|Exclusive !...DVD#24303 White Crane Style:
FEEDING CRANE Boxing
about an hour, $49.95
The notion that Karate, or at least some styles of Karate, have been influenced by Chinese martial arts is hardly new. As time passes more and more information develops which, while not necessarily answering the question, gives interesting insights. I remember learning Rohai from a friend in the martial arts. He called it Crane on the Rock and it was an intriguing combination of hard and soft movements.Then there is SanChin Kata, a major building block in Karate and, even from the name, seems to harken back to Chinese routes.
GojuRyu practitioner Russ Smith's research leads him to believe that Feeding Crane is, at least, such an influence on Karate. My own concurring opinion--and, given that it is outside my expertise--is that most likely the Chinese influence is a continuing though sporadic resource which individual areas, styles and teachers most likely referenced over the centuries as a stream of information, rather than a single event. There was some intercourse to be sure. The Tonfa is said to come from a well handle but it just as likely came from Beggar style crutch work, as probably did the Sai and the Nunchaku, both weapons of Fukien Beggar’s style. Socially this miscellaneous, no-nonsense form of fighting would have been the level at which Okinawan farmers and fisher folk might have interacted with Chinese society. Hints abound: there is Shorin Ji (Shaolin Ji in Chinese) and San Chin (San Zhan or Three Battles in Chinese) just to name a few. Part of the issue may be that in attempting to reconcile with Karate’s past, historians are not actually drawing parallel lines. Karate is, in some ways, a compilation of older Okinawan styles. When you see, for example, Naha Te and Okinawa Te the movements are much more varied, definitely more CMA “looking.”
A perfect example of this is Plum's latest exclusive DVD, the Feeding Crane from Sifu Liu Chang I, the grandson of Master Liu Gou and the guarantor of the style. This DVD contains a form but is primarily devoted to applications, and there are a lot of them. Running about an hour it shows each variation many times. According to Mr Smith's studies, this DVD--both a teaching tape AND a historical document--is good evidence of the acknowledged correspondence between Karate and White Crane. All I can tell you is that, as I watched the applications, I realized that even if Karate can’t be proven to be derived from White Crane I’m pretty sure it influenced Kenpo, my first style. Funny how resemblances pop up out of nowhere.
More background on the Feeding Crane style ...