DVDs: Tak Wah Eng, Sifu


The history of FU JOW PAI is interesting and a bit turbulent. Many well known personalities have been involved directly or not: Wai Hong, Tak Wah Eng, Paul Eng and Kam Yuen: all of them knew each other. Tak Wah Eng studied under Wai Hong for a long time. Tak Wah Eng and his followers have come to represent a definite off shoot of this dynamic style. Judged on their own merits - not necessarily as representative of Fu Jow Pai's core curriculum - these DVDs represent nicely done presentations. Here are well edited and displayed forms. Bong Bu and Tiger Crane are solid. Less historical is the newly choreographed Staff vs. Knives: more of a "fun" set to our mind. Dragon Fist one of the Five Animals series of "abstracted" forms created by Shih Fu Tak himself.

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#12020 Moon Shadow Saber
New York Nan Quan
Multiple Views, Instructional sections, Drills and more

There is another contemporary/traditional form from the creative group at New York NanQuan. This medium length form encompasses most of the actions we identify as correct saber technique. The filming is, as usual, evocative with explanations and drills coming right from the master-form which is shot front back and from above. A nice saber set showing a sense of balance and classical composition that is also amazingly compact despite its range of movements.                                       

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#12019 Iron Buddha Staff
New York Nan Quan
Multiple Views, Instructional sections, Drills and more

Sifu Paul Koh here demonstrates a staff set from theNanQuan group. Again, following the "Nan" tradition we have a tightly wound set with a wide range of movements and very little repetition. A nicely constructed set that is said to have traditional origins. What we like and admire about the work here is that while it has been somewhat adapted, and correctly so, for modern times nothing from this group lacks the substance and soul necessary for authentic training. When you've seen as much "original" stuff as we have and can spot instantly the fantasies and the temptations of "pretend Kung Fu"good quality, creative work is appreciated .                                      

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#12057   Dragon Sword
New York Nan Quan
Multiple Views, Instructional sections, Drills and more

Tak Wah Eng just playing around with the straight sword opens this stylish DVD. Then single and double man exercises are shown. Then Tak's short, well designed form. It is evident that Tak is condensing, revising and consolidating. This is not only overdue in Kung Fu but is perfectly within the cyclical, re-consolidating tendencies of Chinese history and life in general. Tak has eliminated needless repetition while maintaining accuracy and meaning. His use of the sword is solid and experienced. Multiple angles of the form are given. As always there is no verbal instruction and modeling is accomplished through repeated visuals. If this imitation style is too difficult and you don't already know some Kung Fu you shouldn't be learning the straight sword anyway. Partner drills round out the DVD.

Comment: In general we have to say this: Someone has been very smart here and made Tak Wah Eng's DVD's about the man as well as the art; thus showing their inseparability. Well done! We need more of these examples of, as Adam Hsu calls them in our recent interview, "human" martial arts.                                       

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#12058   Three Sectional Staff
New York Nan Quan
Multiple Views, Instructional sections, Drills and more

This is one of the better 3 part stick forms you could start with. The movements are abstracted from the Shaolin usage of the weapon. But the foot patterns are mainly Southern and therefore more circumspect than other sets. The sections are made easier to learn by this construction. The movements are traditional and tend, in this set, to the symmetry favored by Southern boxing. Some of the more difficult skills such as body contact and other "washing" moves are eschewed. Overall, a good DVD. As always, we regret the lack of verbal back up instruction but we see this as a film making decision, not a mistake. Our only other criticism is that the lighting is a bit shy. Squint to view. We are so in-depth on the esthetic and construction of this series it is because it is being created right now. The purpose of criticism is to help guide, not negate. Any good feedback may help with this process—which should be going on throughout the Kung Fu world right now—and therefore could be beneficial to those future generations we hope to see.

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#12056   The Best of Tak Wah Eng
New York Nan Quan
Multiple Views, Instructional sections, Drills and more

"Since the age of fifteen, Master Tak Wah Eng has devoted his life to the Art of Kung Fu. Over the past forty years, he had become one of the most renowned martial artists in the world. This DVD presents an up-close and personal account of his experiences and wisdom gained over the decades, plus a special Tiger Claw training form shown in multiple angles."     
                                 

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#12055   Five Animal Fist
New York Nan Quan
Multiple Views, Instructional sections, Drills and more

This is another original form representing Tak Wah Eng's new system of "New York Nan Quan" or New York Southern Boxing. In this case he has developed a form which freely but classically mixes the Five Animals of Tiger, Leopard, Crane, Snake and Dragon. The movements are sophisticated but clear with changes of speed and height freely interspersed. Stances work is strong and precise. Angles are clear and authentically useful. You have no idea how many "creative" sets we have seen and are just about always disappointed. Why? Very simply all those wonderful gymnastic sets you see the kids doing in tournaments, created by their teachers, have no comprehensive structure at all. One minute they are performing Okinawan Karate, the next break dancing, then gymnastic all to be rounded off with a poor front stance and a weak punch. Tak's work is the product of a lifetime. Everything holds together showing that a real practitioner can contribute a beautiful, structurally sound and well thought out form that deserves our attention.                                      
Quantity   $19.50  

#12028   Iron Buddha Fist
New York Nan Quan
Multiple Views, Instructional sections, Drills and more

This original form created by Master Tek Wah Eng is an example of how Kung Fu can grow, change and develop without surrendering to the usual modern tendency to disintegrate into bad basics and crowd pleasing gymnastics. How do you avoid this? By doing what Tak Wah Eng had done creating a more condensed, sophisticated and complex form for an age used to more information per inch. Also, Tak Wah Eng has created a form with the emphasis on context not performance. This one, we feel, is a more basic one than his other creation: The Five Flower Fist. Strong Southern moves, Tak's own very classic form, some unusual and excellent angular changes. An excellent blend of clear and hidden techniques. Classical Hung inspired movements but with a whole series of "embryonic" movements expanding the possibilities for angle and application.
Out only criterion of this series is that in essence it is done without narration making the details of the forms, the small and sophisticated hand motions, difficult to duplicate in entirety.
                                      

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#12029   Five Flower Fist
New York Nan Quan
Master shots, Multiple Views, Instructional sections, Drills, nice musical score and, as always, very fine photography

This original form is an intriguing and well composed blend of classical motions. Obviously giving homage to Tiger/Crane Hung Gar and Fu Jow Pai, it shows a very balance mix of Southern Hands. While not an overly long production, about middle length we'd say, more sophisticated order. Taking a classical stance Tak Wah Eng adds a modern sensibility by eliminating the tendency to repeat information. This is the only deviation from classical construction: he stuffs more information into fewer movements. So many new forms we see lack a strong intent and a solid sense of symmetry and dynamism. This is not the case with Tek's work. The Five Flower Fist is a "new" piece with the composure and strength of history and solid Kung Fu knowledge. A very dense, interesting and quite attractive form with a great deal of integrity. Tak's form doesn't take up much space but in it he has strong stance, powerful movements, some very quick hand sections and a few kicks. The feeling is absolutely Southern with many changes of direction and claw as well as fist techniques.

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#12027   Secrets of the Iron Palm
Traditional Shaolin Kung Fu

Tak Wah Eng's DVDs always take an interesting slant on the material. In this one long stretches of silent footage, often "aged", build an impressionistic view of the Iron Palm practice. Cut to Tak breaking a brick. Cut to brass rings on his wrists. Cut to him applying liniment.

On the information side we have the following chapters:
Chi Gung Warm Up Exercises
Iron Ring Training • Twisting the Stick• Holding the Jar • Catching the Sandbag • Spear Hand Training
Striking the Sand Bag • Striking the Hanging Bag • Wood Board Breaking • Brick Breaking

Each of these sections is essentially silent showing rather than telling of Tak Wah Eng's practice. All are authentic Iron Palm drills and it is interesting and informative to see his regimen actually performed.

A great DVD for "following along."                                       

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#12021   Tiger Crane Fist (Fu Hak)

A slightly different version of the famous Twin Shapes Fist: The Tiger and the Crane. Anyone who has studied this classic form and system knows that the full Tiger Crane (exactly what IS the full version is, of course, a debated topic) is an exciting and beautifully constructed Southern form. History, breakdown, demonstration, postures all shown nicely and clearly.

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#12022   Praying Mantis Bong Bu
The form that is often called the "first praying mantis set." Tak Wah Eng demonstrates his interpretation of this important and fundamental form. This DVD contains "archival" footage of Tak's own performance, multiple views of the form, animated history of the Praying Mantis and a foldout instruction booklet with demonstration by Paul Koh.
          


                            

Quantity   $29.50  


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#12023 Dragon Staff Butterfly Knives

A combination of sets that can also be combined as a partner form. This DVD shows multiple views of this form choreographed by Tak Wah Eng himself and inspired by his extensive experience as a fight planner in the film industry. The breakdowns of the set are shown in sequence. There is also an aid in an enclosed 40" wide Fold-up booklet. Performed with enthusiasm and style. This is tied to a text version of the same set.

See this book.                                      

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#12024 Dragon Fist

This is a Shaolin Internal Training form from a series created by Tak Wah Eng himself. The movements are classical and true to their original character which we would say is mostly Southern Fist. One of the best "simplified" or "introductory" series we have see retaining the original essence of the sources and true to each animal's characteristics. The DVD also displays 5.1 surround sound, a biography sections and a photo gallery. This is a nice and rather powerful Shaolin style form. Overall a well done DVD with neat production values.

See Tak Wah Eng's book on Shaolin.                                      

Quantity   $19.50  

#12025 Leopard Fist

This is a Shaolin Internal Training form from a series created by Tak Wah Eng himself. The movements are classical and true to their original character which we would say is mostly Southern Fist. One of the best "simplified" or "introductory" series we have see retaining the original essence of the sources and true to each animal's characteristics. The DVD also displays 5.1 surround sound, a biography sections and a photo gallery. This is a nice and rather powerful Shaolin style form. Overall a well done DVD with neat production values.

See Tak Wah Eng's book on Shaolin.                                      

Quantity   $19.50  

#12026 Tiger Fist

This is a Shaolin Internal Training form from a series created by Tak Wah Eng himself. The movements are classical and true to their original character which we would say is mostly Southern Fist. One of the best "simplified" or "introductory" series we have see retaining the original essence of the sources and true to each animal's characteristics.The DVD also displays 5.1 surround sound, a biography sections and a photo gallery. This is a nice and rather powerful Shaolin style form.

Overall a well done DVD with neat production values. See Tak Wah Eng's book on Shaolin.                                      

Quantity   $19.50