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Karate Nerd in China (Ep. 2) 🍵

Karate Nerd in China (Ep. 2) 🍵

Previously on Karate Nerd in China. I’m on my way to explore
the roots of karate. But this time, I’m not going to Japan. I can’t believe I’ve already been exposed to one of the most important kung fu styles in the history of karate. (speaking Chinese) You can tell that is the
original Bubishi right there. The old masters called
it the Bible of karate. All I have to do is follow the Bubishi, and right now it’s telling me to visit the birthplace of White Crane. Follow along an epic adventure to rediscover the lost roots of karate, as Jesse Enkamp uncovers
the ancient source of karate’s kung fu connection. This is what the history
books never told you. You’re watching Karate Nerd in China. Today it’s time for a road trip. But first, coffee. My jetlag kept me awake all night, and I’ve gotta stay focused today, because, wait. What the heck? Is that a cat backpack? Anyway, as I was saying, today we’re going to Yongchun village where Alex booked a meeting with the White Crane research association. I have no idea what to expect, but I’m super excited. Before I know it, we’re there. It’s obvious that this town
is famous for its kung fu. As we arrive, we’re greeted by the head of the association, Master Tsun. His job is to research,
preserve, and promote the art. Nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you, Jesse. Wow, we’re at the birthplace
of White Crane kung fu. Surprisingly, White Crane
actually has a lot of weapons, but they’re very different
from what we see in karate. The coolest one is a trident, originally used to kill tigers. The secret is to squat down and wait for the tiger to pounce on you. So if you’re
gonna defend yourself against a tiger.
(speaks Chinese) Then as the tiger
comes to you, you squat down, and put it straight up
into his throat as he– Every White Crane school has a statuette of the
woman who founded the style. Her name was Fang, and she came to Yongchun in the 16th century. Back then, southern China
was a lawless country full of bandits and criminals. So, to defend herself, she created her own style of kung fu. And her first student
was actually her husband. White Crane also incorporates lots of strength training tools. This heavy pole, for example. (kiai) Over a cup of green tea, I learn that the oldest White Crane dojo in town belongs to the Pan family. If we’re lucky, we might be
able to visit later today. But first, it’s time to see the most important kata in Yongchun. And the man who knows it best
lives up on the mountain. Hello, nice to meet you. This is Master Zheng. At first glance, he might seem
like an unassuming farmer. But looks can be deceiving. Turns out, Master Zheng
is an expert at Sanzhan In Japanese, we call it Sanchin. This form is considered to be the essence of White Crane in Yongchun. (kiai) (applause)
Wow, thank you. Very impressive. Apparently, there are many
different versions of this kata. But all versions share the same universal principle of body structure. Wow. How do you do it, this way? This way? Is that Sanzhan?
Sanzhan. The key is to align your joints and stack your bones to connect with your center of gravity, thereby becoming virtually immovable. When the principles of
Sanzhan are applied correctly, even a small and weak
person can become powerful. It’s just biomechanics. He’s very strong.
I know, right? Thank you. I hope to see you again. Now there’s only one stop left before we visit the
oldest dojo in Yongchun. This is the White Crane Memorial Hall. Basically, it’s a museum in
the middle of the jungle. Turns out that White Crane
has many different styles, like Flying Crane, Sleeping Crane, Feeding Crane, and Whooping Crane, the style that I learned from Master Yu. Some people even argue that Wing Chun, the style that Bruce Lee practiced, is also a style of White Crane. (whoop) That’s why he made those whooping
sounds, just like a crane. As the history lesson comes to an end, Alex pays his respects and
prays to the statue of Fang before we’re finally
dropped off at the dojo. The school we’re about to
visit was established in 1928. So, Alex, where are we now? It’s Weng Gong Ci.
Weng Gong Ci? Master Pan’s place, it’s a dojo. Very, very old dojo. It’s been said that every master in Yongchun started their journey here. This is the most famous dojo?
Yes. Of the White Crane.
Yes. (speaks Chinese) When I walk in, it feels like I’m in a kung fu movie. This is the birthplace
of White Crane kung fu. This is Master Pan. He’s taking care of the dojo since his father passed away recently. His father was very famous, and had students all over the world. Pan Jr. literally grew up in this dojo. He’s been practicing White
Crane for over 40 years. When I asked Master Pan what’s
written on the whiteboard, he says it’s a list of their forms. But strangely enough, it doesn’t include any of the kata I’d seen
previously on my trip. That’s because the Bubishi stuff isn’t practiced in Yongchun. I’d gone too far back in history. They don’t even do the forceful breathing I learned from Master Yu. The closest thing they
have to classical karate is this old two-person exercise. [Alex] One circle,
and then, do it again. Thank you very much. Very interesting. As we cool down with some tea, Master Pan reveals
something very interesting. Fang Qiniang’s father
learned Southern Shaolin, and then she added the crane movement by mimicking how the cranes move, and she added that into it. I couldn’t believe what I just heard. You see, the Shaolin Temple is mentioned everywhere in the history of karate. According to the research
of Patrick McCarthy, the old karate masters
had up to 13 distinct ways of referencing Shaolin in their writings. Okinawan styles like Shorinryu, Kobayashiryu, Shorinjiryu,
Shoreiryu, and Matsubayashiryu literally translate to “Shaolin style”. And almost every dojo in Okinawa has a picture of a Bodhidharma
hanging on the wall. He’s the spiritual grandfather
of Shaolin kung fu. In fact, half of the
Bubishi is said to be about monk fist boxing, the
style practiced at Shaolin. But Master Pan is not talking about the famous temple you see on TV, because that’s in the north,
and it’s mostly for tourists. This is a smaller,
southern Shaolin temple, and many people don’t even know it exists. Perhaps that’s where I’ll find the missing piece of the karate puzzle. I’m so excited. As we leave the old dojo, all I wanna do is grab the first train to Shaolin. But before we leave Yongchun, Master Pan wants to introduce us to one of his father’s old friends. This is Master Su. He’s been teaching White
Crane for 60 years, so imagine how long he’s been training. Thank you very much. I’m literally sweating tea at this point, and my jetlag is kicking in real hard. Luckily, Will is ready to take some pain. So he’s saying that karate doesn’t have this kind of coil-like grab. So you see, he can, from the middle he can strike
easily from this position. Apparently, Master Su
is an expert on joint locks. He calls this a softer
form of White Crane. The goal is to be like a rod
of steel wrapped in cotton. Strong inside, soft outside. Don’t be tense like that, be relaxed. So these three joints want to be relaxed. Your power won’t come out if you’re too tense, so you want to relax. So this is like the internal power here. It’s like I’m not even using force. Having strength is like having money. Strength is like money, that you can just lose it quite easily. Because he’s saying Crane shouldn’t be hard and tense, because it was founded by a woman. If a woman came up to
him and said, (grunts) you’re not gonna marry her, are you, so it should be graceful and gentle. Before we leave Master Su, we’re treated to a
demonstration by his daughter. Although her performance is lovely, this whole visit just confirms my belief that I’ve gone too far down
the rabbit hole of White Crane. After all, I’m here to
learn karate, not kung fu. Thank you very much. We thank the master and his daughter for the honor, then head back to the city. So Will, how does your hand feel? It’s in pain, like, seriously, I wasn’t exaggerating, I was trying to not react to it,
because I didn’t want him to stop showing anything, right? So I was trying to hold the pain, but I was in absolute agony, I mean– Where did it hurt, like– Like here, it was just
a very tiny movement. What he did was he basically said that you open this joint
by like a micrometer, and that’s the key to the grab, so– Then you can’t resist. Yeah, he hardly did anything, but it just straight down like that, and you just cannot, you can’t do anything
against it, that was amazing. It’s been a long day in Yongchun, and I’ve learned so much. But it’s time to shift gears. There are so many karate things
I still haven’t found here, like deeper stances, more kicks, long-distance movements,
and closed-hand techniques. But I know exactly where to look now. It’s time to visit the
southern Shaolin temple.

100 thoughts on “Karate Nerd in China (Ep. 2) 🍵”

  1. you can see there are some elements of kung fu that didn't make it over to Okinawa. Not all of it bad though in a defensive application. Some of the Wing Chun movements are so formalized that they almost have to stay that way. Western boxing is superior to at least old Chinese boxing. Not the Sullivan static pugilism but the Jim Corbett style and evolution forward. Counters, weaves,crosses and combinations. I like Kung fu but I like the Chinese weapon Kung fu which was WAAAY better than the other Asian weapons. Even the forms are better and more acrobatic.

  2. As a Karateka and Broadcast Engineer also, this has excellent content and it has been very well edited and produced. Congrats Jesse!

  3. Simple Center lock at the end. Hoping you will show some traditional Chinese Medicine from the destructive/constructive cycle of acupuncture and actually explain why the center lock dropped him. It’s in the Bubushi. That is the missing link in most of the martial arts. Much respect and thanks for doing this series.

  4. As an outsider of karate the essence is there! Like Latin in Romance languages. BTW would you like some tea?

  5. Love this series. I'd always wanted to know the root of karate. Especially learning goju Ryu myself make this even more fascinating to watch

  6. Jesse hops into the Tardis, comes to the era before the Bubishi ….. Whoops!…. Um, Doctor! We went a bit too far!

  7. Awesome series, I just watched the two episodes in a row. For a Kung Fu practicioner like me it's profoundly interesting and useful. Thank you.

  8. Very interesting, it looks like as karate moved up to mainland Japan and elements of Jujitsu and Daita ryu were introduced (Wado Ryu, Kenpo) it has become more like the softer Chinese styles. More locks and joint manipulations and a softer more relaxed posture…. Perhaps. Also the introduction of distance based on swords and spears brings back a lot of the weapons elements. Great video as always. Looking forward to part 3.

  9. The wrist grab that Master Su demonstrated, is like the roots of Aikido. I think the Karate-Kung Fu family tree just got bigger.

  10. That was very educational and very interesting! As a female martial artist I think it is quite interesting that White Crane was started by a woman. I am also quite small, so the things about making a small frame stronger were also intriguing.

  11. I'd LOVE to have learned Master Soo's soft grappling White Crane. I've found that most of your Fujian boxing styles, from Uechi-Ryu to White Crane to Southern Mantis use similar movements of striking (though applications may vary) and, certainly, the same principles of body dynamics (Float/Spit/Sink/Swallow), but, emphasis on wrestling is rare. It might help to fill the gap that often exists in most Karatekas' training.

  12. It`s a journey i am absolutely lovin` you inspire more than you will ever know you are causing a new generation to ask questions about their chosen art/arts deep bow

  13. Loving these historical investigative series Jesse E. Sensei . You are building an amazing awesome Legacy for us to enjoy and learn

  14. Konichiwa sensei Jesse!

    I really hope you will get to see and read this comment. I rarely comment on YT but I LOVE your channel and felt like I HAD to say something, being the "Karate x Kungfu hybrid in our family" lol! 🤭🤭🤭

    So, here's a little background story about myself. I grew up with my dad and uncle (on moms side) doing karate. My dad started with Shotokan, but picked up Wado Ryu once he moved to the Netherlands. He used to train with sensei (now shihan) Ludeig Kotzebue, big name! He trained until his body wouldn't allow him to continue, stopped at ni dan kuro obi.

    My uncle always did Shotokan and continues (30+ years) 'till this day. He has his shi dan kuro obi currently and has been teaching karate for over 20 years now.

    Both men were teaching me things at home. I used to sit next to dad or my uncle and watch Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan and all types of old school movies. As soon as I was old enough my parents enrolled me in Ludwig sensei's dojo. I practiced Wado Ryu karate for years, but when my sensei retired, I stopped too. I couldn't find a good sensei like him, only schools that exist to make money off of you until you get your "black belt". Which is NOT what I wanted. My love for karate never died away, but I gave up looking for a new sensei. One day I stumbled upon a kungfu master.. SHAOLIN master! Traditional kungfu, not modern wushu, not a "master" that knows a taolu (kata) or two and decided to start a school, no! A real shifu!

    Guess what! This shifu I found? Is an ex-student of Ludwig Sensei as well!!! I enrolled her (yes, HER) kungfu school in 2012 and I am still hooked to the art!!!
    Karate will ALWAYS be in my heart, but so did and will kungfu! I have been subbed to your channel for a looong time, I am probably the biggest karate/kungfu geek you'll find here, lol!

    But I really appreciate your Okinawa series and this new serie in China is really hitting home for me! LOVE IT!!!

    I learned a very rare white crane taolu a few months ago in Germany. That shifu is a direct student by one of THE biggest Shaolin shifu's alive today, shifu Shi De Cheng! And it is very interesting to see you dig into kungfu (white crane!), I can NOT wait for you to visit Shaolin Si, its my dream to go and train there one day! Traditional stuff only! 😍😍😍

    But until that day, I will watch your content and travel with you in spirit! Arigatogozaimashita sensei! bow

    Omituofo! baoquan li 🙏🏼

    Xuesheng Brandy
    (Aka a girl obsessed by traditional kungfu and karate, and very impatient for you to drop the next episode!) 🤭🤭🤭

  15. Looking forward to next part. I was skeptical that the fighting art was self defense in it's origin. 16th century is too new for a complete art for those that were professional soldiers pre Yuan Dynasty! Mongolian Invaders forced change in martial practices and which would force a subtle tradition.

  16. That was amazing. I understand you're not in China to learn Kung Fu, but… I have understood Okinawans did take some Kung Fu techniques to create the Karate in those ancient times. Until the next episode, which seems really interesting…

  17. If we want to know who planted the seed, then we can find it in India as Bodhidharma was from India (southern India), he discovered the art of kalaripayattu and eventually modifying it in China, thus the Kung Fu was born. From that Karate was born and so on. Very interesting episodes, more intresting than a film cuz these stuffs r real. Keep up the good and interesting work. Waiting for the next episode. 🙂

  18. I am loving this series!! You are actually a journalist cos what you are doing is a very thoughtful research work. Though i have one thing i dont like about what you are saying since the first episode, but i'll wait until the end to see if i was wrong or not about your comment. I think you know what i am talking about if not, lets wait to the end of your journey and the conclusions you reach. Again thank you so very much for sharing your journey.

  19. What's your source on the noises Bruce Lee made in his movies being a crane imitation? I always heard it explained as "cat cries" but I cannot confirm that was his intention.

  20. I'm totally not into these eastern fighting schools now, but I love the chances to have some inside view into this culture – for example this smoking by the table while eating and having a guest at a tea – it would be so improper and rude in my culture

  21. man, i blame MMA for making me think that every martial art is bullshido. of course not many of them aren't mean as a fighting tool, but everything has its benefits.

  22. The kata Ji'in, Jion, and Jitte have similarities to a form of Kung Fu called Corridor Boxing, which is a tiger style of Yongtai county. This art is also directly related to Uechi Ryu.

  23. I can't help but to be a smart-arse at this point and wonder: What would the old master have said if you'd told him that karate does, in fact, have hooking hands.

  24. Hey Jesse, thank you for a great video and presentation. I trained in Uechi Ryu since I was a young lad and I am now over 60 and just loving your vids man. I can see Uechi techniques in many of the moves these masters were performing. I really enjoyed your Okinawan journey and I hope you get lots more subscribers, you surely deserve it. Cheers

  25. Broo I saw your comment on mindful wing chun and was excited about it. Did you manage to see Nima and film some of his stuff?

  26. Seriously Jessie. This is admirable.I am sure your quest is answering questions that so many Karate followers all around the world have.
    Goosebumps… Can't wait for the next episode.

  27. sir JESSE ENKAMP, since you came across Bodhi dharma, it is a call from the universe that you must try to find out the root of martial arts itself.I'm giving a subtle hint that you must come to Kerala(India) and learn about kalarippayattu, the mother of all martial arts
    feeling goosebumps


  28. YongChun(tjun) is nice way. And yes it is history for all wing chun(tsun) styles. Nice man. Good episode. I wait next…

  29. Excellent research Jesse san… In 13:17… Karate does have that coil grab in Kake Uke… Like you said in the first episode… These respected masters talk about kung fu but all we see is Karate… Love your documentary…

  30. Great contents, superbly narrated with wonderful images. The spectator really feels to be travelling and living a authentic treasure hunting adventure. Thank you very much for sharing all this with us.

  31. Another brilliant episode! Honestly, I could watch a full-length Netflix series on this (that’s an idea!). 🙇‍♂️🥋👊

  32. Are you going to try to find the origins of the melding of Okinawan Te and White Crane? Maybe taking a look at the original Okinawan fighting art, before it mixed with White Crane (for Shorin Ryu) and Five Ancestor Fist (for Goju Ryu)? That may be where the stances changed and hands became closed.

  33. Congratualtions on your wonderful journey. I spent quite a bit of time in China. Unfortunately the cultural revolution and CCP have either destroyed or pushed deep underground much of what you are seeking. Hopefully you will get a few glimpses of the truth on your journey. It is very elusive there. Best of luck on your quest.

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