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 Chinese Kung Fu

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PostSubject: Chinese Kung Fu   Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:36 am


27 November 1940 – 20 July 1973

Dedecated to a great teacher of whom embodied the true soul of Kung Fu. A TRUE KUNG FU MASTER.


List of Chinese martial arts terms

Kung fu (功夫)
Wushu (武術)

Historical places
Shaolin Monastery (少林寺)
Wudang Mountains (武當山)
Mount Emei (峨嵋山)
Kunlun Mountains (崑崙山)

Historical people
Bodhidharma / Putidamo / Damo (菩提達摩)
Zhang Sanfeng (張三丰)
Five Elders (五祖)
Yim Wing-chun / Yan Yongchun (嚴詠春)
Hung Hei-gun / Hong Xiguan (洪熙官)
Dong Haichuan (董海川)
Yang Luchan (楊露禪)
Wu Quanyou (吳全佑)
Chen Fake (陈发科)
Chan Heung / Chen Xiang (陳享)
Wong Fei-hung / Huang Feihong (黃飛鴻)
Huo Yuanjia (霍元甲)
Yip Man / Ye Wen (葉問)
Bruce Lee / Li Xiaolong (李小龍)

Chinese martial arts, sometimes referred to by the Mandarin Chinese term wushu (simplified Chinese: 武术; traditional Chinese: 武術; pinyin: wǔshù) and popularly as kung fu (Chinese: 功夫 pinyin: gōngfu), consist of a number of fighting styles that have developed over the centuries. Those fighting styles can be classified according to common themes that are identified as "families" (家, jiā), "sects" (派, pài) or "schools" (門, mén) of martial arts. Examples of themes are physical exercises that mimic the movements of specific animals, or a history and training method inspired by various Chinese philosophies, myths and legends. Some styles focus on the harnessing of qi and are labeled internal (内家拳, nèijiāquán), while others concentrate on improving muscle and cardiovascular fitness and are labeled external (外家拳, wàijiāquán). Geographical association, as in northern (北拳, běiquán) and southern (南拳, nánquán), is another popular method of categorization. Each fighting style offers a different approach to the common problems of self-defense, health, and self-cultivation from a Chinese perspective.

Terminology

Kung fu and wushu are popular terms that have become synonymous with Chinese martial arts. However, the Chinese terms kung fu (Chinese: 功夫; pinyin: gōngfū) and wushu (simplified Chinese: 武术; traditional Chinese: 武術; pinyin: wǔshù listen (Mandarin) (help·info); Cantonese: móuh-seuht) have very different meanings. The Chinese literal equivalent of "Chinese martial art" would be zhongguo wushu (traditional Chinese: 中國武術; pinyin: zhōngguó wǔshù).

In Chinese, kung fu can be used in contexts completely unrelated to martial arts, and refers colloquially to any individual accomplishment or skill cultivated through long and hard work. In contrast, wushu is a more precise term for general martial activities.

Wǔshù literally means "martial art". It is formed from the two words 武術: 武 (wǔ), meaning, "martial" or "military", and 術 (shù), which translates into "discipline", "skill" or "method."

The term wushu has also become the name for a modern sport involving the performance of adapted Chinese bare-handed and weapons forms (tàolù 套路) judged to a set of contemporary aesthetic criteria for points.

Wushu

Traditional Chinese 武術
Literal meaning martial art
Transliterations
Mandarin
- Hanyu Pinyin wǔshù

History

Ancient depiction of fighting monks practicing the art of self-defense.Chinese martial arts may possibly be traced to the Xia Dynasty (夏朝) which existed more than 4,000 years ago. Their origin is attributed to self-defense needs, hunting activities and military training in ancient China. Hand-to-hand combat and weapons practice were important components in the training of Chinese soldiers. From this beginning, Chinese martial arts proceeded to incorporate different philosophies and ideas into its practice—expanding its purpose from self-defense to health maintenance and finally as method of self-cultivation. The influence of martial ideals in civilian society spread into poetry, fiction, and eventually film.

According to tradition, the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi, traditional date of ascension to the throne 2698 BCE) introduced the earliest fighting systems to China. The Yellow Emperor is described as a famous general who, before becoming China’s leader, wrote lengthy treatises on medicine, astrology and the martial arts. He allegedly developed the practice of jiao di or horn-butting and utilized it in war.

Shǒubó (手搏), practiced during the Shang dynasty (1766–1066 BCE), and Xiang Bo (similar to Sanda) from the 600s BCE, are just two examples of ancient Chinese martial arts. In 509 BCE, Confucius suggested to Duke Ding of Lu that people practice the literary arts as well as the martial arts; thus, wushu began to be practised by ordinary citizens external to the military and religious sects. A combat wrestling system called juélì or jiǎolì (角力) is mentioned in the Classic of Rites (1st c. BCE). This combat system included techniques such as strikes, throws, joint manipulation, and pressure point attacks. Jiao Di became a sport during the Qin Dynasty (221–207 BCE). The Han History Bibliographies record that, by the Former Han (206 BCE – 8 CE), there was a distinction between no-holds-barred weaponless fighting, which it calls shǒubó (手搏), for which "how-to" manuals had already been written, and sportive wrestling, then known as juélì or jiǎolì (角力). Wrestling is also documented in the Shǐ Jì, Records of the Grand Historian, written by Sima Qian (ca. 100 BCE).

A hand to hand combat theory, including the integration of notions of "hard" and "soft" techniques, is expounded in the story of the Maiden of Yue in the Spring and Autumn Annals of Wu and Yue (5th c. BCE).

In the Tang Dynasty, descriptions of sword dances were immortalized in poems by Li Bai. In the Song and Yuan dynasties, xiangpu (a predecessor of sumo) contests were sponsored by the imperial courts. The modern concepts of wushu were fully developed by the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The ideas associated with Chinese martial arts changed with the evolving Chinese society and over time acquired a philosophical basis. Passages in the Zhuangzi (庄子), a Daoist text, pertain to the psychology and practice of martial arts. Zhuangzi, its eponymous author, is believed to have lived in the 4th century BCE. The Tao Te Ching, often credited to Lao Zi, is another Daoist text that contains principles applicable to martial arts. According to one of the classic texts of Confucianism, Zhou Li (周禮/周礼), Archery and charioteering were part of the "six arts" (simplified Chinese: 六艺; traditional Chinese: 六藝; pinyin: liu yi, including rites, music, calligraphy and mathematics) of the Zhou Dynasty (1122–256 BCE). The Art of War ( 孫子兵法), written during the 6th century BCE by Sun Tzu ( 孫子), deals directly with military warfare but contains ideas that are used in the Chinese martial arts.

Daoist practitioners have been practicing Tao Yin, physical exercises similar to Qigong that was one of the progenitors to Tai Chi Chuan, from at least as early as 500 BCE. In 39–92 CE, "Six Chapters of Hand Fighting", were included in the Han Shu (history of the Former Han Dynasty) written by Pan Ku. Also, the noted physician, Hua Tuo, composed the "Five Animals Play"—tiger, deer, monkey, bear, and bird, around 220 BCE. Daoist philosophy and their approach to health and exercise might have influenced, to a certain extent, the Chinese martial arts.

With regards to the Shaolin style of wushu, it is regarded as the first institutionalised Chinese martial art. However, the oldest evidence of Shaolin participation in combat is a stele from 728 CE that attests to two occasions: a defense of the Shaolin Monastery from bandits around 610 CE, and their subsequent role in the defeat of Wang Shichong at the Battle of Hulao in 621 CE From the 8th to the 15th centuries, there are no extant documents that provide evidence of Shaolin participation in combat. However, between the 16th and 17th centuries there are at least forty extant sources which provided evidence that, not only did monks of Shaolin practice martial arts, but martial practice had become such an integral element of Shaolin monastic life that the monks felt the need to justify it by creating new Buddhist lore. References of martial arts practice in Shaolin appear in various literary genres of the late Ming: the epitaphs of Shaolin warrior monks, martial-arts manuals, military encyclopedias, historical writings, travelogues, fiction and poetry. However these sources do not point out to any specific style originated in Shaolin. These sources, in contrast to those from the Tang period, refer to Shaolin methods of armed combat. This include the forte of Shaolin monks and for which they had become famous — the staff (gùn, Cantonese gwan).The Ming General Qi Jiguang included description of Shaolin Quan fa (Pinyin quánfǎ or Wade-Giles ch'üan2 fa3, 拳法 "fist principles") and staff techniques in his book, Ji Xiao Xin Shu (紀效新書) that title can be translated as "New Book Recording Effective Techniques". When this book spread to East Asia, it had a great influence on the development of martial arts in regions such as Okinawa and Korea.

The fighting styles that are practiced today were developed over the centuries, after having incorporated forms that came into existence later. Some of these include Bagua, Drunken Boxing, Eagle Claw, Five Animals, Hsing I, Hung Gar, Lau Gar, Monkey, Bak Mei Pai, Praying Mantis, Fujian White Crane, Wing Chun and Tai Chi Chuan.

In 1900-01, the Righteous and Harmonious Fists rose against foreign occupiers and Christian missionaries in China. This uprising is known in the West as the Boxer Rebellion due to the martial arts and calisthenics practiced by the rebels. Though it originally opposed the Manchu Qing Dynasty, the Empress Dowager Cixi gained control of the rebellion and tried to use it against the foreign powers. The failure of the rebellion lead ten years later to the fall of the Qing Dynasty and the creation of the Chinese Republic.

The present view of Chinese martial arts are strongly influenced by the events of the Republican Period (1912–1949). In the transition period between the fall of the Qing Dynasty as well as the turmoils of the Japanese invasion and the Chinese Civil War, Chinese martial arts became more accessible to the general public as many martial artists were encouraged to openly teach their art. At that time, some considered martial arts as a means to promote national pride and build a strong nation. As a result, many training manuals (拳谱) were published, a training academy was created, two national examinations were organized as well as demonstration teams travelled overseas, and numerous martial arts associations were formed throughout China and in various overseas Chinese communities. The Central Guoshu Academy (Zhongyang Guoshuguan, 中央國術館/中央国术馆) established by the National Government in 1928 and the Jing Wu Athletic Association (精武體育會/精武体育会) founded by Huo Yuanjia in 1910 are examples of organizations that promoted a systematic approach for training in Chinese martial arts. A series of provincial and national competitions were organized by the Republican government starting in 1932 to promote Chinese martial arts. In 1936, at the 11th Olympic Games in Berlin, a group of Chinese martial artists demonstrated their art to an international audience for the first time. Eventually, those events lead to the popular view of martial arts as a sport.

Chinese martial arts started to spread internationally with the end of the Chinese Civil War and the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949. Many well known martial artists chose to escape from the PRC's rule and migrate to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other parts of the world. Those masters started to teach within the overseas Chinese communities but eventually they expanded their teachings to include people from other ethnic groups.

Within China, the practice of traditional martial arts was discouraged during the turbulent years of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1969–1976). Like many other aspects of traditional Chinese life, martial arts were subjected to a radical transformation by the People's Republic of China in order to align them with Maoist revolutionary doctrine. The PRC promoted the committee-regulated sport of Wushu as a replacement to independent schools of martial arts. This new competition sport was disassociated from what was seen as the potentially subversive self-defense aspects and family lineages of Chinese martial arts. Rhetorically, they also encouraged the use of the term Kuoshu (or Guoshu meaning "the arts of the nation"), rather than the colloquial term gongfu, in an effort to more closely associate Chinese martial arts with national pride rather than individual accomplishment. In 1958, the government established the All-China Wushu Association as an umbrella organization to regulate martial arts training. The Chinese State Commission for Physical Culture and Sports took the lead in creating standardized forms for most of the major arts. During this period, a national Wushu system that included standard forms, teaching curriculum, and instructor grading was established. Wushu was introduced at both the high school and university level. The suppression of traditional teaching was relaxed during the Era of Reconstruction (1976–1989), as Communist ideology became more accommodating to alternative viewpoints. In 1979, the State Commission for Physical Culture and Sports created a special task force to reevaluate the teaching and practice of Wushu. In 1986, the Chinese National Research Institute of Wushu was established as the central authority for the research and administration of Wushu activities in the People's Republic of China. Changing government policies and attitudes towards sports in general lead to the closing of the State Sports Commission (the central sports authority) in 1998. This closure is viewed as an attempt to partially de-politicize organized sports and move Chinese sport policies towards a more market-driven approach. As a result of these changing sociological factors within China, both traditional styles and modern Wushu approaches are being promoted by the Chinese government. Chinese martial arts are now an integral element of Chinese culture.

Styles

Main article: Styles of Chinese martial arts
See also: List of Chinese martial arts

The Yang style of Taijiquan being practiced on the Bund in ShanghaiChina has a long history of martial arts tradition that includes hundreds of different styles. Over the past two thousand years many distinctive styles have been developed, each with its own set of techniques and ideas. There are also common themes to the different styles, which are often classified by "families" (家, jiā), "sects" (派, pai) or "schools" (門, men). There are styles that mimic movements from animals and others that gather inspiration from various Chinese philosophies, myths and legends. Some styles put most of their focus into the harnessing of qi, while others concentrate solely on competition and exhibition. Each style offers a different approach to the common problems of self-defense, health and self-cultivation.

Chinese martial arts can be split into various categories to differentiate them: For example, external (外家拳) and internal (内家拳). Chinese martial arts can also be categorized by location, as in northern (北拳) and southern (南拳) as well, referring to what part of China the styles originated from, separated by the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang); Chinese martial arts may even be classified according to their province or city. The main perceived difference between northern and southern styles is that the northern styles tend to emphasize fast and powerful kicks, high jumps and generally fluid and rapid movement, while the southern styles focus more on strong arm and hand techniques, and stable, immovable stances and fast footwork. Examples of the northern styles include changquan and xingyiquan. Examples of the southern styles include Bak Mei, Choy Li Fut and Wing Chun. Chinese martial arts can also be divided according to religion, imitative-styles (象形拳), and family styles such as Hung Gar (洪家). There are distinctive differences in the training between different groups of the Chinese martial arts regardless of the type of classification. However, few experienced martial artists make a clear distinction between internal and external styles, or subscribe to the idea of northern systems being predominantly kick-based and southern systems relying more heavily on upper-body techniques. Most styles contain both hard and soft elements, regardless of their internal nomenclature. Analyzing the difference in accordance with yin and yang principles, philosophers would assert that the absence of either one would render the practitioner's skills unbalanced or deficient, as yin and yang alone are each only half of a whole. If such differences did once exist, they have since been blurred.

Training

Chinese martial arts training consists of the following components: basics, forms, applications and weapons. Each style has its own unique training system with varying emphasis on each of those components. In addition, philosophy, ethics and even medical practice are highly regarded by most Chinese martial arts. A complete training system should also provide insight into Chinese attitudes and culture.

Basics

Basics (基本功) are a vital part of the training, as a student cannot progress to the more advanced stages without them; without strong and flexible muscles including the management of the concept of "chi" (breath, or energy) and proper body mechanics, many movements of Chinese martial arts are simply impossible to perform correctly. Basics training may involve a series of simple movements that are performed repeatedly over a short interval; examples of these basics training may include stretching, stance work, rudimentary conditioning, meditation, basic kicking and punching techniques, and jumping.

A common saying concerning basic training in Chinese martial arts is as follows:
内外相合,外重手眼身法步,内修心神意氣力。
Which can be translated as

Train both Internal and External.
External training includes the hands, the eyes, the body and stances.

Internal training includes the heart, the spirit, the mind, breathing and strength.

Stances

Stances (steps or 步法) are structural postures employed in Chinese martial arts training. They represent the foundation and exaggerated form of a fighter's base. Each style has different names and variations for each stance. Stances may be differentiated by foot position, weight distribution, body alignment, etc. Stance training can be practiced statically, the goal of which is to maintain the structure of the stance through a set time period, or dynamically, in which case a series of movements is performed repeatedly. The horse riding stance (骑马步/马步 qí mǎ bù/mǎ bù) and the bow stance are examples of stances found in many styles of Chinese martial arts.

Meditation

In many Chinese martial arts, meditation is considered to be an important component of basic training. Meditation can be used to develop focus, mental clarity and can act as a basis for qigong training.

Forms

Forms or taolu (Chinese: 套路; pinyin: tào lù) in Chinese are series of predetermined movements combined so they can be practiced as one linear set of movements. Forms were originally intended to preserve the lineage of a particular style branch, and were often taught to advanced students who were selected to preserve the art's lineage. Forms were designed to contain both literal, representative and exercise-oriented forms of applicable techniques which would be extracted, tested and trained by students through sparring sessions.

Today, many consider forms to be one of the most important practices in Chinese martial arts. Traditionally, they played a smaller role in training combat application, and were eclipsed by sparring, drilling and conditioning. Forms gradually build up a practitioner's flexibility, internal and external strength, speed and stamina, and teach balance and coordination. Many styles contain forms using a wide range of weapons of various length and type, utilizing one or two hands. There are also styles which focus on a certain type of weapon. Forms are meant to be both practical, usable, and applicable as well as promoting flow, meditation, flexibility, balance and coordination. Teachers are often heard to say "train your form as if you were sparring and spar as if it were a form."

There are two general types of forms in Chinese martial arts. Most common are "solo forms" which are performed by a single student. There are also "sparring" forms, which are choreographed fighting sets performed by two or more people. Sparring forms were designed both to acquaint beginning fighters with basic measures and concepts of combat, and to serve as performance pieces for the school. Sparring forms which utilize weapons are especially useful for teaching students the extension, range and technique required to manage a weapon.

Modern forms
Wushu

Modern forms are used in the sport of wushu, as seen in this staff routineSee also: Wushu (sport)
As forms have grown in complexity and quantity over the years, and many forms alone could be practiced for a lifetime, modern styles of Chinese martial arts have developed that concentrate solely on forms, and do not practice application at all. These styles are primarily aimed at exhibition and competition, and often include more acrobatic jumps and movements added for enhanced visual effect compared to the traditional styles. Those who generally prefer to practice traditional styles, focused less on exhibition, are often referred to as traditionalists. Many traditionalists consider the evolution of today's Chinese martial arts as undesirable, saying that much of its original value is lost, and refer to the newer styles as "flowery fists and embroidered kicks".

Controversy of modern form work

Even though forms in Chinese martial arts are intended to depict realistic martial techniques, the movements are not always identical to how techniques would be applied in combat. Many forms have been elaborated upon, on the one hand to provide better combat preparedness, and on the other hand to look more aesthetically pleasing. One manifestation of this tendency toward elaboration which goes beyond combat application is the use of lower stances and higher, stretching kicks. These two maneuvers are unrealistic in combat and are utilized in forms for exercise purposes. Many modern schools have replaced practical defense or offense movements with acrobatic feats that are more spectacular to watch, thereby gaining favor during exhibitions and competitions. This has led to criticisms by traditionalists of the endorsement of the more acrobatic, show-oriented Wushu competition. Even though appearance has always been important in many traditional forms as well, all patterns exist for their combat functionality. Historically forms were often performed for entertainment purposes long before the advent of modern Wushu as practitioners have looked for supplementary income by performing on the streets or in theaters. Forms designed solely for demonstration first appeared during the Yuan dynasty.

Many traditional Chinese martial artists, as well as practitioners of modern sport combat, have become critical of the perception that forms work is more relevant to the art than sparring and drill application, while most continue to see traditional forms practice within the traditional context—as vital to both proper combat execution, the Shaolin aesthetic as art form, as well as upholding the meditative function of the physical artform.

Another reason why techniques often appear different in forms when contrasted with sparring application is thought by some to come from the concealment of the actual functions of the techniques from outsiders.

Application

Application refers to putting formal techniques to use; training in application is a part of many training programs. Chinese martial arts usually contain a large arsenal of techniques and make use of the whole body; techniques are based on efficiency and effectiveness. When and how applications are taught varies from style to style; in the early stages of a student's training, most styles focus on drills in which each student knows what range of combat is being practiced and what attack to expect. Gradually, fewer and fewer rules are applied, and the students learn how to react and utilize technique. 'Sparring' refers to the major aspect of application training, which simulates a combat situation but usually includes rules and regulations to reduce the chance of serious injury to the students.

The subject of application training is a controversial one, and is the subject of a raging debate between the Neo-Traditional Martial Artists and Sports and traditional martial artists. In the neo-traditionalist view, martial arts training should eventually lead to and be proven by actual combat as well as being governed by a moral philosophy; neo-traditionalists often believe sparring to test techniques is either irrelevant because of their disbelief in the validity of a regulated test setting, or because the system's techniques are supposedly too dangerous to use outside of a real combat situation. In contrast, the sport-competition and traditionalist view suggests that all of the techniques in Chinese martial arts should be repeatedly time-tested through sparring to ensure their effectiveness.

An example of this approach in the Chinese Martial Arts is the tradition of Lei tai (擂臺/擂台, raised platform fighting) and Sanda (散打) or sǎnshǒu (散手). Lèitái represents public challenge matches that first appeared in the Song Dynasty. The objective for those contests was to knock the opponent from a raised platform by any means necessary. San Shou and Sanda represents the modern development of Lei Tai contests, but with rules in place to reduce the chance of serious injury. Many Chinese martial art schools teach or work within the rulesets of San Shou and Sanda, working to incorporate the movements, characteristics, and theory of their style.

Weapons training

Most Chinese styles also make use of training in the broad arsenal of Chinese weapons for conditioning the body as well as coordination and strategy drills. Weapons training (qìxiè 器械) are generally carried out after the student is proficient in the basics, forms and applications training. The basic theory for weapons training is to consider the weapon as an extension of the body. It has the same requirements for footwork and body coordination as the basics.The p rocess of weapon training proceeds with forms, forms with partners and then applications. Most systems have training methods for each of the Eighteen Arms of Wushu (shíbābānbīngqì 十八般兵器) in addition to specialized instruments specific to the system.

Martial arts and morality
Traditional Chinese schools of martial arts, such as the famed Shaolin monks, often dealt with the study of martial arts not just as a means of self-defense or mental training, but as a system of ethics. Wude (武 德) can be translated as "martial morality" and is constructed from the words "wu" (武), which means martial, and "de" (德), which means morality. Wude (武德) deals with two aspects; "morality of deed" and "morality of mind". Morality of deed concerns social relations; morality of mind is meant to cultivate the inner harmony between the emotional mind (Xin, 心) and the wisdom mind (Hui, 慧). The ultimate goal is reaching no extremity (Wuji, 無 極) (closely related to the Taoist concept of wu wei), where both wisdom and emotions are in harmony with each other.

Morality

Deed Concept Yale romanization Traditional Hanzi Simplified Hanzi Putonghua Cantonese
Humility Qian 謙 谦 qiān him
Sincerity Cheng 誠 诚 chéng sing
Politeness Li 禮 礼 lǐ lai
Loyalty Yi 義 义 yì ji
Trust Xin 信 xìn sun
Mind Concept Yale romanization Hanzi Putonghua Cantonese
Courage Yong 勇 yǒng yung
Patience Ren 忍 rěn jan
Endurance Heng 恒 héng hang
Perseverance Yi 毅 yì ngai
Will Zhi 志 zhì ji

Use of qi

The concept of qì or ch'i (氣/气) is encountered in a number of Chinese martial arts. Qi is variously defined as an inner energy or "life force" that is said to animate living beings; as a term for proper skeletal alignment and efficient use of musculature (sometimes also known as fa jin or jin); or as a shorthand for concepts that the martial arts student might not yet be ready to understand in full. These meanings are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

One's qi can be improved and strengthened through the regular practice of various physical and mental exercises known as qigong. Though qigong is not a martial art itself, it is often incorporated in Chinese martial arts and, thus, practiced as an integral part to strengthen one's internal abilities.

There are many ideas regarding the control of one's qi energy to such an extent that it can be used for healing oneself or others: the goal of medical qigong. Some styles believe in focusing qi into a single point when attacking and aim at specific areas of the human body. Such techniques are known as dim mak and have principles that are similar to acupressure

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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Kung Fu   Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:52 pm

A true master indeed!!! Cool The man, the legend!!! Good post there Godfather! Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Chinese Kung Fu   Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:33 am

there is no one like him that we know about. A legend.

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