THE SECRET OF GRANDMASTER HO FATT NAM
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”.
As 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.
Formidable Series of Three Attacks
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.
How would You Counter these Deadly Attacks?
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?
Planting Willow in Front of Tent
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 knee 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.
Following the Opponent's Momentum
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.
Profundity of Shaolin Kungfu
Here Grandmaster Wong shows the details of the counter movements. While you float the opponent's attacking leg, you also need to brush away his two hands or else he may attack your face. 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.
Using Knee to Fell Opponent
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.
A Beautiful Counter against a Deadly Knee Strike
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.
Controlling an Opponent Without Hurting Him
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.
Let Mercy Flow From Your Hands
A skillful Muay-Thai fighter would place his opponent in an apparently hopeless situation before striking 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.
Review of the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course in Sabah in March 2007
- Overview 1 : The Fundamentals
- Overview 2 : The 16 Combat Sequences
- Overview 3 : Are They Performing Kungfu Dance?
- The Basics of Shaolin Kungfu Training
- Fundamental Combat Skills
- Defeat you Hand to your Opponent, Victory you Create Yourself
- Avoiding Disadvantages and Seeking Advantages
- Basic Principles and Tactics of Combat
- Skills derived from Sparring can be Rewardingly used in Daily Life
- Some Secrets in Practicing Genuine Kungfu
Various Ways to Move into an Opponent
- Applying Combat Sequences in Sparring
- Linking Sequences to be More Combat Efficient
- The Secrets of Continuous Cannons
- The Mechanics of Continuation
- Marvelous Techniques Beget Marvelous Techniques
- Perfecting Forms and Developing Force
- Applying Tactics in Combat
Objectives of Form Training in Solo
- Being Fluent in Kicking Techniques before Applying them in Combat
- Using Tactics in Kicking Attacks and Defences
- Different Levels of Sophistication in Sparring and Fighting
- The Legacy of Uncle Righteousness: Secret of Continuous Cannons and their Counters
Benefiting from the Experiences and Teachings of Past Masters
- Poetic Patterns Can be Very Deadly
- Moving Back One Step when in Diffiuclt Situations
- Linking Sequences to Form a Kungfu Set
- Felling Techniques in Kungfu are Different from Judo and Wrestling
- Butterfly Palms and Hiding Flowers are Excellent in Countering Felling and Gripping Attacks
Let Mercy Flow from the Hands
- Benefits of Solo Set Practice — Combat Sequences 13 to 16
- From Pre-Choice Sequences to Free Sparring
- Applying Shaolin Patterns Correctly and Spontaneously in Free Sparring
- Shaolin Kungfu against Boxing and Kick-Boxing
- Shaolin Counters against Wrestling Shoots
- The Secret of Grandmaster Ho Fatt Nam
- Why Shaolin Kungfu is Technically Faster than Boxing
- Shaolin Techniques, Tactics and Strategies against Boxing
- Revealing Secrets of Past Taijiquan Masters
- Overwhelming Opponents with Just One Pattern
- Poetry and Elegance in Effective Combat