Bruce Lee & Hung Gar’s Mania

Bruce Lee & Hung Gar’s Mania

LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

August 20th, 2015, 5:07 am #1

Hung Gar Shadows
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According to Dan Inosanto, Jun Fan Kung Fu consists of many Chinese styles of fighting arts. One of them is Hung Gar which Bruce learnt and mastered in HK before he went over to U.S. in 1959. Hung Gar is well known for its low wide stances and rock hard forearms and overall, it is a very aggressive southern style Kung Fu. Hung Gar’s shadows could be found in many Bruce’s early Jun Fun Kung Fu demonstrations.

For instance, in the Charlie Chan’s No.1 son’s screen-test held in 4th Feb 1965, Bruce performed the “Tiger Crane Double Forms Fist,” one of the Hung Gar’s forms. Also, in the 1964 Long Beach with Taky Kimura, both Taky and Bruce started their demo with an opening “greeting fists” which strike resemblance to Hung Gar’s “Emergence of The Dragon & Tiger.” Jesse Glover also performed the Hung Gar’s set (taught by Bruce) in many of their stage demos, one of which was at the Trade Fair in 1961.

Wong Fei-Hung (1847 – 1924)
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Hung Gar (aka Hung Kuen) was founded by Master Hung Hei-Gun (1745—1825). It belongs to the Southern Shaolin style and is associated with the Chinese legendary hero, Wong Fei-Hung (1847 – 1924). Wong was the master of Hung Gar. His father, Wong Kei-Ying (Ten Tigers of Guangdong) taught him Kung Fu when he was a child. Wong distilled his father's empty-hand material along with the materials he learnt from other masters into the "pillars" of Hung Gar, four empty-hand routines that constitute the core of Hung Gar instruction in the Wong Fei-Hung lineage: “Single and double Hung Kune and Taming Tiger Fists,” “Fierocious Tiger Fist,” “Shadowless Kick” etc. Wong was also adept at using weapons, such as the “Fifth Brother Eight Trigram Staff,” “Four Eleghants Standard Dragon Staff” and “Southern Tiger Rake.”

Due to his outstanding Kung Fu skills, Wong was employed as the Chief Martial Arts instructor of the National’s Black Flag Army. He and his soldiers fought the Imperial Japanese Army during the Japanese invasion of Taiwan in 1895. Upon retirement, Wong concentrated on running his “Po Chi-Lam,” a famous Chinese medical shop in Guangdong. In 1919, Wong was invited to perform lion dance and Kung Fu at the Jing Mo Athletic Association's (or Jing Mo School) Guangzhou branch during its opening ceremony. His heroic and legendary pasts (mixed with fictional accounts) were captured on films and his character was played by Kwan Tak-Hing, between late 1940s to 1960s. Like many kids in HK, one of Bruce’s childhood screen heroes was Wong Fei-Hung. Young Bruce was obsessed by his on screen Kung Fu fighting stances and often mimicked Wong’s speech, expression, and gesture to the amusement of his friends and family.

Lam Sai-Wing (1861 – 1943)
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Wong Fei-Hung was succeeded by his student, Lam Sai-Wing who promoted the arts of Hung Gar in HK and Macau. Lam Sai Wing was considered the most outstanding senior student and teaching assistant of Wong Fei-Hung. He also learnt from other Kung Fu masters like Lam Fuk-Sing and Ng Chuan-Mi. Eventually, he beccame an expert in Hung Gar and Fut Kuen ("Buddhist Fist).

Towards the end of the Ching dynasty, Lam won first place in a large martial arts competition that took place at the Dongjiao ground. He also received a silver medal from Dr. Sun Yat-Sen as a token of recognition for his service and success. Between 1917 and 1923, Lam served as the Chief Instructor for hand-to-hand combat in the National Revolutionary Army of Fujian province. He later authored three popular martial arts books on the essential forms of Hung Gar: "Taming the Tiger Fist," "Tiger Crane Double Forms Fist" and "Iron Wire Fist".

Lam’s famous students included two action directors of the Wong Fei-Hung films - Leung Wing-Hang and Lau Cham, father of HK action director and star, Lau Kar-Leung. Lam Sai-Wing's Kung Fu legacy was mainly continued by his nephew and disciple Lam Jo (until his recent death) who resided and taught in HK with his own sons Anthony Lam Chun Fai and Lam Chun Sing.

Bruce Learnt Hung Gar
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During his teenage years, Bruce was already keen in all kinds of martial arts and would spend enormous amount of time in studying and learning Kung Fu rather than concentrating in his schoolwork. According to the HK JKD martial arts magazine published in 1977 there was an account of his Hung Gar learning. After studying Wing Chun for quite sometime, Bruce was introduced to Master Tam (full name unknown), a Hung Gar expert. Young Bruce challenged him and was unable to defeat him. Thus, he modestly pleaded to learn from him. Tam accepted his request. Upon learning this style, Bruce’s arsenal in street fighting increased and hence, was even more confident in his fighting ability. Based on the record from Hung Gar Family Tree, Master Tam was the descendant of Grandmaster Tam Man, a student of the Hung Gar’s founder, Hung Hei-Gun. His relatives included Tam Yuk Chan and Tam Hon. Both came to HK and started their school in teaching Hung Gar (circa 1940s-1950s).

There was another account where Mr. Anthony Mirakian (1933-2015), Okinawan Karate expert and Bruce’s friend, spoke about Bruce’s informal learning of Hung Gar. Mirakian was once in HK and was told by Mr. Kwan Tak-Hing (1905 – 1996) that he was visited by Bruce many times in seeking development of his personal-style of martial arts. Mr. Kwan taught Bruce 'Dragon style' (One of the Five Animal forms of Hung Gar and Southern Shaolin style) with the forte of forward-leg and forward hand functioning which was in unison to his later self-creation - Jeet Kune Do. Mr Kwan was originally a practitioner of the Opera Martial Arts as well as the White Crane and Hung Gar Kung Fu which he learnt from Master Fok Hung. He was also trained in Wong Fei-Hung's style of Hung Gar by Leung Wing-Hang and Lau Jam, students of the famous Master Lam Sai-Wing.

In addition, Bruce probably have studied and self-learnt Hung Gar from Master Lam Sai-Wing’s three martial arts manuals: "Taming the Tiger Fist", "Tiger Crane Double Forms Fist", and "Iron Wire Fist." Like his usual practice, he would analyse, modify and then incorporate the more practical and effiective techniques into his Jun Fan Kung Fu. In Seattle, he had taught some Hung Gar techniques to his early students like Jesse Glover, Ed Hart, Taky Kimura etc. Jesse Glover had peformed the Hung Gar set on stage many times. There is also a picture that showed Taky and Bruce performed “bridge-hand” blocking the “crane fist” during one of their training sessions.

Bruce & Lau Kar-Leung (1934 – 2013)
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Lau Kar-Leung was a HK-based Chinese actor, filmmaker, choreographer and martial artist. Lau was best known for his Shaw Brother’s films in the 1970s and 1980s. One of his most famous works was “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin” which starred Gordon Liu, as well as “Drunken Master II” which starred Jackie Chan. Lau also played Lee Hoi Chuen, father of Bruce Lee, in ATV TV series, “Spirit of The Dragon”(1992) which starred David Wu as Bruce Lee.

Lau was the third child of Lau Cham, a Martial Arts master who studied Hung Gar under Master Lam Sai-Wing. Lau began training Hung Gar before the age of 5 and was very proficient in the style.
In the “Interview with Lau Kar Leung: The Last Shaolin” on 26th April 1984, Lau said that he and Bruce knew each other very well when they were kids in HK. He said Bruce was passionate about Kung Fu. It was his life. His contribution was recognised by those of us who were doing Kung Fu. He introduced it to the whole world. Also, he agreed that Bruce's Kung Fu was a blending of many techniques. There were elements derived from Aikido, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Western boxing and Chinese Kung Fu. Bruce was very smart. He applied himself diligently, and when he practiced Kung Fu, he gave it all.

Both Bruce and Lau have different characters and mindsets. Bruce was more open-minded while Lau, more conservative and traditional. However, Bruce still treated Lau as an elder brother with respect. He discussed with Lau with regards to the martial arts and his film career when he visited the Shaw studio in 1972-1973.

In an interview video of 2012, Lau explains simply what he understood about Bruce Lee's JKD. He said, “The essentials of JKD are speed, power and accuracy. It counter attacks the opponents and knocks them out before the opponents know what had really happened.

Bruce & Chiu Chi-Ling (20th Jan 1941 - )
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Another well-known HK Hung Gar master is Chiu Chi-Ling who was an actor/stuntman in the 1970s. His well-known movies are “Bruce Lee, The Man & The Myth”(1978) which starred Bruce Li and “The Kung Fu Hustle”(2006) which starred Stephen Chow. In the early days, he had worked with both Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. He also teaches Hung Gar Kung Fu at his own San Francisco-based martial arts school, and at the old Chiu Family Kwoon in HK. At the age of 6, he started learning Hung Gar from his father, Chiu Kao (1895-1995) who was the student of Lam Sai-Wing. Thus, both Chiu and Lau Kar-Leung are considered the 4th generation students of Grandmaster Wong Fei-Hung.

During his interview in Chi Kong Business Times on 12th March 2007, he said he started off working as a martial arts choreographer in the early 1970s and had worked along with Bruce Lee. However, he had already known Bruce before entering the entertainment industry. Chiu said Bruce was “like a monument while he was alive and a legend when he passed away.” Without Bruce, there would not be so many people paying attention to Chinese Kung Fu. He said from what he had personally observed, Bruce was always trying to perfect what he was doing and was under huge pressure most of the time yet he was very determined to achieve his own goals. During the shooting, he was like one man doing 10 men’s jobs, from action choreography, coaching of individual actor/ actress, constantly checking the camera shots to ensure the on screen results were up to his expectation etc. At the peak of his career, Bruce understood that his newly found reputation was “hollow” as it relied solely on his tip-top condition and the money he earned for the movie company. Chiu said, “Maybe he was too tired and over tensed, that’s why he left us so soon.”

Formless Form
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Like all the various classical arts Bruce learnt in his early stage, Hung Gar did play quite a significant role in shaping Bruce’s own personal arts as well as influenced his martial arts philosophy to a certain extent. However, Bruce was not bound by all these classical arts he learnt, instead, he was enlightened and unburdened himself with the non-essential classical mess and walked his own path to success.

Bruce used to say, “Too much horsing around with unrealistic stances and classic forms and rituals is just too artificial and mechanical, and doesn't really prepare the student for actual combat…Their practitioners are merely blindly rehearsing routines and stunts that will lead nowhere…Each one of us is different and each one of us should be taught the correct form. By correct form I mean the most useful techniques the person is inclined toward. Find his ability and then develop these techniques. When one has reached maturity in the art, one will have a formless form. It is like ice dissolving in water. When one has no form, one can be all forms; when one has no style, he can fit in with any style.”

Photos of Bruce and the shadows of Hung Gar: http://postimg.org/image/pfwi33l9f/
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Joined: November 23rd, 2006, 7:41 pm

August 20th, 2015, 8:26 am #2

Great article. It's a shame most of the HK masters didn't write a book or an article about their relations with Lee. Can't wait for a praying mantis connections article :)
Thanks
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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

August 25th, 2015, 6:16 am #3

The Praying Mantis Connections
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Praying Mantis Kung Fu is a Chinese martial arts that is famous for its redirection, joint manipulation, pressure point attacks and trapping tactics ("sticky hands"). It is divided into Northern Praying Mantis style and Southern Praying Mantis style. This style of Kung Fu utilises a technique known as the "Mantis Claw" or "Mantis Hook". A student's hands are positioned to resemble mantis claws and are used for trapping, striking, blocking and parrying.

According to the “Official Karate Magazine”(Jul 1986 issue), “Bruce Lee was a practitioner of southern praying mantis, on occasion demonstrating the techniques. Why? Its techniques are deadly efficient. Movements are continuous and circular, soft and hard, except in attack, where the middle knuckle (phoenix eye) of the index finger is used like a needle to pierce the internal organs and hurt the opponent internally.
Many of the movements are simultaneously defensive and offensive. The feet are separated by a distance of about 24 Inches, with the bent lead leg supporting most of the weight, while the slightly curved rear leg acts as a strut. This highly mobile posture facilitates the strategic advance and retreat, lateral and spinning maneuvers essential to the style. Sweeps are short and long, forward and backward. Kicks are high and low, including snaps, thrusts, pushes, jumps, and stomps, though shin, knee, and groin kicks are emphasized for efficiency.”

Research however shows that Bruce had learnt both the Northern Style and Southern Style Praying Mantis Boxing in the late 50s to early 60s. Bruce did a lot of trapping and Chi Sao work in his early years. In the workout sessions with Taky Kimura, it was obvious that there was a combination of both Wing Chun and Praying Mantis.

Origin of Praying Mantis Boxing
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Based on the historical record from The Praying Mantis Kung Fu Federation, "Three hundred and fifty years ago, Wong Long, the founder of the Praying Mantis Style, decided after learning the Shaolin fighting system that he needed to make improvements… It was Wong's custom to train and practice his Shaolin Kung Fu skills in a meadow near the temple. One day after practicing with his sword, he sat down to study his books on Buddhism. He was interrupted by a noise nearby the ground. Two insects were engaged in a duel, a praying mantis attacking a cicada. Within moments the praying mantis had killed the cicada and, holding it in its strong forearms, began eating. Wong was intrigued by the fierce attributes of the praying mantis insect. He was impressed by the way it had moved in and out and used it's forearms to trap and draw in its prey… He saw in the fierce insect's predatory ability a way to improve his own combat adeptness". Wong gradually created this kind of fighting arts called the Praying Mantis Boxing. However, it was divided into Northern and Southern Styles, mainly due to the practice by the people living in the Northern and Southern provinces.

Northern Praying Mantis Style
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As stated above, it was created by Wong Long in the late Ming dynasty and was named after the praying mantis, the aggressiveness of which inspired the style. The mantis is a long and narrow predatory insect. While heavily armoured, it is not built to withstand forces from perpendicular directions. Consequently, its fighting style involves the use of whip-like/circular motions to deflect direct attacks, which it follows up with precise attacks to the opponent's vital spots. These traits have been subsumed into the Northern Praying Mantis style, under the rubric of "removing something" (blocking to create a gap) and "adding something" (rapid attack).

One of the most distinctive features of Northern Praying Mantis is the "praying mantis hook”: a hook made of one to three fingers directing force in a whip-like manner. The hook may be used to divert force (blocking), adhere to an opponent's limb, or attack critical spots (eyes or acupuncture points). These techniques are particularly useful in combination, for example using the force imparted from a block to power an attack. So if the enemy punches with the right hand, a Northern Praying Mantis practitioner might hook outwards with the left hand (shifting the body to the left) and use the turning force to attack the enemy's neck with a right hook. Alternately, he/she might divert downwards with the left hook and rebound with the left wrist stump to jaw/nose/throat. The "Praying Mantis’ Hook" is also part of some of the distinctive typical guarding positions of the style.

Northern Praying Mantis is especially known for its speed and continuous attacks. Wrist/arm techniques in particular are emphasized, as well as knee and elbow strikes. Another prominent feature of the style is its complex footwork, borrowed from Monkey Kung Fu. There are several styles of Northern Praying Mantis, the best known of which are:
1. Seven Star Praying Mantis Boxing,
2. Plum Blossom Praying Mantis Boxing,
3. Tai Chi Praying Mantis Boxing,
4. Tai Chi Plum Blossom Praying Mantis Boxing,
5. Six Harmony Praying Mantis Boxing,
6. Eight Step Praying Mantis Boxing
Other rate styles include “Shiny Board Praying Mantis Boxing,” “Long Fist Praying Mantis Boxing,” “Throwing Hand Praying Mantis Boxing,” “Secret Gate Praying Mantis Boxing” and “Ma (Horse) Family Praying Mantis Boxing.”

Bruce learnt Bung Bo Kune (aka Praying Mantis Leaping Fist)
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According to Master Siu Hon San (1900 – 1994), Bruce studied with him the Jing Mo’s fundamental sets like “Gung Lik Kuen” (training power fist set), “Bung Bo Kuen” (praying mantis boxing), “Jeet Kuen” (Fast Fist), which all belong to the Northern Style sets. Master Siu said in an interview that, “I taught Bruce a set of jumping step boxing (Bung Bo Kuen). This kind of boxing is a basic boxing form of Northern Mantis Kung Fu. Its characteristics are jumps, skills, swift movements and the circular horizontal kicks. But Bruce was very smart. He learned it in six or seven lectures. So I taught him a set of Jeet Kune (aka Git Kune), the fourth set of the basic boxing forms of Jing Mo school. I also also taught him 2 sets of weapon forms. One of them was “Bak-Gwa-Do” (Eight Trigams Broad Sword), the other was “Five Tigers’ Spear”. However, he aimed not at weapons. Weapons can only be used in performing, and not in today’s society, so he concentrated on boxing.”

Created by Grandmaster Wong Long, Bung Bo Kune is also known as Mantis Leaping, Jumping or Fluttering Fist. The first routine of the Mantis boxing usually starts off with Bung Bo Kune. This skill could be found in many of the Mantis branches such as Seven Star, Plum Blossom, Secret Gate and even today’s Shaolin Mantis Boxing. It was transformed from Shandong Yantai Tung Lung Sect’s Bung Bo Kune. It was known as Leaping fist or Jumping Fist because there is a kind of footwork (i.e. leaping steps) which is very mysterious, vicious and sharp. The Leaping Fist could move in at a lightning speed and attack instanteously. In addition, it contains the secret kicks of the Mantis Sect. Bung Bo Kune utilises the seven long movements as it main advantages yet it comprises also the indigenous of the eight short movements. The Bung Bo Kune varies in style for instance Hao Family’s Tai Chi Blossom Plum Mantis Leaping, Choyyang’s Sung Tse Tat’s Leaping, Seven Star’s Leaping, Kamoon’s Hand Mantis Leaping etc. Bruce loved Bung Bo Kune because of its simliarity in the usage of strong forearms to attack in a simple, direct and practical way.

Southern Praying Mantis Style
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Despite its name, Southern Praying Mantis Style, actually has no direct connection with the Northern Praying Mantis Style. It is a Chinese martial art originating with the Hakka people living in Kong Sai, the southern province of China. It is most closely associated with styles such as Southern Dragon Kung Fu and Bak Mei (White Brows).
Southern Praying Mantis places a heavy emphasis on close-range fighting. This system is known for its short power methods, and has aspects of both internal and external techniques. In application, the emphasis is on hand and arm techniques, and a limited use of low kicks. The application of close combat methods with an emphasis on hands and short kicking techniques makes the Southern Praying Mantis art somewhat akin to what many would call "street fighting." The hands are the most readily available for attack and defence of the upper body, and protect the stylist by employing ruthless techniques designed to inflict serious injury. The legs are moved quickly into range through footwork to protect and defend the body, and kicks are kept low, short and quick so as to never leave the Southern Mantis combatant off balance and vulnerable.
There are five main branches of Southern Praying Mantis:
1. Chow Gar (Chow family); 2. Chu Gar (Chu family); 3. Kong Sai Jook Lum (Bamboo Forest); 4. Iron Ox and 5. K.S. Hsiung Tung Lung Quet Tsot (Mantis Martial Arts)

Bruce learnt Jook Lum style (Bamboo Forest Temple Style)
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According to oral traditions, the Kong Sai Jook Lum style traces its origins to the temple Jook Lum Gee (Bamboo Forest Temple), Wu Tai Shan in Shanxi province and on Mt. Longhu in Jiangxi province. The monk Som Dot, created this new martial art system in the 18th century. Later, the art spread southward and overseas.
In the 1920s Lum Sang, studied and traveled with Master Lee Siem See, a Jook Lum Style Preying Mantist expert, for seven years. In the 1930s, Lum returned to HK and opened a “Kong Sai Jook Lum Temple Tung Lung Pak” school in Kowloon. In 1942, Lum Sang emigrated to the United States and settled in the Chinatown of New York City. He started teaching in Chinatown's Hakka Association. His students such as Harry Sun, Wong Buk Lam, Henry Poo Yee and Louie Jack Man would establish themselves as teachers following the example and high esteemed reputation earned by Gin Foon Mark (1927 - ). All of these men have promoted this art in the United States and around the world. Gin Foon Mark became the most well known practitioner and master of the art passed to him by Lum Sang.
Master Gin Foon Mark grew up in China’s temples then fights for respect in the U.S., succumbing to aggression and pride. After he accidentally hurts a challenger with his developing dim mak (chi/ energy) abilities, he then realises the greater importance of helping and not hurting others when he remembered his Buddhist roots. Master Mark returned to China in 1979 and is still alive. He even traveled back to the U.S. in the 80s and 90s to visit his old friends and was interviewed about his martial arts as well as his connections with Bruce Lee by Kung Fu magazine in 1999.

Bruce’s learning of the Southern style Preying Mantis Boxing was documented in “Dragon and Tiger” by Greglon Lee and Sid Campbell. According to an interview with Master Gin Foon Mak, he said Bruce studied Praying Mantis Kung Fu with him for about a month when he flew from Seattle to visit his father, Mr. Lee Hoi Chuen who was performing opera in New York (circa June 1959). Master Mark said, “I changed his horse stance and footwork. The Praying Mantis horse stance is different than the Wing Chun horse stance. Bruce held his hands too close to his chest. I had him extend his hands out further, with his strongest hand leading, like a southpaw. I showed him how to use and generate short power. He became interested, because he noticed that it contained all of the Wing Chun techniques and ideas: economy, directness, control of the center, sticky hands, etc. He liked the way the techniques were executed- each technique flowed into the next turning the opponent’s strength against him. He also learned the 3-step arrow formula. Bruce was really impressed by my philosophy of fighting. Any good fighting system, like Praying Mantis, should have the following attacking methods: attack by combination, drawing, hand immobilization, foot immobilization, progressive indirect attack, simple direct and singular attacks. These were denoted: ABC, ABD, HIA, FIA, PIA, SDA, and SAA, respectively, later in Jeet Kune Do. I think JKD’s philosophy is closer to Praying Mantis than to Wing Chun. Look at my free-style movements and compare them with those of a Wing Chun Sifu. Then, judge for yourself which resembles JKD more.”

Besides, Praying Mantis boxing, Bruce also picked up Fu Jow (Tiger Claw), Ying Jow (Eagle Claw), Dim Mak (blocking of vital body’s pressure points) and Pak Ho Chuan (White Crane Fist) from Master Mark. The weapons which Bruce learnt from Master Mark include butterfly knives, long staff, 3-sectional staff, quan do, trident and swords. Bruce also learnt how to condition, toughen and strengthen his forearms using bamboos and other devices such as hanging bundles of chains over the forearms, using assorted iron rings to toughen the arms. Furthermore, Bruce also learnt the Yan Mook Jung (wooden dummy) techniques (different from Wing Chun) and he strengthened his fingers by isolating the muscle group and lifting a cut off section of iron rail-road track. Although it was only a month crash course but Bruce surely had widen his horizon and increase his martial arts knowledge and skills to a greater extent. Master Mark was very impressed with Bruce’s overall performance and thought he had learnt the theory and practical very fast due to his solid foundation in Kung Fu.

After completing a month crash course lesson with Master Gin Foon Mark in New York, Bruce Lee returned to Seattle and learnt “Southern Preying Mantis,” “Tai Chi Chuen” as well as Red Junk Wing Chun from Master Yueng Fook who was a Sil Lum Kuen Master. In addition, when he first came to America he also had a Southern Mantis Manual that he purchased from a Vancouver Chinatown bookstore. Jesse Glover said Bruce Lee trained with Master Yeung between 1959-1967 or so. Master Yeung showed him the systems and Bruce was an adept student and worked them to a very effective level. One of Bruce’s favorite forms to practice was the Tung Lung or Praying Mantis form. In addition, Bruce had a Southern Mantis Manual that he purchased from a Vancouver Chinatown bookstore. Through extensively study of this Preying Mantis style, Bruce Lee gained broader knowledge and attained greater height in martial arts skills both mentally and physically.

Enter Into The Mantis’ World
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Bruce combined the Southern Style strong mantis forearms techniques with the Northern Style mantis’ agile leaping footwork, and incorporated them into his Jun Fan Kung Fu. Although Bruce had never used the Praying Mantis Kung Fu in his movie, yet in the “Preying Mantis” episode of “The Green Hornet,” Kato (Bruce as Japanese) versus Low Sing (Mako Iwamatsu as Chinese) who was a Praying Mantis boxing expert. Dan Inosanto doubled for Mako and displayed an excellent Mantis boxing which was choreographed by Bruce. Of course, the Praying Mantis’ expert was killed by Bruce Lee at the end. Bruce loved Preying Mantis so much that in ETD, he got director, Robert Clouse to insert a scene of the real praying mantis’ fight scene in the junk that was sailing towards Han’s island. It showed the small and weak praying mantis overcoming the bigger and stronger praying mantis with its determination and primitive force when facing danger. Bruce won the bet and had a big grin on his face, a rare smile in ETD. Furthermore, Bruce wanted to depict JKD versus Praying Mantis Kung Fu master (Taky Kimura was intended to cast as the second floor guardian) in G.O.D., unfortunately, Bruce passed away before filming this scene. In the world of the praying mantis, Bruce was like the small praying mantis who could overcome the bigger praying mantis without fear. His fighting spirit resembles that of the praying mantis and would always inspire us to overcome adversities and move on in our life with full confidence.

Bruce Lee & Master Mark photos:
http://postimg.org/image/riykaq2dv/

Master Gin Foon Mark’s demo video:

JOOK LUM SEMINAR: G. M. GIN FOON MARK IN ITALY


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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

August 25th, 2015, 6:18 am #4

The following is a rare interview of Master Gin Foon Mak, featured in the March 1999 issue of Kung Fu magazine, titled “Bruce Lee & The Master Mark Connection.”

Q1: How did you meet Bruce Lee?
GFM: Bruce was in New York visiting his father, who was an actor in The Chinese Theater. A mutual acquaintance of his father and me brought him to my Kwoon (school).

Q2: When did this meeting occur and how old was Bruce?
GFM: It was in the 1950’s. Bruce seemed to be about 18.

Q3: How did the person who brought Bruce know about your Kwoon? In those days the location of Kwoons were often kept secret. Visitors were forbidden. Usually, only members of the Chinese benevolent society sponsoring the Kung Fu master were taught.
GFM: Most Chinese at that time thought that foreigners could not understand the true philosophy and use of Kung Fu and so it was dangerous to teach them. I disagreed with this viewpoint. I believed that all people were the same and so I taught every decent human being.

Q4: Was Bruce Lee interested in Praying Mantis?
GFM: No. At that time Praying Mantis was considered an inferior art in Hong Kong and there were no outstanding practitioners. Furthermore, Bruce thought that all the good masters were in Hong Kong.

Q5: Then, why did Bruce come to your school?
GFM: Bruce was young and interested in fighting. The person who brought him told Bruce that I was a formidable fighter.

Q6: How did he know that?
GFM: At that time I was a well-known Sifu in New York. Many people here and in China thought I was too young to be a Sifu. Consequently, I received many challenges and met them successfully. I wanted people to know my art, so I demonstrated at many Karate and martial arts competitions. My students competed in the first Karate versus Kung Fu contest in California. I was one of the first genuine Sifus to demonstrate openly in the United States.

Q7: What did Karatekas think about your Kung Fu?
GFM: They had never seen anything like it. Their attitude was similar to that of Chuck Norris. He thought it was pretty, smooth and flowing, but not useful for combat because the techniques had no power. One of my students asked him if he would like to try my hands. He eagerly accepted and launched a powerful reverse punch. I immediately executed a light praying Mantis’ deflection of the punch followed by a flicking technique, snapping him on the eye and ending the demonstration. His eye swelled up. I said its a good thing I don’t have any power or else your eye would be lying on the floor.

Q8: Was Bruce Lee impressed watching your students practice?
GFM: I don’t think so. Not many people have seen or understand this rare system. The power in the techniques is hidden. Bruce remarked on the similarity between Praying Mantis and Wing Chun. He wanted to have a match with one of my students, to which I readily agreed.

Q9: What happened?
GFM: Neither Bruce nor my student could gain an advantage; it was a draw. Bruce asked me how long the student had studied. I replied about a year. Then, I demonstrated some advanced techniques and weapons. I asked him if he would like to try my hands. He declined, out of respect, and said he was interested in studying with me.

Q10: What do you think impressed him?
GFM: My short power, especially in using weapons. Unlike many other systems, the weapons are used just like our empty hands techniques, without large, swinging motions. Most people don’t have short power, because they don’t practice short power enough. My instructors didn’t show me any weapon’s form for six years. Instead, I had to practice cutting bamboo, melons, potatoes, etc.

Q11: What did you first teach Bruce Lee?
GFM: I changed his horse (stance) and footwork. The Praying Mantis horse (stance) is different than the Wing Chun horse (stance). Bruce held his hands too close to his chest. I had him extend his hands out further, with his strongest hand leading, like a southpaw. I showed him how to use and generate short power.

Q12: After studying awhile, what did Bruce Lee think of your system?
GFM: He became interested, because he noticed that it contained all of the Wing Chun techniques and ideas: economy, directness, control of the center, sticky hands, etc. He liked the way the techniques were executed- each technique flowed into the next turning the opponent’s strength against him.

Q13: What did Bruce Lee think about Wing Chun?
GFM: He thought it was a very good system. However, it specialized in close in fighting. Its footwork was not varied enough and there were not enough kicks. He considered modifying Wing Chun to include these elements.

Q14: Praying Mantis is a southern system. Does it have many kicks?
GFM: Praying Mantis has as many kicks as most northern systems or Tae Kwon Do. The kicks fascinated Bruce. In fact, the sweeping front kick to the opponent’s lower leg appears in many of his movies.

Q15: What else did Bruce Lee like about your system?
GFM: Most systems practice techniques in one way and use them in another. For example, in the first Wing Chun form the fists are held at the sides of the chest to execute straight punches. However, in fighting, these punches are executed differently, with the hands held in front of the chest. Praying Mantis was invented for fighting. Every technique is practiced exactly the same way it is used Bruce liked the realistic way in which the forms and techniques were practiced. He learned the 3-step arrow formula.

Q16: Didn’t Bruce Lee think that practicing forms would turn you into a “classical mess” and ruin your fighting ability?
GFM: Yes. Many classical forms are pretty like flowers, but useless for fighting. Even practicing the Praying Mantis’ forms will not make you a good fighter.

Q17: Then why didn’t you reject all forms like Bruce eventually did?
GFM: The form teaches you certain basics, flow, body shifting, combinations, etc. Some of the advanced forms are martial Chi Kung exercises, which builds inner power. I don’t think Bruce was aware of this aspect of internal systems. Of course all of these things could be taught in drills. However, I wanted to preserve the system. Hence, I retained all the forms.

Q18: What was your method of producing good fighters?
GFM: I devised two-men drills based on my fighting experience. Each formula had an associated two men version to show how the technique could be used in actual combat. Besides these longer two men drills, there were many shorter drills for training sight, feeling, and reflexes.

Q19: What did Bruce Lee think about these drills?
GFM: He had never seen such practical drills in a classical system and thought that I had made an important contribution to Praying Mantis.

Q20: Bruce Lee knew about the Wing Chun fighting sequence practiced with a dummy. Why were you two-men forms so different?
GFM: Dummies are dead. They can’t move or react. Real fighting is continuous. You attack; your opponent counters; you counter his counter and so on. The two-men forms teach timing, rhythm, distancing, control, using your opponent’s strength against him, etc. You can also practice with different sized opponents. The Wing Chun dummy is mostly for close quarters fighting. Besides close and middle range forms, my drills contain long-range forms, which teach you how to bridge the gap. Chin Na requires a partner. It is not realistic to train by trying to unbalance or throw a dummy.

Q21: Wouldn’t Bruce Lee still criticize your two-men forms, since they are just a fixed sequence of moves?
GFM: Even Jeet Kune Do has drills. The forms which are practiced depend on the practitioner’s skill. When their skill increases, different drills are used. The drills must be practiced until they can be done without thinking. Ultimately, the system reduces to Yin and Yang. You must react spontaneously and instantly to an opponent’s attack. Without thinking, you can turn his force against him.

Q22: Couldn’t you achieve the same results by just practicing free-style sparring?
GFM: Beginners tend to become tense and use force against force. This may be alright in a hard-style system but not in a soft-style system, in which you are trying to become soft like water. You must begin by practicing slowly and softly, learning to turn your opponent’s strength against him. It takes a great deal of practice to become soft. After reaching this stage, you can start free-style sparring, beginning slowly and later speeding up.

Q23: Aren’t some of your two men forms similar to Wing Chun sticky hands?
GFM: Yes. However, we practice softer, have more techniques and utilize small circular motions to turn the opponent’s power against him. Bruce studied western fencing and remarked that some of these forms resembled fencing with the hands. Wing Chun could be called “hard arm Kung Fu” while our style is “soft arm Kung Fu.”

Q24: Bruce Lee believed that weight training, dummies and other special equipment were essential. Does your system have a similar view?
GFM: We had a lot of auxiliary equipment in our Kwoon when Bruce was a student. He was keen on using this equipment. I had many discussions about training devices that I had used in the temples with Bruce. Bruce wanted to become a good fighter and produce good fighters quickly. Therefore, he wanted to use weights and other equipment right away. I wasn’t in a hurry to produce good fighters. In a soft style system, you must become very soft before you start to use weights. If you start to use weights when you first start, it is difficult to become soft.

Q25: How long did Bruce Lee train with you?
GFM: About a month. He learned much more than the average person could in that short time, because he was in good condition and had learned similar techniques in other systems that he had studied. Besides that, he was enthusiastic, practiced a lot and had an outstanding aptitude for Kung Fu. Bruce was really impressed by my philosophy of fighting.

Q26: What do you mean by that?
GFM: He agreed with nearly everything I said when we discussed fighting theory. For example, as mentioned previously, the limitation of forms, becoming like water, reacting instinctively to an attack, etc. Any good fighting system, like Praying Mantis, should have the following attacking methods: attack by combination, drawing, hand immobilization, foot immobilization; progressive indirect attack, simple direct and singular attacks. These were denoted: ABC, ABD, HIA, FIA, PIA, SDA, and SAA, respectively, later in Jeet Kune Do. Bruce liked the variety of weapons used in our style and the weapon’s drills. The exercises involving an unarmed versus an armed person and two people using different weapons were his favorites.

Q27: Why did Bruce Lee leave?
GFM: He was only visiting his father and had to return to California. He wanted me to come to California to instruct him and be a consultant for his films. However, Bruce was relatively unknown at that time and I didn’t think that he would be able to pay my salary. I had to support my family, so I decided to stay in New York.

Q28: Which do you think influenced the development of Jeet Kune Do more, Praying Mantis or Wing Chun?
GFM: I think Jeet Kune Do’s philosophy is closer to Praying Mantis than to Wing Chun. Look at my free-style movements and compare them with those of a Wing Chun Sifu. Then, judge for yourself which resembles Jeet Kune Do more.

Q29: What is your contribution to Jeet Kune Do?
GFM: Jeet Kune Do is not a branch of Praying Mantis. Bruce studied many other systems and modified and incorporated them into his system. However, when I see Bruce’s movies or hear about his formless form, I believe he understood my lessons about changing conditions in self-defense situations. Combat is alive and requires a constantly changing art and not a dead one.

Photos of Master Gin Foon Mark: http://postimg.org/image/ts5da5lkp/

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Joined: November 23rd, 2006, 7:41 pm

August 25th, 2015, 9:27 am #5

Your knowledge is really impressive. I've read the Dragon Tiger book which is the best source for Bruce's early U.S. martial arts background but you still have lots more to share...haven't you thought about compiling a book or two, LJF? You already have one buyer :)
Thanks a lot
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Chuan Jun Fan
Chuan Jun Fan

August 26th, 2015, 12:34 am #6

The Praying Mantis Connections
=========================
Praying Mantis Kung Fu is a Chinese martial arts that is famous for its redirection, joint manipulation, pressure point attacks and trapping tactics ("sticky hands"). It is divided into Northern Praying Mantis style and Southern Praying Mantis style. This style of Kung Fu utilises a technique known as the "Mantis Claw" or "Mantis Hook". A student's hands are positioned to resemble mantis claws and are used for trapping, striking, blocking and parrying.

According to the “Official Karate Magazine”(Jul 1986 issue), “Bruce Lee was a practitioner of southern praying mantis, on occasion demonstrating the techniques. Why? Its techniques are deadly efficient. Movements are continuous and circular, soft and hard, except in attack, where the middle knuckle (phoenix eye) of the index finger is used like a needle to pierce the internal organs and hurt the opponent internally.
Many of the movements are simultaneously defensive and offensive. The feet are separated by a distance of about 24 Inches, with the bent lead leg supporting most of the weight, while the slightly curved rear leg acts as a strut. This highly mobile posture facilitates the strategic advance and retreat, lateral and spinning maneuvers essential to the style. Sweeps are short and long, forward and backward. Kicks are high and low, including snaps, thrusts, pushes, jumps, and stomps, though shin, knee, and groin kicks are emphasized for efficiency.”

Research however shows that Bruce had learnt both the Northern Style and Southern Style Praying Mantis Boxing in the late 50s to early 60s. Bruce did a lot of trapping and Chi Sao work in his early years. In the workout sessions with Taky Kimura, it was obvious that there was a combination of both Wing Chun and Praying Mantis.

Origin of Praying Mantis Boxing
=========================
Based on the historical record from The Praying Mantis Kung Fu Federation, "Three hundred and fifty years ago, Wong Long, the founder of the Praying Mantis Style, decided after learning the Shaolin fighting system that he needed to make improvements… It was Wong's custom to train and practice his Shaolin Kung Fu skills in a meadow near the temple. One day after practicing with his sword, he sat down to study his books on Buddhism. He was interrupted by a noise nearby the ground. Two insects were engaged in a duel, a praying mantis attacking a cicada. Within moments the praying mantis had killed the cicada and, holding it in its strong forearms, began eating. Wong was intrigued by the fierce attributes of the praying mantis insect. He was impressed by the way it had moved in and out and used it's forearms to trap and draw in its prey… He saw in the fierce insect's predatory ability a way to improve his own combat adeptness". Wong gradually created this kind of fighting arts called the Praying Mantis Boxing. However, it was divided into Northern and Southern Styles, mainly due to the practice by the people living in the Northern and Southern provinces.

Northern Praying Mantis Style
========================
As stated above, it was created by Wong Long in the late Ming dynasty and was named after the praying mantis, the aggressiveness of which inspired the style. The mantis is a long and narrow predatory insect. While heavily armoured, it is not built to withstand forces from perpendicular directions. Consequently, its fighting style involves the use of whip-like/circular motions to deflect direct attacks, which it follows up with precise attacks to the opponent's vital spots. These traits have been subsumed into the Northern Praying Mantis style, under the rubric of "removing something" (blocking to create a gap) and "adding something" (rapid attack).

One of the most distinctive features of Northern Praying Mantis is the "praying mantis hook”: a hook made of one to three fingers directing force in a whip-like manner. The hook may be used to divert force (blocking), adhere to an opponent's limb, or attack critical spots (eyes or acupuncture points). These techniques are particularly useful in combination, for example using the force imparted from a block to power an attack. So if the enemy punches with the right hand, a Northern Praying Mantis practitioner might hook outwards with the left hand (shifting the body to the left) and use the turning force to attack the enemy's neck with a right hook. Alternately, he/she might divert downwards with the left hook and rebound with the left wrist stump to jaw/nose/throat. The "Praying Mantis’ Hook" is also part of some of the distinctive typical guarding positions of the style.

Northern Praying Mantis is especially known for its speed and continuous attacks. Wrist/arm techniques in particular are emphasized, as well as knee and elbow strikes. Another prominent feature of the style is its complex footwork, borrowed from Monkey Kung Fu. There are several styles of Northern Praying Mantis, the best known of which are:
1. Seven Star Praying Mantis Boxing,
2. Plum Blossom Praying Mantis Boxing,
3. Tai Chi Praying Mantis Boxing,
4. Tai Chi Plum Blossom Praying Mantis Boxing,
5. Six Harmony Praying Mantis Boxing,
6. Eight Step Praying Mantis Boxing
Other rate styles include “Shiny Board Praying Mantis Boxing,” “Long Fist Praying Mantis Boxing,” “Throwing Hand Praying Mantis Boxing,” “Secret Gate Praying Mantis Boxing” and “Ma (Horse) Family Praying Mantis Boxing.”

Bruce learnt Bung Bo Kune (aka Praying Mantis Leaping Fist)
===============================================
According to Master Siu Hon San (1900 – 1994), Bruce studied with him the Jing Mo’s fundamental sets like “Gung Lik Kuen” (training power fist set), “Bung Bo Kuen” (praying mantis boxing), “Jeet Kuen” (Fast Fist), which all belong to the Northern Style sets. Master Siu said in an interview that, “I taught Bruce a set of jumping step boxing (Bung Bo Kuen). This kind of boxing is a basic boxing form of Northern Mantis Kung Fu. Its characteristics are jumps, skills, swift movements and the circular horizontal kicks. But Bruce was very smart. He learned it in six or seven lectures. So I taught him a set of Jeet Kune (aka Git Kune), the fourth set of the basic boxing forms of Jing Mo school. I also also taught him 2 sets of weapon forms. One of them was “Bak-Gwa-Do” (Eight Trigams Broad Sword), the other was “Five Tigers’ Spear”. However, he aimed not at weapons. Weapons can only be used in performing, and not in today’s society, so he concentrated on boxing.”

Created by Grandmaster Wong Long, Bung Bo Kune is also known as Mantis Leaping, Jumping or Fluttering Fist. The first routine of the Mantis boxing usually starts off with Bung Bo Kune. This skill could be found in many of the Mantis branches such as Seven Star, Plum Blossom, Secret Gate and even today’s Shaolin Mantis Boxing. It was transformed from Shandong Yantai Tung Lung Sect’s Bung Bo Kune. It was known as Leaping fist or Jumping Fist because there is a kind of footwork (i.e. leaping steps) which is very mysterious, vicious and sharp. The Leaping Fist could move in at a lightning speed and attack instanteously. In addition, it contains the secret kicks of the Mantis Sect. Bung Bo Kune utilises the seven long movements as it main advantages yet it comprises also the indigenous of the eight short movements. The Bung Bo Kune varies in style for instance Hao Family’s Tai Chi Blossom Plum Mantis Leaping, Choyyang’s Sung Tse Tat’s Leaping, Seven Star’s Leaping, Kamoon’s Hand Mantis Leaping etc. Bruce loved Bung Bo Kune because of its simliarity in the usage of strong forearms to attack in a simple, direct and practical way.

Southern Praying Mantis Style
========================
Despite its name, Southern Praying Mantis Style, actually has no direct connection with the Northern Praying Mantis Style. It is a Chinese martial art originating with the Hakka people living in Kong Sai, the southern province of China. It is most closely associated with styles such as Southern Dragon Kung Fu and Bak Mei (White Brows).
Southern Praying Mantis places a heavy emphasis on close-range fighting. This system is known for its short power methods, and has aspects of both internal and external techniques. In application, the emphasis is on hand and arm techniques, and a limited use of low kicks. The application of close combat methods with an emphasis on hands and short kicking techniques makes the Southern Praying Mantis art somewhat akin to what many would call "street fighting." The hands are the most readily available for attack and defence of the upper body, and protect the stylist by employing ruthless techniques designed to inflict serious injury. The legs are moved quickly into range through footwork to protect and defend the body, and kicks are kept low, short and quick so as to never leave the Southern Mantis combatant off balance and vulnerable.
There are five main branches of Southern Praying Mantis:
1. Chow Gar (Chow family); 2. Chu Gar (Chu family); 3. Kong Sai Jook Lum (Bamboo Forest); 4. Iron Ox and 5. K.S. Hsiung Tung Lung Quet Tsot (Mantis Martial Arts)

Bruce learnt Jook Lum style (Bamboo Forest Temple Style)
==============================================
According to oral traditions, the Kong Sai Jook Lum style traces its origins to the temple Jook Lum Gee (Bamboo Forest Temple), Wu Tai Shan in Shanxi province and on Mt. Longhu in Jiangxi province. The monk Som Dot, created this new martial art system in the 18th century. Later, the art spread southward and overseas.
In the 1920s Lum Sang, studied and traveled with Master Lee Siem See, a Jook Lum Style Preying Mantist expert, for seven years. In the 1930s, Lum returned to HK and opened a “Kong Sai Jook Lum Temple Tung Lung Pak” school in Kowloon. In 1942, Lum Sang emigrated to the United States and settled in the Chinatown of New York City. He started teaching in Chinatown's Hakka Association. His students such as Harry Sun, Wong Buk Lam, Henry Poo Yee and Louie Jack Man would establish themselves as teachers following the example and high esteemed reputation earned by Gin Foon Mark (1927 - ). All of these men have promoted this art in the United States and around the world. Gin Foon Mark became the most well known practitioner and master of the art passed to him by Lum Sang.
Master Gin Foon Mark grew up in China’s temples then fights for respect in the U.S., succumbing to aggression and pride. After he accidentally hurts a challenger with his developing dim mak (chi/ energy) abilities, he then realises the greater importance of helping and not hurting others when he remembered his Buddhist roots. Master Mark returned to China in 1979 and is still alive. He even traveled back to the U.S. in the 80s and 90s to visit his old friends and was interviewed about his martial arts as well as his connections with Bruce Lee by Kung Fu magazine in 1999.

Bruce’s learning of the Southern style Preying Mantis Boxing was documented in “Dragon and Tiger” by Greglon Lee and Sid Campbell. According to an interview with Master Gin Foon Mak, he said Bruce studied Praying Mantis Kung Fu with him for about a month when he flew from Seattle to visit his father, Mr. Lee Hoi Chuen who was performing opera in New York (circa June 1959). Master Mark said, “I changed his horse stance and footwork. The Praying Mantis horse stance is different than the Wing Chun horse stance. Bruce held his hands too close to his chest. I had him extend his hands out further, with his strongest hand leading, like a southpaw. I showed him how to use and generate short power. He became interested, because he noticed that it contained all of the Wing Chun techniques and ideas: economy, directness, control of the center, sticky hands, etc. He liked the way the techniques were executed- each technique flowed into the next turning the opponent’s strength against him. He also learned the 3-step arrow formula. Bruce was really impressed by my philosophy of fighting. Any good fighting system, like Praying Mantis, should have the following attacking methods: attack by combination, drawing, hand immobilization, foot immobilization, progressive indirect attack, simple direct and singular attacks. These were denoted: ABC, ABD, HIA, FIA, PIA, SDA, and SAA, respectively, later in Jeet Kune Do. I think JKD’s philosophy is closer to Praying Mantis than to Wing Chun. Look at my free-style movements and compare them with those of a Wing Chun Sifu. Then, judge for yourself which resembles JKD more.”

Besides, Praying Mantis boxing, Bruce also picked up Fu Jow (Tiger Claw), Ying Jow (Eagle Claw), Dim Mak (blocking of vital body’s pressure points) and Pak Ho Chuan (White Crane Fist) from Master Mark. The weapons which Bruce learnt from Master Mark include butterfly knives, long staff, 3-sectional staff, quan do, trident and swords. Bruce also learnt how to condition, toughen and strengthen his forearms using bamboos and other devices such as hanging bundles of chains over the forearms, using assorted iron rings to toughen the arms. Furthermore, Bruce also learnt the Yan Mook Jung (wooden dummy) techniques (different from Wing Chun) and he strengthened his fingers by isolating the muscle group and lifting a cut off section of iron rail-road track. Although it was only a month crash course but Bruce surely had widen his horizon and increase his martial arts knowledge and skills to a greater extent. Master Mark was very impressed with Bruce’s overall performance and thought he had learnt the theory and practical very fast due to his solid foundation in Kung Fu.

After completing a month crash course lesson with Master Gin Foon Mark in New York, Bruce Lee returned to Seattle and learnt “Southern Preying Mantis,” “Tai Chi Chuen” as well as Red Junk Wing Chun from Master Yueng Fook who was a Sil Lum Kuen Master. In addition, when he first came to America he also had a Southern Mantis Manual that he purchased from a Vancouver Chinatown bookstore. Jesse Glover said Bruce Lee trained with Master Yeung between 1959-1967 or so. Master Yeung showed him the systems and Bruce was an adept student and worked them to a very effective level. One of Bruce’s favorite forms to practice was the Tung Lung or Praying Mantis form. In addition, Bruce had a Southern Mantis Manual that he purchased from a Vancouver Chinatown bookstore. Through extensively study of this Preying Mantis style, Bruce Lee gained broader knowledge and attained greater height in martial arts skills both mentally and physically.

Enter Into The Mantis’ World
=======================
Bruce combined the Southern Style strong mantis forearms techniques with the Northern Style mantis’ agile leaping footwork, and incorporated them into his Jun Fan Kung Fu. Although Bruce had never used the Praying Mantis Kung Fu in his movie, yet in the “Preying Mantis” episode of “The Green Hornet,” Kato (Bruce as Japanese) versus Low Sing (Mako Iwamatsu as Chinese) who was a Praying Mantis boxing expert. Dan Inosanto doubled for Mako and displayed an excellent Mantis boxing which was choreographed by Bruce. Of course, the Praying Mantis’ expert was killed by Bruce Lee at the end. Bruce loved Preying Mantis so much that in ETD, he got director, Robert Clouse to insert a scene of the real praying mantis’ fight scene in the junk that was sailing towards Han’s island. It showed the small and weak praying mantis overcoming the bigger and stronger praying mantis with its determination and primitive force when facing danger. Bruce won the bet and had a big grin on his face, a rare smile in ETD. Furthermore, Bruce wanted to depict JKD versus Praying Mantis Kung Fu master (Taky Kimura was intended to cast as the second floor guardian) in G.O.D., unfortunately, Bruce passed away before filming this scene. In the world of the praying mantis, Bruce was like the small praying mantis who could overcome the bigger praying mantis without fear. His fighting spirit resembles that of the praying mantis and would always inspire us to overcome adversities and move on in our life with full confidence.

Bruce Lee & Master Mark photos:
http://postimg.org/image/riykaq2dv/

Master Gin Foon Mark’s demo video:

JOOK LUM SEMINAR: G. M. GIN FOON MARK IN ITALY

I have several reasons for seriously doubting the claimed BL/Gin Foon Mark connection.
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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

August 26th, 2015, 3:32 am #7

The Master Fook Yueng Connection
============================
Jesse Glover once said,“When Bruce came to the U.S. in 1959 he knew about sixty percent of the Wooden dummy, the first form and parts of the second and third form but his Wing Chun training didn’t end there. Fook Yueng, a friend of Bruce’s father, continued Bruce’s instruction in Wing Chun. Fook Yueng was a Chinese opera star from the time that he was ten. Each time that he joined a new opera he had to learn the Kung Fu style that Kung Fu master favored. Fook Yueng learned many styles and he taught parts of them to Bruce. One of the styles that he taught Bruce was “Red Junk Wing Chun.” The areas where Bruce excelled were sticking hands, closing, chasing and punching.”

Master Fook Yueng was an Opera Gung Fu brother with Bruce Lee’s father, Lee Hoi Chuen. The first thing Bruce did when he met Master Fook Yueng in Seattle was to ask to do Chi Sau. When he could not get through, he asked Master Fook Yeung to teach him. From 1959-1967 or so Bruce learnt different styles from Fook Yeung (more info in the book “Between Wing Chun and JKD” by Jesse Glover, the first student of Bruce Lee and founder of NCGF).

When Bruce left Hong Kong, he could not get through in Chi Sau on his teachers, Ip Man and Wong Shun-Leung. Bruce told Jesse that on the second time he returned to HK, he could finally hold his own and get through on his teacher but held back out of respect of course. This was a result of 1) Bruce’s own modification and talent and 2) due to the instruction that he have received from Master Fook Yeung. Unlike a lot of martial artists, Yeung Fook kept a low profile and has never publicised his relationship with Bruce.

Master Fook Yueng (1919 – 23rd April 2012)
======================================
According to Adam Chan (Pragmatic Martial Arts and a friend of Steve Smith whose teacher was Master Yueng), Master Fook Yueng (full name Yeung Gao-Fook), was born in 1919 in Canton (now called Guangdong), China. He was raised in the Red Boat Opera since the age of 7 years old and was in the opera house for 55 years, and on stage he played the Monkey King. Growing up in the Opera was hard times in the early 1900s, the children would train more than 8 hour a day and all Opera players had hard training like a modern day gymnast. Aside from acrobatics, acting, and singing of Chinese Opera training, the Red Junk Opera was historically an underground Martial Arts Society. The Han Tribe’s Rebellion Group call the “Red Flower Society” have tried to overthrow the Ching Dynasty Emperor for attacking Central China. This went on for 400 years, men from 100s of different Kung Fu Styles trained alongside each other. Some of the descendents of these assassination group became the Red Junk Opera. The Red Junk is also the accurate historical birth place for Wing Chun Gung Fu. In fact, Red Junk Wing Chun was originated from Fujian province’s Pak Ho Kune (White Crane Fist).

Aside from Wing Chun, the Red Junk Opera house was a place for many masters and styles, including Southern Mantis, Hung Gar, Wah Huen, Bak Mei, Choy Li Fut etc etc. In his long training in the Opera House, Master Yeung learnt 160 styles of Kung Fu. Aside from Kung Fu, he was a master of Tien Shan Chi Gung (Tien Shan translates to “Heaven Mountain” and is one of the 7 sacred mountains of China, along with Shaolin, Wu Dang, O-mei, Wah Mountain, Kun Lun and others). It is very rare to know a Master from Heaven Mountain (Tien Shan), they are hard to find even in mainland China.

In the early 1900s, it was a different time in mainland China. People lived or died by their Kung Fu skill. Challenges match was perfectly legal (including sabre matches) and whenever the Opera was challenged, it is said that Master Fook Yeung was the man who answer it and never lost. Most martial artist at that time made their living escorting money, being a body guard, teaching in a Kung Fu school, hired to protect a particular rural villages or work in the opera. It was right after the Opium War and Boxer Rebellion and the Ching Dynasty was on the verge of collapse. In some ways China was like the lawlessness of the Old West and it was full of bandits. Kung Fu men back then fought for real, they were like “hired guns” and death sometimes occurred. Master Fook Yeung, like O-Sensei and other masters of peace came from real combat life experience and not empty talk .

Master Fook Yueng Settled In U.S.
==========================
Like Lee Hoi Chuen, Master Fook Yueng was already a fairly popular Chinese Opera Star during the 1920's and 1930's until the WWII conflict began in 1936. Actually, Master Fook Yueng was sold to an Opera Troupe by his parents as a very young child. Master Fook Yueng was trained in a variety of Martial Arts including "Red Junk Wing Chun," “Praying Mantis,” “Tai Chi Chuan,” “Bak Gwa Palm,” “Monkey Style” and odds and ends of whatever was picked up along the way up and down the coast of China during that time period. Master Fook Yueng, because of his small stature and physical agility was famed for his role as the “Monkey King” in the Chinese Opera of the same name. His small frame size also remind people of Bruce’s Wing Chun Sifu – Ip Man.

After WWII, Master Fook Yueng immigrated to Seattle from Hong Kong. Due to the lengthy hours being a Chinese Gourmet Cook, it was impossible to teach each different style and keep things straight and practice the same. Due to necessity, Master Fook Yueng developed the style of Yueng Chuan (Yueng style boxing). This style combined several styles but the base was "Red Junk Wing Chun" and a Northern Praying Mantis system. He had single forms, weapons forms, some two persons forms and an unbelievable amount of "Drills"!

Master Fook Yueng once said although Bruce Lee did do and know forms in the beginning of his career, he just did not like them. Master Fook Yueng was not a big man, but very wiry, very strong and very powerful. He was very adept at nerve pressure techniques and always seemed to be practicing them on whatever he happened to be holding. There was a joke about him that he was the only one who could make a coffee mug tap out. He did not speak much English but he had a direct and simple way of getting his points across.

Working Together For KCTS Channel 9 TV Demos
=============================================
In Jan 1961, after watching local programming on KCTS Channel 9 public TV, Bruce decided that he should contact them about possibly demonstrating Kung Fu on their station. He thought TV would be an excellent way to reach vast numbers of people and give him the exposure he needed, which could ultimately generate more students. His plan would be to demonstrating Sil Lum Tao Wing Chun form and then break it down into simplified self-defense techniques. Perhaps he would have his students perform some of the basic forms, and then he would follow up by demonstrating the specific techniques with each of them using variations that he had developed. Then he would add some Chi Sao sticking hand sensitivity drills to highlight the high-speed precision that one could achieve if one became skillful in Wing Chun. He would emphasise explaining to the viewers what was happening as the techniques were performed. Jesse Glover suggested he could even add a little spontaneous free-style sparring to show the audience just how effective the techniques are against even someone that’s skilled in the art of fighting.

The TV station management later informed that there was a Chinese man named Master Fook Yueng (Bruce had earlier learnt some Kung Fu forms from him) who had a similar idea that he taught a style known as Sil Lum. The program director suggested that, in the best interest of the viewing public and to insure that the air time was properly utilised without being redundant, it was advisable for Bruce to organise a demo show together with Master Fook Yueng. By the first week of February 1961, Bruce and Master Fook Yueng had worked out a plan to share the show for their proposed demonstrations. Bruce would present the Wing Chun style and Fook Yueng would present the Sil Lum style. Bruce also spent a lot of additional time rehearsing with Jesse Glover, Skip Ellsworth, Tak Miyabe, Jim Demile, Leroy Garcia and Taky Kimura on the various parts of their demonstrations. In the same week, Bruce got Madam Mei Wong, a seamstress, to sew some Chinese Jing Mo Kung Fu uniforms for them. On the third week of February, Bruce’s club entered the TV station and performed their demonstration for the studio crew who watched in amazement when Bruce exhibited his explosive speed and power, as he demonstrated his techniques with his students. Even Master Fook Yueng and his group were duly impressed with Bruce’s agility and impeccable timing.

The following week in March, the KCTS TV manager informed Bruce that the station wanted to do a short yet complete series of segments for public TV broadcast. All of the students were elated that their self-defense demonstrations was so well received by the station, and it was even more exciting when they saw themselves on TV for the first time. They met at the station on 3 separate occasions and filmed the entire series. The station even interviewed Bruce so that they could use portions as segues into and out of the various instructional programs. After 3 weeks from the initial airing of the self-defense demo, the response was very well received and Bruce became very busy at the recreation center enrolling new students and instructing them in a fundamental regimen of exercises and basic martial arts training.

Master Yueng’s Fook Yueng Chuan
===========================
Master Fook Yueng’s Kung Fu was beyond style. There is a flowing, embracing, leading, sensitive, direct, energetic quality about Fook Yeung Chuan that is beyond style. It would not matter if it was done with any styles movement – perhaps that’s why Master Fook Yeung said, “All same nothing.” It was the understanding of energy, what’s behind the movement that matter and perhaps that’s why Master Fook Yueng said, “Without Chi Gung, you cannot do the advanced Kung Fu.” This is why Bruce was able to execute his punches and kicks with very powerful force because he practice Chi Gung – an internal style of Chinese martial arts.

Master Fook Yueng was succeeded by Master Steve Smith (from Walla Walla, Washington) who teaches the Pearland of Academy of Martial Arts’ study group. He teaches the principles of Fook Yeung Chuan and its Basic Combat System. Training includes the implementation of these methods in the arts of “Bak Gwa Palm (8 Trigrams Palm),” “Hsing-Yi Chuan” and “Tai Chi Chuan”. Master Smith is the Chairman of the “International Fook Yueng Chuan Association,” an association dedicated to the study of the principles taught to Steve Smith by David Harris and Fook Yueng. Mr. Smith has traveled and studied extensively with Jesse Glover, Bruce Lee’s first Student and has been given permission to instruct in Jesse’s Methods.

Fook Yueng Chuan or Fook Yueng’s Boxing is a rich method of Martial Arts that is effective for overall health/fitness development and is exceptionally functional for self-defense. It is synthesised from over 160 martial art styles and Tien Shan Mountain Chi Kung by Master Fook Yueng. The bringing together of the styles was more a matter of that it fit together and after 70 years they become “all same”. Master Fook Yueng had several people that taught his methods. They are David Harris (Steve Smith’s Primary teacher of Yueng Quan) who was his number 1 adopted son, Andy Dale his number 2 adopted son, and Steve Smith his successor and inheritor.

A forgotten Master Remembered
=========================
Many knew that Bruce was a bus boy at Ruby Chow's in the late 50s but few knew that Master Fook Yeung was also employed as a Chinese Gourmet Cook in the 1960's through 1970's at Ruby Chow's Restaurant in Seattle. He had also worked in other Chinese Restaurants in the area. To Master Fook Yeung, cook was by profession and martial arts was his hobby and interest.

When Bruce died in 1973, Master Fook Yeung and Jesse Glover were among those present in Bruce’s Seattle burial ceremony that threw soil unto his coffin. Master Fook Yueng was utterly upset upon his student’s untimely death.

After Bruce and Brandon’s death, Jesse Glover once took the elderly Master Fook Yeung to a Bruce Lee convention held in Seattle. They sat together and Master Fook Yeung held his hand while he grieved the passing of Bruce Lee and Bruce’s son Brandon Lee. He said, “too soon, they died too soon.” He also said that Bruce Lee had done a lot more for Kung Fu in his few years on earth than had been done in the last 500 years. Master Fook Yueng was always a happy and joyous person. Those who have met him always commented that he was full of love and joy.

Master Fook Yeung passed away on 23 Apr 2012 (2 months later, his good friend and Bruce first student, Jesse Glover joined him in heaven). Unlike Master Gin Foon Mak who was a well-known martial artist in New York in the early days, Master Fook Yeung was a low profile and dedicated martial artist in Seattle. His valuable teachings and advices to young Bruce Lee would always be remembered by all BL fans. Indeeed, he is gone but yet not forgotten. R.I.P.

Master Fook Yeung & Bruce Lee photos: http://postimg.org/image/stzuc8ksb/

Master Fook Yeung and Steve Smith video: http://seattlencgf.com/ncgf/steve-smith ... fook-yeung


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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

August 26th, 2015, 4:11 am #8

Your knowledge is really impressive. I've read the Dragon Tiger book which is the best source for Bruce's early U.S. martial arts background but you still have lots more to share...haven't you thought about compiling a book or two, LJF? You already have one buyer :)
Thanks a lot
.
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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

August 26th, 2015, 4:48 am #9

I have several reasons for seriously doubting the claimed BL/Gin Foon Mark connection.
This is an article on Master Gin Foon Mark’s biography posted on the Classical Kung Fu website on 13th Oct 2014.

Master Mark And Jook Lum Praying Mantis
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Gin Foon Mark is the fifth generation master of the Kong Sai Jook Lum Praying Mantis system. Master Mark was born in Toyson, a village near Canton, China in 1927. He comes from a family of four generations of high ranking, Kung Fu experts. His instruction in Kung Fu began at the age of five, under the supervision of his uncles and grandfather. He is one of the few people alive today who has directly experienced Kung Fu as it was taught in the monasteries when they were still fountains of knowledge. At the age of nine he was admitted to the Shaolin Temple at Chun San and studied with the monk Moot Ki Fut Sai as well as other outstanding Masters. He received instruction in Si Lum, White Crane, Eagle, Leopard, Tiger and various internal Kung Fu systems.

His uncle, a White Crane expert, was gigantic, over seven feet tall and close to 300 pounds. Master Mark realized that there might always be someone larger and stronger than him. It was senseless to rely on muscular strength! Therefore, he asked his father to petition, on his behalf, for admittance to the Hoi Jung Temple in Macao. Mark was accepted into this temple which was renowned for its internal Kung Fu. There he studied an ancient form of Tiger Claw, which relied on sensitivity and turning the opponent’s strength against him. Master Mark also studied Praying Mantis in the Jook Lum Temple in Kong Sai. He applied the sensitivity exercises to this style, creating a much softer system.

In these temples, Master Mark studied:

1. Ming Kung: Self defense techniques and the healing arts of herbology, acupuncture and Chinese Massage.
2. Shin Kung: Spirit Kung Fu which included charms for controlling spirits using the Bak Gwa in relation to the zodiacal signs, healing the sick, begging for rain, expelling evil spirits, judging the success or failure of a project and designing structures (Feng Shui).
3. Chi Kung: Use of internal power (Chi) both for health and the Martial Arts (Dim Mak, iron palm and body).

During World War 11 Master Mark was a bodyguard for his uncle, who was a general in the Chinese army. He was already a Kung Fu expert; no one would suspect that a 15 year old had such devastating skills.

Sifu Mark’s teaching career began in 1947 when the trade associations of Chinatown, New York, sent for him to instruct their younger members. In New York, Master Mark met Sifu Lum Wing Fai, the fourth generation Master of Kong Sai Jook Lum Praying Mantis. Master Mark continued his study of Praying Mantis with Lum for nearly 10 years.

Why did Master Mark give up the other forms of Kung Fu to concentrate on Praying Mantis? He thought that it contained most of the techniques of other styles; one could theoretically improve forever, since this style was not based on muscular strength and fast reflexes. Moreover, it was one of the deadliest forms of self-defense that Master Mark had run across. Incidentally, this is why Bruce Lee was attracted to this system. One reason for its effectiveness was that it was invented for fighting by a puny monk to defend himself against a bullying, gigantic Kung Fu expert, as the following brief history indicates.

This Praying Mantis (Tung Lung Pai) system is about one hundred and eighty years old. it was created by Som Dot, a monk of the Jook Lum (Bamboo Forest) Buddhist Monastery in the province of Kong Sai, China. Monk Som Dot was so small and frail-looking that the monks didn’t allow him to practice Kung Fu. He was given all of the dirty tasks. One of his chief duties was to carry water from the river to the monastery. If he became tired and rested, the abbot’s chief assistant hollered at him and frequently beat and kicked him. Som Dot endured this abuse because his tormenter was a huge, powerful white eyebrow style Kung Fu expert.

One day Som Dot was sitting outside the monastery. He saw a praying mantis battling a huge bird at least ten times its size. The bird retreated and finally flew away. Som thought that if the small insect could vanquish the large bird, perhaps he could defeat his gigantic tormenter. He captured some praying mantises and studied their fighting methods. Som copied the insect’s fighting techniques and combined them with the inner power training methods he had learned from his former teacher. This Sifu was a hermit called Hai Shem, who lived on O Mei Mountain. Hai Shem was a very deep and mysterious person with great internal power. It is not known whether he knew any Kung Fu.

After Som had been studying for about four years, the abbot left to visit another monastery. When he returned he saw that his assistant was bandaged and limping. He asked the White Eyebrow what had happened. The White Eyebrow explained that he had an accident. The other monks feared the White Eyebrow and didn’t contradict him. Finally, Som Dot said that he would tell the truth. He had fought and trounced the White Eyebrow. He was very sorry for what he had done but he couldn’t restrain himself - a beaten dog eventually turns on his tormenter. The abbot commanded, “Don’t do it again,” and struck Som lightly on the head three times. He repeated the warning and once again lightly tapped Som’s head three times.

Som reasoned that since the blows were so light that they were not meant as a punishment, but as a code. Perhaps the abbot wanted to meet him outside the monastery at 3 A.M.. That night Som went outside the monastery’s walls at 3 A.M.. The abbot was already there. The abbot thought that Som Dot was clever not only because he figured out the code, but also invented an outstanding system. He decided to help Som. The abbot saw some weaknesses in the system and pointed them out. They continued to meet and further develop the system.

Today it might seem strange that many monks who lived and worked in monasteries practiced some form of martial art (Kung Fu). There were two reasons for this tradition. Long hours of meditation and religious practices weakened the body and exhausted the mind. The monks realized that Kung Fu is a good discipline for both the body and the mind, being conducive to good health and relaxation. Moreover, Kung Fu provided an excellent defense against robbers who occasionally tried to plunder monasteries.

Each major monastery had its own style of Kung Fu. Naturally, rivalries developed among the many styles, so exhibitions and tournaments were held periodically. A council composed of the elders of the various monasteries presided over these gatherings. It was not unusual that a contestant suffered fatal injuries. Under such stiff competition the less effective systems were gradually eliminated; the better ones survived and propagated.

At that point in history, most of the major classical Kung Fu systems were well developed. The abbot instructed Som Dot in many practical techniques from other systems. That is why the Praying Mantis system contains many techniques from other systems. Som was interested in creating an extremely effective and deadly fighting system to use in tournaments between monasteries.

Som Dot taught his system to Lee Siem, a fellow monk of unusual intelligence and physical stamina. Under Som Dot’s skillful instruction, Lee mastered the intricate and subtle techniques of the system. Lee Siem won the King Fu championship in 1850. After that he never participated in a fight to the death and became a high priest.

For centuries martial arts were taught mainly within the monasteries. Near the end of the Ching dynasty many changes in customs occurred. Chung Yu Chang was one of the first laymen to learn the Praying Mantis system from Abbot Lee Siem at the Jook Lum Temple. Master Chang passed the system on to Lum Wing Fay, Master Mark’s teacher. Since none of the teachers died before passing on the whole system, this is one of the few systems that has survived intact.

This system is alive today largely through the efforts of Master Mark alone. None of the other disciples of Master Lum taught Praying Mantis openly. In fact, in the 1940’s Kung Fu was reserved for the Chinese. Master Mark believed that all people were the same and taught all interested students of good character. He was one of the first Chinese Kung Fu teachers to open his Kwoon to the general public. He also gave many demonstrations in Madison Square Gardens during Karate tournaments. His students participated in the first Karate versus Kung Fu competitions held in California.

Promoting Praying Mantis in those days was not easy. Master Mark was challenged many times by Chinese Kung Fu practitioners. They thought he was too young to be a Sifu. Many Karateka’s also challenged him because they had never seen Kung Fu and doubted its effectiveness. Master Mark soon gained the reputation of a formidable fighter in the 1950s. At that time Bruce Lee was visiting his father, who was an actor and appearing in a Chinese theater in New York. An acquaintance of the actor brought Bruce Lee to Master Mark’s school to study there. Bruce Lee was so impressed with Master Mark’s skill and knowledge that he wanted Master Mark to move to California in order to continue his studies and use Master Mark as a technical adviser for his films. However, Master Mark could not leave New York at that time because of family obligations.

In 1968, Master Lum Wing Fay closed his hands (retired). He encouraged his five disciples to carry on the traditions of the system and appointed Mark to be the fifth generation Master. To honor and formalize this event, a huge banquet was held at the Atlantic Ocean restaurant in New York. The retirement of Master Lum and the inauguration of Master Mark were witnessed by over 200 prominent members of Chinese Associations. To commemorate this event a photo of the 5 disciples was taken with Master Lum. Sifu Mark received Grandmaster Lum’s Spri (altar) with its cups, bowls, fans, stamps and other artifacts from the Temple. Shortly after his retirement, Master Lum moved to Taipei, Taiwan.

During the next 23 years, Master Mark and Grandmaster Lum actively corresponded. Lum continually encouraged Mark and revealed new facets of the system. During this same time, according to tradition, Master Mark and the four other inner disciples helped to support their Sifu with monthly donations.

Since Master Mark was one of best-known Kung Fu teachers in those days, he was selected to appear on the popular television program “You Asked For It”. The producers provided Master Mark and his family with an all expenses paid trip to Taiwan for a surprise visit with Grandmaster Lum. After more than 12 years of separation, the reunion in the temple between Mark and his old Sifu was very emotional. The producers filmed and televised these Masters practicing their art together once again.

In 1970, Master Mark was invited to visit Minneapolis, Minnesota by a number of martial artists. He liked the area so much that he settled there in 1971 and opened a Kung Fu school. However, just as before, Sifu Mark’s primary source of income came from the restaurant business, since he is also a master chef. Minnesota considered him to be a noteworthy historical figure and elected him to the Living History Museum. In 1979 a biographical film was produced and archived.

Master Mark was selected by the Physical Education Department at Temple University to appear in their World Masters’ Symposium, held in Philadelphia in 1982.

Sifu Lum taught Master Mark the following formulas of the system: 3-step arrows, Um Han, Um Moy Fat, the 18, 36, 72 and 108 point formulas. He also taught Mark classical Chinese weapons, such as the butterfly knives, the staff, the 3-section staffs, the kwando, the trident and swords. However, most importantly he transmitted the secret fighting strategies and inner power (Chi Kung) exercises to him. Mark also learned Lum’s methods of treating injuries along with the secret herbal formulas. Some of these formulas will increase the flow of Chi to certain areas of the body and strengthen these parts, for example, the bones. Thus, it is not necessary to toughen the hands by hitting hard objects like in external styles. In addition to the healing aspects of the art, Master Lum taught Mark the deadly art of striking acupuncture points, Dim Mak, and gave him the chart of the secret acupoints.

Master Mark learned that a theoretical knowledge of Dim Mak is not enough to apply it successfully in actual combat. The fighting system must have certain characteristics imposed by the requirements that the acupuncture point must be struck accurately and with sufficient force. The difficulty is that the target is small, moving, not rigid and often protected. For example, suppose the acupuncture point is located on the arm. If you lunge at the arm from a long distance, the arm will have moved slightly. Even if you hit the target, the arm will be moved by the force of the punch and so the strike’s power will be reduced.

Insight into an effective technique for the application of Dim Mak can be obtained by considering the analogy of pushing an elevator button. Most people keep their hand close to the button and push it with one finger, instead of their whole hand. Thus, for accuracy, the ability to strike forcefully from a short distance (short power) must be developed. Furthermore, the striking surface must be small, like the second joint of the index finger of a phoenix-eye fist used in Praying Mantis. To compensate for the loss of external power of a blow, due to the give in the target, the ability to inject Chi must be developed. Finally, since the opponent is trying to block your punch, you must be able to spin around his block and perhaps attack another acupuncture point. This ability depends on feeling rather than eyesight. All of these abilities are found in the Praying Mantis System, since it was especially developed for Dim Mak.

All of the formulas that Master Mark learned from Lum and in the Jook Lum Temple were one-person formulas. From seeing many famous Masters fight and from his own fighting experience, Sifu Mark realized that the formulas alone were not sufficient for self-defense. Real fighting is continuous, you attack, your opponent counters, you counter his counter and so on. You must not only learn distancing and timing, but feeling as well so that you can turn your opponent’s strength and aggression against him. You must also learn how to handle different sized opponents, varied attacks, etc. Thus, in order to clearly understand how to use the techniques in a formula, Master Mark devised realistic and practical two-person fighting versions of each formula. In addition, he invented many new two-person formulas depending on the level of skill of the students, like loose hands. He also designed many new sticky hands formulas like Toyshu, Saishu Patterns, 5-Star, etc. These are outstanding contributions to the evolution and fighting prowess of Jook Lum Praying Mantis.

The Praying Mantis System is very subtle. Powerful and practical techniques are hidden in the relaxed, circular movements of a practitioners hands and feet. It is difficult to explain these techniques until they are practiced and experienced. However, the following features of the system distinguish it from other systems.

1. Praying Mantis is an internal system. It concentrates on developing internal power rather than external muscle strength
2. The Praying Mantis system has more techniques than many other systems and includes sticky’ hands and feet.
3. The Praying Mantis uses his opponent’s strength against him.
4. Many Praying mantis techniques rely only on feeling. The hands react as if they had eyes and without thinking. The hands are alive and not dead. Praying Mantis is a “Soft Arm” Kung Fu system.
5. Each formula has a two or more person breakdown.
6. The Praying Mantis learns to use each limb independently of any other limb.
7. Praying Mantis fighting is relaxed, continuous and flowing.
8. The techniques are practiced exactly the way they are used; there is no show.
9. The Praying Mantis System is a shortcut system.
10. Praying Mantis has more than one power.
11. Although the Praying Mantis practices high kicks, it favors low kicks for combat.
12. The Praying Mantis uses Dim Mak, the art of striking acupuncture points to produce injury or death.
13. The system is based on Taoist philosophy. Ultimately it reduces to Yin and Yang. The practitioner requires no conscious thought to react.

The world headquarters for Kong Sai Jook Lum Praying Mantis Kung Fu is in Maplewood Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul. Here Master Mark teaches the self-defense part of the system, which includes all possible types of armed and unarmed attacks. Since Praying Mantis is not a sport all possible ranges of fighting are taught, for example, close quarters and Chin Na. All classical Chinese weapons are taught. Chinese painting and lion dancing are also taught. In addition Sifu Mark emphasizes the health aspects of the system and has special classes oriented solely to health, for example, the Six Healing Sounds’ class. Master Mark’s Six Healing Sounds teacher was simply known as “Old Master” in China. Even when around 100 years old, he was in good physical condition and appeared half his age. He had a government job and traveled from province to province teaching Chi Kung until his death at around 105. He cured many diseased people with Chi Kung. Master Mark also teaches an internal version of the Iron Palm, called the Cotton Palm, which he learned in the Hoi Jung Temple. This version is much safer to learn than the regular Iron Palm, which can have many adverse effects on a practitioner’s health.
Master Mark’s training partner, Ho Dun, died in September 1991. Grandmaster Lum died in November 1991. Documents recording the funeral of Grandmaster Lum indicate that only the living disciples, Lee Boa, Chuck Chin, Eng Shew and Gin Foon Mark contributed towards the burial of their Sifu.

This leaves only 5th generation Master Mark as the ultimate authority on the Jook Lum System. Fortunately, in this modern age there is still a complete system and a living Master. To preserve this system requires dedicated students who realize that Kung Fu is a lifetime study and are willing to search for genuine teachers.

Unfortunately, it is not easy for neophytes to find genuine teachers. History shows that in some martial arts, after the Master had died, students who were not inner disciples, and did not learn the whole system, claim to be Masters. The same thing is happening in Kwong Sai Jook lum Praying Mantis. People, who were not inner disciples of Master Lum or even his student but taught by Master Mark or his students, claim to be Masters. They hoodwink the public by forming benevolent societies or with flowery dedications to Master Lum. Some offer a picture taken with Master Lum as proof. Any experienced martial artist can see that some of the so-called self-defense photos are unrealistic and are just poses and clowning for the camera. There are also Sifus and their students who didn’t have the patience to learn the whole system or even to correctly learn the small part of the system that they pretend to teach. These pretenders expose themselves by their ludicrous movements which do not resemble the movements of Masters Mark or Lum. Fortunately, a prospective student can draw his own conclusions by seeing Master Mark in person, videotapes of Masters Mark and Lum, or Master Mark’s web site.

Adequate self-defense skills can be learned in a few years, much easier than in many other systems. The reason is that in this style of Praying Mantis the techniques are applied exactly the way they are practiced. One can learn how to improve one’s health in about 6 months by learning the rudiments of the Six Healing Sounds.

At 87, fifth generation Master Mark’s inner power is still very effective in warding off the attacks of any sized opponent.

Bruce Lee & The Gin Foon Mark’s praying mantis’ connection: http://postimg.org/image/u43tv94pb/
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Chuan Jun Fan
Chuan Jun Fan

August 31st, 2015, 12:56 am #10

The following is a rare interview of Master Gin Foon Mak, featured in the March 1999 issue of Kung Fu magazine, titled “Bruce Lee & The Master Mark Connection.”

Q1: How did you meet Bruce Lee?
GFM: Bruce was in New York visiting his father, who was an actor in The Chinese Theater. A mutual acquaintance of his father and me brought him to my Kwoon (school).

Q2: When did this meeting occur and how old was Bruce?
GFM: It was in the 1950’s. Bruce seemed to be about 18.

Q3: How did the person who brought Bruce know about your Kwoon? In those days the location of Kwoons were often kept secret. Visitors were forbidden. Usually, only members of the Chinese benevolent society sponsoring the Kung Fu master were taught.
GFM: Most Chinese at that time thought that foreigners could not understand the true philosophy and use of Kung Fu and so it was dangerous to teach them. I disagreed with this viewpoint. I believed that all people were the same and so I taught every decent human being.

Q4: Was Bruce Lee interested in Praying Mantis?
GFM: No. At that time Praying Mantis was considered an inferior art in Hong Kong and there were no outstanding practitioners. Furthermore, Bruce thought that all the good masters were in Hong Kong.

Q5: Then, why did Bruce come to your school?
GFM: Bruce was young and interested in fighting. The person who brought him told Bruce that I was a formidable fighter.

Q6: How did he know that?
GFM: At that time I was a well-known Sifu in New York. Many people here and in China thought I was too young to be a Sifu. Consequently, I received many challenges and met them successfully. I wanted people to know my art, so I demonstrated at many Karate and martial arts competitions. My students competed in the first Karate versus Kung Fu contest in California. I was one of the first genuine Sifus to demonstrate openly in the United States.

Q7: What did Karatekas think about your Kung Fu?
GFM: They had never seen anything like it. Their attitude was similar to that of Chuck Norris. He thought it was pretty, smooth and flowing, but not useful for combat because the techniques had no power. One of my students asked him if he would like to try my hands. He eagerly accepted and launched a powerful reverse punch. I immediately executed a light praying Mantis’ deflection of the punch followed by a flicking technique, snapping him on the eye and ending the demonstration. His eye swelled up. I said its a good thing I don’t have any power or else your eye would be lying on the floor.

Q8: Was Bruce Lee impressed watching your students practice?
GFM: I don’t think so. Not many people have seen or understand this rare system. The power in the techniques is hidden. Bruce remarked on the similarity between Praying Mantis and Wing Chun. He wanted to have a match with one of my students, to which I readily agreed.

Q9: What happened?
GFM: Neither Bruce nor my student could gain an advantage; it was a draw. Bruce asked me how long the student had studied. I replied about a year. Then, I demonstrated some advanced techniques and weapons. I asked him if he would like to try my hands. He declined, out of respect, and said he was interested in studying with me.

Q10: What do you think impressed him?
GFM: My short power, especially in using weapons. Unlike many other systems, the weapons are used just like our empty hands techniques, without large, swinging motions. Most people don’t have short power, because they don’t practice short power enough. My instructors didn’t show me any weapon’s form for six years. Instead, I had to practice cutting bamboo, melons, potatoes, etc.

Q11: What did you first teach Bruce Lee?
GFM: I changed his horse (stance) and footwork. The Praying Mantis horse (stance) is different than the Wing Chun horse (stance). Bruce held his hands too close to his chest. I had him extend his hands out further, with his strongest hand leading, like a southpaw. I showed him how to use and generate short power.

Q12: After studying awhile, what did Bruce Lee think of your system?
GFM: He became interested, because he noticed that it contained all of the Wing Chun techniques and ideas: economy, directness, control of the center, sticky hands, etc. He liked the way the techniques were executed- each technique flowed into the next turning the opponent’s strength against him.

Q13: What did Bruce Lee think about Wing Chun?
GFM: He thought it was a very good system. However, it specialized in close in fighting. Its footwork was not varied enough and there were not enough kicks. He considered modifying Wing Chun to include these elements.

Q14: Praying Mantis is a southern system. Does it have many kicks?
GFM: Praying Mantis has as many kicks as most northern systems or Tae Kwon Do. The kicks fascinated Bruce. In fact, the sweeping front kick to the opponent’s lower leg appears in many of his movies.

Q15: What else did Bruce Lee like about your system?
GFM: Most systems practice techniques in one way and use them in another. For example, in the first Wing Chun form the fists are held at the sides of the chest to execute straight punches. However, in fighting, these punches are executed differently, with the hands held in front of the chest. Praying Mantis was invented for fighting. Every technique is practiced exactly the same way it is used Bruce liked the realistic way in which the forms and techniques were practiced. He learned the 3-step arrow formula.

Q16: Didn’t Bruce Lee think that practicing forms would turn you into a “classical mess” and ruin your fighting ability?
GFM: Yes. Many classical forms are pretty like flowers, but useless for fighting. Even practicing the Praying Mantis’ forms will not make you a good fighter.

Q17: Then why didn’t you reject all forms like Bruce eventually did?
GFM: The form teaches you certain basics, flow, body shifting, combinations, etc. Some of the advanced forms are martial Chi Kung exercises, which builds inner power. I don’t think Bruce was aware of this aspect of internal systems. Of course all of these things could be taught in drills. However, I wanted to preserve the system. Hence, I retained all the forms.

Q18: What was your method of producing good fighters?
GFM: I devised two-men drills based on my fighting experience. Each formula had an associated two men version to show how the technique could be used in actual combat. Besides these longer two men drills, there were many shorter drills for training sight, feeling, and reflexes.

Q19: What did Bruce Lee think about these drills?
GFM: He had never seen such practical drills in a classical system and thought that I had made an important contribution to Praying Mantis.

Q20: Bruce Lee knew about the Wing Chun fighting sequence practiced with a dummy. Why were you two-men forms so different?
GFM: Dummies are dead. They can’t move or react. Real fighting is continuous. You attack; your opponent counters; you counter his counter and so on. The two-men forms teach timing, rhythm, distancing, control, using your opponent’s strength against him, etc. You can also practice with different sized opponents. The Wing Chun dummy is mostly for close quarters fighting. Besides close and middle range forms, my drills contain long-range forms, which teach you how to bridge the gap. Chin Na requires a partner. It is not realistic to train by trying to unbalance or throw a dummy.

Q21: Wouldn’t Bruce Lee still criticize your two-men forms, since they are just a fixed sequence of moves?
GFM: Even Jeet Kune Do has drills. The forms which are practiced depend on the practitioner’s skill. When their skill increases, different drills are used. The drills must be practiced until they can be done without thinking. Ultimately, the system reduces to Yin and Yang. You must react spontaneously and instantly to an opponent’s attack. Without thinking, you can turn his force against him.

Q22: Couldn’t you achieve the same results by just practicing free-style sparring?
GFM: Beginners tend to become tense and use force against force. This may be alright in a hard-style system but not in a soft-style system, in which you are trying to become soft like water. You must begin by practicing slowly and softly, learning to turn your opponent’s strength against him. It takes a great deal of practice to become soft. After reaching this stage, you can start free-style sparring, beginning slowly and later speeding up.

Q23: Aren’t some of your two men forms similar to Wing Chun sticky hands?
GFM: Yes. However, we practice softer, have more techniques and utilize small circular motions to turn the opponent’s power against him. Bruce studied western fencing and remarked that some of these forms resembled fencing with the hands. Wing Chun could be called “hard arm Kung Fu” while our style is “soft arm Kung Fu.”

Q24: Bruce Lee believed that weight training, dummies and other special equipment were essential. Does your system have a similar view?
GFM: We had a lot of auxiliary equipment in our Kwoon when Bruce was a student. He was keen on using this equipment. I had many discussions about training devices that I had used in the temples with Bruce. Bruce wanted to become a good fighter and produce good fighters quickly. Therefore, he wanted to use weights and other equipment right away. I wasn’t in a hurry to produce good fighters. In a soft style system, you must become very soft before you start to use weights. If you start to use weights when you first start, it is difficult to become soft.

Q25: How long did Bruce Lee train with you?
GFM: About a month. He learned much more than the average person could in that short time, because he was in good condition and had learned similar techniques in other systems that he had studied. Besides that, he was enthusiastic, practiced a lot and had an outstanding aptitude for Kung Fu. Bruce was really impressed by my philosophy of fighting.

Q26: What do you mean by that?
GFM: He agreed with nearly everything I said when we discussed fighting theory. For example, as mentioned previously, the limitation of forms, becoming like water, reacting instinctively to an attack, etc. Any good fighting system, like Praying Mantis, should have the following attacking methods: attack by combination, drawing, hand immobilization, foot immobilization; progressive indirect attack, simple direct and singular attacks. These were denoted: ABC, ABD, HIA, FIA, PIA, SDA, and SAA, respectively, later in Jeet Kune Do. Bruce liked the variety of weapons used in our style and the weapon’s drills. The exercises involving an unarmed versus an armed person and two people using different weapons were his favorites.

Q27: Why did Bruce Lee leave?
GFM: He was only visiting his father and had to return to California. He wanted me to come to California to instruct him and be a consultant for his films. However, Bruce was relatively unknown at that time and I didn’t think that he would be able to pay my salary. I had to support my family, so I decided to stay in New York.

Q28: Which do you think influenced the development of Jeet Kune Do more, Praying Mantis or Wing Chun?
GFM: I think Jeet Kune Do’s philosophy is closer to Praying Mantis than to Wing Chun. Look at my free-style movements and compare them with those of a Wing Chun Sifu. Then, judge for yourself which resembles Jeet Kune Do more.

Q29: What is your contribution to Jeet Kune Do?
GFM: Jeet Kune Do is not a branch of Praying Mantis. Bruce studied many other systems and modified and incorporated them into his system. However, when I see Bruce’s movies or hear about his formless form, I believe he understood my lessons about changing conditions in self-defense situations. Combat is alive and requires a constantly changing art and not a dead one.

Photos of Master Gin Foon Mark: http://postimg.org/image/ts5da5lkp/
Writing can focus on investigation and be more factual but perhaps incomplete in its scope and conclusions or it can have a more entertaining bias and lean more impatiently towards poetic license and guess work to fill in the missing pieces.

Dragon and Tiger the Oakland years was previewed almost 30 years ago in Black Belt magazine (July, August, September, October 1986). Following the release and success of “Dragon the Bruce Lee story” Dragon and Tiger has since undergone revision (in CD-Rom and book form) and gathered additional material that fill in some of the historical gaps. Notable additions are taken from Jesse Glover’s book and an interview with Gin Foon Mark.

The facts I find questionable about the Gin Foon Mark interview are

1) Bruce’s father being on tour in New York (he toured extensively 19 years earlier in his late thirties, by 1959 he would have been in his late 50’s and probably retired from a hectic life on tour, settling for more sedate local appearances in HK instead. (One person who may be able to shed some light on “Uncle Lee Hoi Chuen’s” active theatrical and cinematic career in the USA and Asia is Paul Li).
2) No Lee family pictures of Bruce and his father in New York, if on tour would he not have toured other more prominent Chinatowns in North America (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver).
3) The story about how Bruce got the 5 ways of attack terminology, it violates the philosophy of JKD and in fact the origins of the 5 ways of attack is addressed far more convincingly in the LJF post on “Fencing”… “Next, Sifu Mark had Bruce assume a fighting pose and remain prepared to initiate an attack. Then, Sifu Mark gave different commands, calling out combinations of letters like ABC, ABD, HIA, FIA, PIA, SDA, or SAA. Bruce stood there motionless, pondering what his sifu was saying. After another brief explanation and a short demonstration in which Sifu Mark told Bruce that an A denoted a lead-hand lunge phoenix-eye punch, B represented a low-level knee attack, and C stood for a circular foreknuckle strike, Bruce understood that this was a system of designing and customizing combinations of fighting techniques. When putting the combinations of letters together, the code would comprise a
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