HE BA FA: Five Character Secrets
Lee Deng-Feng (ed. Paul Dillon)
book, newly re-published, is a compendium of Lee's writings
which he did pass on. The book is comprised of classical five
word poems or aphorisms. There are translated both word-by-word
and contextually then commentary is added by Paul Dillon. The
sayings are philosophical-martial with much emphasis on paradox.
reader should remember that, unlike present day, there were
very few writings on the martial arts in previous centuries.
This manuscript represents not only the core of the LHBF system
but, like the Tai Chi Classics, one of the few documents on
the practice of Chinese martial arts. Being composed of 134
five-word poems it only constitutes 670 words of source material
with phrases such as "Collect your pearls and jades, but keep
them all concealed. (Yun Tsang Jie Zhu Yu)." Many sections sound
a great deal like the Tai Chi Classics and LHBF definitely precedes
the development of Tai Chi. Dillon's commentary is helpful and
he rarely tries to interpose excessive opinions. Most of the
saying, as in the case of the Tai Chi Classics, could be equally
applied to any Chinese martial art. For the LHBF student or
fan this is an essential text. For the collector of martial
historical documents this might even be just as rewarding.