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. Thank you Jesse for sharing your trío to China .I really apreciate So cool to know all those places , persons and histories.Thanks Again

  2. Yep its white crane. A lot of people don't know that white crane is the birther of Karate. When I studied Karate I was not told this. I had to do heavy research and that's when I found out that white crane Kung Fu was the father or mother of Karate. A lot of people do not know or even understand that everything has a root and the root has a root and so on.

  3. Jesse, this was fascinating. I've been a Wing Chun guy for way too long, 30 something years, and Wing Chun is an abridged form of White Crane. In fact, Yong Chun is how Wing Chun is pronounced in Mandarin. It was interesting to hear they have a similar story about the origin, both created by a woman who taught her husband. Just different names and a few different details. I have always wondered what was in White Crane that was left out of Wing Chun. I see there is lots, including many different weapons. Thank you for taking us with you on your journey, I'm looking forward to the next installment.

  4. 3 minutes in. This sounds waaaay too much like our founding story in 詠春 (Wing Chun). Ng Mui taught Yim Wing Chun a combination of white Crane and snake style boxing, and Yim Wing Chun's first student was her husband.
    AND THAT POLE IS A LUK DIM BOON GWAN

  5. Very interesting and resourceful journey. Really excited to see the root of Karate / Martial Arts. The hand / forearm strengthening form at 10.19, I have seen the same and more in Sri Lankan traditional martial arts called Angam.

  6. Yes it is. Word of advice. The worth of a culture lies in how it treats it's own citizens. Look at how poor they all are.

  7. I saw parts of Tensho kata in the Sanzhen performance. Those people are so generous to you Jesse. (And us viewers).

  8. This is very interesting. I wonder if you will find influence from Northern Shaolin. I learned the 12 sets of Tan Tui (spring leg). It's very similar to Karate (rigid and simple). Although the Tan Tui I see on youtube is a little different (many different sets/roads 10, 12 etc.) We kicked higher in ours as well. I also believe Bruce Lee studied the 12 sets of Tan Tui when he was younger.

  9. Another little masterpiece. Exploring might take you in the wrong direction, but the discoveries made along the way are worth it. Thank you for another very interesting episode.

  10. Wing chun is literally a mix between snake and white crane kung fu. So the assessment of wing chun kung fu is partially correct.

  11. Just found this channel today! So hyped to watch more!
    Your explanations help me appreciate nuances I've missed from my Kyoshi – and make me appreciate him more.
    Please stay safe and healthy! I hope you got far enough south before travel restrictions were enforced!

  12. my friend basic for monk fist boxing and crane fist can be founded in kalari payattu and silambam adimurai of india . espically kerala and tamilnad style.

  13. 13:13 I disagree with. That grip the old master is showing does appear in karate. Specifically I've seen it shown in bunkai for the hook block (or teacup block) seen in Ishhin-Ryu's version of Seisan and Seuinchin katas.

  14. In your "12 hour Karate Seminar in a Taekwondo Dojo" video, there is a little bit of coil-grappling at 5:35 to 5:40. I think from 5:00 to 6:00 in that video looks like some techniques in this video.

  15. I like see all this videos, I can see a lot of my grand master and my sensei explanations in this video. There are a lot of techniques that we do as Maste Su explain and demonstrate in the video, and I practice traditional karate, so I'm glad to see these connections. Domo Arigato Gozaimashita for this videos Jesse

  16. What the Chinese master did at 13:27 was a kake uke. We do that in goju ryu, the style that I practice. Awesome!!

  17. I love everything about Chinese except for the killing of innocent living beings and insects for food well, I am not stopping them but then I wonder are they practicing Buddha's teachings properly?

  18. That grabbing technique at 13:11 which he says Karate doesn't have, looks a lot like the Tsukami Uke in the Shotokan Kata Hangetsu

  19. infinitas gracias por los subtítulos en español en sus videos ("domo arigato") muchísimas gracias Sensei Jesse Enkamp, nos ayudan mucho los subtítulos en español para quienes en Latinoamérica no entendemos bien el idioma inglés pero que disfrutamos mucho de sus vídeos, muchas felicidades por su excelente y profesional trabajo realizado en sus videos.

  20. Thank you Jesse for making the trip out to China and filming this video. It's insightful….VERY insightful and calming.

  21. From what I understand, there is no historical record of a "Southern" Shaolin. There was only one. Any reference to a Southern Shaolin Temple came from Wuxia where it was popularized

  22. Karate Nerd: I am in China finally; I love this.
    China: we have coronavirus.
    Karate Nerd: Let me get out of here!!!! 😣.

  23. IRON WRAPPED BY COTTON
    I believe it’s roots lie in Taoism & Wu•Dang Kung Fu & crossed into Chan Buddhism/Shao•Lin TMA

  24. Excellent! That two-person exercise is one we do in my Kung Fu school. We call it "da sum sing" though the spelling may be incorrect, I'm not sure. I haven't done it with the steps yet, maybe that comes later. Great conditioning!

  25. Really great content. Your created great documentary – very professional and on heigh level. Many greetings from Germany 🙂

  26. Entertaining video, but all those kung fu grand masters would lose to a BJJ blue belt in 30 seconds.
    Xu Xiaodong would change their faces without trying.

  27. You can probably trace a lot these things to India too. Since a lot of bhuddist monks learned and brought bag martial arts from India to China

  28. EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL AND PHILOSOPHICAL, PURE CULTURE. I HAVE TRAINED VARIOUS KUNG-FU STYLES. HOWEVER, I NEEDED TO LEARN TO TRULY FIGHT. THEN I LOOKED FOR OTHER ARTS. WHEN WILL THESE MEN LEARN TO TRULY FIGHT ?

  29. Damn. 8 million years of martial arts amounted to nothing when the Europeans took their gun powder and invented guns and went back and slaughtered them.

  30. Recently started goju ryu karate… Really enjoying it. This was a great video and you now have a new subscriber. Keep up the good work for us fellow martial art nerds!

  31. This is better than a Netflix documental, this is just pure gold! Invaluable! Thank you very much sensei to bring us this knowledgeable

  32. BodhiDharma, or Damo, was a student of the famous Buddhist master Nagarjuna, who founded the Lotus Sutra, one of the most important Buddhist treatises. The reason he knew martial arts was because he was born as a prince of the ancient Pallava dynasty in southern India. He belonged to the Kshatriya, or warrior class in the indian caste system. As every prince, he underwent military training, learning a very ancient form of southern indian martial art named Kalari. He was also the founder of Dhyan form of buddhism, which is called Chan in China and Zen in Japan. He taught the shaolin monks the martial arts styles not for fighting, but to keep the body fit so that the monks can continue in their meditative posture for long periods of time on minimal sustenance.

  33. i love your Videos and more the passion u got for ur Sport !! i love how u still stick in ur Sport with ur heart when everyone is speaking About mma and even go to mma…
    please go on with Videos like that ! i dont do Karate but like i sayid i love ur hunger about knoledge of Karate ! and many ppl forgett that Martial Arts is WAY MORE then hitting someone in the face ! and for real, MMA dont help u eather on the street (i do mma) because u can have a knife in ur side in 2 seconds! and even Conor can do shit then.
    u got 1 Sub more now !! 🙂

  34. very good video I am from Argentina and I practice a martial art of Okinawa: matsubayashi shorin-ryu; and discovering all this is truly incredible. thanks for everything you do, seriously

  35. shaolin main is in the North, was destroyed in history, a lot of Monks and nuns went To the South and founded the Southern branch..the founder of White CRane was influenced by Shaolin, however, The Southern shaolin emphasized the hands/ fists while the North Shaolin liked the feet/kicks..Northern Kicks Southern fists is an old adage in China. Win Chun has root in Southern Shaolin and is related to Whine crane..

  36. Ok I wish this millions of views, the quality is most intense. All the best to Jesse and our community out there (cat backpack). This is so data dense and beautiful I'm in awe

  37. One thing I knew: White Crane was founded by a woman (Fang) who according to the legend learned kung-fu hard style from her family. Some day (I forgot why) she had to fight a Shaolin monk who beat her badly. She retreated crying to the forest and at some point during her stay there, she saw a couple of cranes fighting. She observed that cranes didn't fight with power like the tigers, or the monks, but they moved very lightly and quickly, then made very sudden snapping attacks. She started modifying her kung-fu until it became something completely different to what she had learned and when she returned to challenge the monks again, she beat one after the other. Then the monks asked her to teach them. (At least, that's the legend I heard)
    One thing I learned: Strength is like money. You have to spend it wisely.

  38. Yeah now put those masters against mma fighters, and each and everyone will lose. Just like that chinese mma fighter Xu Xiaodong has proven time, and time again

  39. As a Japanese Ju-Jutsu Budoka, I am thrilled to watch this! What I noticed about the old joint-lock master is that what he showed looks a lot like a "Kote Mawashi" in Ju-Jutsu, which was very cool to see! Maybe I can find some goodies from my art in here as well!

    OSU!

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