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Thread: Triad Gangs and Kung Fu

  1. #61
    It is interesting to me that people have an abiding interest in “Tongs” and Chinese martial arts; there is a fascination about it that far exceeds any reality to it. As a prosecutor and public defender who has worked both in the California and Taiwanese criminal justice system I would point out a couple of things.

    First, most gangsters, be they Californian or Taiwanese, have no great interest in learning or practicing any kind of martial arts. If gangsters are going to attack someone they rely on:
    Surprise
    Outnumbering the victim/opponent
    Using a club, knife or gun

    Gangsters do not rely on some in depth knowledge of martial arts. In fact stabbing or shooting someone to death is quite easy and requires no training whatsoever. It simply requires the willingness to do it and getting the victim by surprise or by superior numbers.

    Gangsters generally like their whiskey and their women and tend not to be the kind of guys who bother with learning martial arts. To the extent they know how to fight that knowledge came from on the job training. And they see no reason for formal martial arts, most gangsters have a fair amount of contempt for organized martial arts.

    The upshot being, I doubt seriously if gangsters ever really had much to do with Chinese martial arts. The village arts of southern China were developed either as temple entertainment or for use in village militia (yes, I meant temple entertainment---a type of folk dance performance). In any event they had, at least based on the historical documents I have seen (which are few and far between by the way), nothing to do with gangsters.

    The problem you get, and you see it quite a bit in Taiwan, is that there is kind of a gangster chic. Everyone wants to hint or kind of claim that they know some gangster and that that gangster is a dangerous dude who knows some obscure form of martial art. It just does not jibe with the reality of things.

    Take care,
    Brian

  2. #62
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    First, most gangsters, be they Californian or Taiwanese, have no great interest in learning or practicing any kind of martial arts. If gangsters are going to attack someone they rely on:
    Surprise
    Outnumbering the victim/opponent
    Using a club, knife or gun
    I can't agree. sorry. still, what street gang doesn't do this?

    Gangsters do not rely on some in depth knowledge of martial arts. In fact stabbing or shooting someone to death is quite easy and requires no training whatsoever. It simply requires the willingness to do it and getting the victim by surprise or by superior numbers.
    of course not. if they have a gun they will use it. but to say they don't have an interest or rely on some martial knowledge is incorrect. sorry. what happens when you don't have your brothers or a weapon? on the other side of the coin, gangster will choose a martial art to get away from the street gang life.

    Gangsters generally like their whiskey and their women and tend not to be the kind of guys who bother with learning martial arts. To the extent they know how to fight that knowledge came from on the job training. And they see no reason for formal martial arts, most gangsters have a fair amount of contempt for organized martial arts.
    you are totally missing the point that many gung fu schools are connected to the tongs. the tongs specifically hire gung fu people to train their fighters. These days there's nothing going on so you don't see gangs around chinatown that much anymore. I've never met a chinese gangster that had any kind of contempt for a gung fu school. maybe in taiwan, but not in San Francisco to say the least. But, there are gung fu schools the despise gangsters too.

    The upshot being, I doubt seriously if gangsters ever really had much to do with Chinese martial arts. The village arts of southern China were developed either as temple entertainment or for use in village militia (yes, I meant temple entertainment---a type of folk dance performance). In any event they had, at least based on the historical documents I have seen (which are few and far between by the way), nothing to do with gangsters.

    The problem you get, and you see it quite a bit in Taiwan, is that there is kind of a gangster chic. Everyone wants to hint or kind of claim that they know some gangster and that that gangster is a dangerous dude who knows some obscure form of martial art. It just does not jibe with the reality of things.
    Incorrect again. sorry. But then again, that depends on what you're calling a gangster. still, one of the most notorious SF chinatown gangsters (now reformed) was into both Hung Gar and Choy Lee Fut.

    Being a "Militia" school as you termed it means they were training for real combat and not FOLK DANCING. My lineage of gung fu back in china participated in every major revolution in china from 1851 to 1949. They even came to the aid of China during the Japanese Invasion.
    Last edited by hskwarrior; 08-18-2011 at 06:39 PM.
    I'm pretty sure the only thing tongs do nowadays is make sure Chinese restaurants don't pay out tips to their waiters. - Pazman[/B]

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  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostexorcist View Post
    The book Ritual and Mythology of the Chinese Triads: Creating an Identity by Barend J. ter Haar mentions some stuff about martial arts.
    Here are some quotes from the book that deal with dynastic China:

    “As I already noted above, the Triad initiation journey enacted the candidate member’s symbolic death in majority society and his subsequent rebirth as a member of the Hong family … The initiation journey formally stars with the candidate being questioned about his aims (to join the Heaven and Earth Gathering), where he comes from and whither he is going (from east to west, or in other words from death to life) … [H]e is asked what abilities he possesses, to which he answers that he has acquired civilian abilities from the Red (or Hong) Flower Pavilion and martial abilities from the Shaolin Monastery. Next he is asked whom he sees passing by on the road. The correct answer is the Eight Immortals, who are then identified by name together with all their paraphernalia … The two questions about the candidate’s abilities and the Eight Immortals function as auspicious symbols, instead of reflecting specific stages in the candidate’s journey (pp. 114 and 120-121).”
    “Ma Chaozhu [c. 1750] and his close followers saw themselves as generals in these divine armies. They made a special attempt to recruit people with some command of the martial arts. One of these was…Hu Nanshan, who made a living as a teacher of martial arts and by trading mules. Extensive military preparations were actually, made, such as preparing weapons, buying ammunition and provisions, etc., although the claims made by Ma himself always greatly exceeded actual reality (p. 245).”
    “In 1815, a group was rounded up in Chongyi county (in Jiangxi, somewhat south of the region where Ma had been active) which presented itself as a Triad group and had been formed by means of a blood covenant. The group had supposedly been inspired by rumors about the Triads, but had used a booklet containing a long list of names, with those of Ma Chaozhu and Ma Chaowen at the top. The list has all the signs of being a membership list of Ma Chaozhu’s following … In addition, the booklet deals with the way to initiate new pupils, martial arts techniques, as well as the way of summoning ‘Yin and Yang Soldiers of Heaven and Earth, Thunder Soldiers and Thunder Generals’” (pp. 245-247).
    The book also talks at length about the Triad's legendary connection to the Shaolin monastery. All of the different versions of the same legend state Shaolin was called upon by the Emperor to combat barbarians. They were led into battle by either a senior monk or secular expert in martial arts and won the day. However, one (evil cliche) official later convinced the Emperor that the monks couldn't have defeated the barbarians because they lacked a proper army, so, as he concluded, they must have struck a deal with them. This led to the monastery being destroyed.

    The legends also mention Bodhidharma and Red Boy and Sun Wukong from Journey to the West a lot.
    Last edited by ghostexorcist; 08-19-2011 at 05:32 PM.

  4. #64
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    The book also talks at length about the Triad's legendary connection to the Shaolin monastery. All of the different versions of the same legend state Shaolin was called upon by the Emperor to combat barbarians. They were led into battle by either a senior monk or secular expert in martial arts and win the day. However, one (evil cliche) official later convinced the Emperor that the monks couldn't have defeated the barbarians because they lacked a proper army, so, as he concluded, they must have struck a deal with them. This led to the monastery being destroyed.
    "With the monks back in their monastery, the grand secretary of the Qing council, Wong Chun Mei, became jealous of the honours offered to them and the position bestowed on Cheng Kwan Tat. Fired by envy, Wong set about sowing doubts in the emperor's mind. If, Wong reasoned, this small band of monks had been so successful where the imperial foces had failed, surley they might just as readily turn against the emperor as defend him. He argued that the reason they had declinded their honours was because their main intention was to raise an army agaist the throne. The emperor was persuaded by the logic of this arguement and became so fearful that he ordered Cheung Kin Chau, the provincial high commissioner of fujian province, and Chan Man Yiu, the magistrate of Po Ting district to destroy the Shaolin monastery and all its inhabitants. he further ordered Cheung Kwan Tat's execution.

    The monastery was strategically situated on a tall hill. A surprise attack was impossible. Furthermore, the hill was reputed to be honeycombed with tunnels by which the monks would be able to escape were there monastery stormed. It was decided the best course of action was to drug the monks then kill them. However, in case the play went awry, all exits from the monastery would have to be guarded: this meant the entrances to the tunnels would have to be located. Chan Man Yiu, disguised as a peasant, wandered the nearby villages to glean information.

    Chan met and befriended a coolie and learned that he had been a monk in the Shaolin monastery. On further investigation, he discovered that the coolie, Ma Yee Fuk (man ning yee) had been ranked seventh among the monks in martial ability, but had been cast out because he had made advances to Cheng Kwan tat's wife and sister, and had broked the Man Nin Po Tang, a sacred lamp presented to the monastery by the Persian government. His shaven head marking him as a disgraced monk, he had been unable to obtain fitting work, and was reduced to living as a common labourer. Embittered by his excommunication, Ma was ready for revenge and, when Chan Man Yiu admitted his identity, agreed to assist in the attack on the monastery. Chan promised him imperial honours and favours. Ma showed him the whereabouts of the tunnels and the paths leading from them. Finally, Chan requested that Ma swear his expulsion from the monastery had been caused by his refusal tp join the monks' conspiracy against the emperor. Ma conceded.

    With the traitor's inside knowledge, troops under the command of High Commissioner Cheung Kin Chau were placed at all the secret exits. Others hid near the main gates, to seal them when the signal was given. All were supplied with inflammable material. Chan Man Yiu with a number of coolies carrying jars of drugged wine, openly announced that the wine was a personal gift from the emperor. He requested that the abbott and all the monks drink the emperor's wealth with it. The abbott, however, was suspicious and, testing the wine with a magic sword, found the blade changed colour. The monk, furious at the emperor's treachery, attacked Chan Man Yiu but he managed to escape. On seeing him flee, the troops advanced, igniting fires at the entrances to all the secret tunnels; they then set fire to the buildings.

    One hundred ten monks perished in the fire. The remaining eighteen sought refuge in the main hall of the temple and there, before the image of Buddha, prayed for their deliverance. Their prayers were answered when a large yellow curtain hanging in the hall fell to cover them. It protected the monks from the flames but it and the smoke also smothered them so that they lost consciousness. When the Qing troops saw the walls of the building collapse, and could see no sign of life within them, they assumed their task was done and retreated.

    When the 18 survivors came to, they found themselves trapped in the ruins. One of the number, however, Tsai Te Chung, knocked a hole in the monastery wall, through which they managed to make their getaway. The entire hill was alight, but they rany over the burning grass, the smoke concealing them. Slipping through the military lines, they travelled to Ting Shan, nearby Sheung Yeung City, Hupei province. There, thirteen of them died from their burns and wounds or from lack of food. They were cremated, their ashes wrapped in several bundles and retained for safekeeping by the 5 remaining survivors: Tsai Te Chung, Fong Tai Hung, Ma Chiu Hing, Wu Tak Tai, and Lee Sik Hoi."
    I'm pretty sure the only thing tongs do nowadays is make sure Chinese restaurants don't pay out tips to their waiters. - Pazman[/B]

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  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by hskwarrior View Post
    I can't agree. sorry. still, what street gang doesn't do this?



    of course not. if they have a gun they will use it. but to say they don't have an interest or rely on some martial knowledge is incorrect. sorry. what happens when you don't have your brothers or a weapon? on the other side of the coin, gangster will choose a martial art to get away from the street gang life.



    you are totally missing the point that many gung fu schools are connected to the tongs. the tongs specifically hire gung fu people to train their fighters. These days there's nothing going on so you don't see gangs around chinatown that much anymore. I've never met a chinese gangster that had any kind of contempt for a gung fu school. maybe in taiwan, but not in San Francisco to say the least. But, there are gung fu schools the despise gangsters too.



    Incorrect again. sorry. But then again, that depends on what you're calling a gangster. still, one of the most notorious SF chinatown gangsters (now reformed) was into both Hung Gar and Choy Lee Fut.

    Being a "Militia" school as you termed it means they were training for real combat and not FOLK DANCING. My lineage of gung fu back in china participated in every major revolution in china from 1851 to 1949. They even came to the aid of China during the Japanese Invasion.
    I agree with you. I have heard of gangsters in London's China Town who were Pak mei, Wing Chun and Mantis practioners, with a couple of specific stories about their "adventures".

  6. #66
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    I agree with you. I have heard of gangsters in London's China Town who were Pak mei, Wing Chun and Mantis practioners, with a couple of specific stories about their "adventures".
    Whether people like it or not, China was going through very turbulent times and people will turn to things like the secret societies in hopes of a better life. Secret Societies and gung fu had a strong symbiotic relationship which continues in the current times. however, its only important to those who are interested in history. to others the secret signals and such mean nothing. its the fighting aspect they care about. me too. but i like the history side as well as it provides answers to certain things.
    I'm pretty sure the only thing tongs do nowadays is make sure Chinese restaurants don't pay out tips to their waiters. - Pazman[/B]

    https://scontent-b-pao.xx.fbcdn.net/...8a&oe=52848D36

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimonM View Post
    I used to have one of those chain whips - had to leave it in China as it is monstrously illegal in Canada.
    Not as ornamentation or in academic context it's not. Also, a sport usage applies as legal. You are correct that linked or hinge weapons are illegal to have as weapons proper. They can hang on a wall, be studied or used in competitive sport but not carried about like a wallet.

    Quote Originally Posted by hskwarrior View Post
    even for gung fu schools?

    I wonder if the five links whip is related to the Five Ancestors (symbolically) since the triad used this weapon.
    see above re: kung fu schools.

    There is importance to prime numbers in an inordinate number of philosophies broaching myriad subjects in my observation.

    Note about Canadian Law: If you can find an appropriate reason, virtually anything is legal and certifiable as such here.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  8. #68
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    I'm pretty sure the only thing tongs do nowadays is make sure Chinese restaurants don't pay out tips to their waiters. - Pazman[/B]

    https://scontent-b-pao.xx.fbcdn.net/...8a&oe=52848D36

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Jamieson View Post
    Not as ornamentation or in academic context it's not. Also, a sport usage applies as legal. You are correct that linked or hinge weapons are illegal to have as weapons proper. They can hang on a wall, be studied or used in competitive sport but not carried about like a wallet.
    Try explaining that to the guys at customs.
    Simon McNeil
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  10. #70
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    Knew some "gangsters" in NYC's Chinatown. Wing Chun players from the Free Mason's lodge.... wholly not impressed. Besides being small and lacking power, they didn't have the discipline to really train..... punk a$$es who liked to talk smack. And then snicker after you bounce them from wall to wall in Chia Sau.

    They certainly may be dangerous with gun, knives, etc, but couldn't last against average anglo men willing to throw fists. Generally cowardly too .... ganging up after they picked a fight at a club. Pretty much why they felt compelled to join a gang in the first place.

    Losers not to be respected or glorified. Selling their own women to white men by the hour.

  11. #71
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    but couldn't last against average anglo men willing to throw fists
    Outside of the MMA crowd, thats few and far between. average anglo guys are looked at as weak and easy targets by black,latin, polynesian and asians. if you are anglo, aggressive, and skilled in fighting you are not the norm. this comes from personal experience, not a feeling.
    Last edited by hskwarrior; 08-22-2011 at 10:13 AM.
    I'm pretty sure the only thing tongs do nowadays is make sure Chinese restaurants don't pay out tips to their waiters. - Pazman[/B]

    https://scontent-b-pao.xx.fbcdn.net/...8a&oe=52848D36

  12. #72
    wing chun and gangster should not be in the same sentence
    Quote Originally Posted by hskwarrior View Post
    Outside of the MMA crowd, thats few and far between. average anglo guys are looked at as weak and easy targets. if you are anglo, aggressive, and skilled in fighting you are not the norm. this come from personal experience, not what a feel.
    thats because you live in san fransisco

    25th generation inner door disciple of Chen Style Practical Wombat Method
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  13. #73
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    thats because you live in san fransisco
    then why are so many white boys getting beat up by other ethnicities OUTSIDE of san francisco, in other states around the US?
    I'm pretty sure the only thing tongs do nowadays is make sure Chinese restaurants don't pay out tips to their waiters. - Pazman[/B]

    https://scontent-b-pao.xx.fbcdn.net/...8a&oe=52848D36

  14. #74
    if that is true, then america sounds like paradise. i want to move there.

    25th generation inner door disciple of Chen Style Practical Wombat Method
    Officially certified by Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch Abune Mathias
    grandmaster instructor of Wombat Combat™®LLC Practical Wombat Method. international academy retreat

  15. #75
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    if that is true, then america sounds like paradise. i want to move there.
    I don't think AMERICA is where you need to move...or move into. but thats another story. LOL.
    I'm pretty sure the only thing tongs do nowadays is make sure Chinese restaurants don't pay out tips to their waiters. - Pazman[/B]

    https://scontent-b-pao.xx.fbcdn.net/...8a&oe=52848D36

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