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(Okinawan White Crane
The ancient history of White Crane Kung Fu really begins in the village of Yong Chun in the province of Fujian in Eastern China. It was said to have been developed by a woman named Fāng Qīnián in the 1500s after seeing a crane land near her while doing laundry. She tried to shoo the crane away with a long stick but the crane evaded all of her movements easily and this inspired her to imitate these movements as well as combine them with movements from Shaolin Monk Fist which she already knew from her father. Over time her students in China developed 4 main schools of Crane Kung fu based on the characteristics that they most identified with such as the Whooping Crane, Sleeping Crane, Flying Crane, and Shaking crane. Later on other styles developed such as Feeding Crane and many family styles.
It wasn't until Bushi Matsumura travelled to Fujian in the 1800's and came back to Okinawa that white crane and karate was developed. Bushi Matsumura became a very prominent and famous teacher in Okinawa and taught his grandson Nabe Matsumura who taught his nephew Hohan Soken and passed down the Matsumura White crane system.
Another major White Crane influence in Okinawa came from the Chinese envoy sent over from China to Okinawa to teach Chinese culture. Many Martial arts enthusiast came to study with the Chinese who were often masters in the White crane kung fu styles. Over time the native Okinawans combined these Chinese styles with their own native Okinawan Te martial art giving birth to many new streams of thought in White Crane techniques and kata.
Another famous teacher of Okinawan White Crane Kung fu was Go kenki. Go kenki's roots are in Fujian Province of China. In the 1900's he traveled from China and opened up a tea shop in Naha (the capital of Okinawa). Go kenki was a master of White Crane Kung fu and began to teach to many famous Karate masters there in Naha. One such master was Hohan Soken who was the nephew of Nabe Matsumura, and was the current inheritor of Matsumura Seito Shorin Ryu. Hohan Soken learned the White Crane system from Gokenki, and also possibly learned some kata from his wife or aunt as it is shrouded in mystery. These crane arts continued to be passed down 2 more generations to Hanshi L. Mark Vellucci who is the founder of the Kobukan Karate Federation (www.cranekarate.com) and ranked 7th Dan in Hakutsuru and 8th Dan in Matsumura Seito Shorin Ryu.
Our White Crane is primarily an Internal system of Kungfu/Karate which involves the Mastsumura kata, the Mountain Crane kata system, and the Gokenki kata. Many kinds of striking methods are utilized but the open palm, the 1 knuckle (Phoenix Eye Fist) and 2 knuckle (Eagle Beak) point striking are the most prevalent. This system emphasizes evasiveness and deception as well as point striking (dim mak). The Crane does not rely on physical power, but relies on relaxed internal power by using the 'L' Stance, some dynamic tension to build strength, and precision striking. This is a very powerful and now rare fighting system for both men and women alike with also great healing benefits.
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