Kung Fu

Dr. Craig's Martial Arts Movie Lounge

When I was 16, taking 30 pills/day and in the hospital every three months, my doctor said I'd be dead in five years from cystic fibrosis (CF), a deadly disease that robbed me of my breath and ability to digest food. Moments away from death by suicide, I saw Bruce Lee's Big Boss (1971) and during his first fight when Lee venomously decked a thug with two lightening kicks, I howled like a banshee. In that moment, I went from being depressed and waiting to die, to wanting to live and learn what Lee was doing. I vowed that if I survived, I'd pay homage to Lee like no other.

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Taky Kimura, one of Bruce Lee's earliest martial arts students, passed away Thursday at the age of 96. Kimura first met the future martial arts star in Seattle in 1959 when he joined a small group of students training with Lee in what was then called "Jun Fan Gung Fu."

Kimura turned into Lee's closest student and confidant in Seattle serving as best man at Lee's wedding. When Lee chose to move to Oakland he left his school in the care of Kimura who would become one of only three people, along with Dan Inosanto and the late James Yimm Lee, certified to teach his martial arts style. In recent years, along with his son, Andy, Kimura continued to teach martial arts at the Seattle Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute.

Xing Yi Quan is not a very well-known martial art, so it is always refreshing when I can find something new or different about it. While searching for any information I could find on Xing Yi Quan on YouTube, which I do pretty regularly, I came across an amazing short film. A lone man practicing the Xing Yi Five Element form on a roof top in the snow, intercut with the same man applying the techniques, with brutal effect, on multiple attackers.

Xing Yi Quan Short Film (Chinese Kung Fu vs. 5 Attackers) youtu.be

After watching the film, with his brilliantly illustrated use of the applications of the techniques in the form, it was clear that the star was a master of Xing Yi, and I wanted to find out more about his training and ideas. Thankfully, I was able to find him, Keith Min, and he was willing to speak with me and disclose some of his unique training methods.

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Henan University in China has reached an agreement with the famed Shaolin Temple to jointly offer an academic major in kung fu with a focus on attracting foreign students, though classes will still be held in Chinese. While academic degrees will be offered, the requirements for enrollment, what the curriculum will consist of and what requirements need to be met for graduation haven't been made public yet.

Reaction on social media to the announcement was reportedly mixed with some favoring the idea as a means of spreading Chinese martial arts around the world and others feeling it's simply an economically motivated stunt.

BlackBeltMag.com's interview-profile of hung gar kung fu master Bucksam Kong concludes with his later years as a pioneer teaching the art in America.

As one of the first masters to teach hung gar kung fu in the United States, Bucksam Kong is recognized as a pioneer in the history of Chinese martial arts. His name is of those that martial artists have heard for years — decades, even! Bucksam Kong was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame as Instructor of the Year in 1974, and since then has gone on to run the Sil Lum Pai Gung Fu Association, based in Los Angeles.

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