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Wu Zu Quan - Ten Questions To Grandmaster Wong

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  • #31
    The sum of all the parts equals the whole .... or more....
    ....part 2

    The five animals inthe Five-Animal Set represent the essence of Shaolin training, which was passedon to Southern Shaolin Kungfu. The Dragon trains mind or spirit, theSnake trains energy, the Tiger trains internal force, the Leopard trains speed,and the Crane trains elegance. In practicing the Five-Animal Set,practitioners have an introduction to, and later an opportunity to specializein these five aspects of Shaolin training. Those who do not understand thisconcept or do not have the opportunity to learn the essence of the set, willmiss these invaluable aspects of Shaolin training.

    Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu was invented to meet an expedient need — to fight the Qingarmy to set up the Chinese republic. The Twelve-Fist Set contains thebest of Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu, including the various ways of striking with thearms and fist, body-movement and footwork. It also includes internalforce training, which is not normally found in Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu, except atan advanced level. At the Choy-Li-Fatt Course in Norway, courseparticipants developed internal force using Big Windmill and Double DragonsEmerge from Sea,, and by rolling bamboo,

    The essence of San Zhan is profundity in simplicity. The set looks verysimple. In fact, when I first learned it, I thought it was meant todevelop internal force, and wondered how the techniques in the set could beused for combat. Later I discovered that the techniques in the set couldbe used to meet any combat situation! The Triangle Stance (or Four-SxiStance) is ingenious. Instead of using the Bow-Arrow Stance for attack,and retreat to the False-Leg Stance for defence, Wuzuquan practitioners, ifthey know the San Zhan techniques for combat, use body-movement in the TriangleStance.

    The form of the Five-Animal Set is beautiful. It is typical of SouthernShaolin Kungfu which is exquisite for demonstration, though this is not themain purpose for those who practice kungfu as it should be. The Shaolinanimals are manifested in serving moment, finger thrusts, tiger claws, leopardpunches, and crane beaks, with elegance of movement, perfect form, and internalforce.

    The Twelve-Fist Set of Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu is characterised by long stances andextended hand strikes. There is a lot of body-movement, and thetechniques are executed rapidly.

    In contrast, the movements of San Zhan of Wuzuquzan are short. It ischaracterised by the Triangle Stance, and the palms are used frequently

    Part 3 of this intriguing answer to follow .....
    Sifu Andrew Barnett
    Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland -

    Flowing Health GmbH (Facebook:
    Healing Sessions with Sifu Andrew Barnett - in Switzerland and internationally
    Heilbehandlungen mit Sifu Andrew Barnett - in der Schweiz und International


    • #32
      Combat application

      Sifu goes into application in this wonderful answer...

      Part 3
      In terms of combat application, the Five-Animal Set is most useful at the intermediate level, where there are different responses to different attacks. For example, if an opponent executes a Black Tiger strike, which is probably the most common form of attack, we can respond with Golden Dragon Plays with Water, using minimum force, that can enable a dainty-looking lady to defend against a big-sized man. In many martial arts, where brute strength is used, many people wonder how a weaker person could fight a stronger opponent.

      The combat application of Twelve-Fist Set of Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu looks very formidable, and is actually formidable, for those at a lower level of martial art combat. Imagine an opponent holding two iron rods attacking you relentlessly. If you try to attack him, he strikes your attacking arm or leg with the iron rods. If you retreat, he moves in to strike your body. Of course, those who attended the Choy-Li-Fatt course in Norway, or those who have attained an intermediate level of combat,will know how to respond effectively. Those who are invited to attend the Essence of Shaolin course will respond in a marvellous way.

      The combat application of San Zhan of Wuzuquan is excellent at the highest level. There are various ways to respond to an opponent’s attack, any attack. The San Zhan exponent may use the elementary tactic of first defence then counter, or the intermediate tactic of defence-cum-counter, or the advanced tactic of no-defence-direct-counter. A marvellous way is to strike the opponent as he attacks, with a seemingly simple pattern.

      Besides combat application, we can also consider application for daily life. As the Five-Animal Set involves various aspects of Shaolin training— like mental clarity, energy management, internal force, speed and strength, and elegance of movement — these various aspects will enrich our daily life. Because of mental clarity and internal force as a result of training in the Five-Animal Set, for example, the exponent will produce better result no matter what he does!

      In daily life,Choy-Li-Fatt training will enable practitioners to be assertive as well asagile in both their movement and intellectual thinking. If they arenot properly served in a restaurant, for example, they can question thewaiters. They will not be timid and be bullied by others.

      Exponents of San Zhan will be adroit in any situation, Their responses, due to their training of San Zhan, will often be a surprise to other people. They can attack an opponent as soon as the opponent makes a movement. For example, a client may complain that a product a salesman proposes to sell may not work for him. The salesman, if he is well trained in San Zhan, may reply that if the client buys the product he will certainly explain how the client can use the product rewardingly.

      All these benefits from the training of the respective sets based on the presumption that the training is ideal. In other words, if the practitioners train the sets correctly, they will derive these benefits. Unfortunately, in real life today, this may not be so. When many kungfu practitioners practice their sets as flowery fists and embroidery kicks, or use Kicking-Boxing in sparring, it will be unrealistic to believe they will have these benefits if they train Five-Animal Set, Twelve-Fist or San Zhan.

      Yes, there is a lot more to Sifu's answer to this question. More to come soon .....
      Sifu Andrew Barnett
      Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland -

      Flowing Health GmbH (Facebook:
      Healing Sessions with Sifu Andrew Barnett - in Switzerland and internationally
      Heilbehandlungen mit Sifu Andrew Barnett - in der Schweiz und International


      • #33
        ... and now a comparison based on sets...
        Another way of comparison, in an ideal situation, is to compare the various kungfu styles of the three sets , i.e. Hoong Ka Kungfu, Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu and Wuzuquan. Again, to be comprehensive, it is useful to employ the four aspects of kungfu, namely philosophy, form, force (or skill) and application.

        Hoong Ka Kungfu is actually a continuation of Southern Shaolin Kungfu., and Southern Shaolin Kungfu is a continuation of Northern Shaolin Kungfu. As Shaolin Kungfu, irrespective of whether it is Northern or Southern, is the greatest martial art of the world (please see for a justification of this claim), it can be concluded that Hoong Ka Kungfu represents the best of all martial arts.

        The greatest martial art provides combat efficiency, good health and spiritual cultivation. Hence practitioners of Hoong Ka Kungfu will have these three wonderful benefits.

        It needs to be clarified that we are here talking of an ideal situation. If the Hoong Ka Kungfu practiced by practitioners is deviated, like lifting weights instead of training internal force, the benefits of the practitioners will be much compromised. The same situation also applies to Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu and Wuzuquan.

        Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu is also a continuation of Southern Shaolin Kungfu, but it was much modified by Chan Harng, the founder of this kungfu style. Because of the modification, the philosophy and practice of Choy-Li-Fatt are quite different from those of Shaolin Kungfu. Chan Harng invented Choy-Li-Fatt for combat, mainly to fight the Qing army to establish the first Chinese republic. Hence, the hallmark of Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu is fighting, characterised by speed and strength. The philosophy and practice of an art definitely much influence, albeit unconsciously over time, the benefits and outcome of the practitioners.

        Wuzuuan was invented by Bai Yi Feng who feared that the essence of Shaolin Kungfu would be lost due to its wide spread. Bas Yi Feng chose five Shaolin styles to compose Wuzuquan, which were White Crane Kungfu for its hand techniques, Taijuquan for its efficient movement, Lohan Kungfu for its posture, Bodhidhama Style for its energy cultivation, and Monkey Style for its footwork. However, due to its long history when people think of Shaolin Kungfu, they often conceptualise Southern Shaolin. Nevertheless, Wuzuquan represent the essence of Shaolin Kungfu at the time of conception.

        Regarding form, the main Shaolin animals in Hoong-Ka Kungfu are the Dragon, the Tiger and the Crane. The characteristics are the dragon hand-form, the tiger-claw and the crane beak, but frequently expressed as kicks. Hoong Ka Kungfu is famous for its tiger claw and the no-shadow kick, It is, in my opinion, the most beautiful form of Shaolin Kungfu to watch. As a continuation of Shaolin Kungfu, it is the most typical when the public think of Shaolin Kungfu.

        Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu is characterized by long strikes and wide stances. For the initiated, Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu is easy to recognise. The Leopard is the most characteristic Shaolin animal. A performance of Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu manifests speed and strength, which are features of the Leopard. There are frequent swinging arm movements and body-work.

        In contrast, Wuzuquan form is narrow with short stances, This is the opposite of a popular kungfu saying, “nan qual ben jiao” or “southern fists northern kicks”, which describes that Southern Shaolin Kungfu is characterised by fists and Northern Shaolin Kungfu is characterised by kicks. It also describes that Southern Shaolin Kungfu is noted for its solid stance on the ground, while Northern Shaolin Kungfu for its flying movement in the air.

        It is interesting to note that Wuzuquan was originally a Northern Shaolin style, established in the northern Shaolin Monastery at Henan Province before the southern Shaolin Monastery at Fujian Province was built. However, Wuzuquan later became popular in the south, especially in Fujian Province.
        The final part of this enthralling answer coming soon .....
        Sifu Andrew Barnett
        Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland -

        Flowing Health GmbH (Facebook:
        Healing Sessions with Sifu Andrew Barnett - in Switzerland and internationally
        Heilbehandlungen mit Sifu Andrew Barnett - in der Schweiz und International


        • #34
          ... and now the final part of this wonderful answer:
          In terms of force, or skill, Hoong Ka Kungfu is often regarded by the public as am external art. Personally, I disagree with this observation, because there is much internal work in Hoong Ka Kungfu, though at the beginning it is mainly external. The tiger form, which is typical of Hoong Ka Kungfu, develops internal force. Internal force is necessary in the crane form, another important Hoong Ka feature, though the name “crane” may not be frequently mentioned. Without internal force, many of the patterns belong to the crane form loose their functions.

          Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu is external. But through long years of training, the external strength of Choy-Li-Fatt masters become internal force. In our school, we pay much attention to the internal aspects of Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu. The typical features of Choy-Lio-Fatt Kungfu are speed and strength. The strength of Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu, however, does not come from big muscles; it comes mainly from speed. The leopard fist, often used in Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu, enhances its speed and strength.

          Wuzuquan is famous for internal force. particularly in the lineage I learned from Sifu Chee Kim Thong. However,, in my observation, many Wuzuquan schools today focus on external strength. The internal force of Wuzuquan comes mainly from the practice of San Zhan, its fundamental set. Wuzuquan internal force is flowing, very unlike the consolidated force of Iron Wire in Hoong Ka Kungfu. The flowing Wuzuquan internal force is more like the flowing force of Taijiquan.

          In terms of combat application, Hoong Ka Kungfu is very rich. There is at lease one counter against each attack pattern; often there are more. Hong Ka Kungfu is ideal for those wanting to learn combat application of kungfu techniques. The two outstanding arts, or skills, of Hoong Ka Kungfu are tiger claws and no-shadow kicks. Tiger claws are mainly used for chin-na, whereas no-shadow kicks as a cu-de-grace attack. In other words, a Hoong Ka master would not normally use his no-shadow kicks, but once he uses one, it is usually combat-ending.

          Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu is mainly used for combat, often for mass fighting, which also means that it is at a relatively low level. The pressing attack of Choy-Li-Fatt looks formidable, and are actually formidable for those of a low level in combat. However, if a high level master fights with a Choy-Li-Fatt master, the latter can employs body-movement to avoid the former’s attack. and simultaneously counter-strike. Hence, it may appear that there are little or no defence in Choy-Lii-Fatt Kungfu, but the defence is incorporated in the attack.

          The combat application of Wuzuquan is subtle. Many kungfu practitioners, including Wuzuquan practitioners, may not know these subtle techniques. Because of the internal force in Wuzuquan, a defence technique may turn out to be an attack. For example, a Wuzuquan practitioner may use “ward-off” to block an opponent’s strike, but because of the practitioner’s internal force, this “ward-off” may break the opponent’s arm. A Wuzuquan master may use his attack in a marvellous way. As soon as an opponent makes a move, he finds himself being struck, often without knowing where the strike comes from.

          All the three kungfu styles — Hoong Ka Kungfu, Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu, and Wuzuquan — contribute to practitioners’ health, vitality and longevity. They also enhance their peak performance and spiritual joys.

          Relatively, and presuming all other things being equal, the contributions of Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu are the least in these non-combat areas amongst the three kungfu styles. This is mainly because Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu was invented for combat.

          Hong Ka Kungfu being a continuation of Southern Shaolin, and Wuzuquan being the essence of Northern Shaolin contribute a lot in non-combat matters. Personally, presuming all other things being equal, I believe the non-combat contributions of Wuzuquan are more than those of Hoong Ka Kungfu.

          We should remember that Shaolin Kungfu started as a result of spiritual cultivation. Wuzuquan is closer to the source than Hoong Ka Kungfu. By the time of Southern Shaolin Kungfu, the element of combat became prominent.

          Moreover, the importance of internal force, and the use of techniques in a marvellous ways are more conducive to non-combat purposes. There is also training of internal force in Hoong Ka Kungfu, and some Hoong Ka masters may use Hoong Ka techniques in a marvellous way, but these are not as much emphasised as in Wuzuquan.

          Again, it must be borne in mind that this discussion is made in an ideal situation. As the situation today is far from ideal, when many kungfu practitioners do not believe in internal force, or generously exchange blows in free sparring, the discussion above may not apply to such practitioners. Also, in real life things are not equal. A skilful Choy-Li-Fatt practitioner, for example, would get more non-combat benefits than a mediocre Wuzuquan practitioner.

          We are indeed very lucky in Shaolin Wahnam. Not only all these kungfu sets and kungfu styles are available in our school, we systematically share the philosophy of these sets and styles, and teach students how to transfer these benefits to enrich their daily lives.
          Sifu Andrew Barnett
          Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland -

          Flowing Health GmbH (Facebook:
          Healing Sessions with Sifu Andrew Barnett - in Switzerland and internationally
          Heilbehandlungen mit Sifu Andrew Barnett - in der Schweiz und International


          • #35
            Form and Formless in Martial Arts

            Honorable Sigung,

            Thank you so much for answering my musings! If there is no other question coming forward as the tenth and final question, I would like to submit another one for consideration as not to waste the opportunity of this excellent Q&A series.

            There is a beautiful interplay between form and formless in Kungfu. Wuzuquan (San Zhan) and Xingyiquan (Five Element Continuous Fist) are often characterized as being very simple in form, yet fully capable martial arts against all attacks. You have often written and spoken about the profundity of simple forms in the hands of a master. Yiquan is also worthy of note in this context because it completely abandons structured learning of patterns and sequences for the sake of focusing on formless skills.

            Then you have recently written a lot about the marvellous level of combat application which tremenduously enriches and benefits all techiques and patterns, thus leading from formless back to form again. To me this seems a most wonderful development.

            Sigung, how does the development ratio and utility of physical forms to formless skills change in general while advancing in first class Kungfu? How would a beginner, an intermediate, and a master martial artist fare comparatively in these three mentioned styles? If all the other things were equal, would there be any advantage for a Wuzuquan or a Xingyiquan exponent over the other?

            What exactly is attaining profundity versus attaining marvellous in combat application? How big are the relative transitions in skill from ordinary to profound, from ordinary to marvellous, and from profound to marvellous? Then what are the desicive factors in attaining these breakthroughs?

            With sincere gratitude,