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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:32 pm 
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This month's Inside Kung-Fu has an interesting article on Ngo Cho (Five Ancestor Kung-fu)... This style exhibits the closest match bar none to Uechi I have ever seen and appears to have influenced other Okinowan roots..

This from a review of a Five Ancestor Fist Book.
Quote:
As far as I know, this is the first book on Five Ancestor Fist kung-fu to be published in English, and I think many of those who practice Okinawan karate, particularly Uechi-ryu and Goju-ryu, will find it of great interest. Even a cursory glance will establish many points in common with Okinawan karate: the sam chien or sanchin stances and forms, the technique known as "holding the shield" in Ngo Cho and as "tiger mouth' or tora guchilmawashi uke in karate, and the use of the weapon known as the sang te pi in Ngo Cho and the sai in Okinawa, to give just a few examples.
Mr. Co tells us that the art of Ngo Cho kun is a "Shaolin" martial art from Fukien province on China’s east coast, and we know many famous Okinawan masters traveled to Fukien to study Chinese martial arts, among them Higashionna Kanryo, and later his pupil Miyagi Chojun (who later founded Goju-ryu ), as well as Uechi Kanbun of Uechi-ryu. The author states that Miyagi probably settled in the central or southern region of China, where he studied Ngo Cho kun. As far as I know, Miyagi Chojun never actually lived in China, although he did make several trips. His teacher, Higashionna Kanryo, did spend many years in Fukien. Perhaps Mr Co has confused the two.

Miyagi Sensei is believed to have visited Fukien in an unsuccessful attempt to make contact with Higashionna's teacher, and also to have visited the Tsing Wu Athletic Association in Shanghai, which was founded by the legendary Huo Yuan-chia. I, too, have heard the story that Miyagi Sensei was exposed to Pa Kua (aka Ba Gua - Eight Trigrams Boxing), and like Mr. Co, I tend to discount it. Mr. Patrick McCarthy, in his recently published Bubishi, states that he believes that Higashionna's teacher, Ryuru Ko, was a shoemaker named Xie Zhongxlang and the founder of Whooping Crane gongfu.

I have also heard it suggested that Ryuru Ko practiced Tai Cho (Grand Ancestor Boxing), and an elderly Chinese practitioner of Tai Cho interviewed in Penang, Malaysia in 1979 by the International Hoplology Society's field research team gave a genealogy which seemed to confirm this. I personally believe that there was probably a fair amount of overlap involved, in that the same person may well have practised several styles, either consecutively or simultaneously. Cross- training is nothing new, and styles from a certain area may well have shared many characteristics in common, as the result of local customs and culture, not to mention the physical environment itself.

According to Mr. Co, Ngo Cho Kun is derived from five different styles (including White Crane and Grand Ancestor/Emperor boxing) and consists of 44 empty~hand forms, 12 weapons, strength and conditioning training, prearranged fighting drills, and free-sparring practices. Later he explains that the forms are divided into two categories; either chien (tension) or kun (fist) forms. (A similar division exists in Goju-ryu karate, between sanchin and tensho on the one hand, and the other traditional forms).

The book shows a representative form from each category. On the technical side, the most interesting thing that I noted was the use of a waist twisting movement in the sam chien form, presumably done so as to lend more power to the subsequent strike. I have not encountered this movement in my practice of Gojuryu, nor have I observed it in Uechiryu, though since my knowledge of Uechi-ryu is limited, I suppose I could have missed it. But this is, I think, a point of technical difference. My whole image of Goju-ryu and Uechi-ryu is of styles which keep the upper body facing toward the opponent. I'd be interested to learn more about the rationale involved here.

As for the weight training exercises, the iron or stone weights known as chio so seem to be the exact equivalentof the Okinawan sashi. A list of the weapons used in ngo cho kun is given, and there are photographs of some of the weapons. The sailsang te pi is shown, as are a variety of staff weapons, the straight sword, and the plum spear, as well as a weapon with the intriguing name of the "horse cutting knife", which seems to be the equivalent of the Japanese nagamaki.

To sum up, this book would probably be of most interest to those practising Okinawan karate or perhaps a related Fukien province fighting art such as White Crane. It certainly helps fill a gap in our knowledge of the fighting arts which originated in Fukien, among which we can clearly count Uechi-ryu and Goju-ryu.

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"Receive what comes, stay with what goes, upon loss of contact attack the line" – The Kuen Kuit


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:50 pm 
good stuff Jim , whats the title of the book ?

Quote:
The book shows a representative form from each category. On the technical side, the most interesting thing that I noted was the use of a waist twisting movement in the sam chien form, presumably done so as to lend more power to the subsequent strike. I have not encountered this movement in my practice of Gojuryu, nor have I observed it in Uechiryu, though since my knowledge of Uechi-ryu is limited, I suppose I could have missed it. But this is, I think, a point of technical difference. My whole image of Goju-ryu and Uechi-ryu is of styles which keep the upper body facing toward the opponent. I'd be interested to learn more about the rationale involved here.


Man what a can of worms ....


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:56 pm 
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:lol:

Yeah, I was thinking of putting that paragraph in bold but as it turns out there was no need.. ;)

Here's the one reviewed:

FIVE ANCESTOR FIST KING-FU: The Way of Ngo Cho Kun
by Alexander L. Co
(Tuttle Publishing, 1997)

There are more books on Ngo Cho and the article in this month's Inside Kung-Fu.. The pics are dead on Uechi stuff with a little spice added in... I was surprised to see it and yet I seem to recall having seen it somewhere else.. Very interesting..

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"Receive what comes, stay with what goes, upon loss of contact attack the line" – The Kuen Kuit


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 Post subject: From dec 97 mail bag
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 5:25 am 
Dear Sensi Mattson,

I hope that all is well with you.

I was reading a recently released book, "Five Ancestor Fist Kung Fu - The Way of Ngo Cho Kun" by Alexander L. Co. This book is published by Charles E. Tuttle Publishing and the ISBN is ISBN 0-8048-3153-X. There is an interesting commentary on Uechi-Ryu and San Chin on pages 35-36:

Uechi-ryu, another major Okinawan karate style, also bears a striking resemblance to ngo cho kun. In the early 1900's Uechi-ryu karate founder, Kanei Uechi, Sr., traveled to Fukien province to further his skills in the martial arts.

While there, Uechi supposedly learned a kenpo style known as pangai-noon. However, current research indicates that therewas never a style known as pangai-noon. Conversely, pangai-noon refers to the Fukien Amoy dialect term, pan-ngi-nang,

which means "half-hard, half soft." Presumably, through the passage of time, the style came to be known as pangai-noon on Okinawa, as teachers taught their students the importance of being both hard and soft in the execution of their martial movements.

Another explanation is that Uechi's teachers may have camouflaged the name of their style so Uechi could not disclose the true identity of this secret system. It is believed that what he learned was actually ngo cho kun.

Like Goju-ryu, the principles and movements of Uechi-ryu are exceedingly similar to ngo cho kun. Again, the similarities are by no means coincidental.

Yet another interesting comparison is the high regard Okinawan karate and ngo cho kun place on the practice and perfection of kata. Karate practitioners believe the sanchin kata is the heart of their system; likewise for the practitioners of ngo cho kun. What appear to be simple, basic movements are actually abbreviations of inner, hidden movements. To understand this, we must analyze the kata practiced in both Fukien province and Okinawa.

In both, ngo cho kun and Okinawan karate, the kata assumes a perfect circle, the beginning is the end, the end is the beginning. The student begins and ends his training with sanchin/sam chien. By studying the form, the student is exposed to its movements, which to him are simple and basic.

The movements may appear to be just preludes, or preliminary steps to higher forms of learning or technique, but in reality, sanchin/sam chien is the core of ngo cho kun, Uechi-ryu, and Goju-ryu. Every movement in these systems derive their roots from this form. In order for the student to become proficient in either Okinawan karate or ngo cho kun he must know this form. Once he passes this fundamental form, he progresses to a higher form, where he is taught the different movements and techniques hidden in the seemingly basic sanchin/sam chien form. In reality, the sanchin/sam chien form holds the key to all the advanced techniques. The student begins to see how these simple movements provide the clues to discover greater techniques and thereby aspires to know more and seek a deeper understanding of the movements. The importance of this form may be likened to the roots of a tree: without its roots, a tree is lifeless, dead. The roots are the sustaining power of the tree; this form is the life and sustaining power of ngo cho kun, Goju-ryu, and Uechi-ryu.

Mr. Co has written a good book on Five Ancestors Kung Fu. In addition to having a nice section on the history of the style, he covers two forms (one of which is Sam Chien) and the application of many ngo cho kun techniques.

Hope that you find this interesting.

Take care,

Jeffrey Wong

Thanks for the information Jeffrey. Years ago, Bob Campbell (who spent many years in the Philippenes) sent me a copy of this book. I agree that there is a very close relationship between Five Ancestors Kung Fu and Uechi-ryu. GEM


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 11:39 am 
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My scanner isn't set up but here are some low quality snap shots from the article...

First one shows the sam chien form and stance...

Some partner and solo conditioning drills via 'arm chopping.'


Image


Here's the Monkey Grabbing exercise, the hands are 'flicked' or snapped into the most extreme positions.

Image

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"Receive what comes, stay with what goes, upon loss of contact attack the line" – The Kuen Kuit


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:11 pm 
relief therapy aside, I wonder what else is in this system :roll: ....do they just have three kata as well? do they do sticking hands? .and what weapons .if any do they use?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 2:04 pm 
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jorvik wrote:
I wonder what else is in this system :roll: ....do they just have three kata as well? do they do sticking hands? .and what weapons .if any do they use?


Haven't found much else on this style.

In the article they talk about arm banging, self banging, parner banging, the monkey grabbing drill that turns on Tony :lol:, lock throwing, some two man sets and I have seen elsewhere mention of something like 36 forms some of which are for iron shirt and some not...

All in all not quite my cup of tea.. :lol:

God forbid any of these articles should address tactical fighting concepts of the style in question... I am so tired of reading stuff like, "fast kicks and punches", or "effective grabbing attacks," I have yet to read of any style boasting of "slow kicks and punches" or "ineffective grabbing attacks.." :roll: :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:50 pm 
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I'm a bit late on this thread, but I just came across it. I've had this book for several years and have seen a few articles on Five Ancestor Fist (Ngo Cho Kun) over the years. Co's claims of Ngo Cho being the mother of Okinawan karate even prompted me to pick up one of his videos, in which he teaches the Ngo Cho Sam Chien and another form (Ngo Cho has 44 hand forms and 12 weapons forms).

It's interesting from the perspective of seeing another style of Fukien origin, and their are some similarities that indicate they had similar influences or origins. But it is impossible to say Ngo Cho is the parent of Uechi Ryu, Gojo Ryu, or any other karate style. And the only one that I've seen actually making that claim is Co.

One flaw in his theory is that Ngo Cho was created in the second half of the 1800s and its founder was a contemporary of Kanryo Higashionna. I don't have the dates handy, but if I recall the two were training at the same time. So while that timeline does allow for the possiblilty of the Ngo Cho founder being Kanbun's teacher, it doesn't for him teaching Higashionna.

Ironically though the Ngo Cho Sam Chien more closely resembles the Goju Sanchin than it does the Uechi Sanchin. And yet according to what I have read, Higashionna practiced a Sanchin that resembled the Uechi Sanchin and it was Miyagi who modified Higashionna's Sanchin to create the Goju Sanchin.

I got the feeling in reading through Co's book and articles that he has not dug very deep into the history of Uechi or Goju. He knows there is a mystery about their origins, and an interest by Uechi and Goju practitioners to find out more, so he is playing on that.

Actually I find the whole concept of 'parental' claims humorous. Given how Chinese and Okinawan styles have been modified over the past century, you really cannot describe any current style as being the parent of another current style if the separation supposedly happened 100 years ago...at bwest you could call them sister styles.

By the way, per some authorities, Uechi Ryu is actually ChuKa Shaolin (Southern Praying Mantis), Xingyiquan (Hsing-I), and Pak/Bak Mei (White Eyebrow). :roll:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:45 am 
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Also here was another recent thread on Ngo Cho with some pictures and links:
http://forums.uechi-ryu.com/viewtopic.php?t=15095

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