Wushu staff form in Shaolin Kempo

Matt

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Just today, I was searching Youtube for an example of a Shaolin Broadsword video to show someone, and on a whim typed in 'wushu staff' as I had always wondered how the form had found its way into the SK system. It stuck out like a sore thumb, but I just assumed it was 'pretend Chinese' like most of the upper black belt forms. I was surprised to find out it was a real, honest to goodness contemporary wushu form.

I kept looking, and found a few more examples. I embedded them all in a post at my site, but essentially they are the same movements.

32 move basic wushu staff. Who knew?

Does anyone else have this one in their SKK curriculum? I'm actually relieved to find out we stole ... I mean incorporated... a real form.

I've always enjoyed this one, now I will with less guilt.:) The only residual guilt is that I never bothered to ask anyone from outside the system about the origin, as pretty much any intermediate wushu student could have apparently set me straight.
 

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I reviewed the video link, and it is not a staff form that I am familiar with.

However, it appears to me to be a TRADITIONAL wushu staff form, not a contemporary wushu staff form. This is good news.

Traditional wushu is the fighting arts and methods of China.

Modern wushu is a Government-created National Sport and Performance art developed in the 1950s. It is based on Traditional Wushu, but it has been modified to emphasize the aesthetic qualities and crowd-pleasing performance techniques. It is no longer a legitimate fighting art.

In spite of the fancy silk uniform the guy in the video is wearing, the form itself does appear to me to be traditional. If it was Modern, it would have a lot of fancy flipping and aerial cartwheels and high leaps and stuff, which make it interesting to watch, but not legitimate fighting method.

I think this form is probably a good one to practice. If it has been properly adopted by your system and the practice of it is solid, then keep it. It's worth having.
 
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Modern wushu is a Government-created National Sport and Performance art developed in the 1950s. It is based on Traditional Wushu, but it has been modified to emphasize the aesthetic qualities and crowd-pleasing performance techniques. It is no longer a legitimate fighting art.

In spite of the fancy silk uniform the guy in the video is wearing, the form itself does appear to me to be traditional. If it was Modern, it would have a lot of fancy flipping and aerial cartwheels and high leaps and stuff, which make it interesting to watch, but not legitimate fighting method.

I think this form is probably a good one to practice. If it has been properly adopted by your system and the practice of it is solid, then keep it. It's worth having.

Thanks. I tracked down a little more info. Apparently one of the videos I found was a preview from here, where they are selling vcds of the "Wushu Course China National Standard". I'm not quite sure what that means but they go on to say-
The fourth-dan cudgel consisting of 33 actions, is the standard routine for Dan's promotion of Chinese Wushu. This out of cudgel is one of classical routines in Chinese Wushu. It's smooth and elegant, simple and practical, reasonably and finely structured. Demonostrator: Professor Gan Xiuming, famous wushu educator.
vcdws011.jpg
 

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Thanks. I tracked down a little more info. Apparently one of the videos I found was a preview from here, where they are selling vcds of the "Wushu Course China National Standard". I'm not quite sure what that means but they go on to say-

vcdws011.jpg

well, the CHinese government is trying to standardize some things in Wushu, sort of create a governing body that includes traditional wushu as well as modern. I suspect their success will never be more than modest, and in my opinion that is a good thing. But the comment "classical routine" indicates traditional, not modern.

I don't know anything more about this guy or the standardizing attempts. But it looks to me like it's a traditional set, or at least a variation of one. That's definitely better than a modern set, if real Chinese martial arts is what you are interested in.
 
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Matt

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well, the CHinese government is trying to standardize some things in Wushu, sort of create a governing body that includes traditional wushu as well as modern. I suspect their success will never be more than modest, and in my opinion that is a good thing. But the comment "classical routine" indicates traditional, not modern.

I don't know anything more about this guy or the standardizing attempts. But it looks to me like it's a traditional set, or at least a variation of one. That's definitely better than a modern set, if real Chinese martial arts is what you are interested in.

Thanks for your input, as you definitely have more experience in this area than I do. One Tai Chi Form, one elementary long fist form from Yao Lee, one day (plum blossom fist) with Tat Mau Wong, and a couple of second hand weapon forms does not a Chinese Martial Artist make.
 

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Hi all, not sure if it's the same form as I can't access the links on my work computer, but, I remember learning a shaolin staff form back in the 90's. There was a 4th or 5th dan BB that went to china for a month or so who was connected to my dojo. He spent the time learning the form, I apologize as his name escapes me at the moment. However, while in China Town A video was being shown in a MA store. It was the same form being done by the Shaolin Monks. ( a lot better-
icon10.gif
)

OK I looked at Matt's link, and that was not the one that we were shown.
 
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Matt

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Hi all, not sure if it's the same form as I can't access the links on my work computer, but, I remember learning a shaolin staff form back in the 90's. There was a 4th or 5th dan BB that went to china for a month or so who was connected to my dojo. He spent the time learning the form, I apologize as his name escapes me at the moment. However, while in China Town A video was being shown in a MA store. It was the same form being done by the Shaolin Monks. ( a lot better-
icon10.gif
)

OK I looked at Matt's link, and that was not the one that we were shown.

The one from the link was done in the CT FVSSD school (that later went USSD under Demasco) back pre 1990, but was also done at the MSDC ( that was previously an FVSSD school) in MA that I moved to in 1995.

I think it was an 'official' part of the curriculum.
 

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Thanks for your input, as you definitely have more experience in this area than I do. One Tai Chi Form, one elementary long fist form from Yao Lee, one day (plum blossom fist) with Tat Mau Wong, and a couple of second hand weapon forms does not a Chinese Martial Artist make.

very true, and it's important to not forget that.
 

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Just today, I was searching Youtube for an example of a Shaolin Broadsword video to show someone, and on a whim typed in 'wushu staff' as I had always wondered how the form had found its way into the SK system. It stuck out like a sore thumb, but I just assumed it was 'pretend Chinese' like most of the upper black belt forms. I was surprised to find out it was a real, honest to goodness contemporary wushu form.

I kept looking, and found a few more examples. I embedded them all in a post at my site, but essentially they are the same movements.

32 move basic wushu staff. Who knew?

Does anyone else have this one in their SKK curriculum? I'm actually relieved to find out we stole ... I mean incorporated... a real form.

I've always enjoyed this one, now I will with less guilt.:) The only residual guilt is that I never bothered to ask anyone from outside the system about the origin, as pretty much any intermediate wushu student could have apparently set me straight.

It is virtually the same staff form that I learned form my first Sifu only without spinning the staff over your head and then under your feet bits....which is a good thing since that part broke my ankle. My first sifu likely learned it from either Qufu University or the Shanghai Physical Education Institute. He was teaching it to us as part of his Shaolin Long Fist curriculum

It is a cool form and I rather liked it...


EDIT

You know I may just buy that DVD to refresh my memory now that the dangerous ankle attack stuff has been removed :D
 
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It is virtually the same staff form that I learned form my first Sifu only without spinning the staff over your head and then under your feet bits....which is a good thing since that part broke my ankle. My first sifu likely learned it from either Qufu University or the Shanghai Physical Education Institute. He was teaching it to us as part of his Shaolin Long Fist curriculum

It is a cool form and I rather liked it...


EDIT

You know I may just buy that DVD to refresh my memory now that the dangerous ankle attack stuff has been removed :D


I thought it wasn't a bad price, but I think it's a VCD, so some players don't agree with them.
 
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very true, and it's important to not forget that.

Sometimes people do. I was judging forms at a kempo tournament, and since it was the black belt division, it was pretty open. Parading in front of me was:

Bassai ( a karate form)
Shaolin Long Fist (the elementary long fist form that I learned)

and a variety of black belt forms from the kempo system.

The bassai guy - looked like a kempo guy doing a karate form.
The long fist - looked like a kempo guy doing wushu choreography.

Neither looked like karate or kung fu. Because they were longer and / or different these two scored well with the other judges. Because I actually knew the forms and saw that they were just going through the motions and did not have the requisite characteristics of the styles these forms came from, I didn't score them highly. I got some quizzical looks, but as the only judge who (by strange coincidence) actually had learned and done all of the forms we saw, they couldn't really argue. Just because you know the choreography doesn't mean you can dance.
 

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I thought it wasn't a bad price, but I think it's a VCD, so some players don't agree with them.

Windows should be able to play them. You have just browse to the video file, which if I remember correctly, is a ".dat" file. The compression codec for audio and video is a simple mpeg1 that comes with Windows. I use to make VCD's of home videos for people at work when DVD burner were still very high in price.
 
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Windows should be able to play them. You have just browse to the video file, which if I remember correctly, is a ".dat" file. The compression codec for audio and video is a simple mpeg1 that comes with Windows. I use to make VCD's of home videos for people at work when DVD burner were still very high in price.

Yep, I was just thinking of your run of the mill standalone DVD player. Some support them, some don't, and some 'kind of' do. In a computer he should be fine.
 

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Sometimes people do. I was judging forms at a kempo tournament, and since it was the black belt division, it was pretty open. Parading in front of me was:

Bassai ( a karate form)
Shaolin Long Fist (the elementary long fist form that I learned)

and a variety of black belt forms from the kempo system.

The bassai guy - looked like a kempo guy doing a karate form.
The long fist - looked like a kempo guy doing wushu choreography.

Neither looked like karate or kung fu. Because they were longer and / or different these two scored well with the other judges. Because I actually knew the forms and saw that they were just going through the motions and did not have the requisite characteristics of the styles these forms came from, I didn't score them highly. I got some quizzical looks, but as the only judge who (by strange coincidence) actually had learned and done all of the forms we saw, they couldn't really argue. Just because you know the choreography doesn't mean you can dance.

Yup, that's about right.

In Tracy Kenpo we have also adopted several Chinese forms in addition to our kenpo kata. I feel they are a good source of a different "flavor" of material for our kenpo, but they have all been very "kenpo-ized" and do not have the same flavor that a strict Chinese-stylist would display. I see them as added material and it is in recognition of our Chinese roots, but we are still kenpo, even when we are doing our Chinese forms.

On the other hand, I have over a decade of training in the Chinese arts under two different sifu, and I still train and practice these arts as well. This gives me some experience and background that helps me understand the Chinese forms a bit better and know where things are coming from.

Basically, I consider myself a Traditional Wushu guy as well as a kenpo guy, but I've undergone the training to make it so, not simply adopting things here and there to try and pretend.

It's important to recognize where the extent of your training is, as well as isn't. Doesn't do anyone any good to pretend you are what you are not.

Good call.
 
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Yup, that's about right.

In Tracy Kenpo we have also adopted several Chinese forms in addition to our kenpo kata. I feel they are a good source of a different "flavor" of material for our kenpo, but they have all been very "kenpo-ized" and do not have the same flavor that a strict Chinese-stylist would display. I see them as added material and it is in recognition of our Chinese roots, but we are still kenpo, even when we are doing our Chinese forms.

On the other hand, I have over a decade of training in the Chinese arts under two different sifu, and I still train and practice these arts as well. This gives me some experience and background that helps me understand the Chinese forms a bit better and know where things are coming from.

Basically, I consider myself a Traditional Wushu guy as well as a kenpo guy, but I've undergone the training to make it so, not simply adopting things here and there to try and pretend.

It's important to recognize where the extent of your training is, as well as isn't. Doesn't do anyone any good to pretend you are what you are not.

Good call.

Of course, now that I think back - I've had a bit of Hsing-I from a couple different folks, and spent a day with Wei Lun Huang learning the first palm change and some Bagua Qigong, but again, for most of that, I really consider myself a tourist. I studied and taught Tai Chi for a while, and that forms the basis of my CMA experience, but I still primarily identify myself as a Kempo guy. The other arts have mainly been my efforts to understand how the other folks do things and then apply the lessons I learned on the journey to my personal kempo voyage. I don't think I could do 10% of Siu Moy Fat Kuen if Tat Mau Wong held a gun to my head.
 

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I really consider myself a tourist.

as long as you recognize this, I think it's OK. I think it becomes a problem when someone has this type of very limited exposure, and then trys to pretend that they really understand the material. And it's worse when someone takes the snippets that they learned and try to integrate it into their primary art and training, and even try to teach it to others. With that kind of limited exposure, someone is simply not in a position to teach it to others, as they simply do not understand it themselves.

I studied and taught Tai Chi for a while, and that forms the basis of my CMA experience, but I still primarily identify myself as a Kempo guy. The other arts have mainly been my efforts to understand how the other folks do things and then apply the lessons I learned on the journey to my personal kempo voyage. I don't think I could do 10% of Siu Moy Fat Kuen if Tat Mau Wong held a gun to my head.

And this is why I am not a big fan of seminars, especially seminars in an art different from your primary art. The problem is that the time with the instructor is very very limited, but in order to properly learn something you must have an on-going relationship where you can practice and get repeated corrections and further instruction. If you take a seminar with someone who you will never see again, or might see only once or twice a year, you just cannot develop the kind of relationship with the feedback that is needed. And the basics in Choy Lay Fut are very different from kenpo, beginning with stances to methods of striking and generation of power. These things take time to develop and understand properly, and they must be done correctly in the form itself, or else the form is just mimickry.

So what happens is that when someone takes a seminar they either learn a portion of a form (who wants an incomplete portion of a form?) or else they learn a form poorly, simply because of the short time period available. Then you either continue to practice it poorly because you don't have the ongoing feedback to improve, or else you eventually forget it. And then what good has it done you?

I guess it's OK in the sense of just being curious to see what other arts are doing, but if I am going to spend the time to learn something, I'd hope I would get a long-term benefit from what I am learning.

anyway, that's my take on the whole thing.

Sounds to me like you've got a realistic and appropriate take on it as well.
 
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as long as you recognize this, I think it's OK. I think it becomes a problem when someone has this type of very limited exposure, and then trys to pretend that they really understand the material. And it's worse when someone takes the snippets that they learned and try to integrate it into their primary art and training, and even try to teach it to others. With that kind of limited exposure, someone is simply not in a position to teach it to others, as they simply do not understand it themselves.

If they are taking chunks wholesale and gluing it on, it's definitely a problem. However, I do find that trying on someone else's way of thinking helps me approach problems from new perspectives. I've had a collection of 'cross-connection' moments from doing common movements in the way of another art. It's like cross pollination.

And this is why I am not a big fan of seminars, especially seminars in an art different from your primary art. The problem is that the time with the instructor is very very limited, but in order to properly learn something you must have an on-going relationship where you can practice and get repeated corrections and further instruction. If you take a seminar with someone who you will never see again, or might see only once or twice a year, you just cannot develop the kind of relationship with the feedback that is needed. And the basics in Choy Lay Fut are very different from kenpo, beginning with stances to methods of striking and generation of power. These things take time to develop and understand properly, and they must be done correctly in the form itself, or else the form is just mimickry.

Yep, Choy Lay Fut (and Long Fist for that matter) really have different strategies, tactics and body mechanics than kempo, but it has helped when I needed an extended vocabulary to explain what a movement isn't when I'm trying to get someone to do something a certain way. Your point is well taken as far as mimicry, which is why I didn't try to keep the form, just the lessons of the day. The ideas were more important than the choreography.

So what happens is that when someone takes a seminar they either learn a portion of a form (who wants an incomplete portion of a form?) or else they learn a form poorly, simply because of the short time period available. Then you either continue to practice it poorly because you don't have the ongoing feedback to improve, or else you eventually forget it. And then what good has it done you?

I guess it's OK in the sense of just being curious to see what other arts are doing, but if I am going to spend the time to learn something, I'd hope I would get a long-term benefit from what I am learning.

anyway, that's my take on the whole thing.

Sounds to me like you've got a realistic and appropriate take on it as well.

I hope so, but I feel I've gotten a long term benefit out of most of the 'out of area' seminars I've taken. I always find I come home with a new idea - whether it's about strategy, power generation, or even that I have a magical resistance to kyusho:angel: because I have freckles (or something like that) that prevents the leader of an international organization from knocking me out using GB-20.
 

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If they are taking chunks wholesale and gluing it on, it's definitely a problem. However, I do find that trying on someone else's way of thinking helps me approach problems from new perspectives. I've had a collection of 'cross-connection' moments from doing common movements in the way of another art. It's like cross pollination.



Yep, Choy Lay Fut (and Long Fist for that matter) really have different strategies, tactics and body mechanics than kempo, but it has helped when I needed an extended vocabulary to explain what a movement isn't when I'm trying to get someone to do something a certain way. Your point is well taken as far as mimicry, which is why I didn't try to keep the form, just the lessons of the day. The ideas were more important than the choreography.



I hope so, but I feel I've gotten a long term benefit out of most of the 'out of area' seminars I've taken. I always find I come home with a new idea - whether it's about strategy, power generation, or even that I have a magical resistance to kyusho:angel: because I have freckles (or something like that) that prevents the leader of an international organization from knocking me out using GB-20.

I think as long as you keep it in the proper perspective, you can get the benefit of simply experiencing what other systems do. Perspective is always good, after all and it sounds like this is really what you are doing.

I guess it's just when people think they are adding significant concrete elements (such as a form) to their repertoire thru the seminar venue, that I think it's really a mistake. And it's worse when they decide to teach that form to their students. It just perpetuates bad martial arts down the generations.
 
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