I will tell you right away: THIS is the book the Chinese martial arts were waiting for. This is the kind that today’s TCMA needs most. This is the bridge from the past to the future. Enter David A. Ross’s latest book – Lion’s Roar San Da: Combined Old and New Methods.
The book answers the commonly asked question: What is better – modern MMA, or traditional martial arts? Spoiler: The answer is yes.
Everybody who has spent some time researching the legends and history of Chinese martial arts knows that ALL (Chinese) martial arts are Jaap Ga, „[mix of] various families“. Just look at today’s Hung Kyun, which was called „Modern Hung Kyun“ (San Hung Kyun) already in Wong Fei Hung’s time:
- Hung Hei Gun’s Tiger techniques, Fong Wing Cheun’s Crane techniques
- Narrow Stances and Short Bridges Old (Siu Lam?) Hung Kyun
- Long Bridges of Hap Ga
- „Iron Thread Set“ from Tit Kiu Saam/Lam Fuk Sing
- No Shadow-Kicks from Sung Fai Tong
- Gwa, Sau, Chaap from Choi Lei Fat
- Various weapons from various individuals
Our own school – Practical Hung Kyun – focuses as the name suggests on practical usage of the art, i.e. combat and general athleticism, using both traditional tools and methods. Some of our critics say: “Cool, but hey, boxing gloves, padded weapons, kettlebell lifting, that is not traditional! Did you quit teaching traditional Hung Kyun, do you teach MMA now?”
As Ross Sifu says: „I had never abandoned my teacher or his methods; I had simply expanded and evolved them.“ I would add: „We came back to the roots.“
The author is very honest with his own story and martial arts of path – it will feel very familar to many of you. Ross Sifu explains:
„The difference between Traditional Martial Arts (TMA) and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is not what they train; it is how they train.“ How do you need to train? Ross Sifu gaves a simple blueprint: „First, you need the tools, offensive and defensive, to get the job done. Second, you must be proficient enough in the techniques to use them upon an opponent who is knowledgeable, resisting them and also attempting to launch their own attack. Finally, do you have both the physical and mental condition to engage in a struggle such as this? Will you fall apart under the stress and adrenaline rush, freeze and forget everything you have learned? It has certainly happened in the past to many practitioners“
„…if you can’t stop a punch, kick or throw in a controlled, safe environment, what hope would you have in an uncontrolled fight of life-or-death?“
As David Rogers Sifu of Rising Crane, prominent UK martial arts school (TCMA/MMA) says, „before you learn to fight dirty, you need to learn how to fight“.
All Chinese martial arts develope and integrate four types of unarmed combat skills, namely kicks, strikes, throws and submissions, in Cantonese Chinese Tek – Da – Seut – Na. The first volume is is dedicated mainly to kicking and striking, next volumes will be Seut, ie. clinch fighting, throws, takedowns etc. and Na, submission techniques like joint-locks, chokes etc.
The book starts with the fundamental training of course – stances and footwork. Ross Sifu dispells the common myth of low stances (“the steps are the width of the shoulders, with a small bend in the knees“), and explains the basic footwork patterns, i.e. „Meridian Footwork (Ji Ng Bou Faat, forward and backward steppping), „Seven Stars Footwork“ (Chat Sing Bou Faat, angle/zig-zag stepping) and Eight Trigrams Footwork (Baat Gwa Bou Faat, i.e. eight cardinal directions). Traditional metaphysic terms are explained and practicaly applied in no time.
Ross Sifu proceeds to basic punches, kicks and combinations, and presents some essential rules of what to do and what not to do. The text is accompanied not only by live action photos, but drawings from old Chinese martial arts manuals. New is the new old – it just got lost somehow…
“Six Gates Theory”, guidelines for functional training, “making a pain friend”, counter attacks, free sparring, class structure… you name it – complete package.
“Steal form the best”. Congratulations and thanks to Ross Sifu, I can’t wait to see the Volume II and III! Chinese martial arts roar again!
Pavel Macek Sifu, Practical Hung Kyun
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