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Thread: Why is Kung Fu so caught up with circus tricks?

  1. #16
    P.T. Barnam had the answer.

  2. #17
    I'd guess maybe Chinese opera has a part to play in this too, or even just general circus acts and entertainment. Trouble is they lost sight of the wood for the trees, and the CMA became a bunch of tricks rather than a combat method.

    And don't forget we in the west had our own strongmen - like the Mighty Atom who pulled trains, bent iron bars, etc. A lot of these guys were used to promote exercise regimes or health tonics.

    As for the intensity of training in kung fu - how does it compare to a professional boxer, elite military training or the like?
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  3. #18
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    I think the training of kf at high levels is as intense as anybody's training, but also that there's a lot fewer people doing it. Or put another way - a tough kungfu guy is as tough as any tough boxer, but the tough boxers have the tough kungfu guys outnumbered.
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    First you get good, then you get fast, then you get good and fast.

  4. #19
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    Jiang Hu

    Chinese martial artists went by the term Jiang Hu (I think it was Giang Hu in Crouching Tiger) which literally means "river and lakes." It refered to a travelling community of warriors who walke "river and lakes" plying their martial skills as street performers and selling their linaments like the snake oil salesmen of the old west. All sorts of stunts were what attracted the crowds. This bled into opera and circus too, since they were also travelling performers, also using kung fu skills, so stunts are a grand tradition in our arts. Of course, many are fake, more so nowadays because there is more separation between performer and audience. In days of old, as street performers, there was no real stage to divide people, so the skills had to be more real. Plus they were often combined with open challenges - stuff like spend five minutes in the the ring (or on the lei tai rather) with "bruiser" here and you'll win some kind of purse. Nowadays, insurance won't allow us to stage these kinds of events. But serious, if they did, who here wouldn't watch? Since that doesn't occur anymore, charlatanism goes more unchecked now. Plus I feel people are more deadened by movie special effects and X-game sports to be very impressed by most martial arts tricks. Even towing a truck with your johnson.
    Gene Ching
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  5. #20
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    MK.

    Give me access to some clay and a firing oven and I will turn water into wine using the same method.


    This "Trick" was actually very common and often performed during the time when Jesus was allegedly alive.

    If you research the bible and and it's contents in regards to the culture of that particular time you will for example note that some of the witing represents popular writing styles and in cases even comedy of the time.

    Have to agree with KL, just because a lot of this things were stunts and tricks didn't mean that everybody could do them, you also needed to be a good performer.

    Cheers.

  6. #21
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    To answer the question,
    Kung Fu Training turns you into one Bad assed Mo fo, and we just like to show off. Really, would any of you believe a guy could pull a truck with his "Mr. Happy" If you didn't see it?
    Those that are the most sucessful are also the biggest failures. The difference between them and the rest of the failures is they keep getting up over and over again, until they finally succeed.


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  7. #22
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    It's because we're better than other martial artists. I can say that, because it sure isn't easy posting this with my keyboard hanging from my testicles, but I make it look effortless.

    And now, just a slight contaction of my hui yin, and I will have clicked the "submit reply button"- thank god for the cordless mouse.

  8. #23
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    the fun part happens when you have to simultaneously hit two keys, such as control-f or something. it takes a dexterity few have mastered.
    " i wonder how many people take their post bone marrow transplant antibiotics with amberbock" -- GDA

  9. #24
    Thanks for the answers guys, especially Joe and Gene. I'm not saying that the performers don't work hard and have exceptional skills, I 'm just wondering why Kung Fu has that type of performances associated with it. Yes I'll admit they are more fun to watch than breaking demos, but no where near as fun as watching ring girls parade around.

    Do you think that the performers cause more harm to the CMA than help them?
    I quit after getting my first black belt because the school I was a part of was in the process of lowering their standards A painfully honest KC Elbows

    The crap that many schools do is not the crap I was taught or train in or teach.

    Dam nit... it made sense when it was running through my head.

    DM


    People love Iron Crotch. They can't get enough Iron Crotch. We all ride the Iron Crotch for the exposure. Gene

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  10. #25
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    Rogue.

    A lot of those breaking demoes are also rigged.

    There are many ways of preparing bricks and wood blocks, as well as how you set them up can make a big difference.



  11. #26
    Yup, Physics and preperation factor big into breaking demos.
    I quit after getting my first black belt because the school I was a part of was in the process of lowering their standards A painfully honest KC Elbows

    The crap that many schools do is not the crap I was taught or train in or teach.

    Dam nit... it made sense when it was running through my head.

    DM


    People love Iron Crotch. They can't get enough Iron Crotch. We all ride the Iron Crotch for the exposure. Gene

    Find the safety flaw in the training. Rory Miller.

  12. #27
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    Originally posted by EvolutionFist
    Likewise, most of the popular kung fu that made it to the US (Wing Chun, Hung Gar, ect) comes from South China where most of the folks are(were) farmers and peasants ... not the most educated of folks. Thus the term Village Boxer. Martial artists in north China, which consists of a much greater area, kind of look down on them sort of the way people from NY or Boston question a small town doctor's ability from Alabama.
    HAHAHAHAHaHaHa...HaHa...Ha... Ha...... ..... Ha....

    You funny guy ... I kill you last ....

  13. #28
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    Originally posted by rogue
    Thanks for the answers guys, especially Joe and Gene. I'm not saying that the performers don't work hard and have exceptional skills, I 'm just wondering why Kung Fu has that type of performances associated with it. Yes I'll admit they are more fun to watch than breaking demos, but no where near as fun as watching ring girls parade around.

    Do you think that the performers cause more harm to the CMA than help them?
    In some ways yes. The problem being that people nowadays are probably a lot more sceptical than they used to be due to the availability of information through the net, generally higher education levels, and the advances in science etc. People see some of the tricks that MAs use and are automatically sceptical, hence the art of the performer is also called into question.

    Personally, I prefer the type of demo that my teacher does. He shows applications and tries to display the power in the art itself, rather than doing tricks (though he is able to do the tricks as well ). Nothing like watching him lift someone up under the armpits with his arms extended in front of him, and carry them across the room.
    cxxx[]:::::::::::>
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    I see all my dead relatives seated.
    I see my master seated in Paradise and Paradise is beautiful and green; with him are men and boy servants.
    He calls me. Take me to him.

  14. #29
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    Originally posted by EvolutionFist
    This won't be popular but: To put it simply, they're hicks.

    Where do all these traveling religious con men go in the US? The south! The bible belt!

    Likewise, most of the popular kung fu that made it to the US (Wing Chun, Hung Gar, ect) comes from South China where most of the folks are(were) farmers and peasants ... not the most educated of folks. Thus the term Village Boxer. Martial artists in north China, which consists of a much greater area, kind of look down on them sort of the way people from NY or Boston question a small town doctor's ability from Alabama.


    Personally, I hate that sort of thing. I don't care about ones ability to bend a spear or break a rock, I am interested in their technique.

    For kicks my master has shown me how these guys do some of their tricks. But if you get fooled by such things you deserve to lose whatever money you give them, just like paying $20 to have some hill-billy preacher absolve you of sin.
    Sounds suspiciously like Ego Maximus/Extraordinaire.
    cxxx[]:::::::::::>
    Behold, I see my father and mother.
    I see all my dead relatives seated.
    I see my master seated in Paradise and Paradise is beautiful and green; with him are men and boy servants.
    He calls me. Take me to him.

  15. #30
    I quit after getting my first black belt because the school I was a part of was in the process of lowering their standards A painfully honest KC Elbows

    The crap that many schools do is not the crap I was taught or train in or teach.

    Dam nit... it made sense when it was running through my head.

    DM


    People love Iron Crotch. They can't get enough Iron Crotch. We all ride the Iron Crotch for the exposure. Gene

    Find the safety flaw in the training. Rory Miller.

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