou Jin),
Twisting Power (Jzeh Jin),
Rolling Power (Jen Jin),
Spiral Power (Dzuen Jin),
Cutting Power (Tze Jin),
Cold Power (Nung Jin),
Interrupting Power (Tuan Jin),
Inch Power (Chuen Jin),
Fine Power (Fuen Jin),
Vibrating Bouncing Power (Dow Tiao Jin),
Vibrating Power (Dow So Jin),
Folding Power (Tzo the Jin),
Distance Power (Ling Kong Jin)

1) Tin Jin, Dong Jin. You have to use a small Jin to test the direction of a large Jin. You listen and understand the direction and amplitude of the opponent's Jin.

2) Zhan Nien Lein Suei. (Contact, stick, and follow)

You contact with your forearm and remain in contact. You shadow the opponent's movement.

3) Hwa and Fa Jin. (neutralization and release Jin at the same time.)

In the Fuzhou crane’s version, the poem of this technique talks about “Using the knee to clear the path, so the leg can reach the target”.

This is a good example of our "ground reaction" jin training in Fuzhou Crane. We 'push" our jin into the ground and "bounce" off using the reaction.

The whole purpose of "Shong" is to tap reaction jin from everywhere - from the ground, from contact with opponent - any part of him.

There are fixed step (Ding Bu) and moving step (Fo Bu) Push hand drills in Tai Ji Quan.

There are single hand (Dan Shou) and both hands (Shuan Shou) drills.

Fixed step single hand; (Ding Bu Dan Shou Twei Shou)

You move your hand in a vertical circle and a horizontal circle with wrists or forearms in contact.

You practice slowly, faster and then at random speed.

In the vertical circle, you sense forward, backward, upward, downward and combined Jin's.

In the horizontal circle, you sense the leftward, rightward, forward, downward and combined Jin's.

You try to feel and sense the opponent's Jin in movement, your own Jin and the interaction from sticking together.

The 3 White Crane Kicks

Here we will cover but three of the White Crane Kicking techniques.

1. The most often seen kick is the signature straight up kick in a flicking fashion using the instep for contact. This kick is directed to the groin, the straightened elbow “(bridge breaking), underside of opponent’s incoming kicks and also the face. The last require preparatory move of pulling or pushing opponent’s face to within range. Variations of this kick are projecting to the sides and in a curved manner to the centerline of the body. The basic form is also found in Hung Gar’s “Single Leg Flying Crane”. This is a very important kick in my White Crane. One of our fighting principles is this kick – named “mindless kick” in the poem. Imagine doing Wing Chun like Chi-Sau and doing this kick. Both from opponent’s front or moving off-line and training the kick up and between legs from his rear. The idea is to keep opponent very busy in the upper gate zone and doing this kick in a “mindless” non-telegraphic way.
Also used in many 2-gates attack techniques like in Fu-Hoc. The crane-beak to the face and this kick to the groin. This type of expression is hidden and in Chinese terminology – a “ghost” kick.

2. White Crane Stepping On Snow. This is a very old kick – goes all the way back to the original Shaolin 5 Animals forms. I believe Fang Chi Niang, the founder of White Crane, learned this from her father, a Shaolin Lohan Boxer. Stepping or stomping is the essence here.
In my style, this has since become a very faint movement. Using the leading hand to strike and accompanying it with a stomping action is how this kick is embedded in many of our forms. If you have a copy of the old 5 Animals manual, you’ll find this depicted as “White Crane Stepping on snow”. Only difference is that the Shaolin’s version is done with a very high knee lift – not so appropriate for a woman.

3. The third kick is a sliding to the side side-kick without sole losing contact with ground surface. Nothing new here – you find this in numerous Northern and Southern Styles kung fu. Very outstanding in Northern Mantis for instance. Even some Hsing I do this and they call it “Swallow skimming Water”. In the White Crane that I do, this is repeated many times in my “Flying Crane” or “Long Limb” crane component.

The underlining quality of all 3 above is that they are done “hidden from plain sight” and therefore classified as “ghost kicks”.

Point of White Crane (Shenfa – Body Principles:

The principles of White Crane Boxing requires the uniting of sinew, spirit, chi, power and strength. The art is based on the circle: everything should accord with roundness.

The biceps (tiger) should rise,

The forearms (dragon) was always rounded,

The rising thighs (leopard) are combines with the claw hand, which has the power in to points.

The first two fingers( snake hand) provide .............

White Crane is essentially a soft boxing, but it incorporates the hard as well. In this connection.It was not necessary to wiggle the fingers, as many did, but that the spring power derived from the soft and pliable postures was a prerequisite for success.

The posture requires five points on a line:

Buttocks to heel of rear foot,

Nose and knee

Elbow and toe in front foot.

Tying the Yaodai (Sash):

Males knot their sashes on the left and females on the right. The Sifu wear the knot in the centre.

In Fuzhou Ancestral Crane, the males are supposed to salute by placing the left leg in front.

However, the original is done with the right in front because the creator was female.

The Wings Of the Crane … Its not Karate:

Oftentimes, I’ve been asked about my position on the origin of karate. I firmly do not believe that Karate can be traced back to Fuzhou cranes because most karate folks have little inkling or none at all about this elemental He Quan Quan Jue.

It is clearly reflected in how they move.

The usual “swallowing, spitting, sinking and floating” that you hear about is really more Fukien, like in Fukien White Crane, Ngo Chor, Tai Chor etc and Shaolin
Fuzhou Crane on the other hand has got the additional “internal” aspect. This is manifested in all our techniques, principles and Fist Poems.

In Fuzhou Crane, we are taught that techniques are just but a manifestation of our fighting principles. Forms are the ways and not the ends. Every drills / forms and 2 man sets are designed to teach the body to behave in a certain manner during a fight. Of course the whole idea is to mimic a crane.
Fuzhou White Crane is not "Karate" nor is it related to "Hakutsuru."

Many within the martial arts world state that there exists a link from Okinawan Karate to that of Fuzhou White Crane but nothing could be further from the truth.

Fuzhou White Crane as a unique art form and tradition has no verifiable link to Okinawan Karate and even less to that which is commonly termed "Hakutsuru."
Okinawans did not get their materials from Fuzhou. They may have acquired it from Fujian / Taiwan or any other part of China but not Fuzhou.
Karate researchers are better off looking at Ngo Chor (5 Elders) and Tai Chor (Grand Ancestor) rather that White Crane per se. These 2 styles are greatly influenced by Fukien White Crane and these could be their original source. The Tiger Kung Fu is the very one that the Uechi Ryu people align themselves with.
Karate contains very little White Crane. There is some Chinese connection but definitely not White Crane. Most Karate folks talk about Fuzhou White Crane but nothing they do comes close. Goju-Ryu seems more aligned to Ngo Chor. Uechi-Ryu would seem to reflect the essence of Tiger Kung Fu within its technical make-up.

Fuzhou White Crane is a totally unique art and is in no way related to modern "Crane Karate" and "Hakutsuru" as taught by other groups.
Their purported Crane kata are nothing like what we do in Fuzhou White Crane – especially in relation to fundamental root dissimilarities and not stylistics. It would seem that the only thing they obtained out of Fuzhou is the names of their katas.

As for "Hakutsuru", a few think that White Crane is just a couple of crane styles blocks and crane beak hand strikes! Much (if not all) of that passed off as "Hakutsuru" has no relation to real Fuzhou White Crane.

The approach of the White Crane Research Institute creates powerful questions within people, questions that change minds, that open them and compel them to grow.

The White Crane Research Institute presents a challenge of the deepest kind, probably viewed by the inner self as momentous.
Our motivation is revelation - To open up the real art of Fuzhou White Crane to the world.

This is not some sort of "Crane Karate". Nor is it "Hakutsuru". This is the real art as taught by the Fuzhou descendents of Fuzhou White Crane.
The White Crane Research Institute is proud to house the teachings of the Fujian Baihequan.

In Fuzhou Crane, we are taught that techniques are just but a manifestation of our fighting principles. Forms are the ways and not the ends. Every drills / forms and 2 man sets are designed to teach the body to behave in a certain manner during a fight. Of course the whole idea is to mimic a Crane.

In Fuzhou Crane these are transmitted in poems-like writing. If you don't have a teacher explaining - it is going to be tough.

We don’t just do forms. We also do application drills, sparring drills and conditioning drills within all the various systems.

Poems of the Fist:

He Quan Quan Jue is in many ways treated as the soul the particular system in question. Different kung fu style has a different fashion He Quan Quan Jue that the founder or others in the system used to convey the kung fu usually the very quintessence of the style. Or in the case of forms, He Quan Quan Jue, the key principles that crafted the form.

I would even go as far as saying the Chinese kung fu probably has the most exhaustive He Quan Quan Jue existing in the world of fighting arts.
Take Fuzhou White Crane. Explicitly, this is a Fuzhou based Kung Fu. So you really need to understand Fuzhou's psyche to recognize the gist of the He Quan Quan Jue.

And most old Masters teach these He Quan Quan Jue orally in that peculiar sing along manner. From one generation to the next to ensure prolongation of the line. And truly, everything you need can be found in the He Quan Quan Jue. He Quan Quan Jue are not something that you discussed in public
I am going to share one fundamental generic He Quan Quan Jue found in my Fuzhou Crane.

The He Quan Quan Jue goes like this:-

“All techniques do not end but start the next; all sequences are governed by the laws of 5 elements.

The first half quintessentially described the way we move in almost all our forms. For those who had viewed myforms, you must notice the flowing rhythm with which we do our forms. There is almost no halting in between techniques – every movement flows to the next without any sort of jerking.

The second half can be explained in 2 parts:-

External: this is again another definitive feature of Fuzhou Crane boxing. 5 elements hand concept and how, according to Chinese 5 elements philosophy, they interrelate.
• Metal winning Wood
• Wood winning Earth
• Earth winning Water
• Water winning Fire
• Fire winning Metal

For those who are trained in internal styles kung fu like Hsing Yi for instance, this theory should be recognizable.

Different streams of White Crane assign singular hand technique to each element. Hand techniques in forms are arranged in particular order depending on the function of the form. Some forms are even given 5 element signs. For example, SanZhan is a water element form.

Internal: Each element, according to Chinese Chi and TCM theories, is correlated to a particular organ in the body. The chi travel pattern of each form is here again set down by the founder of the form. This directing is conducted by postures and breathing technique. Even moving with the left or right leg creates a variation in chi travel from organ to organ.

Those of you who do Chi Kung will know what I am talking about. Like Tai Chi, some of our forms are sometimes thought of as dynamic Chi Kung forms.
The above is simply a very superficial illustration of a He Quan Quan Jue but hopefully adequate to give you a glimpse into how traditional kung fu is taught by those who follow the “old” ways.

The task of the Sifu is to ensure that not only techniques are taught but also relevant He Quan Quan Jue are fully absorbed by students.
BaBulian:

White Crane, is like a piece of montage art. Every stream fit into a certain spot in the evolution. After 300+ years, it has become very colourful with different Masters adding different fibre to the fabric. Taiwan, for instance, took White Crane to enormous reworking. A good hunting ground for crane seekers.

The one common form that cuts through all the diverse streams is SanZhan. Even then, if you compare Fukien San Chiem and typical Fuzhou BaBulian, the internal/external elemental differences are highly notable.

In the case of BaBulian, it is more in the hands. If you observe the “hands cycle” portion of the form, you might be able to detect the 5 elements sequence.

Also 5 element hands are not exactly the same throughout the major Fuzhou Cranes. Different families assign different hand techniques to each different element.

The breathing in BaBulian (at beginning level) is almost similar to the swallowing, sinking floating and spitting poems.

Fa-Jin at this level is the highly exaggerated rear-leg exploding motion that is very obvious.

BaBulian is assigned the water element because of the Jin that one is supposed to train when doing this form. “Shui Lan” or “Water Wave” Jin is the goal. It is a little like silk cocoon jin that you find in Chen Tai Chi except that there has more ‘rolling’ to achieve the desired jin.

The exercise that we do after this form goes like this:-

You stretch you right hand to my face area and I ward it of with my right palm - I roll my right hand towards your face and you do the exactly the same back to me. Hands are in contact throughout this drill.

And really this is how we fight - touch and go with little pause in between. You see this concept in action in all my forms, pull both palms in (palms inward) and release jin instantly palms out. Look at my HuaBaBu/BaBulian and you will see this action repeated many time - “Rolling Jin”. The whole idea is to stay relaxed and using the pulling in to generate the thrusting out reaction.

And this is also how we push - Jin applied in the hind leg to generate the reactive ground Jin that we direct to our hands. This is very effective if you crouch a little and then straighten your body to achieve the upwards thrust lift. A little like in Tai Chi but maybe harder in expression.

In my system, we drop the elbow, with the claw hands still in contact, and using the dropping Jin to create the sudden upwards palm thrust to the partner’s face.

This is but an overview of our art taken from the White Crane Research Institute's "White Crane Gate Research/Syllabus Guide.
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