Retrospect of the 1st National Conference on Chinese Traditional Kung-fu(I)

Retrospect of the 1st National Conference on Chinese Traditional Kung-fu(I)
    From 23rd to 26th June, 2002, more than ninety representatives, Kung-fu masters and heir disciples from different styles of Chinese Kung-fu throughout the country held a our-day conference at San Ya Kou, a small village at the foot of Taihang Mountain, during which they had a discussion on the past and the present situation of Chinese traditional Kung-fu and how to promote traditional Kung-fu culture, as well as their understandings and appreciation of Chinese Kung-fu and its practical uses, and illustrated, demonstrated and performed Kung-fu movements therein. This allowed the participating masters and their disciples to broaden their horizons and get a taste of different styles of Kung-fu. In the first place, they got a general idea of other styles'     characteristics in the process of shaping; secondly, they understood the comparative relationship between their own styles and others; thirdly, they were able to evaluate the comparative relationship between the Kung-fu they had learned and that other masters from different styles had practiced. The typical styles of Chinese Kung-fu chosen for this conference, the represent ability and status of the participants in today' s Kung-fu circle in Chinese Mainland, as well as the fact that this kind of conference was the first one in the modem history of Kung-fu, all endowed the conference with profound significance.
The Background of this Conference
    The development of regional cultures, folk culture and humanism culture in China. a country with a vast territory, has exercised a profound influence upon traditional Chinese Kung-fu which is closely related to the livelihood of Chinese people, and contributes to the. formation of the Kung-fu culture system that contains particular Chinese traditional culture. However, due to the historical cause, the low level of human enlightenment, the poor transportation, the undeveloped science and the long term undesirable tradition of conservative thinking, there were few communications among different styles of Kung-fu. In the past, they looked down on each other and considered themselves superior to others. This non-objective and unscientific ideology had hindered them not only from truly understanding the Kung-fu culture, but also from communicating and studying with and learning from each other, and eventually affected their own development and improvement of various styles of Kung-fu and masters and their disciples. Generally, this had directly affected the promotion and development of traditional Kung-fu culture and decreased its cultural level. Up to the civil society with modem science, the main functions of traditional Kung-fu have gradually vain she vanished, which makes many enthusiastic amateurs question about the modem use of the skills of traditional Kung-fu. Fur- thermore, most Kung-fu exponents in modem times put emphasis on the cultural and bodily fitness aspects when promoting Chinese traditional Kung-fu. Unfortunately, many of them did not give a systematical exposition of traditional Kung-fu culture. This also made some Kung-fu amateurs lack a true understanding of the contents of the cultural system of traditional Chinese Kung-fu, and doubt about the main functions of traditional Kung-fu. They are under the incorrect impression that Kung-fu is just an exercise for bodily fitness. Besides, some people mix modern competitive Wu-shu with Chinese traditional Kung-fu. They even believe that competitive Wu-shu is more practical and useful than Chinese traditional Kung-fu. All these misunderstandings have hindered the promotion and development of traditional Chinese culture at home and abroad.
    With Chinese traditional Kung-fu developed into the modem society, their values are not only reflected by their derivative functions such as bodily fitness, performance, entertainment and competitive sports, but more importantly by the Chinese traditional culture they contain, whose values can never live alone without the principal part of traditional Kung-fu including fighting or defensive system and skills. Therefore, in order to enhance and glorify Chinese traditional Kung-fu culture, we must do our possible to inherit, practice and study the principal part of traditional Kung-fu, which has become a necessity for the promotion of Chinese traditional culture. So Martial World Magazine and several exponents in the Kung-fu circle took the initiative to organize The conference on Chinese traditional Kung-fu, so that the representatives and Kung-fu masters from various styles of Chinese Kung-fu were able to hold a discussion and communicate with each other on how to inherit the true inwardness of Chinese traditional Kung-fu theories and practice in a free and easy atmosphere. This kind of meeting is the first in the history of Chinese Kung-fu and is endowed with profound significance and great influence.
Planning and Organization Process
    This kind of Chinese traditional Kung-fu meeting has never been held before. It was different from any other Kung-fu show or competition where masters of different styles perform Kung-fu patterns on the stage respectively. By the way, they may be ranked and rewarded according to their performances. At those kinds of shows or competitions, they usually did not communicate with each other, or let alone in an open, sincere and interactive way. Our original idea was to allow different masters from different styles to sincerely communicate with each other, to know how other masters from other styles interpreting Kung-fu and what are their understandings, and to see how other masters perform Kung-fu. Our intention was to open up, though not fully, to understand others and let all of us understand ourselves well.
     In order to make the 1st Conference on the Tranditional Chinese Kung-fu successfully, I discussed the relevant matters such as the form, subjects, representatives to be invited, place and schedule of the meeting carefully with Master Han Jianzhong, Master Zhu Tianxi and Master Jiang Jiajun and then finalized the proposal.
    A. Form and Subjects of the Conference
 We should admit that it is no easy to incarnate a master’s culture in Kung-fu, nit easy to reflect a master’s general level of Kung-fu when be communicates with others for the first time mainly through discussions but not much direct fighting. I have been involved in the Kung-fu circle for over 20 years and have dealings with various types of masters and know much about them. There are quite a few so-called Kung-fu masters who can do nothing but talk and write. Though doing historical and theoretical researches is very important, I am afraid of that one will never be recognized by the public of only he thinks himself profound enough in Kung-fu and declares himself being a renowned master just by doing these researches. As a popular saying in the Kung-fu circle goes, "We know whether one is a master or not by seeing him performing a set of Kung-fu movements", we could see one's level more or less when he demonstrates a set of patterns. Therefore, we designed the form of combining theory with practice, which takes into consideration both representatives' papers or lectures about their understanding of traditional Kung-fu and the patterns and skills they used to interpret their styles of Kung-fu.
 At last, we set the form of the workshop as following: 1. Each formal representative should be required to submit at least one paper on Kung-fu. 2. Each of them was required to perform two Kung-fu patterns by boxing or with a weapon; 3. Each formal representative was required to explain the use of his style of Kung-fu and his own understanding. 4. Each of them was required to demonstrate the applications of his own style of Kung-fu with his fellow master(s) or disciple(s).
In addition, a disciple was allowed to perform some patterns which might be not appropriate for his teacher or master.
We believed the form mentioned above could basically reflect a master's general level of Kung-fu.
B. Participants of the Conference
Since this was the first national conference on Chinese traditional Kung-fu with certain represent ability that of participants should be a key factor. Just like the inheritance of the traditional Chinese culture and other cultures, traditional Chinese Kung-fu is a hobby, an interest, a philosophy, something they would never let go or vanish and a pursuit of life of the general public of Chinese people. It is neither an official position nor a pure means of living .Therefore, we were of the opinion that each participant should fill the two requirements that were, they should contain the characteristics of inheriting traditional Chinese culture, and should be one of the few styles which could represent Chinese traditional Kung-fu to some extent.
According to these two requirements, the styles of Kung-fu such as Xing Yi, Xin Yi, North and Nan Shao Lin, Ba Gua and Tai Ji Quan, first appeared in our list. Also included in the list were some influential styles such as Cha, Hua Pao, Mei Hua, Chuo Jiao, Ba Gua and Southern Schools of Boxing derived from Southern Shao Lin. Since there should not be too many participants in the first conference, and many other comprehensive factors were taken into account, we finally invited only a few of them. Furthermore, some representatives were absent from the conference due to various reasons. The representatives who had attended the conference were: Han Jianzhong(Mei Hua Zhuang), jiang Jiajun(Tai Ji Quan), Zhu Tianxi(Shao Lin Quan), Zhang Yulin(Xing Yi Quan), Wang Yinhai(Xin Yi Quan), Song Guanhua(Xing Yi Quan), Wu Wenhan(Tai Ji Quan), Cai Jinxing(Nan Shao Lin), Xu Qinghui(Nan Shao Lin Tai Zhu), Xiao Tingdong(Bai Mei Quan),Jiang Faming(Bai Mei Quan), Wang Yusong(Ba Gua Zhang), Jing Sengjin(Xin Yi Quan), Cai Haikang(Ba Gua Zhang), Xue Shen-gcai (Tong Bei Quan), Su Yinghan (Nan Shao Lin Bai He), Li Rubo (Xin Yi Quan) ,Chen Longxiang (Tai Ji Quan) ,Wu Lianzhi (Ba Ji Quan) and Che Xiangqian (Xing Yi Quan). The disciple representatives who had registered and attended the conference were:Pan Jing,Gao Liancheng,Zhang Hua,Wang Cheng,Wu Liming,Li Guoliang,Xie Jianjun,Wu Huaqiang, FengTaifu,Zhang Cong,Zhang Xiaofeng,Shi Changxin,Xie Zhonghe,Gu Shangwei,Su Junyi,Chen Xingqun,Xue Yinquan, Chen Shuyi, Jia Zhibing,Du Laiyuan,Hu Chunli,Xu Yuntong. The master representatives we had invited but absent from the conference due to matters of urgency were: Bu Bingquan (Xing Yi Quan),Meng Xianchao (Mei Quan), Zhang Quanliang (Ba Gua Zhang).
C. Time and Pace of the Conference
   The conference was scheduled for 23-26 June 2002, at San Ya Kou Sanzhuang, Hui County, Henan Province, PRC.

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