Pan Gai Noon - dead martial art?

Discussion in 'Chinese Martial Arts - General' started by Doomx2001, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. Doomx2001

    Doomx2001 Green Belt

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    I was curious as to if anyone had heard of the style still being taught in China? I know it influenced Uechi ryu and Goju ryu Karate. Uechi ryu as it was taught by the founder is said to be nothing more than pure Pan gai Noon. From Pan Gai Noon is where most karate styles get the form Sanchin (three battles) from.
    In case anybody is wondering, here is what Wikipedia has to say:

    "Pangai-noon (traditional Chinese characters: 半硬軟)[SUP][1][/SUP] was a style of Southern Chinese kung fu taught by Shu Shi Wa. It became the basis for Uechi-ryū karate. The name Pangai-noon literally mean that the art's techniques are "half-hard, half-soft,"[SUP][2][/SUP] referring to hard strikes and soft blocks. The exact provenance of the romanization "Pangai-noon" is not clear, and it may be from the lesser-known Min Chinese dialect. It is not a Japanese, Okinawan or Mandarin Chinese pronunciation of the original characters.[SUP][3][/SUP] The standard Japanese pronunciation of the three characters is han kō nan (はんこうなん), while the standard Mandarin pronunciation is bàn yìng ruǎn. The Cantonese language pronunciation is bun ngaang yun. In modern times, the katakana version of pangainoon (パンガイヌーン) has been used in Japanese writing rather than the kanji (半硬軟).

    Shū Shiwa (Chinese: Zhou Zihe 周子和 1869-1945) was a teacher and Chinese medicine hawker in the Fujian province of China.[SUP][4][/SUP] His life is not well documented because of his probable connection with the secret societies which worked for the overthrow of the Qing dynasty and the restoration of Ming dynasty.[SUP][2]"[/SUP]

     
  2. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Just research the history of Uechi Ryu. Pangai-noon is the name it went by until it was renamed "Uechi" in honor of the founder. As far as it still being taught in China, don't think so. There have been many attempts to backtrack Goju-Ryu and Uechi-Ryu to existing styles in China that look like that and there are similarities, but none that teaches the same four kata.

    Both Goju-Ryu (including To'on Ryu) and Uechi-Ryu (the Naha-Te styles)were based on 4 kata. Sanchin, Seisan, Sanseiryu, and Suparenpei. Although Uechi admitted to not learning all of it to pass on. If memory serves Higoanna and Uechi were located in a place where there was a large population of other Okinawans working. Neither one of them traveled China and then found someplace to go learn kung fu, so for all we know now it could have just been a blending of other styles that were taught to the Okinawans there and not a "set style" like Hung Gar or other southern styles.
     
  3. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    I was under the impression that Uechi lived in China for 15 years, having emigrated there to avoid conscription into the Japanese army.....
     
  4. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    One problem here with Pan Gai Noon, it appears to be Fujian dialect and that does not always translate well to Mandarin or Cantonese which means it may exist under a name that is rather different in translation that Pan Gai Noon. Or it could be indigenous to Fujian and all bets are off after that as to what it is, where it is, and if it still exists

    And although it is always best to work from the Chinese characters when it comes to identification what you have there are traditional characters (半硬軟) which are REALLY given to miss-translation. You need to find someone who can read them and mot all Chinese can (actually most likely can't) and when a person that knows only simplified tries to read traditional things can get strange
     
  5. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    He did lived in Fuzhou, got there in 1897 and got his certificate (although no one knows what happened to it) and opened a school in China in 1904. Uechi was also trained in herbalism. He left China after an incident where a student of his killed someone. My comment was that much like modern day "Chinatowns" across the US, Uechi was in China but stayed with the other Okinawans while there.

    According to one source I have read, Uechi originally attempted to study at another dojo in Fuzhou that taught Kojo-Ryu but didn't stay. Kojo-Ryu is what was taught to Higoanna and then became Goju-Ryu under Miyagi.
     
  6. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    The way I heard it, Uechi stu-stu-stu-stuttered, and they made fun of him, so he left.....
     
  7. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    What I have heard is that it died out in China but survives as Uechi and its variants, some of which have been re-named Pangainoon again and claim to hew to the older version before Uechi's son modified it.
     
  8. Doomx2001

    Doomx2001 Green Belt

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    Yeah, one of the reasons I ask about Pan Gai Noon is that it, along with many Kung Fu styles, seems to have died out after the Boxer Rebellion. Also, I was curious as to whether the style was still being studied in China or if Uechi studied something else with out knowing so.
     
  9. Seizan

    Seizan Orange Belt

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    Hello all. If I may, I’d like to offer a bit of information that I gleaned from the past 30+ years here with UechiRyu teachers here on Okinawa, and especially with my last teacher who was a direct student of Uechi Kanbun Sensei. Quite a lot of my information comes from the 1977 UechiRyu Kyohon (aka "The Big Blue Book"), reviewed, edited and finally approved by none other than Uechi Kanei Sensei (son of Kanbun Sensei). This is not to say anyone must accept my input. Feel free to accept or refute; I could be completely wrong, and will not debate.

    First, “pangainun” (and its various spellings) is a descriptive phrase and does not exist as a single word in the Chinese language. The phrase expresses a concept of “half-hard, half-soft” but this does not necessarily refer to soft blocks with hard strikes, or half-tense and half-relaxed, etc. According to our contact in Fuzhou (where I am assured the dialect has not changed for many decades) the phrase describes the nature of a particular style of fighting, and applies to many such Chinese systems.

    A thing that is “half-hard” is “tough”. A thing that is “half-soft”is “flexible”. The phrase “pangainun” implies “tough and flexible”, not the literal dictionary translation of “half-hard, half-soft”. It could well be used to describe tough love, a mental attitude, Michelin tires, or my homemade breakfast biscuits. In this case, it refers to a Chinese fighting system. Uechi Kanbun Sensei retained this description, which was seen on his dojo signboard in Wakayama (written in kana, not kanji). He often stated that it was not a name, but a description of the training. He did not use the true name but finally named the system “UechiRyu” around 1940, tactfully deleting public reference to the phrase “Pangainun”.

    “Pangainun” has become widely accepted as a name today. The inference is that a style called “Pangainun” is ostensibly closer to the original system taught by Shuu Shiwa to Kanbun Sensei over 100 years ago as opposed to contemporary UechiRyu (2nd-Generation Uechi Kanei Sensei's modified style of his father's system).

    Uechi Kanbun studied in Fuzhou from 1897 to 1907, then taught for three years before closing his training hall and returning to Okinawa. He was given a letter of introduction permitting him to teach what he was taught (we would consider that to be his teaching license today). One story has it that he tore it off the wall where it was framed and ripped it up when he decided to leave China. There are various stories about why he closed the school and left.

    After he left China, Shuu Shiwa sent another of his students to teach in the same hall (which still exists). This new teacher taught some of the same things Kanbun Sensei taught, but was trained extensively in another system by Shuu who knew 17 different animals systems.

    Kanbun Sensei often expressed his regret at not remaining in China long enough to warrant learning Suparinpe, which would have been the fourth and crowning kata of UechiRyu had he learned it.

    It is possible the system taught to Uechi Kanbun Sensei still survives in China today (in part or whole), as Shuu Shiwa’s training lineage still exists. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that many teachers and training halls have gone “undiscovered” by non-Chinese practitioners for decades; we have examples of old-style systems still quietly existing on Okinawa while being unseen by visitors doing research into the contemporary versions of those very systems.

    I hope this helps more than confuses…

    Seizan
     
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  10. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Not doubting or questioning any part of your post on Uechi Ryu history since I know nothing of Uechi Ryu or its history

    The dialect has not changed in Fujian but it is a Fujian dialect which is rather hard to understand for many other Chinese Dialect speakers and very different from Mandarin, the national language of China and Cantonese another rather large dialect group that almost became the national dialect of China, however the writing system is a different matter. The characters provided (半硬軟) are traditional and not simplified and most Chinese these days can't read traditional well. The best I can get out of it is hard and soft and that may be the confusion. I know someone who is trained in traditional Chinese Characters and I have asked her what the pinyin is and what the translate to. However this does not mean that they will not translate to the same exact thing but there are differences in traditional that if you only know simplified (and many Chinese today only know simplified) the translation can get weird.

    And Going from the Fujian dialect to Mandarin or Cantonese can get equally as strange if that is being done based on the spoken dialect and both speakers better be well versed in Cantonese and/or Mandarin AND Fujian

    As to half hard half soft being tough and flexible, that is not a given in a country (China) that has as one of its categories of martial arts Hard/Soft which is more to External/Internal than it is too tough/flexible and the dates you are using are later than the 1600s and it was after that the whole Internal/External categories appeared so I would tend to lean towards it being considered more of an Internal/External art like White Crane is sometimes called or Xingyiquan is occasionally referred to as and even Wing Chun is sometimes placed in that category as opposed to Taijiquan, Baguazhang, (usually) Xingyiquan being Internal and things like Long Fist, Bajiquan, Fu Jow Pai being External.

    But then I am looking at this from a Chinese perspective and since it is more of a Japanese perspective on a Chinese marital art it could be tough and flexible
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  11. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    I had also heard it was a speech impediment of some kind. But, I have never heard accounts of okinawan students ever mentioning it or american students.
     
  12. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    I will have to find it somewhere, but in one of the Uechi-ryu books (either big blue or Mattson's book) there is a picture of the characters that were originally used for pangai noon.
     
  13. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    As far as I know the "variants" of Uechi-ryu all teach the same system as it was laid out by Kanei Uechi (with the help of other senior students), I don't know of any that only teach the orginal 3 kata. Pangai Noon for example, utilizes all the supplementary kata as well (Kanshiwa, Kanshu, Seichin, Seirui, Kanchin) that were created to help bridge the gap between the other 3 kata. I had read somewhere that the name changes were due to issues of using the family name of "Uechi" so some groups used a different name. It also seems to be the groups still on Okinawa that renamed, and the US based schools I have come across all say Uechi-Ryu.
     
  14. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    半硬軟 might be "ban4 ying4 ruan3" in Mandarin. However I do not read Chinese characters at all well, and I don't read traditional at all, so I could be way wrong on this
     
  15. Doomx2001

    Doomx2001 Green Belt

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    So, Pangai Noon as it just describes the concept of the art that Uechi learned, I guess my next question is: What martial art did Uechi learn? What did Shuu Shiwa teach, and who are some of his students? Sorry for so many questions, but Pangai Noon has been something I've been curious about for some time.
     
  16. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    That is the big question, and outside of speculation...no one knows really. Uechi-Ryu didn't happen in a vacuum, and I think it is important to look at another very close source for some other parrellels. Kanryo Higashionna went to Fuzhou in 1877 and then returned to Okinawa in 1882 and began teaching karate. Higashionna never gave a name to what he did and it was commonly just referred to as Naha-te since that is where he taught it. Higashionna's most famous student Chojun Miyagi went to China in 1915 and attempted to locate the school that Higashionna trained in, but was unable to locate it due to the Boxer Rebellion. One of Miyagi's students (Shinsato) gave a demonstration and when asked what the name of the style was he made up a name and called it "half hard", after that Miyagi name it Goju-Ryu meaning hard/soft.

    So what does this have to do with Uechi-Ryu? Uechi and Higashionna both went to Fuzhou and learned a form of kung fu that both gave the name to as hard/soft and neither one of them had a formal name for it, just what they did. Both of them returned from China with the same set of base kata (Uechi was minus the last-Suparenpei), and before changing it, Higashionna's Sanchin kata was almost exactly the same as Uechi's Sanchin kata. It is reasonable to believe that they studied the same material only 20 years apart.

    Both groups have tried to back track and identify the actual name of the style. The closest I have seen is that the Gojukai believes that Goju-ryu came from "Chinese Nanpa Shorin-Ken". Which ultimately is a generic term for the Southern Shaolin 5 Elders. Others have also noted that Five Ancestors Boxing looks very similiar to these styles.
     
  17. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    OK here is the translation of 半硬軟 and it is no surprise - partial hard soft.

    But here is the surprise, no Chinese would put this together that way so she thinks it comes from the Japanese side of things

    This would then mean looking for this in China with 半硬軟 will likely get you nowhere
     
  18. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    Shuu Shiwa's original training hall still exists? Too cool! Pictures?
     
  19. Seizan

    Seizan Orange Belt

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    Hello again.

    I can’t argue linguistic idiosyncrasies of languages I do not speak. I can only offer this fact – if it contradicts the info of others, I won’t debate it. Our contact in Fuzhou – a native well-to-do businessman – told us that the term or phrase “pan-gai-nun” has the local cultural meaning of “tough and flexible” in Fuzhou. It may well mean simply “half-hard-soft”, or internal-external, or hard-style-soft-style, etc. elsewhere. “Dressing a hog” has one meaning in the hills of Tennessee, and another meaning on 42nd Street in NYC…

    One of the problems with translating Asian languages into Western language is that often a single kanji or phrase will pack deep meaning or imply an extensive cultural application. I believe many “translations” are just compressed dictionary definitions, while what we need are more knowledgeable interpretations. It’s possible that much understanding has been lost in favor of convenience in translation.

    To add to the confusion, as Xue Sheng tells, we also have simple and traditional Chinese (and there are older meanings to kanji that are not used today as well), and other Chinese dialects that don’t translate well into each other...

    Today the term Pangainun is simply translated as “half-hard-soft” and is imbued with little deeper cultural meaning.

    Uechi Kanbun Sensei told his student Toyama Seiko that the system was described in Fuzhou as “a pangainun system”. This (plus the info from our Fuzhou contact) implies (to me at least) that the kanji combination was not a Japanese invention. We are not sure if the original Chinese system had many more forms, since we only hear of three that comprise the old UechiRyu system, and Suparinpe (not learned by Kanbun Sensei) as a fourth. I am under the impression there were a few or several other in-between forms that were not preserved. Kanbun Sensei told that he knew a fourth form (not Suparinpe) but felt it was of little value, and so never taught it.

    Kanbun Sensei named the system “UechiRyu Karate Jutsu” in 1940. His son Kanei Sensei changed it to “UechiRyu KarateDo” sometime shortly after Kanbun Sensei’s death.

    Bringing it closer to home and the opening question – does the original system still exist? Toyama Sensei taught us the style of performance that he was taught by Kanbun Sensei. However, we (UechiRyu Zankyokai) also use the “added five” forms in addition to the original three from China. We perform them using old-style technique though, and it does differ from mainstream UechiRyu. So as far as I can tell, the performance style taught by Kanbun Sensei still exists, but even Toyama Sensei wouldn’t state absolutely that it was what Shuu Shiwa taught – because he didn’t see it. He did tell us that he was teaching what Kanbun Sensei taught him, and that Kanbun Sensei used to precede training with “This was taught to me by Shuu Sensei, like this…”. Toyama Sensei told us he believed Kanbun Sensei, but since he didn’t witness Shuu Shiwa’s performance himself, he couldn’t say definitely.

    Finally, about 35 years ago a small delegation – just two or three people – from Fuzhou visited Okinawa. They were elderly students from the old training hall where Kanbun Sensei originally taught. They were direct students of both Kanbun Sensei and the teacher who replaced him when he left China. They fully expected to reunite with their old teacher, hoping to find a very old but healthy Uechi Kanbun living and possibly still teaching on Okinawa. At the Futenma Dojo they were treated to a demonstration of the modified system as taught by Uechi Kanei Sensei. They politely inquired whether there were any other direct students of Kanbun Sensei active who still trained as Kanbun Sensei taught (referring to the older performance style). Kanei Sensei himself sent them to see Toyama Sensei in Zakimi.

    After talking and exchanging demonstrations of style and technique with Toyama Sensei, the visitors were fully satisfied that someone outside of China was practicing much the same as they. They showed some different forms (the 2nd teacher was trained in a different but related style), but the same Sanchin and other training exercises, drills, etc.

    So does the original system described as “pangainun” still exist? We don’t know, actually. But the performance style of Uechi Kanbun Sensei still exists, as left to the us by Toyama Seiko Sensei, who believed his teacher when he said it was as Shuu Shiwa taught him in China.

    There are photos of the hall where Kanbun Sensei was taught, and a few photos taken of Shuu Shiwa's home in Zhita (sp?). Also photos of the lineage board listing Shuu Shiwa, his teachers, and his descendent students and teachers of today. However this material is not mine but another researcher's, and I can't jump his research. The Chinese visitors left their card with Toyama Sensei; it must be among his preserved belongings. If his daughter Naomi Sensei finds it, we will be able to write them and get further information.

    At that, I prefer to take further discussion or inquiries about UechiRyu (old or new style) off-line. I think you can contact me via the e-mail link in my profile. Don’t want to hijack the thread and wear out my welcome…
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  20. Seizan

    Seizan Orange Belt

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    Can photos be posted in these threads? I have the calligraphy for Pangainun, also the Wakayama Dojo sign with PangainunRyu in kana if anyone is interested.

    The photo of the dojo sign was a bit faded so my wife Sumako recreated the sign in a second panel to clarify the kanji etc. I have a translation and explanation of the sign as well.
     

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