Instinct: Part 2

本能

Wednesday, 11 November, 2015

李师傅 Sifu Li welcomes us warmly into his school. He is not tall, but he appears strong and relaxed in his movements. He also appears jovial and excited to have visitors. We are excited that he is excited. What better way to come across a kung fu master? First things first, have a seat and have some tea! This is an auspicious sign in my book. There appears to be no class in progress, as I said, he had just turned on the lights. Continue reading

Instinct: Part 1

本能

Wednesday, 11 November, 2015

“You need to forget about what you know, that’s your problem.” From the film Fight Club

As we are passing through the alleyways, turning left, then right, the city lights and the cafés slowly disappearing, there is a lot of talking. Yet, I find it hard to focus on the words, because there are other thoughts which are occupying my interest. Continue reading

The Best Kept Secrets

最好保存的秘密

Tuesday, 10 November, 2015

(I use real names and identities where I have strong reason to believe the individuals being named are comfortable being so.)

wing chun kwoon address

Wing Chun Kwoon

I met with my friend, Christian, outside the metro station in 江南西 West Jiangnan. This is a busy area in Guangzhou – high-rises, lights, people, shopping. It was evening, Continue reading

Exploration

勘探

Sunday, 22 November, 2015

Dear friends,

Much has happened here, such that I find it hard to dedicate time to writing, which I had hoped to do more of. Yet, most of the goings-ons have not been particularly interesting or relevant to kung-fu.

One, I had stumbled across a Wing Chun school in my neighbourhood, but attempts to contact the teacher were not met with enthusiastic response, and the school seems to have moved. I have not pursued this further as of yet.

wingchun_house

Wing Chun school in a park in Fangcun

Two, I visited 佛山市 Foshan (Fatsan) city, which is well known for it’s affiliation with Wing Chun, both from folk lore and real stories and practitioners. However, this initial exploration was not particularly fruitful with regard to Wing Chun. For one, my visit was during a holiday, and people were on holiday, and tourists were everywhere. Also, I was travelling with friends, and the goal of the trip was not entirely martial arts oriented.

However, we did visit a museum which housed exhibits for 葉問 Yip Man and the famous 黃飛鴻 Wong Fei-hung; which presented an interesting contrast of appearance. Yip Man being much lighter and focused on small relaxed technique, and Wong Fei-hung being very strong and, besides using a harder style of martial art than Yip Man, also engaged in a lot of strength training.

Dummy

Foshan Ancestral Temple, Wooden Dummy

While in Foshan we stumbled across a martial arts equipment store, and found some butterfly knives. Also, I had heard that there was a street famous for martial arts, by the name of 筷子路 Chopstick Street. We found this street and walked down it, but all we saw were old preserved and gutted buildings, and a lot of calligraphy art for sell. The street was quite small and was populated with some shady-looking characters, but unfortunately no kung-fu fights broke out.

Much time has passed since these events, during which I had heard word of various kung-fu groups practising around the 中山大學 Sun-Yat Sen University area, which lead to some more interesting meetings.

I will write again soon.

John Lapham