Early history of sanshou

14 Nov

1991
1st World Wushu Championship
In an attempt to foster a uniquely Chinese international sport, the Beijing based International Wushu Federation (IWUF) offers the first world wushu championship in Beijing. San Shou is offered for the first time as an open competition with no military ties. Jason Yee of the United States wins a Bronze medal, being the first American to medal. China, of course, has a strong showing, 4 of its 5 team members win. Only one Chinese team member does not place

1992
Newly exposed to the sport, the North American Chinese matial Arts Federation (NACMAF) under Tai Yim and Anthony Goh invite a Russian team to fight an American team in Baltimore MD. Russia sends it’s “C Team”. It’s A team is in Beijing (where they KO all five of their Chinese opponents) and their B Team is in LA fighting Benny The Jet’s Team of kickboxers. Despite warnings from Daniel Weng and David Ross that the US team is inadequately prepared to counter the Russian team’s strong wrestling, the organizers move forward. In an embarrassing display, all the US team loses.

1994
NYCMAC All Chinese tournament
NY based promoters David A Ross and Steve Ventura introduce San Shou to the Northeast by offering San Shou as part of their yearly tournament. Future San Shou champion and san Da coach Mike Altman appears for the first time in San Shou at this event.

1995
NYCMAC Full Contact Kung Fu Championships
In an attempt to promote San Shou before the 3 World Wushu Championships are to be held in Baltimore MD, New York promoters David A Ross and Steve Ventura offer 15 pre set matches like a boxing card. This event was the first pre-set card of San Shou fights ever in any country and at the time. The Chinese leadership of the new USA WKF felt it was a “silly idea” but now “super fights” are the most important driving force in the sport.

3rd World Wushu Championships
The first world San Shou championship to be held outside of Asia has great fights, particularly between Brazil and Russia, but the event is so grossly mismanaged by the Chinese leadership of the new USA WKF that they have to file bankrupcy and the Beijing based International Wushu Federation (IWUF) claims they will never again allow a non-Asian country to host a world championship!

1997
Jason Yee vs Cung Le PPV
The Chinese led USA WKF offers San Shou’s first and only PPV. They borrow the idea of a card (what an original idea!) and do in fact field some great San Shou fighters. The main event is of epic proportions. But once again poor organization kills the event. The Lei Tai platform proves unsuitable for a PPV. The fighters are also asked to fight with no equipment but not paid. Worst of all, the idea of painting a pretty dragon on the canvas turns out to kill the whole event because it makes the mat so slippery that people are literally falling over just trying to punch and kick.

4th World Wushu Championships
Italy is successful in convincing China to give a Western country a chance to host a world championship. Event is very well run and Cung Le win’s his second Bronze Medal

FULL CONTACT ACTION April 20, 1997
NY promoters David Ross and Steve Ventura move forward with their vision for the sport. On this card are Al Lourieux (the first American to ever win a silver medal at the world championships) and Rudi Ott (current IKF world San Da champion).

1998 FULL CONTACT ACTION 2 Sunday, March 15, 1998
Another first for NY promoters David Ross and Steve Ventura. For the first time anywhere, San Shou is done in a boxing ring. Again, people said it couldn’t be done, now it is standard practice. On this card are Max Chen, Elan Schwarz, and Sid Berman

Battle for the Belts Sunday, June 14, 1998
NY promoters David Ross and Steve Ventura oofer the first ever official professional San Shou match (ie both sanctioned and both fighters are paid). Billy Maysonet (Ortiz Chinese Boxing) DEF. Keith Youngs (AFC Kickboxing) by judges’ decision. SIMPLY AN AWESOME FIGHT!!!!!!

While non-Chinese promoters are moving the sport forward (and the Russian are about to make a huge step forward) teh Chinese led USA WKF if floundering. It’s “national championships” have less than 25 San Shou athletes.

Draka PPV Septemer 25, 1998
San Shou by any other name? Former members of Russia’s San Shou governing body introduce their version of professional San Shou fighting and get enough sponsors to puton a pay per veiw. The event highlights US fighter Cung Le and gets organizations like the ISKA interested in the sport

Chinese business man begins “San Da Wang” or “King of San Da” in China as a professional circuit. It is carded matches in a ring, and they allow knee strikes. This is a change, actually reverting to the old pre 1991 military San Shou rules

1999
June 1999: David Ross and Steve Ventura introduce the “New York Showdown” series of events which feature both amateur and professional San Shou.

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The importance of the process in martial arts training

13 Nov

Often labelled a “hater” for making comments on obstacles inherent in martial arts training, I have often responded that I have no inherent bias. It is not WHAT you do, it is HOW you do it!

I can tell you without any doubt, I am CERTAIN of it; Chinese martial arts have a great depth of martial arts techniques and strategies.

I can tell you without any doubt, I am CERTAIN of it; Chinese martial arts can be used effectively in real fights against those trained in other traditions.

Finally, I can also tell you, without any doubt, that fighting skill does not come from only doing stationary basics, line basics and forms. Again, it is not so much WHAT you train as HOW you train it. Leading to my frequent re-posting of my now famous blog “Guidelines for Functional Training”.

But today’s blog is inspired by more recent observations. This Saturday we were training the “advanced students” here. As with most things in the martial arts, there is quite some irony here. My “advanced students” are those who have done what most would consider “kickboxing”. They have learned to shadow box, to work partner drills with gloves, to hit bags and kick shields.

In my “advanced class” they do stationary “basics”; wheeling body and “basic” fists. They do the various footwork pattern walkings. They do the techniques with walking. These are the things most beginners start off with in most “traditional” schools.

I am teaching them these things because while they APPEAR “basic” they actually contain many important, foundational elements. Often, and I increasingly believe this as time passes, they were not in application meant to appear just as they do in these practices. Rather they are there to teach vectors, how to produce force. They contain elements to reinforce things such as core use, waist power, angles, etc. They have hidden within them what might even be considered “advanced strategies”.

Teaching all these things last Saturday, I noted how few people I know who actually teach their students in this manner. I will not (can not?) say they do not know these things, but I can definitely say that people learning these kinds of drills are not learning them in this manner. Thus, yet again, it is not WHAT they are practicing. It is HOW they are practicing.

Sun Sing Movie Theater. A very, very long time ago. Yes, this is the incident my father has in his book, but this is the Unedited version. It’s the version I learned about at home and I really do remember everything, always. Peter Urban at a Chinatown Brawl.

13 Nov

Read this today, and having had a few fights myself in those theaters, thought it was funny and worth reposting

Tiffany F.N. Chen

image3

This photo is on my parents’ honeymoon. This Sun Sing Theater incident happened just before.

I am one of those people who never forgets a detail.

Ironically, I never forget a detail, but I am very bad with names and faces, I need to talk, connect and really establish a feeling for you.  Once I establish this feeling, I will never forget a detail.  I don’t forget a single nuance. I remember the good you said to me.  I remember the bad you said to me.  I listen, trying to hear what it is your really intending to say and then I either reach that point where I trust you for life, or I ban you from my life.  It’s very simple.  I just let people flow because people always tell who they really are eventually, it’s human nature, it’s natural… We are meant to be individuals and make our…

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More observations on “internal” and Chinese martial arts in general

26 Sep

Please note: Unless I explicitly state otherwise, the opinions presented here are my own.

It probably isn’t much of a secret that I have been interested in Hsing Yi / Xing Yi for a long time. My interest has been both technical and historical, and I discuss it at some length in my book “Chinese martial arts: A historical outline”. It is not only the oldest of the so called “internal arts” it raises a lot of questions about that very term. It links back to a demobilized Ming military man who was disarmed (they took away his spear) who adopted his battlefield methods to a personal method. Even its legendary history is full of references to generals and Shaolin, not much about Daoists and such. Hsing Yi / Xing Yi was well represented in the fighting events of the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, while the famous Taiji Quan players were just “honored quests” sitting in the stands.

I first became aware of Luo Dexiu (羅德修) from Mike Patterson. The Chinese martial arts community being what it is, it then took me some time to find an opportunity to train with him. I was impressed with his attitudes; power was already in the body and “standing work” only made you more aware of your body and that power, the “Qi” in martial arts was NOT the “Qi” in Daoism and Chinese medicine, the ideas and concepts are more important than the initial outward appearances, etc.

I was even more impressed with Luo’s skills. The first time I trained with him we did applications of the first three of the five fists and then the “Tai bird”. Honestly, it went over the heads of a lot of the participants, sadly so. It would have also blown the minds of many “Mixed Martial Arts” MMA types.

This year, we worked material from the “linear Bagua” of the Gao school. Shihfu Luo was quick to buck the idea that Bagua is “just” walking in a circle, and instead stressed angles and ways to “cut in half” the opponent. Among the many things we worked (training with Shihfu Luo is always a day FULL of variations and follow ups!) was the Bagua punch no one seems to talk about; Beng Quan. It was remarkably like the Lama Pai approach I learned from Chan Tai-San. And Luo commented on how it was utilizing the “seven star stepping” which is the same thing Lama Pai says.

Another observation I made was how inter-related the techniques were to the Xing Yi Quan we had done the previous year. Shihfu Luo responded that no matter what martial art you do, humans only have two arms and two legs. My own thoughts, related to Shihfu Luo and inter-related were how Bagua had long already been associated with Xing Yi and how at heart, all the Chinese martial arts that were effective seemed to all be built upon very similar bases. I saw things that were not only similar to Lama Pai but also to the Bak Mei or “white eyebrow” I had also learned from Chan Tai San. Once again I came away convinced that much of the marketing and mysticism of the Chinese martial arts has done it a great disservice and made learning how to really use them even harder.

MORE TO COME

The NSFW blog: in today’s news F–K YOU…

21 Sep

Did the title of today’s blog get your attention? Good! Now read at your own risk.

Today, people do martial arts for a lot of reasons but today’s blog is for a very specific group. There are TONS of people who claim they want to train “to fight” and/or want to step onto a mat, into a ring or into a cage. First fact: most of them will never do it. It’s all talk.

If you think regular classes are hard, if you shy away from sparring, especially full contact sparring, if you aren’t ready to puke a few times or get knocked out in a training session, being “fighter” is not meant for you. Now that is 100% fine, but only if you don’t talk about “fighting” and if you don’t pretend to be a fighter. That makes you a wannbe.

If you are in a class and you complain “jab, cross and hook again”? F–K YOU. My next response is “again? and you are STILL NOT DOING IT RIGHT“! Related: how many people who CLAIM they do “Chinese martial arts” talk a huge game yet seem to forget the tradition of doing the same basics THOUSANDS OF TIMES? Remember “iron palm in 100 days”? That did NOT mean 100 days of two hours a day; it meant 2400 hours of practice!

Also, if you are in a facility with a coach who has produced many fighters, many champions, and you still have an “opinion”; F–K YOU. Opinions are like a–holes, everyone has one and they are all full of sh-t. Successful fighters shut up and listen to their coaches. At least until they get a little down the road and start thinking they got there all by themselves; but that is another blog.

NSFW: mountains and other sh-t

14 Sep

老僧三十年前未參禪時、見山是山、見水是水、及至後夾親見知識、有箇入處、見山不是山、見水不是水、而今得箇體歇處、依然見山秪是山、見水秪是水

Or, in other words

Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters.

This famous Buddhist teaching, often called “Mountains are Mountains” comes from Ch’ing-yüan Wei-hsin. Yet most martial artists know the teaching from a paraphrasing that Bruce Lee used. Forgive me, really, but people seem to love Bruce Lee without ever understanding that most of his “deep thoughts” were from his many philosophy classes in college and without ever really embracing the ideas behind them.

In my “initial phase” of life I spent my time learning staff, sword and spear, learning many hand sets and in the world of “traditional martial arts”. That’s the world of the so-called Northern and Southern styles, the so-called “internal” and “external” styles. They will tell you that there is “Daoist breathing” and “Buddhist breathing”. They will tell you there is Qi Gong and Nei Gong.

In what to many may seem like another life, I spent many years doing “mixed martial arts” or “progressive training”; my friends were Muay Thai fighters, wrestlers, Jiujitsu people, MMA fighters. I have said often my evolutionary path was based a lot upon Japanese shooto. The “mixed” or “progressive” world is one in which people doing boxing, Muay Thai, Judo, Jiujitsu, wrestling, Catch wrestling, Sambo, etc.

These days, I am to many an even more unusual animal; you are equally likely to find me in Muay Thai shorts teaching what I call (for convenience sake) a “kickboxing class” OR teaching students the first foundation set of Lama Pai kung fu called “Siu Lo Han” 小羅漢拳 with its “traditional” applications.

Clearly some people will wonder how (maybe “why”?) I can do these things? How do I “compartmentalize” it all? The answer is simple, but probably uncomfortable to many, I DO NOT. I do not compartmentalize them in any way because to me they are all the same. If you ask me, once you learn them correctly and dismiss the “marketing” (and bullshit) they you learn that the human body only moves so many ways and there are only things that work and things that do not.

People may want them to be different, they may in fact believe them to be different. Many are certainly emotionally invested in them being different. But, to quote an old friend, “all the shit is the same”. Your shit, their shit, my shit, all the same……

Remembering the late Chan Tai San

1 Sep

Remembering the late Chan Tai-San (July 12, 1920 – September 1, 2004) today.
Authentic Lama Pai, the teachings of the late Chan Tai San

The first time I saw Chan Tai San, I didn’t even know who he was, much less that I’d spend a good part of my life with him.

To borrow a phrase, often imitated but never duplicated.

To remember him, save 25% on “Authenitc Lama Pai” with discount code LNJQEYED only at https://www.createspace.com/4891253

Authentic Lama Pai, the teachings of the late Chan Tai San

Sorry, you’re wrong, get over it…..

28 Aug

Another NSFW post, building upon yesterday’s blog and the responses from many. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

We are more than half way through 2017 and we still hear the same old tired non-arguments from so called “traditional martial artists” about how martial arts is about “real fights”. People say you are supposed to be polite and engage in conversations; but when people flatly ignore logic and display cognitive biases you aren’t really left with much else other than to call them out. In other words: Sorry, you’re wrong, get over it….

You want to talk about “real fights”? Fine. Let’s talk about how they frequently happen; an overwhelming barrage assault that overcomes the senses and frequently shuts down the person being attacked. That is precisely what it is designed to do. That is why PRESSURE TESTING is so important if you want your martial arts to be REAL. Learning to function with adrenaline response is the ONLY way to fight effectively. It’s why so called “sport fighters” are always going to be better prepared for a real fight than the guy who never leaves his traditional school. It is why military around the planet train with combat sports, even engage in “war games”, not the “games” part….

Studies by the FBI have consistently shown that when attacked with a knife, it is usually the last few attacks that do the damage and/or kill. IE again the way it works “for real” is that all too frequently a person attacked is overwhelmed and gives up.

Hate to break it to you, but it is not all that different than covering up the first few rounds in a match against an aggressive opponent, surviving their initial assault, letting them gas out / “blow their wad” and THEN “making them pay”.

If you really know anything about “combat sports” you’d know that in these matches things that the average martial artist cites as “deadly” happen all the time, with LITTLE EFFECT. The human body, especially on adrenaline, can take damage that most would assume would KO or kill you. NOT SO. People who talk about “real fighting” and then resort to “the deadly” can not be taken seriously.

So returning once again to yesterday’s blog about the Mayweather vs McGregor match; we can see that the average “martial artist” knows very little about how real fights happen, has no idea what fighting strategy is and clings desperately to their preconceived views. The fact things didn’t happen “their way” must mean it was fake, or worked, or a set up… The justifications and denial is astounding! And, sorry, I am not going to let it slide…

NSFW: Mayweather vs McGregor and what it should tell us about martial arts

28 Aug

WARNING: I am going to offend you. If you decide to continue reading, you’ve been warned.

If you paid to watch the Mayweather vs McGregor fight, I feel for you. Not because it wasn’t an exciting fight. It was entertaining. But that you paid $100 for something whose outcome was 100% certain. And, starting to apologize here for what I am going to say in this blog, yes it was 100% certain the entire time.

If you are one of those people who after the fight either asked or claimed the fight was a “work” then I really feel sorry for you. If you thought that fight was a “work” in any way, the only thing I can say in response is the obvious; you do not understand much about real fights and/or combat sports. Which is sad but forgivable if you are just a “fan”.

HOWEVER, if you are a “martial artist” and you think that fight was a “work”, I am really going to have to ask you; are you really a “martial artist”? How can you be martial artist and really have such a poor understanding of how a real fight works?

Among people who are active in training fighters, coaches who really understand how these things work, the overwhelming theory going into this was that McGregor let his big mouth create an excellent pay day for himself with very little to risk. Losing in boxing, not only not his sport but one he had never even competed in, to one of the best boxers of all time wouldn’t likely effect his “reputation”. The fact that McGregor didn’t contest the stoppage in the least lends credence to this theory. Also, the reality remains, if he really thought he was going to win this match he is really one of the biggest idiot blowhards of the century.

That people who claim to be martial artists after the fight thought it was a “work” demonstrates one of the biggest problems in “martial arts” today. Aside from my often cited “laundry lists” of random techniques, people are not learning STRATEGY. To make something real, to FIGHT, requires strategy. It is virtually absent in today’s martial arts training. I’d even say that a lot of so called “fight gyms” have virtually no strategy.

That one of the best camps in professional boxing history came into this match with a strategy is NOT a “surprise”. What is more significant for this particular discussion is that the strategy used was so simple and straightforward that pretty much any professional boxer would have used it. It’s a strategy used in professional and amateur fights. It’s a strategy used in a lot of combat sports. And it’s a strategy used in war. There were no “surprises” here. So that so called “martial artists” did not recognize it really tells you something…..

Tim Cartmell on the Xingyiquan Fighter

17 Aug

As always, good stuff from Tim

Ground Dragon Martial Arts

Hey everyone, here is another my posts on Xingyiquan and Baguazhang specifically.  This time let’s discuss Tim’s view on the Xingyi oriented fighter and what that means.  All of this materially was found on the Shen Wu Discussion Boards, this is just a small bit that I pulled off a few years ago.

4171_4_15-hsing-techniquesStrategy and Technique

The underlying strategy of Xing Yi Quan is based around ending a martial confrontation in the most expedient manner possible (usually, while inflicting the maximum amount of damage to the opponent). It is not so much a system of self-defense as aggressive offense. The founder of the Art, Ji Ji Ke (Ji Long Feng), was a famous warrior, and his warrior’s mentality carried over into the boxing style he created. The “self-defense mentality” is one of escaping from a violent encounter unharmed. The ‘warrior’ mentality is one of taking out the opponent as quickly…

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