Student Handbook

 

 

Preface

 

The purpose of this Handbook is to provide the Member with an introductory overview of what Kempo International is, and what it offers through the curriculum of Zen Tao Kempo Ch'uan Fa.

         This Handbook should prove to be a valuable resource throughout the Member’s career in Zen Tao Kempo. New meanings will continually arise from its pages as you grow in skills and internal stature.

         But this occurs only with training and study. The value of what you now hold depends on what you do with it.

 

 

Contents

 

SECTION

I.         About Kempo International (KI) and Zen Tao Kempo Assn.& Statement of    purpose.

II.                Organization logos.

III.             Self-Regulations.

IV.             Fees

V.                Ranking system.

VI.             ZTK curriculum. Promotion requirements.

VII.          Basic Training. Descriptions of stances and body weapons. Stretching and strengthening systems. Diet.

VIII.       Weaponry.

IX.             Historical perspectives: Kempo, Shaolin, Kick-boxing, Internal Arts.

 

 

  About Kempo International

and

Zen Tao Kempo Assn.

  

 

 

The purpose of Kempo International is to promote the health—physical, mental, spiritual—of its members through fostering the growth of Eastern and Western martial and yogic arts.

Kempo International advocates a cross-cultural approach for the seeker of self-development and knowledge. No one school, style, system or culture has a monopoly on truth. We examine disciplines from the USA, China, Tibet, India, Thailand, Burma and Japan.

The hard work, dedication and perseverance needed for our studies render creative powers that are characteristically American and uniquely trans-cultural.

Zen Tao Kempo is a system comprised of several martial disciplines and yogic psycho-physical training systems. The ZTK system includes the following:

1)    Combative Arts;

2)    Health and Fitness Arts;

3)    Meditation Arts.

 

These arts include 340 Kempo self-defense techniques, several ZTK animal forms, the complete Northern Shaolin Ch’uan school of fist sets, many fist sets from the Choi Li Fut school, combat kickboxing, a dozen weapon sets, two styles of T’ai-chi Ch’uan, Xing-I Ch’uan, Pa-Kua Chang, Chi Kung, Kundalini yoga, and Kum Nye.

Kempo International was founded in 1989 by Dr. Edward Orem, who also organized the system of Zen Tao Kempo.

 

 

 

 

The lightning bolt insignia of Kempo International signals the faster-than-thought action of unfettered intuition. This use of intuitive power, coupled with an internal vital energy (ki or chi or prana) cultivated by martial and yogic studies, produces the “Superior Man” spoken about by the ancient wise men of many cultures.

 

 

 

The Zen Tao Kempo  Association’s mountain indicates the mammoth, undeniable presence of the Self, as well as the long, arduous, pitfall-laden trek involved in self-cultivation. The flower rising out of the muck at the bottom of the lake is the White Lotus, representing all arts that oppose evil.

The Yin-Yang symbol at the top of the mountain indicates the total energies of the t’ai-chi, the harmonious interaction of the forces of the Universe. The Zen Tao Kempo man continually strives to cultivate his mind, body, spirit in a manner that harms neither himself, his neighbors nor the earth. The Superior Man is obliged to assist his community in dispelling or neutralizing forces destructive to the health of people and the environment.

 

Self Regulations

 

This basic code of conduct has been a part of warrior training in every great civilization for thousands of years. It is expected that every ZTK Member, whether Novice or Master, will heed these ideals of self-conduct:

Ø      Keep yourself disciplined in all situations.

Ø      Choose the middle path and stay away from extremes.

Ø      Be humble, not a show-off.

Ø      Remain courteous.

Ø      Persevere and put heart and mind into all you do.

Ø      Exhibit responsibility and respect.

Ø      Avoid situations where physical confrontation is likely.

 

 

Ranking System

 

            Chinese martial arts historically followed no overt ranking system--for the most part. Within each pai ("style") or tong ("association"), members would be classified according to their tenure. A Master generally heads each tong. The responsibility of the Master is to maintain a standard both of technique and conduct. Historically, in many instances, the Master has had close ties to political movements.

         The dan or black belt/sash ranking system is actually a recent Japanese invention. Dr. Jigaro Kano, the founder of Judo, really initiated the dan or budo system of grading. Previous to the budo system, the only approach to martial study was that of the of the combat warrior, e.g. the kysatreya and the samurai. These warriors protected the property of the landed gentry; generally the gentry and their armies were the only individuals permitted to study martial technique (Japanese buji ; Sanscrit vajramukti). Neither buji nor vauramukti contain graded steps as indication of success in martial skills. Successful technique meant that one could survive a life and death contest.

         By the early part of this Century in Japan, the life and death struggles on the feudal battlefields had faded into the past. For the first time in Japanese history the general public was able to learn martial technique. Dr. Kano hoped that the dan system could give incentive to his students: The belt system became one method of distinguishing the skill and effort of one person over another.

         Okinawa did not have a grading or rank system prior to the early 1900's, following the Chinese approach to study. When Ginchin Funakoshi introduced karate to Japan from Okinawa in the early 1920's, no rating system existed for karate. Funakoshi later adopted the Japanese dan system used by Kano in his Judo dojo.

         The dan system then worked its way back to Okinawa, as the Japanese controlled the public schools in Okinawa. The Japanese government encouraged the practice of Karate for the school age student.

         Even kick-boxing has introduced a structured ranking system in the last half of the 20th Century. Ancient warriors in Burma and Thailand espoused no ranks, of course. And the Thai sport of muay thai still maintains that the only meaningful belts are the ones gained at a championship tournament.

         The modern Burmese kick-boxing art of Bando ("The Way of Discipline") dates back to the late 1940's in its formalization of techniques practiced in Burma for many centuries by the farmers and villagers. The adaptation of Bando systematized a ranking procedure not found in ancient Burma.

         When a grading system is established, the problem develops as to the criteria from which one is to be graded. Many modern followers of the martial arts have forgotten that the grading system produces no absolute ranks. The system is circular: The student must decide by what criteria he wishes to be graded; and then he permits finds an acceptable person to confer the rank based on the desired curriculum. Many students following the budo method seek only grade and have no interest in developing human potential.

Members of ZTKA are graded numerically at 17 levels. These gradings provide an approximate scale for the individual to judge his progress. The grades also establish concrete initial goals, thus satisfying the dominant factor of motivation for the novice. The grading system, furthermore, is a useful tool for insuring an orderly acquisition of the Curriculum.  

         Within the ZTK Curriculum the following plan represents one's level of learning:

Belt                                        Individual Status

White                                                Probationary

Blue                                                  Novice

2nd Green                                          Novice

1st Green                                           Novice       

3rd Brown                                          Intermediate

2nd Brown                                         Intermediate

1st Brown                                          Intermediate

1st Black                                           Practitioner

2nd Black                                           Practitioner

3rd Black                                           Practitioner

4th Black                                           Sifu/Sensei

5th Black                                           Associate Master

6th Black                                           Associate Master

7th - 10th Black                                     Master

 

 

 
Zen Tao Kempo Structure

 

            Zen Tao Kempo is a system of several martial arts styles and psycho-physical yogic studies. The system presents graduated problems of work designed to enhance balance, coordination, agility, flexibility, endurance, strength, and power of concentration.

         Several chambers of curriculum are to be chosen from, each with its own focus:

[     Zen and Taoist Longevity Arts (non-combative)

[     Shaolin Ch’uan (combative/non-combative)

[     Zen Kempo/Chan Ch’uan Fa (combative)

 

 

Zen and Taoist Longevity Arts

 

            This course draws from such Internal Work (nei-kung) as T’ai-chi Ch’uan, Shing-Yi Ch’uan, Pa-Kua Chang, and Chi-Kung from both Lo Han Ga (Buddhist) and Tao Ga (Taoist) traditions. The emphasis is on learning several systems for improvement of health-specific problems, health maintenance, augmentation of cerebral function, and the ability to identify, store, control and maintain intrinsic and extrinsic chi. Weapons studies appropriate for each tradition are optional. The candidate with a T’ai-chi emphasis can expect his study program to look something like this before he receives a teaching qualification:

 

First - Second Years: White Sash

·        Yi Bai Ching Kung

·        Zhan Zhuang

·        Stance work

·        Postures training for Yang or Kuang Ping T’ai-chi Ch’uan

·        T’ai-chi Chi-Kung

·        Tao Yin/Essence breathing

·        Tui Shou/Push Hands

·        T’ai-chi kun – drills

 

Third – Fourth Years: Blue Sash

·        Continued postures training

·        18 Therapies Chi-Kung

·        Kun form

·        Tui Shou/Push Hands

·        Bei Wu Ga Chi Kung/Northern Five Animals Chi-Kung (optional)

·        Pa Tuan Chin/8 Pieces of Gold Brocade (optional)

 

Fifth Year: Green Sash

·        Continued postures training

·        Five Animals Frolics

·        Tui Shou/Push Hands

·        Chien/Rapier – drills and form

·        Yin-Yang Medical Chi-Kung (optional)

 

Six Year: Gold Sash

·        Continued postures training

·        Five Elements Chi-Kung

·        Tui Shou/Push Hands

·        Kun #2

·        18 Silk-Reeling Exercises (optional)

 

Seventh Year: Black Sash

·        Continued postures training

·        Five Organs Chi-Kung

·        Tao/Saber – drills and form

·        Tui Shou/Push Hands

·        Original thesis researching Internal Arts

·        Diamond Body Chi-Kung (optional)

·        9 Segment Tantric Chi-Kung (optional)

 

 

 

Shaolin and Kempo

 

           The choices reflecting a wai-kung (external) specialist’s goals within Northern Shaolin, Choy Li Fut or Kempo are tailored from the lists below.

         Contrary to popular belief regarding “Kung Fu,” few of the many arts and training of Shaolin or other external styles concentrate solely on combat. In fact, many schools exist where emphasis is on forms study and no combat or sparring takes place. The N. Shaolin candidate has two basic choices in his studies, i.e. combative or non-combative. The Choy Li Fut-5 Animals Shaolin curriculum is by definition combative, as is Kempo.

         The following is a rank-by-rank description of the Zen Tao Kempo curriculum for combatives studies:

         The lower six levels of study concentrate on 1) the Foundation conditioning and skills program, as presented in the BASIC TRAINING and  IRON WARRIOR series; 2) several forms; and  3) 165 self-defense techniques which prepare the student for advanced work. These first six levels utilize many kinds of strikes and kicks, but the emphasis is on the upright grappling arts, i.e. grabs, locks, throws.

         At the 1st Degree Brown Belt level, you begin researching 175 advanced self-defense maneuvers, covering attacks from single and multiple opponents, unarmed and armed (club, knife, pistol). These techniques are added gradually as you progress to higher skill and rank levels, for a total of 340 seminal self-defense maneuvers. I say ‘seminal’ because the total is many times that by the time a serious student researches the many variations inherent within the principle of each technique. Eventually, too, you’ll add up to another 60 fist and weapon forms to your arsenal.

 

WHITE BELT/SASH:               

Kempo Defense Arts 1 (20 techniques)

Basic Training

      Ng Lum Ma/5 Wheel Stance form

      Ng Lum Kuen/5 Wheel Fist form

      Liu Lu Lohan Ch’uan/6 Methods of the  

Monk form 

      Sa Bai Kuen/Basic Fist form

 

BLUE BELT:

         Kempo Defense Arts (25 techniques)

         Iron Warrior  1

Begin Iron Warrior  3

Bei Shaolin Ch’uan/Northern Temple Arts Fist

Shao Shizu Ch’uan/Small Cross Fist

 

1st GREEN:

            Kempo Defense Arts 3 (30 techniques).

Iron Warrior 2

         Continue IW 3

  Kung Li Ch’uan/Fist of Power

 Jiben Ch’uan/Fundamental Fist

 

2nd GREEN:

            Kempo Defense Arts 4 (30 techniques)

  Continue IW 3

         Tao Lu Ch’uan/Five Attacks Fist

         Di San Ch’uan/Three Fists

         Dragon’s Head Staff #1 – drills and form

 

1st BROWN:

            Kempo Defense Arts 5 (30 techniques)

          Continue IW 3

          Chan Fu Hok Ch’uan Fa/Zen Kempo Tiger-Crane      form

Tan Tui/Springy Legs form

         Single Baton drills and form

 

2nd BROWN:

            Kempo Defense Arts 6 (30 techniques)

         Continue IW 3.

Chan Shao Pai Hao Ch’uan Fa/Zen Kempo Young    Crane Fist

Dwun Da Ch’uan/Short Strike Fist

Dragon’s Head Staff #2: Drills & form

 

3rd BROWN:

            Kempo Defense Arts 7 (40 techniques)

         Finish IW 3

         Dahn Dao/Basic Saber  #1– drills and form.

 

1st BLACK:

            Kempo Defense Arts 8 (30 techniques)

         Iron Warrior 4, Part 1

         Bei Mei Hua Ch’uan/Northern Plum Blossom Fist

Pao Hok Kuen/White Crane Fist

Dragon’s Head Staff #3 – drills and form

Single Dagger form

 

2nd BLACK:

            Kempo Defense Arts 9 (30 techniques)

         Iron Warrior 4, Part 2

         Da Hsin Ch’uan/Striking to the Heart

         Kung Chien Pu Ch’uan/Bow&Arrow Stepping Fist

Sui Sup Ji Kuen/Cross-Grabbing Fist

Dahn Dao/Intermediate Saber—drills and form

 

3rd BLACK:

            Kempo Defense Arts 10 (35 techniques)

Shaolin Yizhichan Chi Kung/Inner Breath Work of the One Finger Zen School

         Wu Yi Ch’uan/Infinite Mind Fist

         Fu Bok Mei Ch’uan/White Eyebrow Tiger Fist.

         Sup Ji Jit Kuen/Tiger Blocking Fist

         Double Baton – drills and form

 

4th BLACK:

            Kempo Defense Arts 11 (40 techniques)

         Stone Warrior Body Hardening Set            

         Tit Juen Kuen/Iron Strength Fist

Bei Chang Ch’uan/Northern Long Fist

         Siu Cern Dao/S. Shaolin Twin Sabers

 

5th BLACK:

            Review of self-defense arts.

         Shi Pa Lo Han Shou/18 Movements of the Arhat

         Tuozhe Bu Ch’uan/Shuffling Step Fist

         Fut Jeung Kuen/Buddha Palm Fist

         Tri-Sectional Staff #1: drills and form

 

6th BLACK:

            Publication of original manuscript

          Tit Lo Han Chin Ch’uan/Iron Buddha set

          Tuide Tuikai Men Ch’uan/Opening the Door fist

         Chan Hou Ch’uan Fa/Zen Kempo Monkey Fist

         Yee Jeong Bot Gwa Kuen/Righteous and Strong Fist

         Chien #1/Single rapier—drills and form

         Hatha Yoga

 

7th BLACK:

            Publish original manuscript

         Yi Chin Ching/Muscle Change Classic

         Ling Tao Ren Ch’uan/The People’s Leader Fist

         Chan Pao Ch’uan Fa/Zen Kempo Leopard Fist

         Ping Kuen/Cannon Fist

         Double Daggers form

         Chien #2: drills and form

 

8th BLACK:

            Publish original manuscript regarding history and     

         philosophy of martial arts

          Zuo Ma Ch’uan/Sitting on the Horse Fist

    Chan Si Ba Ch’uan Fa/Zen Kempo Snake Fist

           Chan Hong Lung Ch’uan Fa/Zen Kempo Dragon   

     Monk’s Broadsword form.

           Double Butterfly Short Swords

 

9th BLACK:

            Publish original manuscript

          Lien Huan Ch’uan/Continuation Fist

          Chan Wu Ge Shou Ch’uan Fa/Kempo 5 Animals

            Tri-Sectional Staff #2—drills and form

            Spear: drills and form

 

10th BLACK:

            Kum Nye

         Shing-Yi Ch’uan

         Pa-Kua Chang

 

 

Curriculum Components

 

At this juncture, the thinking ZTK Member should be asking himself how each one of these parts of the curriculum address the broad, three-part objectives, i.e. for combat, for health, for inner development.

         It is difficult to isolate or segment the effects of training with these disciplines. The over-lapping of training effect is most evident, obviously, in such arts as Shaolin Ch'uan, T’ai-chi Ch’uan, Shing-Yi Ch’uan, and Pa Kua Chang. All these arts assume a common foundation having been well established through stringent physical training, however. This inter-relationship of defense, fitness and meditation speaks through the centuries for the power associated with such studies.

         The disciplines of Hatha Yoga, Chi-Kung and Kum Nye also have over-lapping training benefits. Theirs, however, concentrate on the inner development of the individual, and like the “martial” arts, presume a modicum of physical preparation having already been established. This is not a popular notion; most Hatha Yoga students, for example, think that their art can get them “in shape.” This is not the approach intended by the ancient progenitors; furthermore, the mistaken modern notions will bring abbreviated results.

         Perhaps easiest to delineate and understand in terms of monolithic intent are the Combat Arts. Kempo has weathered the test of centuries as a primo in-fighting system. The Northern Shaolin, conversely, has strong long-range tactics and maneuvers, while the Southern Shaolin systems focus on the importance of a strong root and good hand skills.      

         Arguably the world’s greatest, most effective complement of fighting techniques is gathered under the martial umbrella of kickboxing. For millennia the fighters of Burma and Thailand have taken battlefield challenges of all-comers with a roaring success record. Even during modern times (post 1930) in the ring, Muay Thai and Muay Bama (Burmese) boxers liquidate all other stylists (within the same weight classes) with consummate ease.

         Zen Tao Kempo integrates the lightning speed of close-in Kempo, the long-distance and foundation strengths of Shaolin, the toughness of the Combat Kick-boxer, and the psycho-physical benefits coming from the soft arts.

 

BEI SHAOLIN

            Bei is a generic reference to the fighting systems of northern China. Of the six major martial systems born in north China, it is said that only two remain intact. One of these is a modern product call Wu-Shu  that came out of the Communist government’s desire to replace comb at information available to ordinary citizens with an emphasis on recreation and sport. The modern Wu-Shu art is, in fact, a synthesis of (chiefly) northern systems. The major systems were: N. Shaolin, Cha Ch’uan, Wah Ch’uan, Pao Ch’uan, Fah Ch’uan. And only Northern Shaolin Ch’uan has all its forms still practiced as in ancient times.

         ZTK's northern component includes forms and drills principally from Northern Shaolin Ch'uan. However, we also include various forms work from other schools, notably the tough Tam and Honan traditions.

         Northern Shaolin developed as a “long fist” style emphasizing kicks over hand techniques. The trademarks of this long-range attack style are full extension of the limbs, with large, flowing movements and acrobatic kicks generated from deep stances. It is a style well suited for those who are flexible, rangy, and relatively tall and agile. Thin or medium-built practitioners fare best here.

         Tam Tui  (Springy Legs) is a 10-line form covering different hand and foot combinations. Tam Tui is tough, repetitive work that will get you ready for the core of the N. Shaolin system comprised of the 10 hand forms. Each has its own focus on various aspects of strength, speed, endurance, reflex response, sensitivities. Taken together, the whole addresses the task of whole-body training. The 10 sets are generally divided into two groups: numbers 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are the shorter forms with about 40 moves each. Numbers 1, 2, 3, 9, and 10 are longer (about 75 moves each), and are usually learned later. Refer to pages 17-21 for the complete list of the forms. Of course, forms are not the only part of Shaolin training.

 

 

NAN SHAOLIN

            The term nan refers generically to fighting styles of southern China. Our curriculum includes the stringent foundation training and many forms from two well-known southern systems: Choy Li Fut and Hung Ga. We do not aspire to teach the complete systems of these combat-oriented schools.

            Both Choy Li Fu and Hung Gar  are well-adapted to close-quarter fighting in tight, crowded, wet, slippery conditions. The training emphasizes strong, deep stances, hard blocking strikes, low snap kicks, hand power for short-range encounters. The successful student is generally physically strong, compact, muscular.

 

KEMPO ARTS

            The characteristics of Kempo easily reflect some of the older off-shoots of Shaolin, e.g. White Eyebrow and White Tiger. This is to say, short, hard, fast hand-work complemented with a great deal of seizing, locking, breaking, throwing maneuvers, all flowing from rather high, “natural” postures. Typically, most Kempo schools have been nurtured in Asia by closed schools governed by the Buddhist priesthood or/and family tradition. More about Kempo is found in Seng Ping Tao: Path of the Warrior Monk.

 

COMBAT KICKBOXING

            This is not a sport—unlike American professional kickboxing or even Muay Thai. Combat Kickboxing uses no gloves, has no ring, and allows any blows, strikes, kicks or knees to any part of the head or elsewhere on the body. This combat system incorporates elements of Western boxing, Muay Thai and Bando.

            Combat Kickboxing requires grueling, strenuous physical training. The stringent conditioning offers three advantages: 1) Develops strength, stamina and speed of movements in defensive and offensive techniques; 2) Develops ability to endure stress and physical pain during a confrontation;

3) Develops quick recuperative powers when injuries do occur.

            The training program is composed of running, calisthenics, body hardening exercises, bag training, shadow boxing, sparring, proper diet and rest. Proper diet is essential for physical conditioning; fatty foods must be avoided; alcoholic beverages must be eliminated; smoking must be stopped. The Combat Kickboxer cannot afford late-night social activities: sleep rejuvenates the body from strenuous training and grueling workouts. Eight hours of sleep is a must for every successful boxer.

 

T’AI-CHI CH’UAN

            This soft or “internal” art is, in all aspects, a psycho-physical exercise, a boxing system, and a meditation method. Most of the tens of millions of practitioners are into it for health and meditation, so they move very slowly during the training. But what most people don’t realize is that since the art is founded on using the principles of change, you can—and should—move the body and mind according to the need of the moment.

            This wondrous exercise can be used by anyone, male and female, old and young. A five year-old child and a person of 90 years or more are both able to practice T’ai-chi Ch’uan. The complete form can be learned within three months; pretty good acquaintance can be obtained with a year’s practice; and a student training perseveringly for about five years can have significant integration of mind and body, intuition and knowledge. There are delicate details of T’ai-chi, keys to its marvels which are understood only with faithful practice. Traditionally, a person is required to train seven years before qualifying as a teacher.

            Of the more than 100 million people who practice T’ai-chi regularly, most of them do so outside—even in severe weather conditions of northern China. The reason is simple and can be understood only when you accept the elements and embrace the opportunity to integrate with nature. Year-round, outdoor training is good for the spirit, heart, mind and body.

 

SHING-YI CH’UAN

            Shing-Yi is another of the soft arts which integrates mind and body—hence its name, which translates to “Body-mind Boxing” or “The Shape of Mind Boxing.” It is practiced with a light, quick, sometimes penetrating mode—never ponderous, sluggish, tense or heavy.

            The ZTK training program for Shing-Yi starts with recognition of the importance of meditation postures, incorporating Santi, the foundation stance, with chi flow.

The other four basic parts to the study include:

1)      Five basic actions/Five Elements

a)     Splitting (Pi Ch’uan), Metal

b)     Crushing (Peng Ch’uan), Wood

c)     Drilling (Tsuan Ch’uan), Water

d)     Pounding (P’ao Ch’uan), Fire

e)     Crossing (Heng Ch’uan), Earth

2)    The Twelve Animal Styles: eagle, chicken, phoenix, tiger, crocodile, snake, horse, dragon, leopard, crane, monkey, swallow.

3)     Forms

a)     Wu Shing Lien Huan: Linking the Five Elements form. Taught after 5 Elements are introduced.

b)     Lien Huan Si Ba Ch’uan: Snake form, taught after first six Animal Styles are introduced.

c)     Za Shih Chui: Varieties of Grasping. Taught after all 12 animal Styles are introduced.

4)    Application drills.

            Shing-Yi styles are generally thought to be of several varieties: the Honan school, the Shansi school and the Hopei school. The style presented by ZTK is a product of what one Master brought from Beijing to Berkeley, CA, after a lifetime of studies of all the major Chinese internal arts. The teachings of Master Ying were a distillation of the sharing of many masters who gathered every morning for years. We may, therefore, say that the ZTK Shing-Yi Ch’uan is of the Integrated school.

 

PA-KUA CHANG

            The forms of Pa-Kua are shadows of the self, boxing against its own shortcomings. You may think of it as shadowboxing with a high-level martial arsenal. That unseen portion of the training is moving meditation. And it is a health system which uniquely zeroes in on treating the state of your internal organs. Features of the ZTK Pa-Kua Chang (or “Eight Forms of Consciousness”) Boxing training include:

[     Single and Double Palm Changes;

[     Walking the 8 Circles of the Dragon;

[     Sun Lu-Tang’s Eight Animals Pa-Kua;

[     Linking Form of Original Pa-Kua.

 

CHI-KUNG (TAOIST AND LO HAN)

     Many Taoists recluses and Buddhists monks dwelled in mountains and forests to observe, listen, and meditate in order to gather deeper understanding and greater knowledge of nature than is possible when living in the milieu of human society.

            Often in search of extraordinary longevity and treasures of life, these extraordinary men (and a few women) moved from observation of nature to experimentation and development of the body. The goal of longevity necessitated that the body be prepared by a lifetime of practices. Thus preparation of a strong, healthy body led to the development of these breathing exercises. For thousands of years men have practiced and developed these breath control techniques to improve health, correct problems and heal illnesses of various parts of the vital organs. You can experience the benefits for yourself.

            The ZTK breathing exercises are grouped into three levels. The first level focuses on illness prevention, elimination of sickness, and the prolonging of a healthy life.  Studies from this level include T’ai-chi Chi-Kung, Tao Yin,  18 Therapies, Yin-Yang Medical Chi-Kung.

            The second level aims at rejuvenation. These studies include 5 Elements, 5 Organs, N. 5 Animals.

            The upper level exercises help calm the mind and harmonize the will. Each movement is in rhythm with deep breathing technique. Full concentration and daily practice are required. These studies include Bodhidharma Jing Kang Ch’uan/Diamond Body Chi-Kung, 9 Segment Tantric Chi-Kung.

            I studied many of these techniques at the Chi Kung Institute in San Francisco. The instructor was Chiu Lim Chan, age 54 at the time (1975), who looked 35 and had a belly as hard as a stone. He got the teachings on Wu Tang Mountain from a 180 year-old man; that was in 1940.

 

KUM NYE

This is aTibetan form of psychophysical preparations for higher self-development. The name translates to Mind-Body-Emotions Balancing,” and stems from the Nyingmapa (“Ancient Ones”) tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. It has two phases in the study: Phase One addresses problems of balancing and integration with 16 exercises, while Phase Two seeks to stimulate and transform energies with 21 exercises.

 

THE YOGAS OF INDIA

            “Yoga” involves more than psychophysical training. Wisdom in work, skillful living, harmony and moderation in all matters are chief characteristics of a Yoga-centered life. Sound familiar? It should, because herein resides the “mother root” of all the Asian martial arts and all their attendant, timeless power to form sound judgment in matters secular and divine.

            Yoga is not a religion, but rather a science of religions. It is however, religious in that this science brings the devotee slowly along a path of eight stages, with the ultimate goal of becoming one with the Universe.

            The “Eight Limbs of Yoga” have been codified since 200 BCE. The stages of self-development are 1) adherence to universal moral principles, 2) self-purification by discipline,

3) training with exercise postures, 4) breath control,

5) emancipation of the mind (from domination by the senses and exterior objects), 6) concentration ability, 7) regular meditation, 8) super-consciousness or identity with the Universal Spirit.

            The totality of Zen Tao Kempo training addresses several of these objectives; however we are concerned specifically within the yoga practicum with only Hatha Yoga,  which approaches all of the tasks through postures training.

            Hatha Yoga is a systematized collection of asanas, or postures, which exercise every muscle, nerve and gland in the body. They reduce fatigue, soothe nerves, and result in elastic strength. But their real importance lies in the way they train and discipline the mind.

            The ZTK Hatha Yoga component presents a 30-week course. At the end of that time, a three-day cycle is offered which will benefit the body and bring harmony to the mind.

            Uninformed and inexperience altruists exclaim about the inappropriateness of martial artists studying Yoga since it is founded in ahimsa (literally, “not violent”).  This is an incomplete understanding of the word, and ZTK embraces the larger definition: the love of creation. Yoga and Yogis recognize that some people are of evil disposition, that there are those who destroy life and the earth for pleasure. I once asked my Hatha and meditation teacher, a Brahmin priest, why he was carrying a 6-foot staff at his side in an old photo on the wall of the ashram.

            “Very good bamboo,” he replied. “Bad people come close and you whack ‘em once here,” and gesture to the top of his cranium. “Split the head like a melon. Very good bamboo.”

            Sage advice from a Guardian of the Inner Temple. Indeed, all the ancient civilizations cultivated superior men who fused martial skills with the Divine Arts.

 

SHIATSU/ACUPRESSURE

            ZTK presents an amalgamation of 2 schools for treating injuries, malaise, disease, illness in this program:

1) Shiatsu (or ‘finger pressure”) from Japan. This treatment includes a head-to-toe, general-to-localized massage (using thumbs, fingertips, palm-heel, but toe, foot-heel) on both front and back of the body. Also featured are spinal manipulations of atlas, thorasics, sacral discs, illiac.

2)  Chinese acupressure techniques for organ rejuvenation, strengthening of body shield, general tonifying.

            A limited amount of traditional oriental medical theory is dealt with. Asian and Western doctors who use pressure-point manipulation with hands or needles have differing views as to why it works. We really aren’t concerned with theoretical constructs here. Martial artists are highly practical people: our goal is to get the job done quickly, efficiently, cleanl

 

BASIC TRAINING

 

            This is a description of the training methods for postures, body weapons, punches, finger-thrusts, strikes, blocks and kicks used in Zen Tao Kempo.

 

THE FOUNDATION STANCE: GROWING THE ROOT

            As with the foundation of a house or the roots of a tree, a weak base will not be likely to hold your position. In most stances (other than the Crane), the tension of the legs is outward, while the tension of the feet is inward.

            Here are the chief postures for stance-work. Remember that these are not meant to cement you to inaction; they are freeze-frames that are part of flow of motion. On the other hand, do not neglect the leg power and balance-enhancement which can come from isolating these postures in specific workouts. Meditate with them:

Ø      Horse

Ø      Bow/Hill Climbing

Ø      Natural

Ø      Back & Forth Natural

Ø      Scissors

Ø      Crane

Ø      Cat

Ø      Twist

Ø      Dragon

Ø      T-Stance

Ø      Seven Stars

Ø      Monkey

Ø      Unicorn

 

PUNCHES: YOUR HAND DELIVERS YOUR CHI

            These are power maneuvers, but if you try to deliver with your shoulder-arm-hand alone, you’ll be ineffective. The power in punches is generated by the vital flow that is translated from a solid stance to torquing waist to snapping shoulders and limb joints:

¨      Leopard Paw

¨      Single-Head Dragon

¨      Phoenix Eye

¨      Hook

¨      Pien Ch’uan

¨      Sun Fist

¨      Double Punch

¨      Backfist

¨      Hammer

 

FINGER-THRUSTS: YOUR HAND IS YOUR SPEAR

            Thrusts are executed on a straight line. If not, much of the force is lost:

·        Sword Thrust, with four-fingers

·        Dagger Thrust (index and middle fingers together)

·        Single-Headed Dragon, with one-finger

·        Close-packed digits, with thumb and index fingers close together while others are open

·        Double-Headed Dragon, with middle and third fingers separated while others are close together.

 

STRIKES: YOUR HAND IS YOUR SWORD

            These often are arcing, semi-circle attacks. Upper body tension is necessary—but not too early! If you tense too soon before impact, you’ll lose speed. If you tense too late, you lose power. Keep loose and relaxed while on the trajectory until immediately before impact. The elbow often assists by pulling-jerking back just before contact:

v     Knife hand

v     Backhand

v     Ridge hand whip

v     Elbow

v     Palm – Double palms

v     Willow palm

v     Pecking hands (fingers straight together, with wrist bent down)

v     Crane’s Beak (2 methods)

v     Snake Head (similar to 4-finger thrust)

v     Snake Strike (similar to 2-finger thrust)

v     Wrist strike

v     Tiger Mouth

v     White Ape Offers Fruit

v     Knuckle-Rake

v     Tiger Claw: a) 5 fingers curled to palm; b) Thumb curled and pressed against palm; c) All fingers curled and separated.

v     Eagle Claw: a) Fingers bent and together; b) Fingers like 2-Headed Dragon, except thumb and last 2 fingers form grip; c) Index and middle fingers together, with the 2 small fingers bent and apart, and thumb is separated.

v     Dragon Claw: a) Similar to Tiger, but with less wrist bend; b) Fingers extended apart and straight.

v     Elbows: a) Front and inward blows—uppercuts from 6 o’clock and 4:30; lateral upper diagonal from 1:30; downward from 12 o’clock; b) Back and outward blows—from 6 o’clock; lateral from 9 o’clock; downward from 12 o’clock.

 

BLOCKS: CONTROLLING YOUR OPPONENT’S WEAPONS

            If your intent is to use your arms, hands, shoulders, and legs only to meet the opponent’s attacks head-on, you will not dominate the situation. If you think only of “blocking” his attacks, you’ll not stop him. “Blocks” should be simultaneously defensive and offensive in nature. That is, a “block” should hurt the opponent and/or should become another strike to his attacking body-weapon. Blocks should have the power of re-direction (circular or deflection) of the opponent’s attack energy:

q       Downward

q       Inside

q       Outside

q       Upper

q       Circle

q       Cross (upper and lower)

q       Scissor (upward or downward)

q       Knee

q       Jamming Forearm

q       Double or Single palm

q       One hand on wrist, other at elbow

q       Wrist hook

q       Covering

q       Checking or Jamming

q       Riding the Wind (deflection)

q       Elbow

q       Slaps

 

LEG MANEUVERS

            Proper use of your legs offers hundreds of possibilities of powerful technique combinations. Consider, too, that kicks leave you balanced on one foot. Worse yet, you can be suspended entirely in the air—always a risky business since airborne movement (in kicks) is vastly slower than ground-based action.

            The most important considerations in kicking are 1) good balance (the result of forming a strong foundation, through stancework or/and running), 2) judgment of proper distance (coming from 1000’s of kicking drills), and 3) muscle suppleness (a product of proper, consistent loosening and stretching).

            Remember, the higher a kick, the less power it has, the slower it is, the more you’re off-balance, and the more likely the opponent will either evade or trap your leg:

FRONT:                                  SIDE:                          BACK:           

Skip                            Skip                            Skip

Jump                           Jump                             Jump

Flying                          Flying                            Flying

 

ROUND:                                HOOK:                       CRESCENT:

Skip                            Skip                            Skip

Jump                           Jump                           Jump

Flying                          Flying                          Butterfly

 

ü      Axe

ü      Scoop, front and rear

ü      Alligator Whips Tail

ü      Stomps (front and side)

ü      Doubles: scissors, front, butterfly, rear

ü      Falling kicks

ü      Leg scissors in air and on ground

ü      Iron Broom

ü      Straight back-kick

ü      Wheel

ü      Knees (rising and lateral blows)

 

The possible defensive and offensive combinations are fantastic. For instance, there are about 25 weapons of the hand to strike with, six parts of the foot, plus knees and elbows.

 

 

 

MUSCLE STRETCHING, JOINT LOOSENING AND STRENGTH EXERCISES

Ø      Pa Ching Kung (8 Muscle Changes)

§         Kidney massage

§         Hip rotations

§         Knee rotations

§         Snake Creeps Down

§         Support Heaven

§         Touch Earth

§         Raise leg

§         Phoenix Eats Own Ashes

 

Ø      Iron Man

§         Arch back, wag tail

§         Crosses

§         Around the world

§         Pretzels

§         Bend over knee

§         Thigh stretch

§         Ship on a Stormy Sea

§         Release the Arrow

§         Iron Wheel

§         Panther stretch

§         Iron Triangle

§         Iron Warrior

§         Iron Spear

§         Golden Rooster

§         Rope jump

§         Tiger Looks L & R

§         Twisting Adder

§         Tricep push-down

§         Cat Leaps and Twists

§         Elevated push-ups

 

Ø      ANCILLARY EXERCISES

§         Bend neck

§         Trunk twists

§         Arm rotations

§         Hip loosening

§         Swaying Palm Tree

§         Clasp Hands behind back

§         Arm swings

§         Back bends

§         Dip over knee

§         Abdominals

 

Stretching involves not only muscles, but all associated connective tissue. This includes fascia which surround muscle fibers, as well as connective ligaments and tendons.

            Don’t bounce when you stretch; tissue reacts to bouncing by actually shortening and tightening. Instead of bouncing, stretch slowly and comfortably (without pain), holding the postures for long moments. Your body cannot be rushed in its growth without painfully negative consequences which will delay your training progress.

            Make haste slowly.

 

 

WEAPONRY

            Weapons are often placed under five categories: long, short, double, “soft” or jointed, and throwing. The long ones were mostly used on horseback, while foot soldiers and others not mounted used the short weapons.

            The ZTK curriculum emphasizes practical utility in its choice of weaponry. Long, short and double weapons are all part of the program; but more importantly, we focus on learning to use defensive aids which are most likely to be around us every day. (Of course we don’t carry around swords, but the use of long knives and machetes in normal activity is common throughout most of the world.)

            Other considerations are recognized within this component: ease of mastery; legal prohibitions; body development; and enhancement of ki/chi projection. Notably, the nunchaku (though faddishly popular) has been excluded. In spite of its devastating effects when wielded properly, we’ve rejected its inclusion because it fails to meet several criteria: 1) It’s an exceedingly unpredictable weapon—unless you’re willing to put in an inordinate amount of study time; 2) it is so effective in trained hands that the police are afraid of it, hence even its possession can get you arrested in several States; 3) it has no counter-part in everyday activity (which means you’re relegated to carrying one around.)

            The ZTK practitioner is not confined to the specifics of the weapon studies as outlined above. He should note that he has the choice of specializing in the weapon(s) of his choice. Appropriately advanced study material will be made available to such a practitioner.

            Following is a list of the more common traditional weapons. The first 11 listed are included in the ZTK basic weapons studies:

²     Kun –staff; father of weapons, one of oldest in human history.

²     Dahn Do—the single, short saber, but often translates as “long knife”; “do” is pronounced like “dough.”

²     Cern Do—Double sabers

²     Dagger

²     Double daggers

²     Baton

²     Double batons

²     Chien or Gim—a straight, double edge sword.

²     3-Sectional Staff—like the nunchaku, this weapon was originally used to flail grain-heads from their stalks

²     Ch’iang—Spear; the “King of Weapons”; not used to throw; in the right hands it could riddle your body like a machine gun.

²     Butterfly Knives—more like short, squat, wide swords; used primarily in southern China, this crowd-pleaser is the signature weapon of Wing Chun stylists.

²     Cern Gim

²     9-Ring Sword

²     Kwan Do—a very heavy blade on the end of a long handle; used with both hands it could cut the legs out from under a war-horse

²     Hu Cha—Tiger Fork; as the name indicates, it was used to hunt large prey including man; you know it had to long-handled and heavy

²     Yueh Yia Charn—Half-Moon Spade; another long-handled, heavy weapon; a favorite of some Buddhist monks

²     Steel Whip—not a true whip; the steel dart at the end was aimed at pressure points; the steel or hemp chain allowed multiple attacks with a this retrievable weapon

²     Axes—short-handled and heavy

²     Sharpened coins—forerunners of Japanese shuriken.

²     Sow Gee—two-sectional stick, known in Japan as nunchaku.

 

 

 

 

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES

 

            Many histories of Asian martial arts start (mistakenly) with the Shaolin Temple and work forward; these histories reflect the agenda of the lay-writer, usually the head or senior student of a school.  However, most authorities on Chinese history agree that most, if not all, of the "authentic" temple arts corresponded closely with Indian yoga. Hence the ZTKA explicit, historically related connection with the yoga systems of India and Tibet (which also received profound Indian influences).

            Martial studies were restricted in many Eastern cultures to those individuals born into the proper castes: royalty, priest, warrior. Chinese martial arts did not reach the people (i.e. commoners) until 1644, after the Manchu conquest of China. Prior to the Manchu period, and as far back as Christ, there were tong organizations such as the Red Eyebrows, the Copper Horses, the Yellow Turbans, and the later powerful White Lotus Society.

            The Red Spears started out as a farmers' protective association. The White Lily and White Cloud Societies started with religious connotations, having been founded by Buddhist

Monks. But even the quasi-religious groups later went in for violence and plunder, imitating such organizations as the Ko Lao Hui (Society of Brothers and Elders), which as not only responsible for anti-Tartar riots (with the motto "Overthrow the Manchus; restore the Ming"), but also for personal revenge and banditry. These groups did not pretend to an art form.

            Even today, unsavory, illegal and downright disgusting deeds are perpetrated by martial traditionalists of Japan, Taiwan, China, and other Asian cultures. (This is gone into in some depth in Seng Ping Tao: Path of the Warrior Monk.) Many more martial organizations exist in the U.S. and worldwide for the core purpose of cultural imperialism and political indoctrination.

            Kempo International recognizes the invaluable tools for self-discovery and development which have been passed down by generations of masters of the Orient. We do not, however, blindly emulate the past for its own sake. Members of KI/ZTKA should know that the American tendency to venerate exotica has been exploited by foreign interest groups bent on following some pretty ugly paths. This, too, is discussed at length in Seng Ping Tao: Path of the Warrior Monk.

            Continuing with the development of the martial arts in China, with the domination by the Manchu, tongs such as the Triad Society were formed after the infamous massacre of the Shaolin monks by the Tartar/Manchurian troops in the 16th Century. These tongs were to serve as resistence groups against the Ching Dynasty of the Manchus.

            Throughout the world, martial arts were spread by political refugees from such organizations as the Triads. Many of these groups posed as mutual-aid societies for ex-patriots, but in point of fact they were secret revolutionary bands. Even today, in Honolulu, Hawaii, the old traditional alliance of political cause and martial arts survives: One of the most active clubs is called "Kuo-Min Tang." In discussion, a member of the group admitted connection with Chiang Kai-Shek's faction. Who knows? Round-eye gwai-lo rarely get straight poop…

 

SHAOLIN CH'UAN

            Contrary to popular belief, Shaolin boxing did not begin the Buddhist Temple by that name in Henan Province in north China. Furthermore, Da Mo/Bodhidharma was not the founding father of that system. The truth is that Chinese boxing has been evolving for 4,000 years. We're looking at a continuous process  here; to segment a time period without recognizing the influences and contributions of previous centuries is not the trait of matured judgment.

            Why, then, does current popular opinion insist on saying that the Shaolin Temple is the progenitor of Chinese, Japanese, and Okinawan martial arts?  Because this notion increases the credibility, prestige, and acceptability given by outsiders. And these added benefits gain new recruits. It's PR, you foreign devil.

            There is historical trace of systematic exercise dating back prior to 2205 BC. Made popular by Emperor Wu, that exercise system righteously focused on improving the health of his subjects. Though no sign of a fighting art (in written form) has survived from those early times, we can make a reasonable deduction by considering the question: If there was ample leisure to develop a therapy, doesn't that imply that a defensive system of hand-to-hand combat survival was already firmly implanted?

            Apparently the first written treatise regarding Chinese martial arts was set forth ca. 200 AD by the Yellow Turbans, a sect that helped bring the Han Dynasty to an end. They fought unarmed, because no "common people" were allowed to carry weapons at this time. In the Han Shu I Wen Chih (Handbook of the Arts), almost 200 pages are devoted to defensive and offensive strategies using skilled hand, foot, and weaponry techniques.

            By the time of Da Mo's arrival at Shaolin (ca. 520 AD), unarmed combatives were most probably systematized and being practiced throughout the Kingdom. There is no extant material showing any martial technique being generated by Da Mo. What the patriarch of Chan/Zen Buddhism definitely contributed was a series of health-improvement exercises for the resident monks, as an aid to sustaining long periods of meditation.

            Da Mo's three programs of whole-self integration put in motion the eventual development of a system of vigorous psycho-physical exercises/combative skills which came to be known as shaolin shu, or Temple Boxing. Martial Arts became a requirement for the monks; they needed to protect themselves from the many criminals that lived in and around the settlements that the monks traveled through during their pilgrimages to holy sites. But they still devoted most of their time to spiritual cultivation.

            By the time war broke out in the T'ang Dynasty (lasted from 618-906 AD), and on through the 17th Century the Shaolin monks were recognized for their highly developed fighting skills.  However, the Shaolin short-fighting skills met their match during the onset of the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 AD). Quite contrary to the short-fist style techniques of China's first five dynasties, Emperor Sung introduced the Long-Fist Style. Though not a direct descendant of the Shaolin Temple, this style initially was called by the generic "Shaolin Ch'uan" term. As time went on, the new innovation specifically came to be known as chang ch'uan, or Long Fist. This newcomer bested the old Shaolin short-fist techniques on numerous strategically important battles.

            During the years 600-1600 AD, the Shaolin monks developed both external and internal skills, new meditation techniques, several styles of open hand combat, many different weaponry, massage, acupuncture, herbology. In the 16 Century the monk Kwok Yuen added to Da Mo’s 18 Lo Han techniques to create a total of 72 movements, later expanded by Kwok to 170 as he incorporated five animal styles (Dragon, Tiger, Snake, Crane, Leopard) into his chang ch’uan. Many other animal styles were later added, but these five are the core of Shaolin animal studies.

            The myriad of fighting styles that blossomed in or migrated to southern China are perhaps best known around the world for their offspring, i.e. Okinawan karate styles (shorin, goju, kempo), and Japanese jiu-jitsu. How many of us know the schools of Hung Ga, White Eyebrow, White Tiger, Choy Li Fut? Not so odd that we don't, as these systems are exceedingly intricate, have a long history of being closed systems of revolutionaries, and until the last couple of decades, not open to non-Chinese. The arts that migrated to Japan were mere smidgeons of info tossed to those foreigners.

 

            Historically, southern China has been dominated by five fighting styles: Choy, Hung, Lau, Lay, Mok. Hung Gar (or “Five Animals Family” is the most widespread and popular, with Choy Li Fut running a close second. ZTK uses training techniques, drills, exercises and forms from both Choy Li Fut and Hung Ga, both reknowned as southern Shaolin short range combat systems. The present morphology of neither system is very old, but of course their roots extend back before our capability to discern their distinctiveness…

            The Hung Family system is one of the styles to emerge from the northern Shaolin Temple after its destruction by Manchu troops in the Ching Dynasty. Its founder was monk Hung Hei Goon, who took his martial “understanding” to Canton to teach the people to defend themselves from the foreign Ching Dynasty enforcers. His system incorporated the Five Animals and Five Elements techniques, as well as his Tiger Claw specialty. Hung developed a reputation for being a fighter of great skill and came to become famously known as “The Southern Fist.”

            The modern system of Choy Li Fut had its recordable genesis about 1813 AD. A seven year-old boy named Chan Heng began receiving martial instruction then from three famous fighting monks in south China. After  21 years of study with these three monks, Chan moved to Canton to found the first Choy Li Fut school, named in honor of his three teachers.

This style and Chan’s school proved to be formidable weapons in several encounters, notably the Opium War and the anti-Ching movement.

            Suffice it to say that senior student followed master in a direct lineage to Chan Shou De, who arrived in L.A. in the late 1930’s, after buying a passport with the name of Jimmy Woo on it. Jimmy Woo was the teacher of one of my instructors, Bob Cook. (In addition to some of the basics of Choy Li Fut, Bob also taught me long Yang T’ai-Chi, Shing-Yi, and Pa-Kua.) In the late ‘50’s Bob was the top student of and instructor for Ed Parker (“father of American Karate” and founder of American Kenpo Karate); as such, Bob won a national fighting championship. Soon afterwards he met Jimmy Woo, saw what the man’s Choy Li Fut was like, and said to himself (he told me): “Now I can really start to learn!”

 

NEI JIA: THE INTERNAL ARTS

            Dreams, fairies, animal instructors all factor into popularized histories of these arts. Even some of the humans who supposedly "invented" the systems of Chi-Kung, T'ai-chi, Shing-Yi, and Pa-Kua have little historical substantiation for the folk beliefs.

            What we do know is that the soft arts, with one exception, appeared on the scene intact fairly recently. Only Shing-Yi can claim hard evidence of a verifiable genesis of more than 300 years. (The written manifestation of the art does not, of course, necessarily reflect the truth of the matter.) And it is obvious through experience that part of the system is older than the other. (The tracing of the development of the Wu-Shing, or Five Elements, versus the 12 Animal Styles would be a research topic worthy of the ZTK Associate Master candidate.)

           

KICKBOXING

As a highly refined system of combat, kickboxing has been in existence for at least 1,000 years. The kickboxing style of Burma, then called Lethway, became wide-spread during the reign of king Anawratha. With the help of his lethway boxers, the warrior king founded the first Burmese empire in 1044 when he subdued the kingdoms of Siam (Thailand), Shans and Mons, fierce mountain peoples with intense rivalries (now embroiled in the volatile games inherent to their "Golden Triangle" homelands: opium growing, drug-running, arms smuggling).

            In 1703, Pra Chao Sua, notoriously known as the "Tiger King," ascended the throne of Siam. During his reign, Thai boxing reached the height of popularity. Boxing became the favorite pastime of the population. And since Siam was at peace with Burma, the two countries collaborated to develop fighting camps and promote numerous tournaments. The exchange of information about training that inevitably ensued brought mutual adaptations to both Burmese and Thai boxing traditions. These adaptations accelerated when numerous nobles and feudal lords who owned and managed boxing camps opened their doors to include Cambodians, Karens, and Mons, as well as the Burmese and Thais.

            Perhaps the strongest changes in Burmese and Thai combat boxing came during the 20th Century. In essence, paralleling the emphasis in Japanese arts from battlefield survival for militarists to sporting activities for the masses, kickboxing has developed into athletic endeavors. Since 1930, Thai boxing has undertaken various rules and regulations from international boxing, the adoption of padded leather gloves, groin protectors, weight divisions, boxing trunks, boxing ring and round systems.

            In spite of these modern handicaps to combat effectiveness, modern Thai boxing has developed into one of the most rugged contact sports in the world, gaining awe and respect from practitioners of other systems. Since there was little difference traditionally between Burmese and Thai boxing, it is a toss-up to determine which kingdom produced the best style of fighting. Every part of the body, from head to toe, was used in both countries.

            The boxing styles of the Burmese, Thai, Mon, Shan, Karen, and Khmer fought under the same rules from 1040 to 1930. Strategies and techniques were slightly different from boxer to boxer, according to various regions and training camps from which they came. Burmese boxing was an integral part of the Burmese military training for many centuries. The Kings of Burma and Thailand encouraged training, practice, and growth of these combat systems. Skilled boxers were honored and rewarded handsomely, and proclaimed "Royal Boxers." The modern American "sport" of kickboxing is a pale and laughable shadow of those honorable warrior boxers of SE Asia.

           

            Afterword

 

            The Royal Boxer, the Chan Buddhist Shaolin master, and the Taoist internal artist all share(d) several fundamental views. One common conviction is that it is not possible to express in words what is most real, sublime, and ultimate. Recognizing the limitations of the intellect, martial training traditions guide with the lamp of direct experience. This partly explains the scarcity of extant primary historical evidence in martial arts.   

            Another reason is because martial and mutual aid societies often exist in spite of oppressive government. The necessity of this "orientation" guide (an extremely rare aid for new students), occurred to me because in the West we men have been divested, emasculated and tamed through social programming by the culture of commerce. We no longer recount the values and histories of righteous ancestors, fighting men who were defenders of our  tribal members’ interests. Instead we defend marketing strategies, bottom lines, and aggressive growth policies of business cartels. These social programmers love money. What do you love?