The following transcript below is from the video “10 Greatest Kung Fu Masters Who Ever Lived” by Off the Great Wall.
Off the Great Wall (YouTube Channel):
Dan and Mike from Off the Great Wall break down their Top 10 Greatest Kung-Fu masters who have ever lived.
Dan: What’s up guys! Welcome to Off the Great Wall. I’m Dan.
Dan: Hey Mike. I heard you used to practice martial arts.
Dan: Are you any good?
Mike: Am I good? [Laugh] No.
Dan: Nowadays, it seems that there are martial arts dojous everywhere and everyone seems to be a martial artiest.
Mike: Yeah, and with the emergence of the MMA ultimate fighting, I kinda feel that traditional martial arts are being faded out.
Dan: In Chinese history, martial arts were created as an art form to improve the mind and body.
Mike: And many true martial arts masters Patrica martial arts really to cultivate one’s self.
Dan: Here are ten people that are considered the best martial arts masters in Chinese history.
Mike: Number One – Yu Fei. We did a video on YU Fei, so if you havent seen it, check it out right here. Yu Fei was arguable the greatest general in chinese history. He was also a great kung fu master. YU fei is widly credited with the creation of of the martial art Xin Yi quan or shape will fist which is charecterized by aggressive seemingly linear movements and explosive power that is most often applied from a short range.
Dan: A practitioner of Xin YI uses coordinated movements to generate bursts of power intended to overwhelm the opponent. Simultaneously attacking and defending. kind of like Bruce lee, right? Like the one inch punch.
Mike: Yi Fei is like way better than bruce lee. Yi Fei lead armies and battles and defeated thousands n a battlefield. YI Fei is also said to have created the eagle claw style of Kung-Fu. There you go. You fight like that.
Dan: Number Two – Zhang Sanfeng. Zhang Sanfeng was the founder of the Wudang Clan; not the rap group.
Mike: Was going to say that rap group was really old. He also created Tai chi. The legend goes that the Taoist monk Zhang Sanfeng invented Tai Ji Quan through dreaming about or observing a fight between a snake and a crane in the Wu Dang mountains. Some say Zhang Sanfeng achieved immortality through his martial arts practices. You know, in the popular dramas Zhang Sanfeng was labeled as the number one Kung-Fu master ever. Like undefeated. No one can defeat him.
Dan: So you’re telling me when you go to Chinatown, you see a bunch of old aunties and uncles doing Tai Chi that was from this guy?
Mike: Number Three – Wang Lang. Wang Lang is credited as the founder of Tang Lang Quan or Praying Mantis Boxing, during the Northern Song Dynasty.
Dan: Legend says on one summer day, Wang Lang was walking in the woods and saw a praying mantis fighting a cicada.
Mike: With very swift movements, the minutes seized its pray. Wang lang felt sorry for the cicada and tried to drive the mantis away with his sword because logically that’s what you do to an insect. You draw your sword and chop at it.
Dan: To his surprise, the mantis jumped into his sword and when Wang Lang tried to swap the Mantis, it dodged his hand and made several cuts on his arm in seconds.
Mike: That’s like a crazy mantis. He was very amazed at the praying mantis’s skills and agility and after capturing the the insect, he decided to observer its way of fighting.
Dan: So are you saying that basically his master was a Praying Mantis?
Mike: Sort of. Maybe inspirational insect. You know I also observed a a mosquito biting my arm the other day so I swatted at it and [laugh] you know it’s not Praying Mantis.
Dan: Number Four – Chen Wangting. He was a Ming Dynasty general that founded non other than Chen style Tai Chi, one of the major five styles of Tai Chi.
Mike: He devised a Chen family style of Tai Chi trend in Hannan province, after he retired there following the fall of the Ming Dynasty.
Dan: His complete work contained five smaller sets of forms, a 108 move long fist routine and a cannon fist routine.
Mike: Chen is also credited with the invention of the first push hand exerciser.
Dan: What are you doing?
Mike: I’m pushing with my hands.
Dan: It looks like you are messaging the air, bro.
Mike: Number Five – Zhang Songxi. According to the legend, Zhang Songxi was one the seven students of Zhang Sanfeng. During the Ming Dynasty, Zhang Songxi. Studied the eight different styles of martial arts that were relevant in the chang jiang and Huan basins.
Dan: By combining fundamental Wudang principles with the modifications he’s made to the eight styles, Zhang Songxi created a unique Wudang songxi internal style or Nei Jia Quan.
Mike: Number 6 – Gan Feng Chi. He was a master of the Hua system during the YongJun period of the Qin Dynasty and he wrote a book called the essence of the Hua Fist.
Dan: Hua Fist originated from Shaolin Kung Fu. It has the speed and power of long fist and the softness of Tai Chi.
Mike: Number 7 – Dong Hai Chuan. He’s regarded as a skillful martial artist and is widely credited to be the founder of Ba Qua Zhang or Eight Trigram Palm.
Traditional teachers in China don’t regard Dong Hai Chuan as the founder but merely the first identifies transmitter of Ba Qua Zhang knowledge to the wider public. Prior to Dong Hai Chuan, Ba Qua teachings were conducted behind closed doors from one Taoist to another. Did you know Dan that before martial arts became widespread, masters used to have secret technique that they would only pass to one disciple and this would go on for like thousands of years. So sometimes when one disciple died, the entire knowledge of a whole system died with him.
Dan: There goes that whole lineage.
Mike: Number 8: Yang Lu Chan. He was an influential teacher of the soft style martial art Tai Chi Chen during the second half of the 19th century.
Dan: He is also known as the founder of the Yang style of Tai chi Chen. The Yang style Tai Chi Chen features agreeable movements and actions, combining hardness softness and naturalness.
Mike: Number 9 – Huang Fei Hong. He was a master of Hung Gar Kung Fu which is known for its deep stances.
The student traditionally spends anywhere from months to three years in stands training, often sitting only on horse stands between half an hour to several hours at a time before learning any other forms. That is insane. I could do it for like 30 seconds.
Dan: Huang Fei systematized the predominant style of Huang Gar and choreographed its version of the tiger crane paired form fist which incorporates his 10 special fist techniques. Huang Fei Hong was exceptionally good with weapons such as the staff. One tale recounts how he defeated 30 gangsters on the docks of Quandong with a staff.
Mike: Number 10 – Huo Yuan Jia. He was a chinese martial artist and practitioner of mi zong yi or war lost track 0skill. That sounds real cool. I’m a practitioner of me zong yi, war lost track skill but then people are like, would you lose?
Dan: So he draws on many aspects of the external northern Shaolin long first style and the internal style of Tai Chi Quan.
Mike: It is characterized by deceptive hand movements, intricate footwork, varied kicks and high leaps and the style changes very quickly when executed. Huo is considered a hero in China for defeating foreign fighters in highly publicized matches at the time when Chinese sovereignty was being eroded by colonization.
Dan: What about Bruce Lee?
Mike: Bruce Lee was good, but I wouldn’t consider him one of the reatest martial arts masters thoughout Chinese history. Of course people are like what about Yip man? Well he also wasn’t considered one the truly truly great masters. I mean we are talking about 5,000 years of Chinese history here.
Dan: I think you are right. Like thousands of years ago, people could do some extra extraordinary supernatural things.
Mike: If you go the Saholin temple right now, there’s actually a footprint in the concrete ground because a Shaolin master stepped so hard there was an imprint of his boot left on the cement.
Dan: I’ve seen videos on you tube where basically Sholin masters were able to take a spear right to the stomach and not have it pierce.
Mike: I can’t imagine if some of these masters competed in like the Ultimate Fighting championship.
Dan: Like can you imagine today? They just step into the MMA ring and they’re just like boom you are dead. They had this really stupid thing on you tube where a Shaolin monk fought a boxer and you could tell that’s not a real Shaolin monk or if he was, he definitely wasn’t at the level they were back then.
Mike: That’s the thing with true martial arts masters. Most of them do not showcase their skills. Actually, they practice martial arts for, we talked about this, self-cultivation. That’s why Jaou Son Fu,a Taoist practitioner of martial arts. He was trying to make himself an immortal which maybe he has done.
Dan: That’s the thing now. Everybody does Tai Chi or other forms of martial arts to keep fit. But you know thousands of years ago, it was really for something else.
Mike: And that element is kind of lost because there’s always a spiritual element to all martial art practices.
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