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Thread: New Book Review

  1. #1
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    New Book Review

    Recently, I purchased the book Entering Secret Door Praying Mantis Style by Matsuda Ryuchi from Plum Publications.

    http://www.plumpub.com/sales/chinese...s_trad12PM.htm

    Extraneous Information
    The text of the book is wholly in Chinese.
    The book is 250 pages in length.
    The photographs are large and clear.
    The quanpu for the techniques seem for the most part to have been borrowed from the Wong Hon Fan book on Beng Bu.
    Plum Publications states that the author was a student of Liu Yun Chiao of the WuTang organization. Though I have also heard that the author was a student of Su Yuzhang of the same organization. Master Su is listed at The Mantis Cave as a student of Zhang De Kui.
    The cost of the book is $18.95. This might seem a bit expensive for a paperback, but it does contain two complete forms with many applications.

    Breakdown of the book
    The book starts with beginning and intermediate techniques. Next is the common Yantai version of Beng Bu (with a few variations), followed by a Ling Beng Bu set. After the sets is a section that covers various applications of the form that go beyond the typical applications that most demonstrate. The book ends with several qinna techniques.

    Recommendation
    This book would be a nice addition to the library of someone who has learned or is learning the Yantai version of Beng Bu.
    Last edited by mooyingmantis; 04-18-2012 at 05:14 PM.
    Richard A. Tolson
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    45 years of training and still not there. But every once in a while I get it right!

    Recovering Forms Junkie! Even my twelve step program has four roads!

    Yes, I fight in silk pajamas. And I have probably broken more opponent's ribs in my silk pajamas than many others rolling around in their knickers and mittens!

  2. #2
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    Hi Richard,
    I enjoy reading your review of books, especially ones I have.
    Seeing how the book seems to copy Huang Hanxun I find it hard to give it credibilty, but it has its good points.

    But one thing I wonder, where do you get the name 'Yantai Beng Bu?"
    I think that "beng bu' or any other form in Mantis should be named after its lineage or teacher, not the location.

    Being in Yantai at the moment this discussion of what is 'yantai beng bu' came up with Zhou Zhendong. In all his years he has never heard of such a thing as 'Yantai Beng Bu' or "Laiyang Beng Bu" for that matter.

    So how do you determine that this is 'yantai' beng bu?

    When I look at this book that you reviewed I think of this as being the Beng Bu as written about by Huang Hanxun in his books, which would make either-
    Luo Guangyu Beng bu-since he taught it in the South
    HK Beng Bu -since the manuscript is only part of HK mantis.
    or maybe call it Seven Star Beng Bu.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tainan Mantis View Post
    Hi Richard,
    I enjoy reading your review of books, especially ones I have.
    Seeing how the book seems to copy Huang Hanxun I find it hard to give it credibilty, but it has its good points.
    Thank you for the kind words!

    Most scholarly works in History are a compilation of past works with new ideas of the author added to them. Rarely do you find published works that do not take in to account the work of others. Nor is it required of an author to receive permission of other authors or lecturers when citing their works. Though it is certainly expected that when one uses the words of another verbatim, the original author is revealed.

    Though the book is by no means a "scholarly treatise", I think we can give the author a little leeway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tainan Mantis View Post
    But one thing I wonder, where do you get the name 'Yantai Beng Bu?"
    I think that "beng bu' or any other form in Mantis should be named after its lineage or teacher, not the location.

    Being in Yantai at the moment this discussion of what is 'yantai beng bu' came up with Zhou Zhendong. In all his years he has never heard of such a thing as 'Yantai Beng Bu' or "Laiyang Beng Bu" for that matter.

    So how do you determine that this is 'yantai' beng bu?

    When I look at this book that you reviewed I think of this as being the Beng Bu as written about by Huang Hanxun in his books, which would make either-
    Luo Guangyu Beng bu-since he taught it in the South
    HK Beng Bu -since the manuscript is only part of HK mantis.
    or maybe call it Seven Star Beng Bu.
    My adoption of the terms "laiyang bengbu" and "yantai bengbu" were influenced by posts written by Robert Hui (CCKTCPM).

    I will cite his posts here:

    I think a lot of the differences materialized because of the different methodologies which are based in the teaching philosophies of the various masters. For example, the older version of TJPM based more on a body of techniques which are collectively known as Mishou (some seem to suggest that this is rather a form). This explains why it used to be very few students that the Grandmasters would accept and transmit the system to mainly an individual as oppose to many students. From there came Luanjie and Bazhou (during GM Liang XueXiang's time when he decided to accept a large number of students). Then one of the most intriguing form cometh, Laiyang Beng Bu, or Xiao Beng Bu, which could have been created to hide the Luanjie or simply it could have been a creation of the Jiang Hualong line sometime around the same time that he/they created the Meihwa Lu form (plum blossom path). We know of another version of Beng Bu, which is the most recognizable PM form of all time, was mentioned in Liang’s quanpu as early as 1842 CE. Since it is taught in Yantai County, the old capital of Shandong, it is also called the Yantai Beng Bu. Its original name Da Beng Bu is now rarely in use.


    In the boxing manuscript "Boxing, Staff, and Spear Fencing Manual" dated 1842 Liang Xue Xiang listed 3 routines (Bengbu, Luanjie and Fenshen Bazhou) - the so-called mother forms. The characters used for Bengbu are Crash and Fill. This is different from most of the names (ie Crushing Step, etc) used in modern days. Most of the popular versions of Bengbu are fairly similar and can be categorically designated as Yantai Bengbu because it was first popularized in Yantai City, Shandong. From Yantai, it eventually step (pun intended) into the international stage via Hong Kong....The Seven star version and most of the Greater Meihwa Line versions of Bengbu are Yantai Bengbu. The bold emphasis is mine.

    Since both forms are now commonly just referred to as "beng bu", I think some type of distinction must be made. Thus, though "laiyang beng bu" and "yantai beng bu" may be artificial designations, they can serve as a way of distinguishing the two forms.

    However, I am certainly open to using better terms if anyone would like to provide them.
    Last edited by mooyingmantis; 04-19-2012 at 04:27 PM.
    Richard A. Tolson
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/357219314344817/

    45 years of training and still not there. But every once in a while I get it right!

    Recovering Forms Junkie! Even my twelve step program has four roads!

    Yes, I fight in silk pajamas. And I have probably broken more opponent's ribs in my silk pajamas than many others rolling around in their knickers and mittens!

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    Richard,

    I don't know anything about praying mantis, but Matsuda Ryuichi was one of the pioneers of popularizing chinese martial arts, and traditional japanese jujutsu in Japan in the 70s and 80s.

    The grappling techniques at the end of this book look like fairly typical traditional jujutsu techniques rather than chinese chin na to me. Can I ask what your thoughts are on this?

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    Since Robert's post more information has been made available.
    For example you find that Liang Xuexiang called his form Bing Bu. Maybe in a local dialect Bing was pronounced Beng, there are certainly many instances of Yantai dialect differing greatly from the standardized chinese language, but the character he uses, 掤 is not found in modern dictionaries. It can mean a 'quiver' where one would store arrows.
    I don't think that was his intended meaning though, instead I think he followed a custom of that era to use the characters in a phonetic context and in fact you can find many instances of this in his, as well as a lot of other non-scholarly work from the Qing Dynasty era.

    This type of phonetic application of Chinese characters is now rare owing to the modified and improved education system since those days.

    I someone is performing Huang Hanxun's Beng Bu I think they should call it that, and not call it Yantai Beng Bu. At least in general terms when relating one Beng Bu to another.

    In the case of the book you reviewed I think the author used as a template a now very rare book published in the 60's by Su Kunming, whom we now know as Su Yuzhang, which is almost an exact reproduction of Huang Hanxun's Beng Bu book published (I believe) in the late 40's, I forget the exact publication date.

    What has always bothered my about that book, and in turn this book, is that Su Yuzhang lists several of his teachers, but never says which one of them taught him this Beng Bu form. So, the reader of the book is left wondering where the Beng Bu form came from.

    Later I tried to find which of those teachers taught that Beng Bu form and found that none of them did, nor did they teach any Beng Bu and the only versions of Beng Bu that I could track down to a specific teacher don't look anything at all like the Beng Bu listed in the book that you reviewed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tainan Mantis View Post
    Since Robert's post more information has been made available.
    For example you find that Liang Xuexiang called his form Bing Bu. Maybe in a local dialect Bing was pronounced Beng, there are certainly many instances of Yantai dialect differing greatly from the standardized chinese language, but the character he uses, 掤 is not found in modern dictionaries. It can mean a 'quiver' where one would store arrows.
    I don't think that was his intended meaning though, instead I think he followed a custom of that era to use the characters in a phonetic context and in fact you can find many instances of this in his, as well as a lot of other non-scholarly work from the Qing Dynasty era.

    This type of phonetic application of Chinese characters is now rare owing to the modified and improved education system since those days.
    Interesting information, thank you!


    Quote Originally Posted by Tainan Mantis View Post
    I someone is performing Huang Hanxun's Beng Bu I think they should call it that, and not call it Yantai Beng Bu. At least in general terms when relating one Beng Bu to another.
    Though the author uses the quanpu of Huang Hanxun, it is not Huang Hanxun's Beng Bu. It pre-dated Luo Guang Yu, Huang Hanxun's instructor. I don't think anyone really knows who created the form.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tainan Mantis View Post
    What has always bothered my about that book, and in turn this book, is that Su Yuzhang lists several of his teachers, but never says which one of them taught him this Beng Bu form. So, the reader of the book is left wondering where the Beng Bu form came from.

    Later I tried to find which of those teachers taught that Beng Bu form and found that none of them did, nor did they teach any Beng Bu and the only versions of Beng Bu that I could track down to a specific teacher don't look anything at all like the Beng Bu listed in the book that you reviewed.
    LOL! It bothered me more that it was connected to Mimen Tanglangquan. Did Zhang Dekui even teach this version of Beng Bu? Wouldn't his version of Beng Bu be closer to that practiced by Zhou Zhendong?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVlLHCYVo9k Niki and Master Zhou
    Richard A. Tolson
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/357219314344817/

    45 years of training and still not there. But every once in a while I get it right!

    Recovering Forms Junkie! Even my twelve step program has four roads!

    Yes, I fight in silk pajamas. And I have probably broken more opponent's ribs in my silk pajamas than many others rolling around in their knickers and mittens!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gowgee View Post
    Richard,

    I don't know anything about praying mantis, but Matsuda Ryuichi was one of the pioneers of popularizing chinese martial arts, and traditional japanese jujutsu in Japan in the 70s and 80s.

    The grappling techniques at the end of this book look like fairly typical traditional jujutsu techniques rather than chinese chin na to me. Can I ask what your thoughts are on this?
    Gowgee,

    Good observation!

    Besides Mantis, I have also practiced traditional jujutsu for years. Though qinna and jujutsu are very closely related, I would agree that the techniques in the book follow a Japanese flavor very closely.
    Richard A. Tolson
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/357219314344817/

    45 years of training and still not there. But every once in a while I get it right!

    Recovering Forms Junkie! Even my twelve step program has four roads!

    Yes, I fight in silk pajamas. And I have probably broken more opponent's ribs in my silk pajamas than many others rolling around in their knickers and mittens!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tainan Mantis View Post
    Since Robert's post more information has been made available.
    For example you find that Liang Xuexiang called his form Bing Bu. Maybe in a local dialect Bing was pronounced Beng, there are certainly many instances of Yantai dialect differing greatly from the standardized chinese language, but the character he uses, 掤 is not found in modern dictionaries. It can mean a 'quiver' where one would store arrows.
    I don't think that was his intended meaning though, instead I think he followed a custom of that era to use the characters in a phonetic context and in fact you can find many instances of this in his, as well as a lot of other non-scholarly work from the Qing Dynasty era.

    This type of phonetic application of Chinese characters is now rare owing to the modified and improved education system since those days.

    I someone is performing Huang Hanxun's Beng Bu I think they should call it that, and not call it Yantai Beng Bu. At least in general terms when relating one Beng Bu to another.

    In the case of the book you reviewed I think the author used as a template a now very rare book published in the 60's by Su Kunming, whom we now know as Su Yuzhang, which is almost an exact reproduction of Huang Hanxun's Beng Bu book published (I believe) in the late 40's, I forget the exact publication date.

    What has always bothered my about that book, and in turn this book, is that Su Yuzhang lists several of his teachers, but never says which one of them taught him this Beng Bu form. So, the reader of the book is left wondering where the Beng Bu form came from.

    Later I tried to find which of those teachers taught that Beng Bu form and found that none of them did, nor did they teach any Beng Bu and the only versions of Beng Bu that I could track down to a specific teacher don't look anything at all like the Beng Bu listed in the book that you reviewed.
    Here was the notice by WHF regarding he complained Su Kunming copied his mantis book.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by alextse4; 04-20-2012 at 05:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alextse4 View Post
    Here was the notice by WHF regarding he complained Su Kunming copied his mantis book.
    Thanks for posting that Alex, That makes it final then. Even Huang Hanxun made a complaint.

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    古螳螂

    Quote Originally Posted by mooyingmantis View Post
    Though the author uses the quanpu of Huang Hanxun, it is not Huang Hanxun's Beng Bu.
    I say that it is Huang Hanxun's Beng Bu. By that I mean that Su used Huang's book as a template for making his own book. He used the words and he used the postures.

    No other source can be found in Taiwan that I know of of a Beng Bu looking so similar to Beng Bu found in Huang Hanxun's Book. Huang published his book and people used it for their own training.

    Quote Originally Posted by mooyingmantis View Post
    LOL! It bothered me more that it was connected to Mimen Tanglangquan. Did Zhang Dekui even teach this version of Beng Bu?
    No. Zhang did not teach ANY version of Beng bu. He taught Xiao Yin Shi (first 6 months of training), Zhai Yao, Ba Zhou and Luan Jie.

    My teacher Shi Zhengzhong personally took this book to Zhang Dekui's house to get the story on what is false and real.
    Zhang Disn't teach this beng bu and he didn't call his Mantis Mimen tang Lang-he only referred to it as 'gu tang lang 古螳螂' in passing.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tainan Mantis View Post
    I say that it is Huang Hanxun's Beng Bu. By that I mean that Su used Huang's book as a template for making his own book. He used the words and he used the postures.
    I don't doubt that given the evidence. And I agree that using his quanpu word-for-word without Huang's permission was disreputable at best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tainan Mantis View Post
    Huang published his book and people used it for their own training.
    But there is the rub! Why would Huang publish a book, yet not expect that others would use it for their training? Or that others might take his teachings, improve upon them, then repackage them for their own use.

    I am not defending Master Su, I don't have a dog in that fight. But I believe Matsuda's book does go beyond Huang's earlier works. Just my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tainan Mantis View Post
    Zhang did not teach ANY version of Beng bu.
    Thank you for this information!

    Then do you know where Master Zhou Zhendong learned the version of Bengbu that he teaches? I have seen that other teachers of the Meihua based families, teach similar versions.

    Yet, here is a Meihua teacher in Yantai that teaches a version similar to that practiced in Hong Kong:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deY-OJO1kPw

    It would be neat and tidy to attribute one beng bu to Meihua families and the other beng bu to qixing families. But it doesn't seem that cut and dry.
    Last edited by mooyingmantis; 04-20-2012 at 11:06 PM.
    Richard A. Tolson
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/357219314344817/

    45 years of training and still not there. But every once in a while I get it right!

    Recovering Forms Junkie! Even my twelve step program has four roads!

    Yes, I fight in silk pajamas. And I have probably broken more opponent's ribs in my silk pajamas than many others rolling around in their knickers and mittens!

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    Hi Richard

    I think you are mixing up Zhang De Kui with Zhang Kai Tang.... my teacher (Zhou Zhen Dong) learnt from Zhang Kai Tang, who learnt from Cui Shou Shan & Hao Heng Xin

    Taiji mantis is not "based on" Meihua, but they are both related lineages. Perhaps Kevin can explain clearer

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    Quote Originally Posted by mooyingmantis View Post
    Why would Huang publish a book, yet not expect that others would use it for their training?
    I dont know what he expected.
    Using a book for your own training seems ok to me.

    Those students descended from Cui Shoushan do the same Beng Bu as Zhou Zhendong.
    There once was a Beng Bu version from Li Maoqing on youtube. That is a Beng Bu version that was taught in Taiwan. You can compare it and see how similar it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xiao yao View Post
    Hi Richard

    I think you are mixing up Zhang De Kui with Zhang Kai Tang.... my teacher (Zhou Zhen Dong) learnt from Zhang Kai Tang, who learnt from Cui Shou Shan & Hao Heng Xin

    Taiji mantis is not "based on" Meihua, but they are both related lineages. Perhaps Kevin can explain clearer
    Will,

    Yes, you are correct. I did confuse the two. Thank you for clearing that up!

    Both Taiji PM and Meihua PM have Liang Xuexiang as a common ancestor, correct? I think the titles attributed to the different families are quite modern.

    Kevin,

    Quote Originally Posted by Tainan Mantis View Post
    I dont know what he expected.
    Using a book for your own training seems ok to me.
    Writing a book for your own training and publishing a book that is sold on a wider basis are two very different things. I have self published a couple books that are only for my students. They are private. I have also self-published two books that were for the general public. It would be foolish of me to think that someone will not use my material if they find merit in the books that are sold openly.

    Though I hope they would show a little more integrity than it seems Master Su showed in his early years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tainan Mantis View Post
    Those students descended from Cui Shoushan do the same Beng Bu as Zhou Zhendong.
    Does Cui Shoushan's version line up with that of Liang Xuexiang's quanpu? If so, do you think Master Liang was the creator of the form? If not, do you think Masters Jiang, Song, or Cui were the creator's of the form? Or do you think it will ever be possible for us to know?


    Quote Originally Posted by Tainan Mantis View Post
    There once was a Beng Bu version from Li Maoqing on youtube. That is a Beng Bu version that was taught in Taiwan. You can compare it and see how similar it is.
    Thank you for the information! I will see if I can find it.

    Alex,
    Do you know if Master Su ever tried to make ammends for what he did to Master Huang?

    Kevin, Alex and Will,
    Great discussion!
    Last edited by mooyingmantis; 04-21-2012 at 07:44 AM.
    Richard A. Tolson
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/357219314344817/

    45 years of training and still not there. But every once in a while I get it right!

    Recovering Forms Junkie! Even my twelve step program has four roads!

    Yes, I fight in silk pajamas. And I have probably broken more opponent's ribs in my silk pajamas than many others rolling around in their knickers and mittens!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mooyingmantis View Post
    Does Cui Shoushan's version line up with that of Liang Xuexiang's quanpu? If so, do you think Master Liang was the creator of the form? If not, do you think Masters Jiang, Song, or Cui were the creator's of the form? Or do you think it will ever be possible for us to know?
    What most likely happened based in the information I have heard and manuals I hav read is that Jiang Hualong put additional movements into Beng Bu. The version commonly practiced by 7 Star Schools and some Taiji Mantis descended from Sun, I think it was SUn Yuanchang, seems to follow closest the manuscript of Liang Xuexiang.

    So, you can compare the Seven Star and SUn Yuanchang, which includes Zhao Zhuxi of HK, to get an idea. What it actually looked like 150 years ago who knows? But, the idea and applications....

    As for the creator, that I can not say, and I have tried to peice that together, but I can not.

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