Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Access denied for user 'root'@'localhost' (using password: YES) in /home/www/matoday.us/include/dbtools.php on line 17

Warning: mysql_select_db() [function.mysql-select-db]: Access denied for user 'johdun27'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /home/www/matoday.us/include/dbtools.php on line 20

Warning: mysql_select_db() [function.mysql-select-db]: A link to the server could not be established in /home/www/matoday.us/include/dbtools.php on line 20

Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Access denied for user 'root'@'localhost' (using password: YES) in /home/www/matoday.us/include/dbtools.php on line 17

Warning: mysql_select_db() [function.mysql-select-db]: Access denied for user 'johdun27'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /home/www/matoday.us/include/dbtools.php on line 20

Warning: mysql_select_db() [function.mysql-select-db]: A link to the server could not be established in /home/www/matoday.us/include/dbtools.php on line 20
Martial Arts Today

About Sansei
About the Book



The Masters

Nothing comes from nothing. There is no single source, no "Sun Source" for Martial Arts. If there was, organized fighting traditions would have been restricted to the far east. Lands that had no, or limited contact with Asia still developed fighting systems. Whether the original masters were inspired by the gods, as many legends state, or they simply observed what had been successful in the past, one fact remains. Fighting styles were passed down the ages by survivors. Men with bad technique were not likely to survive in combat long enough to pass along their "wisdom". The feudal periods of mankind’s history were notoriously unforgiving of men who claimed great knowledge, but were unable to apply it.

The Masters

The similarity of primitive Martial Traditions can be explained by the intermingling of fighting styles on the battlefield. A surviving warrior would notice techniques that were tried on him, and incorporate them into his own fighting style. Veterans of many battles would rise in prestige, and teach all his "tricks" to the new warriors. Examples of this blending are present in every primitive Martial System in the world.

The earliest histories of man record heroes. Ordinary men who became extraordinary fighters. Ancient Assyrian artists etched pictures of men fighting empty hand in stone.

I recommend the article in Tae Kwan Do Times, Nov 97 (pp38-42) by Dr. Kent Haralson. Master Haralson is the President of the Gospel Martial Arts Union. His article Focuses on Biblical references to warriors. Master Haralson, I feel, reaches a bit to prove his points, but that is his prerogative as a writer. The piece is well thought out, and clearly written. For those who do not care for the Biblical spin on the article, but enjoy history, the reference section of his story is worth the cost of the magazine.


The Shaolin Temple


Legend holds that around 500 AD, the Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, set out on a journey from India. He traveled over the Himalayan mountains, and arrived in the providence of Honan.

He was from a wealthy class in India known as the kshatriyas (sha-TREE-as). This was the warrior class of the time, similar to the Samurai of Japan. The Indian fighting art they practiced was called vajramushti (vah-ra-MOOS-ty). As a young man of privilege, Bodhidharma was free to train with the warriors when he was not being tutored in Buddhism. He remained in India training, praying, meditating, and studying until he heard about the construction of a new temple in China called Shaolin.


He traveled there, and reorganized the monastery along a belief system that incorporates what is now known as ZEN. He trained the monks to be physically capable of deep meditative trances. His fighting style also helped the traveling monks to defend themselves against the marauding bandit gangs of the time. The monks named the exercises taught to them "The Eighteen Hands of the Lo Han." In the thirteenth century, two Masters of the Eighteen Hands, Chueh Yuan and Li Cheng introduced exercises based on observing animals. Another monk, Pai Yu Feng added more. Eventually the 18 exercises of Bodhidharma became 170.


There is a great legend recorded on Grandmaster Peter Urban’s book The Karate Dojo concerning the final testing of a monk who wished to "graduate" from the temple. Students of the temple were priests, and would wander, spreading the word of Buddhism, and training their own followers in mental and physical discipline. Most all of the modern Chinese fighting systems can be traced to the Shaolin Temple.


Fang Zhonggong

Fang Zhonggong was a monk at the Shaolin Temple, and a Master of Eighteen Monk Fist Boxing. During one of the periods of civil unrest that plagued China in the mid-seventeenth century, the Temple became a place of refuge for rebels. Seeking to end this, government troops attacked and destroyed the Temple in 1674. He is reported to be the father of Fang Qiniang, founder of White Crane Gongfu. Reportedly, his death at the hands of a gang from a neighboring village prompted his daughter to finish her own training in the Martial Arts.


Fang Qiniang

Fang Qiniang, was reported to be the daughter and personal disciple of Fang Zhonggong. After her father’s death, she was reported to have continued her training by herself. In the footsteps of the Masters Yuan, Cheng, and Feng, she based her fighting on the observation of animals. Her observation of the fighting of two cranes led to the evasive tactics and soft parrying motions that form the "Ju" basis of modern Goju.


Lin Shixian

Lin Shixian was a Master of White Crane Gongfu. It is unknown who his teacher was. I am seeking more information about Master Shixian.


Xie Zhongxiang

Ryu Ryuko was reported to be the nickname of Xie Zhongxiang. Xie Zhongxiang was a shoe maker by trade, and the founder of Whooping Crane Gongfu. In 1877, in the Fukien Province, he accepted Kanryo Higaonna as a student. Higaonna was with him until he returned to Okinawa in 1890. It is reported that Higaonna did not receive a teaching certificate from Xie Zhongxiang. I do not know if he had founded Whooping Crane at this point, or was still teaching in the White Crane System at this time.


On to Okinawa and Japan -->