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Copyright 2001-7 by Sue Brown & Dr.
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the Force, Grasshopper!
to Chinese philosophy was the ’60s TV serial “Kung Fu,”
starring David Carradine. I was 22 before I discovered that he wasn’t
Chinese. I’ve still not quite forgiven Carradine for being Caucasian,
but at least he helped pique my interest in China—and martial arts.
I was a young airman in Taiwan I studied Kung Fu for 2 hours each evening
with a bunch of bald Buddhist monks. I coveted a black belt, but advance
came only by defeating students of higher levels, and the only belts I
ever landed were to my poor bruised body.
There are over 100 different styles of martial arts (visit Zhouning
and Putian!)using knives and spears, swords and
clubs, deng deng. In addition, there are external styles, emphasizing
strength, and internal kung fu, which stresses one’s mind and one’s
life energy, or Qi.
In theory, as one ages one progresses from movement to stillness, from
firmness to softness, and Qi becomes both more powerful and more focused
than brute force. Or so I was told, but I was skeptical of the soft soap
about soft force—until Master Lin put my doubts on ice with a 200
pound block of ice.
I often chuckled at Master Lin’s roly-poly physique, which betrayed
the fact that he moonlighted as a candy maker, but he could stand back
to the wall and touch the wall above his head with his feet. And after
he demonstrated the power of Qi, I quit chuckling altogether.
While Master Lin's students watched silently, Master Lin poised his hand,
palm downward, about one inch above the giant block of ice, and concentrated.
Then without warning, he slapped the ice and it shattered. I could not
have duplicated the feat with a sledge hammer.
Pass the candy, Master Lin!
I no longer laughed about Qi. But I still don’t think much of it
as a self-defense technique. After all, what self-respecting enemy is
going to lay on his back and wait half a minute while you lay your hand
above his chest and charge up your Qi?
Note: Want to build up your own Qi? Read on…!
Kicks in Xiamen!
If you’ve ever wanted to master martial arts, Xiamen is the place
to start! Southern Shaolin Kungfu originated in Fujian the jury is still
out on whether in Fuqing, Putian, or Quanzhou).
Styles and weapons vary enormously, and it seems that each village boasts
its own particular style, which is taught only to members of that village,
with a certain clan’s surname. For example, the unique Kungfu style
of Zhouning (the carp village) is taught only to those surnamed Zheng.
What Style? With
so many unique styles and variations, its tough to continue training if
you move elsewhere in China, or return home. So one option is to study
an internationally standardized style, like Korean Tae Kwondo.
And fortunately, Xiamen has Karate masters as well.
Master Que Jiansheng,
a 7th degree black belt, teaches Shannon and friends. Born in poverty
in Zhangzhou in 1963, his father died at age 5 and his mother moved to
Taiwan. He studied Chinese martial arts, but fell in love with Karate,
and is now zealously promoting the art in China. He has several
locations in Xiamen, and very reasonable rates. Give him a call! Phone:
891-6169 Mobile: 13666080730
The Lady Instructor
at City Trends (above the Mcdonalds on Xiahe Rd.) is very popular with
foreigners. Check her out as well.
Chinese Kung Fu
While you're in S. Fujian, you should also check out S. Shaolin Kung fu--especially
since it originated here! Begin with the Shaolin Temple and Shaolin Museum
Shaolin Temple, is behind
the Sports Stadium at the very end of Zayton St. (Citong Rd.,on Dongyue
Hill). It is exactly 1.1 km past the sign that says you only have 600
meters to go. I mentioned this to the abbot of the temple, and asked if
it meant 600 meters if you climb straight up. He said, “No, Kungfu
monks fly straight up!”
Quanzhou Southern Shaolin temple w
built in the early Tang Dynasty by the monk Zhikong, who had moved here
from the Songshan Shaolin Temple up north. The temple had its ups and
downs and eventually was totally destroyed in 1763 A.D.. The Shaolin tradition
continued to be taught in Congfu Temple (see below), but now that so many
folks around the world are getting their kicks out of Kungfu, the Shaolin
temple was recently rebuilt. Each year, thousands of Kungfu enthusiasts
make pilgrimages to this Mecca for martial arts enthusiasts (and also
visit the two local martial arts schools).
Notice the trimmings and carvings under the temple eaves. Unlike other
temples, they all depict Southern Shaolin monks in different fighting
Abbot Shi Changding
I’d have never imagined a 30-year-old like Master Shi Changding
could be abbot of S. Shaolin Temple! (Costello, maybe, but not abbot).
Since he began kungfu at age 13, Master Shi has made a name for himself,
and helped put Quanzhou’s S. Shaolin
Temple back on the map.
young abbot is also a Wushu Colonel, assistant secretary-general of
Quanzhou Wushu association, adviser to the France-Fujian martial arts
association, and people’s conference representative. He has also
helped initiate many international exchange programs with martial arts
groups and organizations throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas. Now
Master Shi has set his sites on expanding the Southern Shaolin Complex.
Contact Master Shi at: Shaolin Temple, Dong Yue Mountain,
Fujian, P.R. of China,
362000 Phone: (0595)279-5119.
Getting to S. Shaolin Temple: Bus #7,
#10, #11, #13, #19
Hours: 6:00 - 22:00 Phone: 279-5119
visit Quanzhou's S. Shaolin Museum!
Fujian Sites Fujian
Foto Album Xiamen
Last Updated: May 2007
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