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Thread: Yin shou gun

  1. #1
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    Yin shou gun

    Someone just told me that Yinshougun is not actually a Shaolin form, but was imported because it fit well and was a good beginner form to learn, and that originally it was Qi mei gun that was the starter form.
    Can anybody tell me more about this? Is it true?

  2. #2
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    If it is the same as yum sao gwan or yam shou gun, it is a mantis pole form. It's one of my favorites. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTCzzFsp95I

    Grandmaster Chui Chuk Kai of Tai Chi Praying Mantis was in charge of many Jingwu schools in Vietnam, Macau, and Hong Kong.

    Whether or not TCPM can be traced back to Shaolin, or even if this form is one of the original mantis weapons forms...I don't have a clue.
    "The true meaning of a given movement in a form is not its application, but rather the unlimited potential of the mind to provide muscular and skeletal support for that movement." Gregory Fong

  3. #3
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    not actually a Shaolin form

    If the legends are to be believed, Shaolin absorbed the bulk of its forms from external sources. Surely you've heard the old "sanctuary to political refugees" tale. What made Shaolin special was that it was a repository, or perhaps academy in the true monastic sense of the term, for the martial arts. Many of Shaolin's most famous forms probably originated elsewhere, but Shaolin incorporated them into their curriculum. They still do that today. It's part of the tradition of Shaolin. So when you say something is 'not actually a Shaolin form' I'm not sure what you mean.

    Yinshougun
    is referenced as one of the five Shaolin staff forms in Shaolin's earliest extant manual, Cheng Zongyou's Exposition of the Original Shaolin Staff Method, which is dated at around 1610 CE. So it's been attributed to Shaolin for the last four centuries. It's also worthy of note that a major thrust of Cheng's book was to establish these five forms as authentic Shaolin staff forms. This was in reaction to a proliferation of non-Shaolin staff forms that bore the Shaolin moniker. Considering that this was an issue four centuries ago, that gives you some perspective on how old the discussion of 'what is authentic Shaolin and what isn't' is. It's been part of our tradition for at least twice the age of the United States of America.
    Gene Ching
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  4. #4
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    Ah, thanks a lot Gene!

    Some people were telling me it was a recent import to the temple, like since the latest reconstruction, and I was pretty incredulous.
    It's a great staff form and really has that Shaolin flavour, which is why I was so shocked to hear that perhaps it wasn't.

    What are the other four authentic forms that were listed?

    Taichimantis: Thanks! Not the same form, but it's interesting to see it. What does the name of the form mean? Yin shou gun means soft or negative (as in yin/yang) hand staff, referring to the palm down grip in a lot of the form.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hl6-6SS_iDo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up2iJryOFYc

    I just wanted to make sure and check with those in the know.
    Glad I did!
    Last edited by Jingwu Man; 10-25-2007 at 01:32 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingwu Man View Post
    Ah, thanks a lot Gene!

    Taichimantis: Thanks! Not the same form, but it's interesting to see it. What does the name of the form mean? Yin shou gun means soft or negative (as in yin/yang) hand staff, referring to the palm down grip in a lot of the form.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hl6-6SS_iDo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up2iJryOFYc

    I just wanted to make sure and check with those in the know.
    Glad I did!
    Yum Sao Gwan(cantonese pronunciation) = Negative Grip 2 Ended Staff
    We also have Tang Lang Yim Yuen Gun = Yin-Yang Stick which I haven't learned yet...

    But with CCK's association with Jingwu, I don't know if it was a mantis form brought to Shaolin or a shaolin form he incorporated in his mantis. Maybe Robert (mantis108) would know... But now that I think about it, I'm sure other styles have their version of a "negative grip" staff form...I just don't know how far back our versions go.
    Last edited by TaichiMantis; 10-25-2007 at 05:44 AM.
    "The true meaning of a given movement in a form is not its application, but rather the unlimited potential of the mind to provide muscular and skeletal support for that movement." Gregory Fong

  6. #6
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    I knew you were going to ask that next, Jingwu Man

    Cheng lists five staff forms: yinshou, xiaoyecha, dayecha, pai and chuansuo. I've seen all but the last one demonstrated at Shaolin Temple at one time or another. I might have even seen chuansuo, but just not known it.

    BTW, I'm currently learning a variation of yinshougun from Shi Yanfei. The latter half of his form is completely different than what most everyone is practicing nowadays. It's very interesting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaichiMantis View Post
    We also have Tang Lang Yim Yuen Gun = Yin-Yang Stick which I haven't learned yet...
    there is a shaolin yinyanggun as well. this is the only video i've been able to find of it: http://www.56.com/u73/v_MTU1MjM4Nzg.html

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing
    BTW, I'm currently learning a variation of yinshougun from Shi Yanfei. The latter half of his form is completely different than what most everyone is practicing nowadays. It's very interesting.
    i've seen these types of forms, but they looked just like an extended version of yinshougun. but the extra movements also seemed modernly created. it didnt have the same feel as regular old yinshougun when it changed. but it was still very cool.

  8. #8
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    This variation is fairly traditional

    There used to be three Shaolin representatives at our school (one has moved to another Shaolin school ) and they introduced a yinshougun to the curriculum which was fairly standard. Just recently, Yanfei busted out this different version which has a - dare I say? - almost more traditional feel than the standard. For instance, for Chop the Cudgel in a Lower Wing Stance (note I'm using the Shaolin Gong Fu A Course in Traditional Forms lyrics since that's the most available in English) most practitioners do this flamboyant aerial backbend to slamming the staff on the floor pubu. It's the move we use for our Shaolin Staff hoody. I love that move. Anyway, Yanfei does it as this short sweep strike thing - a very practical, no-frills type of strike. He's done it that way a few times, very quickly. Most of the students are defaulting to the standard method - they haven't even noticed the variation. I've only seen him do it a few times so I haven't quite got it yet. He's not making a big thing of it all, almost like he's sneaking it out to see who's is fast enough of eye to see it. Or maybe I'm just tripping on a short cut he's using when he's teaching. Anyway, the other variations don't add anything that's not practical or overly flowery. Quite the opposite. I'm thoroughly enjoying the variation. It may be a keeper.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Anyway, Yanfei does it as this short sweep strike thing - a very practical, no-frills type of strike.
    that description makes me think of the way shi deyang does yinshougun here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Hl6-6SS_iDo

    this seems much more traditional to me too. but the way the coaches and students all do the form at his school is not like this. its like the way most people do it with that slightly modern feel to it, when compared to this.

    in fact, most of the forms he teaches on his videos are different versions than what is actually being taught at his school. although, the style on the videos seems much more traditional to me. more of the "straight but not straight, bent but not bent" characteristics. it feels tighter. whereas, the modern versions are all.. out there. you know?

  10. #10
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    I hear ya, LFJ

    Deyang's form is a lot like Decheng's form, only Deyang has his own unique energy that he brings to all his stuff. The pattern is very similar to what I learned however. Yanfei's form is quite different in the end. That's cool. I like variations.
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  11. #11
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    For instance, for Chop the Cudgel in a Lower Wing Stance (note I'm using the Shaolin Gong Fu – A Course in Traditional Forms lyrics since that's the most available in English) most practitioners do this flamboyant aerial backbend to slamming the staff on the floor pubu. It's the move we use for our Shaolin Staff hoody. I love that move. Anyway, Yanfei does it as this short sweep strike thing - a very practical, no-frills type of strike. He's done it that way a few times, very quickly. Most of the students are defaulting to the standard method - they haven't even noticed the variation. I've only seen him do it a few times so I haven't quite got it yet. He's not making a big thing of it all, almost like he's sneaking it out to see who's is fast enough of eye to see it. Or maybe I'm just tripping on a short cut he's using when he's teaching. Anyway, the other variations don't add anything that's not practical or overly flowery. Quite the opposite. I'm thoroughly enjoying the variation. It may be a keeper.[/QUOTE]

    The way I learned it is more like the way De Yang does it. We do the aerial backbend slam too, but more for performances to jazz it up a little. There are a few minor variations the way Xing Ying teaches it, especially at the end. We finish on the right slamming the staff down on the foot instead of on the left in De Yangs version.
    Last edited by sha0lin1; 10-29-2007 at 07:34 AM. Reason: Hit wrong button

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    If the legends are to be believed, Shaolin absorbed the bulk of its forms from external sources. Surely you've heard the old "sanctuary to political refugees" tale. What made Shaolin special was that it was a repository, or perhaps academy in the true monastic sense of the term, for the martial arts. Many of Shaolin's most famous forms probably originated elsewhere, but Shaolin incorporated them into their curriculum. They still do that today. It's part of the tradition of Shaolin. So when you say something is 'not actually a Shaolin form' I'm not sure what you mean.
    Oh, okay. I guess Shaolin-Do was right after all........


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  13. #13
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    I learned it at Shaolin in 1998 and it's mostly the same as the posted videos with minor differences. I've seen it done quite a few different ways so who knows which one is 'correct'.
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  14. #14
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    correct?

    There's a literalism in forms transmission that's simply absurd. It's something that many students do because they only grasp the skin, so to speak. Assuming each form has meaningful interpretations, they could all be correct. Or they could all be incorrect, depending on the lack thereof. It's not about the literal moves. It's about the transmission. Think to Bodhidharma and his take on the sutras. It wasn't about the literal transmission of the words of the sutras. It was about the transmission of chan. You can change the words. Sometimes you have to change the words. Obviously the words had to be changed so they could translated into English. As long as the chan is there, you can say what you like.
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  15. #15
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YONe5kU-tQ
    i like that variation...first time seeing it done like that
    everything is really broken down

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