People often claim that it was Bruce Lee who was the father of the Kung Fu boom of the 1970s, but was he really? Sure, Bruce brought a sense of realism to the genre, but it was Kwai Chang Caine who set the ball rolling. The other popular TV series Monkey and The Water Margin were also influential, but felt like they were aimed at a younger audience. And for kids like me it wasn’t possible to watch a Bruce Lee movie – they all tended to be rated 18.
I’d go as far as to say that Lee wouldn’t have had the movie success he had, particularly in the west, if it weren’t for the Kung Fu series.
Here’s a good documentary on the making of Kung Fu – I still remember some of these action sequences, particularly the one where he kicks the knife out of the guy’s hand and it sticks in the roof, which is shown in this video. That moment was the start of my lifelong interest in Chinese martial arts.
Just a short post today, but I really liked this video of Shaolin Da Hong Quan (“Big Hong Fist”) from Will at Monkey Steals Peach. He shows some applications at the end too, so keep watching. The applications look like some I learned in Tai Chi, and I can see some of the punches have a lot of similarity with Xingyiquan. More evidence that Chinese martial arts are all one big family.
Michael Rook posted about an online course in Hap Gar that’s starting in January, so I thought I’d check it out and had a go with one of the free videos as my morning workout. The teacher is David Rogers of Rising Crane, and the workout is a nice, not too heavy, way to start your day while learning some Kung Fu. Plus it’s free, so give it a go! I really enjoyed it. After a warm up you’ll work on the first 5 basic punches of Hop Gar and some stances.
Richard is a teacher of Tai Chi and Hap Gar Kung Fu through the Rising Crane. David only takes one or two student groups a year for online learning, and it’s a very interactive, personalised training session so a whole group can move through it together, getting feedback as they go.
I haven’t done Hap Gar before, but I’ve done a lot of Choy Lee Fut, and to my eyes there appears to be very little difference between the two. Hap Gar looks like a version of Choy Lee Fut to me, even the same names are used for the moves, so it was great to experience a Kung Fu style I was already familiar with, but from a slightly different perspective. I also liked his thoughts on fighting strategy for these long range styles that he gives at the end, around the 35 minute mark, plus I liked his thoughts on MMA.