Depending on who you ask, kenpo is either a prototypical southern Kung Fu style, or it is a Okinowian Ryu -- which some people still feel most of the okinowian Ryu's are kung fu based anyway. Then there is another school of thought where there is no CMA in kenpo at all. You guys have any thoughts on this?
Well, I read on the UG that the word "Shorin-ji" Kempo, actually comes from the Chinese "Shaolin-ji". Remember most Japanese people have a hard time pronouncing "L" sounds.
I think they may all be correct, to a certain extent
There was certainly Chines quanfa influence on the development of the Okinawan Ryus.
Then when it made the jump to Japan, it was blended with Japanes styles, particularly the weapons, since it was primarily an empty-hand tradition up until that point.
Next stop was Hawaii where it was diluted more. Next it was disseminated into the rest of the US through guys like Ed Parker, the Tracy's and others.
So I can see how you would have versions that today may have no, or at least little, discernible Chinese influence left in it, compared to traditional styles that may still have quite a bit showing. I'll look about for some sources for you. Graham Noble is always good for karate/kempo history ans I think he has old articles up on both the Dragon Times and the EJMAS website.
"Kungfu" isn't even a martial art, it's just a word meaning "skill."
So you're saying that "skill" "sux," well, I disagree. I think skill is an essential part of ma.
Although the term is so widely used now that there's no point in complaining about the misuse, I suppose.
shorinji kempo is definitely closely related to kung-fu... shorinji is the okinawan term for "shao-lin"
A judoka friend of mine mentioned how he thinks that Shorinji kempo may in fact be closer to what old kung-fu from hundreds of years ago looked like, as opposed to the modern kung-fu styles today! I suspect that there might be a grain of truth to that.
I would agree with you TFS.
And then there's the Jujutsu / Chin Na connection..
While there was no doubt an exchange of ideas between Continental Asia and Japan (just as there was between the various European countries), I sometimes grow weary of Chinese martial artists always insisting that Jujutsu "comes from" Chin-Na or Shuai Jiao. Chin-Na is simply the Chinese term for joint locking and related maneuvers. Shuai Jiao is Chinese wrestling. Claims are always being made of the devastating effectiveness of Shuai Jiao (and it does appear to have some nice, high-amplitude throws), and yet, it was criticised way back when in Draeger and Smith's "Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts", because it doesn't have any groundwork. A couple of years ago I picked up a text called "Chinese Fast Wrestling For Fighting", and it includes some very basic groundwork clearly derived from judo and BJJ. Looks like it was something that was simply "added on" in order to give the book (and the art) greater appeal.
I'm not saying that all Chinese claims are unsubstantiated. All I'm saying is that too many martial artists these days seem to place an uncritical faith in certain styles--and this applies to the practical application of those arts, as well as to the historical claims so often made. If Chinese martial arts are as superior to their Japanese and Western counterparts, then how do these people explain the military history of China? While a considerable power in ancient times, the Chinese then went through several long periods where their nation became the stomping ground for other powers--the Huns, Mongols, Japanese, Manchus, Europeans, etc. When the Chinese finally intervened on the behalf of the Koreans during the Imjin War of 1592-98, they suffered a severe mauling at the hands of the Japanese on numerous occasions (most notably at the Battle of P'yok-je-yek in 1593). Where was the power of Chinese martial arts there? Despite eventually driving out the Japanese (which was due mainly to their supply lines being cut by the Korean Navy), the Ming Dynasty was badly weakened by their participation in the Imjin War, and this paved the way for the Manchus to take over. I apologize to any Chinese martial artists for sounding too negative on this subject, but I just get a little irritated when some folks make their claims about how Tai Chi is easily the "most effective martial art of all time", and so on.
Any other opinions on this topic?
TFS, I also have read the chinese fast wrestling for fighting, and it did not go unnoticed that the section on ground fighting was an after thought. My understanding is that CMA's found it distasteful to roll around on the ground with an oppenent. This would explain the lack of ground fighting in all of the chinese systems I have seen. If the combatants did go to the ground, I think they would both stand back up as quickly as possible and continue fighting.
TrueFightScholar is correct. I'm a Bajiquan stylist myself, and kung fu people tend to get very defensive and insist that their style is the best, or that any chinese style is by definition "deeper" than other styles. In addition, most modern chinese styles completely overlook groundfighting. There are a couple of styles ("dog boxing" and parts of Fukien province styles) that have groundfighting training in them, but they're so obscure that they almost don't count.
In addition, modern kung fu has been changed by the influence of PRC-sanctioned wushu. Finding kung fu training that is fighting-oriented is extremely difficult.
However, as for chinese military history, I think that has less to do with their martial art and more to do with other things. A good percentage of an average chinese army largely consisted of untrained fighters. Plus, they fought each other so often that they weren't always equipped to fight outsiders.
"I apologize to any Chinese martial artists for sounding too negative on this subject."
No apology necessary. From a TCMA practioner's perspective, I even share your irritation when I hear the [insert sytle here] comes from [insert "superior" Chinese style here] comments.
Irregardless of any Chinese influence on the early development of jujutsu, et al, the fact remains that it is now hundreds of years after the fact and jujutsu has taken it's own course.
My own art (Wing Chun) - as legend has it - was derived from the earlier Shaolin styles, and yet nowadays has very little in common with any Shaolin arts being practiced.
IMO, any statement of one art coming from another amounts to not much more than an interesting historical anecdote.
A definitive Kempo/Kenpo history thread is needed.
Either that, or perhaps an examination of what truly became of the combative application(s) of many systems of kung-fu...
most Shorinji Kempo in the West is more properly termed Nippon Shorinji Kempo, and comes from Japan, not China. Draeger has a section in his "Modern Bujutsu and Budo" book on a lawsuit brought against the Japanese Shorinji Kempo practitioners in Japan by Chinese businessmen that alleged that the art was in the main Japanese, the lawsuit won, so it was renamed Nippon Shorinji Kempo as part of the settlement.
I've actually heard of a fair amount of Chinese groundfighting styles, but bob is right, good luck trying to find one now in China, much less America or the West. There was an article about Chinese martial arts that mentions two different styles of groundfighting in a recent Journal of the Asian Martial Arts, but doesn't go into any detail about them.
TFS, I didn't say CMA were superior. A long time ago when I was doing kungfu I showed a Chin Na book to a JJJ practioner. His comment " this is exactly like jujitsu!" I believe the Chin Na connection has been mentioned in some Japanese sources, can't give exact reference right now. I think the Brazilian judo site mentions it.
"While there was no doubt an exchange of ideas between Continental Asia and Japan (just as there was between the various European countries), I sometimes grow weary of Chinese martial artists always insisting that Jujutsu "comes from" Chin-Na or Shuai Jiao."
The groundwork section was entirely done by some jujitsu guy so you are right.
"A couple of years ago I picked up a text called "Chinese Fast Wrestling For Fighting", and it includes some very basic groundwork clearly derived from judo and BJJ. Looks like it was something that was simply "added on" in order to give the book (and the art) greater appeal."
I doubt martial arts had too much to do with the winning of any war in history. Probably, weaponary, armor and strategy would have more to do with it.
"If Chinese martial arts are as superior to their Japanese and Western counterparts, then how do these people explain the military history of China?"
Well, it is a profound ART though not many know how to use it's fighting applications..
"about how Tai Chi is easily the "most effective martial art of all time", and so on."
I never claimed that YOU said the Chinese martial arts were superior--I was making a comment on a general attitude which seems to be held by many practitioners of CMA (though not all). It seems as if you took that comment personally, and yet it was not directed towards you nor any other single person in the first place.
"I doubt martial arts had too much to do with the winning of any war in history." That, my friend, is with all due respect, a very careless statment. All the other factors you mentioned--"weaponry", "armor", and "strategy"--are in fact tied to martial arts. Take "weaponry", for instance: the use of weapons in a comprehensive and systematic fashion is a martial art! Samurai were martial artists. European knights were martial artists. The use of weapons was influenced by the types of armor employed. And strategy took all combative factors into consideration. Strategy can operate on the army level--like the Mongols usually attacking in a 3-prong formation--and strategy can also operate on the individual level, like a BJJ guy shooting in on his adversary to take him down. Your definition of "martial art" seems painfully limited.
Had the Chinese possessed both better martial arts and better weaponry in 1593, they may have won the Battle of P'yok-je-yek. Unfortunately for them, that was not the case. I fail to see what you find wrong with my arguement, especially when it is so popular these days for Shuai Jiao guys like Mark Cheng to "play up" the ancient ties between Shuai Jiao and Mongolian wrestling (the big calling card there being that, since Shuai Jiao is related to a "battlefield tested" art like Mongolian Wrestling, it is hence "evidence" of Shuai Jiao's "combat effectivness"). Why is it okay for Mr. Cheng to draw comparisons between modern martial arts and ancient martial arts, to promote CMA, but it it NOT okay for me to do essentially the same thing, in order to critique CMA (or any other art)? Am I missing something here?
"I was making a comment on a general attitude which seems to be held by many practitioner of CMA (though not all)."
An attitude taken by just about EVERY martial art out there..
"It seems as if you took that comment personally, and yet it was not directed towards you nor any other single person in the first place."
alright fair enough
"Your definition of "martial art" seems painfully limited."
I thought someone would say this, but I'm not really into semantics. My point is I doubt any wars were won or lost because won side "practiced" a certain style..
Yes martial arts as most of us think of it is individual fighting, contrary to the literal meaning.
"Why is it okay for Mr. Cheng to draw comparisons between modern martial arts and ancient martial arts, to promote CMA, but it it NOT okay for me to do essentially the same thing, in order to critique CMA (or any other art)? "
I don't know. Who the heck is he anyway ?
Anyway, as far as combat or sport combat effectiveness Shuai Jiao has been used to great effect in full-contact San Da competition.
"In addition, modern kung fu has been changed by the influence of PRC-sanctioned wushu. Finding kung fu training that is fighting-oriented is extremely difficult."
Actually the full-contact King of Sanda circuit is televised nationally every week. It's China's answer to K-1. Sanda is even being incorporated into grade school PE classes now.
His point was that modern Kempo and what is practiced today as chuan fa, wushu, shuai jiao, etc. are what we were discussing. The fact that China was conquered however many times really has nothing to do with those arts or whether they are superior or inferior to any other present day arts.
It is one thing to say that early Chinese military arts were inferior and cite military history in support, it is another to say that Kung Fu is inferior and cite military history. The relationship is just too tenuous, as takad4life pointed out, for military history to have any relevance in discussing Kung Fu.