One of the most frequently asked questions I receive when teaching is “Is there a book that will help me learn white crane kung fu?”. Whilst literature covering Shaolin white crane and Tibetan white crane kung fu are easily available via the magic delivery service in the sky, publications that discuss the Yong Chun style of white crane are few and far between, at least in the English language anyway.
So Yong Chun White Crane Kung Fu is a valuable asset that Martin has produced, not only for those who actively study Yong Chun white crane but also for a much wider audience. Yong Chun white crane is becoming of increasing interest to students of other styles and in particular karate practitioners due to Okinawan karate’s close links to white crane.
The book is well written and easy to follow with many photos and diagrams throughout. Rather than being a how-to guide to white crane it conveys the style in it’s historical, cultural and ancestral context along with outlining it’s fundamental concepts. Considerable effort has been put into outlining the ancestral connections between the styles founder, Fang Qi Niang and her subsequent advocates all the way up to the modern day. With an unbiased approach Martin introduces the major lineages of Yong Chun white crane that are active today and the variations between them before discussing the relevance of the Weng Gong Ci martial gym in Yong Chun.
The book continues to elucidate the fundamental concepts of Yong Chun white crane by looking at the stance, hand positions, energy transfer and two person tactics. Later chapters delve into training techniques, weapons and an introduction to a selection of applications that utilise movements taken directly from the forms whilst putting them into the context of the Bubishi (which is also an essential read). Along the way there are interviews, translated texts and snippets of information that make it a valuable resource.
The book is a useful tool for anyone with an interest in martial arts as it is always surprising where inspiration can be found. For anyone who trains in white crane kung fu, karate or any other related style it is a really beneficial read and truly fascinating. Look elsewhere if you are seeking a step-by-step tutorial in white crane kung fu, that’s what classes are for. Instead you will find this is one of those books that you keep coming back to, each time gaining little insights to enrich your own journey.
The book can be ordered here via Lulu.com: