Kung Fu Fan

Kung Fu Fan is one of two fan forms created by Li Deyin in the early two thousands. Both are popular and widely practiced, at least in China and among Chinese people living here, and both are usually performed to a piece of music called Xi Yang Mei, or Beautiful Sunset.

Here is Master Faye Yip performing Kung Fu Fan. She is Li Deyin’s daughter, and I think of her as the gold standard for both of his fan forms.

Fan Form

In an earlier video, Master Faye performs Kung Fu Fan with a group of students at a workshop in Madrid.

Kung Fu Fan has 52 movements, divided into six sections corresponding to six sections in the music. The first and last sections are slow and Tai Chi-like. The second section is faster, the third faster still. The fourth section repeats the second section exactly, and the fifth section starts out fast and emphatic, reaches high point, then stops and slows dramatically.

Most of the movements in Kung Fu Fan are based on traditional tai chi forms, especially sword forms, with the fan substituting for the sword. In the list I’ve got, the names of the movements are followed by the name of the traditional movement in parenthesis. Here’s the list: (PDF) kungfu fan

I’ve found a two-part, two-hour instructional video by Li himself. It’s in Chinese but as usual, he presents it so clearly, with such ample demonstration, that you can learn without understanding what he’s saying (though I wish I could!). The captions that appear on the screen match the list in the PDF above.

Instructional videos:

Just for fun, and not to be missed, check out a couple of WOW renditions of the same form in tournament play:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3XRUF48z2c
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7cz03oIFGc&t=3s

Kung Fu Fan is an entertaining piece to watch, fun to perform, not to mention good exercise in practice.  It works very well as an ensemble piece for as many people as you can fit on the stage. It’s not that hard to learn, at least well enough to perform in the back row, so a lot of people get to be in on the act.

My weekend practice group has performed with as many as seven people, in settings as diverse as Chinese New Year parties, community centers, and nursing homes. Above, Long Feng, Hu Peiyi and I (L-R front row) perform Kung Fu Fan  for a senior lunch at the Asian American Resource Center in Austin in 2018.

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