Lama Kung Fu in MMA …..

1 Oct

I studied Lama Pai Kung Fu with the late Chan Tai San for 16 years and was formally adopted by him in a ceremony known as “baai si.” I was, for over a decade, a very active and prominent member of the Chinese martial arts community in North America. Based upon this, people often ask me “so how did you get involved in all this fighting stuff?”


Well, this may come as a shock to you, but Chan Tai-San was a fighter who taught fighting! For example, he took third in the Guangdong provincial sparring championships in 1954. He was an “all military sparring champion” in the southern provinces and also was a hand-to-hand instructor for the Faht San special forces. If you doubt any of this, I created an entire photo album of Chan Tai San teaching just fighting techniques.


The first principle of Lama Pai is called “Chan” and it means “ruthlessness.” Chan represents the mental state that must be achieved. In fighting, there is no room for ambivalence and hesitation. Strikes are executed full force, blocking motions must “destroy the opponent’s limbs”, joint locks (“Chow Gwat”) and strangulation (“Baai Heih”) can be used to defeat an attacker. Having this as our first principle naturally inclined us towards Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).


I am not sure why people think kung fu theory is “unique?” Bridge theory just applies to closing the distance (or maintaining it). Gate theory is a way of conceptualizing defense and attack. Everyone who has worked combinations has learned the concept of “continuousness.”


More specific to Lama Kung Fu are “Sim” and “Jit.” The term “Sim” refers to dodging, evading and avoiding. In Lama, it is considered superior to evade all attacks and simultaneously counter strike. Any boxer has learned to slip and counter punch. “Jit” means to stop or intercept. A “Nak Muay” (Muay Thai fighter) learns to “teep” which is frequently used in exactly this manner.


Some other Lama Kung Fu ideas that apply directly to fighting are “Gwan” and “Jong.” The idea of “Gwan” is to cover, close or stop passage and means preventing counter attacks and preventing the clinch (somewhat unique to Lama Kung Fu). “Jong” represents striking motions that contact the body and uproot it. “Jong” contains the idea of water, beating relentlessly to tear down what opposes it, and in actual fighting applies to the throwing techniques.




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