The air chills, the leaves change…
October is a great time of year. The ancient Celts celebrated an important feast at the end of the month, called Samhain. At this time, the divisions between Worlds grow thin, & travel between them becomes possible. Unbeknownst to the many fat women cosplaying as “Witches”, there is a well developed Martial Aspect to the traditional celebration of Samhain.
Traditionally, those who had to travel during Samhain would wear a disguise, of sorts. Think Masks, hooded cloaks, & such. It was imperative that the residents of “the Otherworld” not be able to identify people, for a variety of reasons (think vendettas, family history, or worse). Even with such precautions, some encounters were unavoidable, making deception, defy wordplay, & outright lies required tactics.
Interestingly, October is also the month I began my study of Chinese Martial Arts. Higher Education held my attention for barely a month before I started cutting class & wandering the city instead. Almost immediately, I made a discovery: A man practicing a Martial Art that I later learned was called Bafanquan. In a flash, I knew what I had to do. After a humorous introduction, he accepted me as a student.
Finally, I had begun my pursuit of the Martial Dao/武道.
That was 24 years ago. And, with the exception of the darkest period of the Age of Illness, I’ve never missed a day of practice.
In celebration of this “achievement”, I humbly present the fruit of my (very limited amount of) labor during that dark time: the various translations of the Theoretical Documents that have formed the foundation of my development over these 24 years of walking the Martial Dao. Any mistakes or short comings are my own. I hope you can make use of this material.
Starting off with the original, we have the first translation offered with confidence, The Thirty-Six Stratagems. This book is often attributed to various famous figures of Chinese History.
Ignore these attributions.
The fact of the matter is no one knows who the authors, or authors, of this now revered work were. It was discovered in a book stall, in the early 20th Century. It’s basic introduction to planning & strategy, if you know how to read it.
Meditation & Qigong
My personal favorite out of the genres I work with are the Meditation or Health Maintenance texts. They combine Daoist Philosophy & Cosmology, Energy Based Medical Concepts, Health Maintenance, & most importantly, Self Cultivation. This is going to be an important area over the rest of 2021. Uncle has many, many surprises in store for you this year!
The lone entry, at the moment, is A Brief Introduction to Meditation. My intention here is to lay out the basic concepts & foundational practices of Meditation, specifically Methods developed by the philosophical & religious Daoists of China’s Imperial Era. It should be available on Amazon by the Spring of 2021.
Martial Arts Manuals Series
Here it is, the real meat of my literary output: Martial Arts Manuals. Specifically, the Manuals of the “Big Three Internal Styles” of Chinese Martial Arts.
Called “拳譜/Quan Pu”, these texts are often phenomenal synthesis of Martial, Medical, Spiritual, & Hygienic concepts, practices, or philosophies. Yes, that means these works have a certain amount of overlap with the Meditation & Qigong texts mentioned above. The difference is stark, though. Martial Arts Manuals are primarily intended to produce competent fighters. Here are the selections thus far.
You can find the Series Page Here.
Book 1 is Like Fire Burning the Body: The Xingyiquan Quanpu. In a certain sense, this is the true beginning of your indefatigable Kung Fu Uncle’s journey to becoming an author. In my heart-of-hearts, I’m a Xingyi Man. And because of this, I felt an obligation to share the translation of the Xingyi Manual that I’d made for myself. I want to be “The Best”, as all men should. But I cannot leave my brothers & sisters behind.
Book 2 is Discussion From The Mountain Peaks: The Baguazhang Quanpu. My secondary Style is Baguazhang, for a variety of reasons. First & foremost: it speaks to me on a subconscious level. I feel Baguazhang in a way that can’t be put into words. But, to a certain extent, I also get Baguazhang’s perspective on Physical Training & Marital Applications.
Book 3 is If They Ask You, Say…: The Tanglangquan Quanpu of Cui Shoushan. While I’ve never formally studied Mantis Boxing, I’ve always had a soft spot for it. Growing up watching Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater instilled n appreciation for the time when Tanglangquan was the most fearsome, most advanced, deadliest Style of Martial Art in the Known World. Again, wanting a challenge while confined to my sick bed, I took it upon myself to begin translating this undisputed classic of Martial Scholarship. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only place where a good portion of this material can be found in English.
Book 4 will be Ancient People Could Not Explain it to Others: The Sun Style Taijiquan Manual. This one will be fun. The core theoretical texts, multiple Routine variations, & a surprise. I have no idea when this will happen.