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Crane - Gung Fu
by Liu Chang I
city of Fuchow in Southern China was known for centuries as a center of the
martial arts. Young men such as Kanryo Higaonna (Naha Te/Goju Ryu) Kanbun Uechi
(Pangai Noon/Uechi Ryu) made the pilgrimage across the ocean, to return years
later to their native land of Okinawa and establish martial traditions that
are now spread across the face of the earth.
upheaval and oppression took a heavy toll on Chinese boxing and boxers in the
late nineteenth and early twentieth century. By 1915 when Chojun Miyagi the
founder of Goju Ryu visited the region he had great difficulty finding any martial
arts teachers, let alone Ryu Ryu Ko, his instructors original teacher.
the difficult circumstances of the time, Chinese boxers who survived the Boxer
Rebellion felt it prudent to get as far away from politics and politicians as
possible. One such boxer accepted a commission from the Liu family to teach
on the remote island province of Taiwan, which is where our story begins.
by General Liu, the village of Liu Ling in southern Taiwan, (literally "Liu's
army" after the troops he led there from the mainland), has been the home of
his descendants for more than three hundred years. Three generations ago, the
Liu family brought a teacher of the Feeding Crane school of the White Crane
tradition to their village as a full time boxing teacher. In exchange for his
full time tuition, he was supplied with all his worldly needs and a handsome
salary. What resulted can be seen on this new video release from Tsunami Productions.
we heard that Tsunami were making a video with a Chinese martial artist we were
most surprised. Best known for their work in the film of classical Okinawan
and Japanese arts, this was radical departure for them of which we had had no
warning. We realized that the instructor in question had to be someone special,
and we were right.
Cang I's technique is very powerful, and very fast. He fights close in, and
can deliver a lot of power at very close range. He uses no blocks as such, just
parries and diversionary maneuvers. He diverts attacks, and as he does so, strikes
back. A great deal of internal power is developed, and this can actually be
heard as a dull, but very audible "thud" from Liu's body when the technique
The video presents a detailed look at the style. It opens with the background
and principles of Feeding Crane, and this section includes a good historical
section with footage from Liu Ling village. Then the kata are performed, and
with them a mass of very practical and interesting applications. In fact, even
the applications have applications, so pay attention or you may miss something.
me the most interesting things about this presentation were the hand techniques
and the body movement. Because the hands are kept open when striking the tendency
is, being used to seeing fists used as weapons, to think that the blows are
weak. This is certainly not the case. They are very powerful, and the power
penetrates the surface of the opponent very effectively. Watching the video
I thought of Toshihiro Oshiro (Shorin Ryu-Yamanni Ryu) who told me that years
ago in Okinawa if people heard that a fight had started in the street outside,
they would ask if the combatants were using fists or open hands. If the reply
was, "open hands" there would be a rush of spectators to watch. If, on the other
hand, fists were being used, few would bother.
always with Tsunami, the quality of content is high, the instructor first class,
and the production value well above anything else on the market. Mr. Liu clearly
has a sparkling career in front of him in the West, and apart from being an
excellent martial artist he is a very fine Chinese medical practitioner as,
I understand, a number of people at the Tsunami studio found out. In addition
to these qualities, as if they were not enough, Liu Cang I is a gentleman in
the true sense of the word, and this title, in my opinion, is the most valuable
one that any man can be honored with.
very beautiful video crammed with information and instructional material.
55 minutes. From
Tsunami Productions Directed by Paul Moser and featuring Sifu Liu Chang I.
for money at $39.95.
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