THE SECRET OF GRANDMASTER HO FATT NAM

By the courtesy of Ogingo Videography, Sabah, Malaysia.

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

To kill or to be merciful. The choice is yours in Planting Willows in Front of Tent.

Muay-Thai fighters are amongst the most feared opponents of many martial artists. They are both fast and powerful, and their attacks are tricky. One of the most deadly attacks is an upward knee strike to an opponent's chest or head while pulling the opponent down. Many martial artists do not know how to defend against this attack.

But we are lucky. Our patriarch, Grandmaster Ho Fatt Nam, was a professional Muay-Thai champion before he gave up Muay-Thai for Shaolin Kungfu. He passed to Grandmaster Wong many secrets in fighting against Muay-Thai opponents. One of these secrets is a beautiful counter against the deadly Muay-Thai knee attack employing the Shaolin pattern “Planting Willow in Front of Tent”.

Ad part of an on-going effort to preserve genuine, traditional Shaolin Kungfu, Grandmaster Wong shares this secret of Grandmaster Ho Fatt Nam on Planting Willow in this video series, after he has shared the secret of Uncle Righteousness on Continuous Cannons in another video series.

“Planting Willow in Front of Tent” or “Yeng Chin Chap Lou” in Chinese (Cantonese) also incorporates many beautiful Shaolin principles like “Flowing With an Opponent's Momentum”, “Using Minimum Force against Maximum Strength”, and “To Kill or To Be Merciful” — principles that are often heard but seldom understood.

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Formidable Series of Three Attacks

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

Grandmaster Wong demonstrates in slow motion a series of formidable Muay-Thai attacks. They usually come in a series of three. The first two leg attacks could be feint or real, but the coup-de-grace is the knee strike. .

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How would You Counter these Deadly Attacks?

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

Grandmaster Wong repeats the series of Muay-Thai attacks from a different angle. He adds two more attacks — another knee jab and a downward elbow strike. How would you counter these deadly Muay-Thai attacks?

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Planting Willow in Front of Tent

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

Grandmaster Wong strikes the first kick, irrespective of whether it is real or feint. He slants his body backward to avoid the second kick. Then he “floats” the attacking knew and throw the opponent overhead onto the ground. This pattern is called “Planting Willow in Front of Tent”, and is a legacy from his teacher, Grandmaster Ho Fatt Nam.

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Following the Opponent's Momentum

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

The attack and counter are now performed smoothly. Here Grandmaster Wong places his foot forward to trip the opponent, breaks his wrist by stepping on it and finishes off him the with a chop on his head. Notice that the counter movements follow the opponent's momentum instead of going against it.

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Profundity of Shaolin Kungfu

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

Here Grandmaster Wong shows the details of the counter movements. While you float up the opponent's attacking leg, you also need to brush away his two hands or else he may attack your face. Grandmaster Wong shows the established form of this pattern, “Planting Willow in Front of Tent”, and comments that the uninitiated, including many kungfu practitioners who only perform external forms, would wonder what can this pattern be used for. This is an example of the profundity of Shaolin Kungfu.

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Using Knee to Fell Opponent

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

The pattern is repeated to show its smooth flow. When it is performed smoothly, it needs little muscular strength to fell an opponent. Good timing and spacing are important. Here Grandmaster Wong uses his knee to fell his opponent. One must, in this situation, be careful of a possible counter-strike to the groin by the opponent.

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A Beautiful Counter against a Deadly Knee Strike

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

This is a beautiful counter against the deadly knee strike of a Muay-Thai fighter. But you must be careful to cover the opponent well so that he could not counter-strike you at close quarters, like gripping or kicking at your groin.

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Controlling an Opponent Without Hurting Him

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

Grandmaster Wong elaborates on this pattern to show the depth and beauty of Shaolin Kungfu. A skillful Muay-Thai fighter would place his opponent in an apparently hopeless situation before strike the opponent's chest or head with his knee. Yet a skillful Shaolin practitioner could neutralize this attack almost effortlessly, and control the opponent without hurting him unnecessarily, though he could have killed or maimed the opponent if he wanted to. The concluding pattern where Grandmaster Wong controls the opponent is called “Fierce Tiger Crouching on the Ground”.

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Let Mercy Flow From Your Hands

Shaolin Kungfu Show in Sabah

Why is the pattern called “Planting Willow in Front of Tent”? It is meant to smash the opponent's head onto the ground as if planting a tree. But we let mercy flow from our hands, and let the opponent gently on the ground. Sifu Jamie, who acts as the opponent, is obviously enjoying himself.

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We wish to thank Mr Godfery Kissey of Ogingo Videography, Penampang, Sabah, Malaysia for kindly provideing us with the videos. (Godfery is also a member of our Shaolin Wahnam Family.) His telephone number is 60-88-731788, and e-mail address is godfery@pc.jaring.my .


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LINKS

Review of the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course in Sabah in March 2007

Click here for an Overview of the entire course

  1. The Basics of Shaolin Kungfu Training
  2. Fundamental Combat Skills
  3. Defeat you Hand to your Opponent, Victory you Create Yourself
  4. Avoiding Disadvantages and Seeking Advantages
  5. Basic Principles and Tactics of Combat
  6. Skills derived from Sparring can be Rewardingly used in Daily Life
  7. Some Secrets in Practicing Genuine Kungfu
  8. Various Ways to Move into an Opponent

  9. Applying Combat Sequences in Sparring
  10. Linking Sequences to be More Combat Efficient
  11. The Secrets of Continuous Cannons
  12. The Mechanics of Continuation
  13. Marvelous Techniques Beget Marvelous Techniques
  14. Perfecting Forms and Developing Force
  15. Applying Tactics in Combat
  16. Objectives of Form Training in Solo

  17. Being Fluent in Kicking Techniques before Applying them in Combat
  18. Using Tactics in Kicking Attacks and Defences
  19. Different Levels of Sophistication in Sparring and Fighting
  20. The Legacy of Uncle Righteousness: Secret of Continuous Cannons and their Counters
  21. Benefiting from the Experiences and Teachings of Past Masters

  22. Poetic Patterns Can be Very Deadly
  23. Moving Back One Step when in Diffiuclt Situations
  24. Linking Sequences to Form a Kungfu Set
  25. Felling Techniques in Kungfu are Different from Judo and Wrestling
  26. Butterfly Palms and Hiding Flowers are Excellent in Countering Felling and Gripping Attacks
  27. Let Mercy Flow from the Hands

  28. Benefits of Solo Set Practice — Combat Sequences 13 to 16
  29. From Pre-Choice Sequences to Free Sparring
  30. Applying Shaolin Patterns Correctly and Spontaneously in Free Sparring
  31. Shaolin Kungfu against Boxing and Kick-Boxing
  32. Shaolin Counters against Wrestling Shoots
  33. The Secret of Grandmaster Ho Fatt Nam
  34. Why Shaolin Kungfu is Technically Faster than Boxing
  35. Shaolin Techniques, Tactics and Strategies against Boxing
  36. Revealing Secrets of Past Taijiquan Masters
  37. Overwhelming Opponents with Just One Pattern
  38. Poetry and Elegance in Effective Combat

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