White Crane Kung Fu
Kung Fu - The Art of Living Well
No matter how the terms Kung Fu or Tai Chi are interpreted they do not mean fighting or combat, but rather speak of a much larger and unique duality of thought and art. These terms address an external artistic frame that can be viewed by an observer as having structures that touch on architectural balance, the laws of physics and kinetics, as well as the poses and positions of dance. However, they also approach a unique internal aspect of human conflict that civilizes and relaxes our emotions as well as our physical and intellectual world view. As an artistic study the internalized cathartic frames offer an insight into tweaking the inner-workings of the human anatomy by relaxing the nervous system, strengthening breathing, muscle, organ function and brain function. Traditional Kung Fu is not about caging men in combat its about freeing them from the distractions of emotions that create internal vexations which produce not only undue stress but unnecessary violent responses to others.
A History of Civilizing Savage Instincts
All Kung Fu and Tai Chi skills are through proper instruction balanced with "Ko An," or the practice of ethics which lend insight into the peace obtained by managing one's urgency and desire. Ko An implies a process of polarizing and synthesizing structures of not only to develop force, speed and accuracy but also the usage of the mind to develop self control or calmness within the process of using these structures. As such, Zen Monks developed this art for both self defense and the development of the freedom to live well with one another. In our instruction we teach students to value their family and friends as well as protect them and others who are less than us and cannot defend themselves. We teach others to create positive human relationships. We teach others to cherish and value functional relationships and not to destroy them. We teach sidestepping, weapon avoidance rather than killing or permanently disabling others. We do not take our skills lightly, as they have been passed down to us from generation to generation for several thousands of years by the foremost intellects and masters on the subject of Kung Fu as it began with Huang Ti.
During the Chou Dynasty (1027 - 256 B.C.), as mankind was just beginning to enter the Iron Age, Huang Ti, China's first unifier (221 - 210 B.C.), wrote the first book on Kung Fu. However, he prohibited the practice of martial arts by those who were without proper instruction, out of fear that the masses might rise up and destroy each other and an entire empire. At this time Kung Fu instruction by commoners was perceived as a threat to the stability of the ruling class in China. Secretly, Kung Fu was practiced until 206 B.C. when Liu Pang, later known as Kao Tsu, assumed the throne of the Han Dynasty. As emperor, Kao Tsu permitted the resumption of these practices throughout the realm, and the martial arts became a vital part of military training and the collective determination of China's laboring families. Kung Fu mindfulness brought more order and dignity to families and governments.
All Men are Brothers
During the sixth century, unarmed defense principles were advanced through Zen (Ch'an) Buddhist religious practices. Bodhidharma, who was said to have traveled to China, spread the word of Zen Buddhist faith and is believed to be the father of Shaolin Temple Boxing. It is said that he introduced the monks to systematic exercises for strengthening the body and the mind as well as methods for enduring prolonged mediation. Self-defense movements were devised later from Bodhidharma's knowledge of Indian fighting systems and thus Shaolin Kung Fu was born. Yet it was not the self defense aspect of Zen Buddhism that attracted disciples to this new school of thought. After all China had already developed a very systematized martial art. It was Bodhidharma's books on medical theory and practice that were the source of eventual change in China. The lure of the power of secret medical procedures and herbs began to divide the social order of the Chinese family. Too many families found their oldest sons deviating from their family ties to become monks. Buddhism, like all foreign ideas in all cultures, had to adapt if it was to stay in China, and so, other paths began to develop.
One of the greatest contribution of Shaolin Kung Fu by the Taoists was beyond a doubt Tai Chi Chuan. After spending ten years with the Shaolin Monks the Taoist priest Chang Sen-feng retreated to Wu Dan Mountain to pursue his search for immortality. After witnessing a fight between a snake and a crane, he developed a complete system designed to maintain health, calm the mind, and increase longevity Tai Chi Chuan or The Grand Ultimate Fist. These self-defense aspects became so effective that it was recognized as one of the superior schools of traditional Chinese boxing. Why, simply because the art was inclusive and not exclusive. Tai Chi broke the boundaries of age, and welcomed seniors to adopt a healthful perspective of preventative care.
The Birth of Kung Fu Entertainment
From Chan Sen-feng to Mu Lan and Wang Fe Hung, Chinese Zen monks brought change not only to foreign ideas like Buddhism but to the art of opera, music, painting, and, of course, Kung Fu entertainment. Not surprisingly, since the Viet Nam War, has it also brought change to western movies, music, and medicine.
Modernity Adapts to the Power of Mindfulness
Modern science has tested and validated the beneficial effects of Chinese Martial Arts Training. Over the past forty years of Kung Fu's coming of age in America, our school has been part of this excitement through the development of exercises that assist in controlling asthma, Tourette's, Spina Bifida, insomnia, ADD, and aging, not to mention the proliferation and expansion of art, music and movies. In the tradition of Chinese Shaolin, we adapt our art to the needs of others, and adapt others to helping those in need. Many of our instructors now work within our government as officers in both homeland security and academic instruction and research.
We Present Kung Fu In All That We Do!
Since the development of our school forty years ago we have raised $250,000 for children in need. We have also assisted through the writings, teaching and cultural entertainment of Master Illar in the development of new perspectives on those with disabilities. Today we continue our tradition to assist in moving American audiences to support the development of Kung Fu self defense, health, culture, entertainment, and, more importantly, our dedication to assisting others to adapt and personally grow and change for the better. Along with training in a myriad of weapon and non-weapon exercises and defenses that our minds and hearts practice, we continue to extend the knowledge of real Kung Fu to those who wish to learn to adapt to change! Our tradition continues. We are active in assisting others in need. We actively entertain others, and we actively support our community and our beloved nation. We teach Kung Fu.