Originally published in 1963, this book includes personal testimonies regarding the author and his art from James Y. Lee, the legendary Ed Parker, and jujutsu icon Wally Jay. Through hand-drawn diagrams and captioned photo sequences, Lee’s text comes to life as he demonstrates a variety of training exercises and fighting techniques. Topics include basic gung fu stances, waist training, leg training, and the theory of yin and yang.
The re-edition of Bruce Lee’s original thoughts on kung fu offers martial arts enthusiasts and collectors exactly what they want: more Lee. Featuring digitally-enhanced photography, new pictures of Lee from a lost session and an original essay in Lee’s handwriting, Chinese Gung Fu still maintains its position as a timeless work by one of martial art’s greatest masters.
About the Author
Bruce Lee flashed like a meteor through the world of martial arts and motion pictures. On July 20, 1973, the iconic figure died in Hong Kong at the age of 32. He starred in several classic martial arts movies, including The Big Boss, Fists of Fury, Enter the Dragon, and Way of the Dragon.
Read an Excerpt
Chinese Gung Fu
The Philosophical Art of Self-Defense
By Bruce Lee, Sarah Dzida, Jeannine Santiago
Black Belt BooksCopyright © 2008 Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC
All rights reserved.
CHINESE MARTIAL ART
The Chinese martial art of Gung Fu basically consists of five "ways":
1 – Striking ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) Includes all techniques of palms, fists, knees, elbows, shoulders, forearms, head and thighs, but does not include different schools' special techniques like the eagle claw, the beak of the crane, the mantis hand, etc.
2 – Kicking ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) Includes all types of techniques of kicking (both from Northern and Southern schools of China).
3 – Joint Locks ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) Includes seventy-two techniques of different joint breaking and locking.
4 – Throwing ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) Includes thirty-six techniques of throwing.
5 – Weapons ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) Includes eighteen different weapons.
There are innumerable schools of Gung Fu in both Northern and Southern parts of China. Among some of the well-known schools are:
In Northern China –
Wing Chung School ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Bart Kuar Clan ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Ying Yee ([[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]]),
Northern Praying Mantis ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Eagle Claw School ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Tam Tuei ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Springing Leg ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Northern Sil Lum ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Law Hon ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Lost Track School ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Wa K'ung ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Ch'a K'ung ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Monkey Style ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Chuiang Kung P'ai ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), etc.
Publisher's Note: Unfortunately, Mr. Lee's Chinese character for Ying Yee has been lost.
In Southern China –
Wing Chung ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Southern Praying Mantis ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Dragon Style ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
White Crane School ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Southern Sil Lum ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Choy Lay Fut ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Hung K'ung ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Choy Ga ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Fut Ga ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Mok Ga ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Yal Gung Moon ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Li Ga ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]),
Lau Ga ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), etc.
Then these clans are separated into so-called internal and external schools ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). Here we are not concerned with them.
SEVERAL IMPORTANT POINTERS
1. Every movement of Gung Fu has a flowing continuity without any dislocation. As soon as a movement is completed, it begins to flow into another one. Because of this, the readers will find the techniques of Gung Fu faster than the ordinary method.
2. Gung Fu is a mind exercise. The combination of mind and body is especially important in the higher stages of Gung Fu. As for the reader here, try to use the imagination (mental movement) to influence every physical movement; for example, a firm belief that every technique will come to the desired end would help.
3. Cooperate with your opponent. Do not resist or interrupt his flow of movement. Instead of stopping his force, complete it by following him. In other words, you help him to destroy himself. Remember this: What you will do depends on your opponent, which is why we say, "Be the complement and not the opposite of the opponent's force."
4. The waist is very important in the art of Gung Fu as it plays a major part in both striking and dissolving away the opponent's force. During practice, the practitioner is required to dissolve away the opponent's force by turning waist first before he can side step it. (Note: A white arrow will show the direction of turning of the waist in the illustrations.)
5. Remember, it is better to learn how to endure than to learn how to fight. However, if you are compelled to oppose force, make use of it.
BASIC GUNG FU STANCES
Gung Fu has many stances for different purposes, and some other schools have their own special stances. Here are the ten most commonly used stances for the beginners.
1 – Ma Bo ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) – The thighs must be parallel, the toes point front and the knees point at the toes. The nearer the distance of the feet, the better. Points to Avoid – Standing bow-legged or leaning forward or backward.
2 – Gung Bo ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) – The weight is on the front leg with toes pointed slightly inward to avoid being stepped on; the back leg is straight. This is why this is sometimes called the bow and arrow stance. This stance and Ma Bo (horse stance) are strong and firm stances. Points to Avoid – Lifting the heel up on the back foot or pointing the toes straight forward on the front foot.
3 – Ding Bo ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) – Most of the weight is on the back leg, and the front leg stands with the toes pointing (ready to kick any time). The front knee is slightly higher than the back one for protection of the private parts. Points to Avoid – Weight on front leg, toes not pointing straight.
4 – Hui Bo ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) – A slight variation of Ding Bo except with front toes turned slightly inward. Points to Avoid – Weight on front foot.
5 – Chung Sik ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) – This is a medium stance between Ma Bo and Hui Bo and is mostly used in free-style sparring, due to its flexibility. The front knee is slightly higher than the rear one.
6 – Chuat Sing ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) – Weight is on the back leg, and the front leg rests lightly on the heel with the toes pointing upward. This is mostly used with Gung Bo for dissolving away force. The waist plays a very important part in this stance. Both knees try to be parallel.
7 – Lau Ma ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) – The twisting horse. The front foot is flat on the ground with the back heel raised. This stance is used mostly in close-range for moving with the shortest time.
8 – Kuai Ma ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) – The weight is on the front kneeing leg. This stance is used mostly for an attack to the low gate.
9 – Tou Bo ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) – This stance in English means to steal a step or to sneak in to attack. From this stance, one can either kick or change it to many other stances like Ma Bo, Ding Bo, Gung Bo, etc.
10 – Tu Ma ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) – In English, it means hanging horse; this stance is for defense against foot sweeps, low kicks, weapon attacks, etc. From this position, a kick is often connected.
THE SEVEN STARS
Watch for the opponent's seven parts:
THE THREE FRONTS
Take care of one's "three fronts":
1) in front of one's eyes
2) in front of one's hands
3) in front of one's legs
ON WAIST TRAINING
The waist plays a vital role in the art of Gung Fu. Here are some exercises to extend the range of its motion and make the waist flexible.
Fig. 1 – Front Bend
(1) Bend forward with the palms touching the ground.
(2) The legs keep straight at all times.
(1) Bend forward and grasp both ankles and touch the head on the knees.
(2) Later on, the head should touch the shin or, even better, the instep.
Fig. 3 – Side Bend
(1) Turn the body left and bend down without moving the lower trunk.
(2) Touch the palms on the ground.
(3) Come up and repeat the same to the right side.
Fig. 4 to Fig. 6 – Back Bend
Figures 4 to 6 show the steps toward back bending.
(1) Stand with the feet together, the hands naturally raised and the body twisted toward the left side (Fig. 6A).
(2) The body turns from the left toward the right (Fig. 6B).
(3) The right hand turns to hook, and the left hand, following the turning of the waist, drops down and grasps the right ankle (Fig. 6C).
(4) The left hand releases and turns the body from right to left again.
(1) From the standing position, the body drops toward the right side with the right foot crossing in front of the left foot (Fig. 7A).
(2) The body turns backward with the left foot grinding the ground and the right foot slightly touching the ground (Fig. 7B).
(3) After turning left, the foot bends slightly on the knee.
(1) Assume a squatting position as in Fig. 8A with the left foot in front; the chest is close to the knee.
(2) The body turns toward the right back with the hand following (Fig. 8B).
(3) After turning the waist, the right leg should be in front as in Fig. 8B (dotted lines).
(4) Ready for left turning.
ON LEG TRAINING
The kick, especially to the Northern clans of Gung Fu, is the best means of attack; however, they too warn of the danger of using it recklessly. It is a fact that the legs are much more powerful and have a longer reach than the hands, but we must consider also that when we lift one leg and kick, our whole balance is involved.
"In training, kick as high as you can; but in combat, kick as fast as you can and don't pass over the belt." This is a saying I often teach to my students. In my school, our kicks seldom pass over the belt, and the so-called high or flying kicks are never used. As for leg training, and this is true in most of the Gung Fu schools (North or South), it is not necessary for us to strengthen and toughen them by kicking on hard objects or sandbags. Due to their support of the whole body everyday, our legs already have power, and it is a matter of cultivating them naturally. The training then involves the cultivation and concentration of power and the development of speed.
Here I have included a few basic exercises that serve to develop kicking — the first part of which will concentrate on stretching the ligaments and extending the range of motion. The second part will be the natural development of kicking power.
Fig. 1 – Front Bend
Assume the position in Fig. 1 with the hands on the right knee to prevent it from bending. With the toes raised, try to touch the knee with the head. Repeat 15 times on each leg.
Fig. 2 – Side Bend
Assume the position in Fig. 2 with the hands on the hips. With the toes raised, bend sideways and touch the right foot with the head.
Fig. 3A to Fig. 3B
This exercise is commonly called shoe kissing. (1) Assume a squatting position with the left leg extending straight, the toes raised and the heel touching the ground. (2) With two hands grasping the left foot and pulling backward, bend forward and kiss the shoe. Practice left and right. NOTE: At first, practice by touching the head on the knees, then reach farther and farther out.
Fig. 4A to Fig. 4B
Assume the same position; but this time, bend over and try to touch the shoe with the head. (This time the right side of the body touches the left leg.) Repeat 12–20 times and do the same with the right leg.
Fig. 5 to Fig. 6
Fig. 5 and Fig. 6 show a slightly more difficult exercise of leg training.
Fig. 7A to Fig. 7B – Side Hang
This exercise is known as leg hanging in Chinese because, when the leg is raised to the desired position, it has to stop there for as long as one can. (1) Assume the position in Fig. 7A with the right hand on a bar. (2) Slowly lift the left leg (with toes raised) to around 90° from the ground and stay there for a while. (3) Lower it down to the original position and repeat the same procedure again.
Fig. 8A to Fig. 8B – Straight Hang
(1) Assume the original position. (2) This time, instead of raising the leg sideways, raise it slowly straight up (toe raised) till it reaches at least 90° from the ground. (3) Stay there for a while and repeat again.
This is a front high kick for practicing purposes only. (1) With hands on the hips, advance the right foot with the left foot behind it. (2) The left foot kicks up straight with toes raised, aiming at one's forehead. (3) When the left foot comes down next to the right foot, stop and advance the left foot with the right foot behind, ready to kick.
NOTE: (1) During kicking, the waist should not bend, and do not lean forward too much.
(2) The body should not bend backward.
(3) The stationary foot should be firmly flat on the ground.
Fig. 10 – Side Slanting Kick
(1) Assume the same position as in Fig. 9 and kick with the left leg the same way except to the side of the right ear. (2) The hand-extending position is for balancing the posture of the body.
Fig. 11 – Side Straight Kick
(1) From an erect position, advance the right foot with the toes slightly pointing to the right side; the body is also turned toward the right side as shown in Fig. 11. (2) The left foot kicks toward the left ear. (3) The left foot lands on the ground with the toes pointing slightly toward the left side and the body turning toward the left side. (4) Kick in the same manner.
Fig. 12 to Fig. 14
(1) Fig. 12 and Fig. 14 show the exercise of leg swinging in an out and inward swing. Practice with the left and right leg. (2) Fig. 13 shows the correct posture while swinging the leg.
Fig. 15 to Fig. 17
This is the actual kicking as used in actual application. Here I have just included three basic kicks in Gung Fu: the side kick, the thrust kick and the straight-toe kick.
Fig. 15 – Side Kick
(1) Assume the position in Fig. 15 with the body erect. (2) Advance the right foot and snap out the left foot like a whip with all the power concentrating on impact. (3) Snap back as fast as possible and land in front of the right foot. (4) In the same manner, the right foot snaps out.
THE BASIC THEORY OF YIN AND YANG IN THE ART OF GUNG FU
At first, I did not plan to include this section as the book deals only with basic techniques; however, on second thought, I believe the reader will be greatly benefited by this Chinese view of life. Most likely his technique (no matter what system he is in) will also be greatly improved.
The basic structure of Gung Fu is based on the theory of Yin/Yang ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), a pair of mutually complementary forces that act continuously, without cessation, in this universe. This Chinese way of life can be applied to anything, but here we are interested in its relationship to the art of Gung Fu. The black part of the circle is called Yin ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). Yin can represent anything in the universe such as negativeness, passiveness, gentleness, insubstantiality, femaleness, moon, darkness, night, etc. The other complementary part of the circle is Yang ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), which represents positiveness, activeness, firmness, substantiality, maleness, sun, brightness, day, etc.
The common mistake most people make is to identify this Yin/Yang symbol, T'ai-Chi ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), as dualistic — that is, Yang being the opposite of Yin and vice versa. As long as we separate this "oneness" into two, we won't achieve realization. Actually, all things have their complementary part; it is only in the human mind and his perception that they are being separated into opposites. The sun is not the opposite of the moon as they complement and are interdependent on each other, and we cannot survive without either of them. In a similar way, a male is but the complement of the female; for without the male, how on earth do we know there is female or vice versa? The "oneness" of Yin/Yang is necessary in life. If a person riding a bicycle wishes to go somewhere, he cannot pump on both pedals at the same time or not pump on them at all. In order to move forward, he has to pump one pedal and release the other. So the movement of going forward requires this "oneness" of pumping and releasing. Pumping then is the result of releasing and vice versa — each being the cause of the other.
In the Yin/Yang symbol, there is a white spot on the black part and a black spot on the white one. This is to illustrate the balance in life, for nothing can survive long by going to either extremes — be it negativeness or positiveness. Therefore, firmness must be concealed in gentleness and gentleness in firmness, which is why a Gung Fu man must be pliable as a spring. Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo will bend with the wind. So in Gung Fu, or any other system, one must be gentle yet not giving away completely; be firm yet not hard; and even if he is strong, he should guard it with softness and tenderness. For if there is no softness in firmness, he is not strong; in a similar way, if one has firmness concealed in softness, no one can break through his defense. This principle of moderation provides the best means of preserving oneself, for since we accept this existence of oneness (Yin/Yang) in everything, and do not treat it dualistically, we thus secure a state of tranquility by remaining detached and not inclining to either extreme. Even if we do incline on one extreme, be it negative or positive, we will flow with it in order to control it. This flowing with it, without clinging, is the true way to get rid of it.
When the movements in Yin/Yang flow into extremes, reaction sets in. For when Yang goes to the extreme, it changes to Yin; and when Yin (activated by Yang) goes to the extreme, it returns back to Yang. That is why each one is the result and cause of the other. For example, when one works to the extreme, he becomes tired and has to rest (from Yang to Yin). After resting, he can work again (Yin back to Yang). This incessant changing of Yin/Yang is always continuous.
Excerpted from Chinese Gung Fu by Bruce Lee, Sarah Dzida, Jeannine Santiago. Copyright © 2008 Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Black Belt Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsForeword by Linda Lee Cadwell,
About the Author by James Y. Lee,
About the Author by Ed Parker,
About the Author by Wally Jay,
Introduction by Bruce Lee,
PART 1: CHINESE MARTIAL ART,
Several Important Pointers,
Gung Fu Stances,
The Seven Stars,
The Three Fronts,
On Waist Training,
On Leg Training,
The Basic Theory of Yin and Yang,
PART 2: CHINESE GUNG FU TECHNIQUES,
Difference in Gung Fu Styles,
PART 3: ADDITIONAL TECHNIQUES,
Introduction by Shannon Lee,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book I purchased because it had some of the older martial art philosophies of Bruce Lee. I found it basic but interesting. I wouldn't recommend the ebook version which is the one I bought because the photos are not easily analyzed.
this book was awesome. it has pictures of streches and the basic stretches and also a section on philosophy. a must for a bruce lee fan or a beginner martial artist. five stars.
Ah, Grasshopper, you have much to learn. I tell myself this everyday.
I'm looking at joining a Gung Fu school soon, and this book has gotten me warmed up to the major stretching, stances that are common to most schools, Northern or Southern, and basic defenses against basic attacks. It will help you understand some of what's going on in your first sessions of study until you learn the ropes.