Hua Wu Fan

We have a new member in our practice group who does a lovely fan form I had never heard of: Hua Wu fan. Actually, there are two forms, a beginner form and a mid-level form; our new friend does the mid-level form. I have not heard of a more advanced version, but I assume it must be out there somewhere.

huawushan

All of the videos I have found on YouTube feature the same performer, Connie Ho (pictured in the grab above). If I had only seen the video, I probably wouldn’t have been especially interested, but after seeing it in person, by Xiao Liao, we all love it,  and we’ve asked her to teach it to us. Here are videos of both forms; we are learning the mid-level one.

The Chinese names of the forms (the names we use) are:

  • 初级华武扇初级 Chūjí  Huá Wǔ Shàn (Primary-level Hua Wu Fan)
  • 中级华武扇 Zhōngjí  Huá Wǔ Shàn (Primary-level Hua Wu Fan)

Shan, of course, is fan. Ji is the word for level or rank. You might recognize the word zhong, for middle: Zhong guo is China—literally middle country. Hua means flowery or splendid. As for the names of the movements, they appear at the beginning of the zhongji video, but only as images of Chinese characters. I did find a list in English, but I am working on deciphering the Chinese. I’ve only figured out a few names so far.

Zhongji Hua Wu Shan is a combined form, with elements of the four main styles (Yang, Chen, Wu and Sun). Unlike the other combined forms I know, which are mostly Yang, this one seems to me mostly Wu (from what little I know about Wu). I read on the Web that the form was created by national martial arts coach Zeng Nai Liang and Hu senior lecturer Wei Xianglian.

Fan II – Section 2

Starting after Bend Bow Shoot Tiger at the end of section one, I’m following the instructional video by Li De Yin.

10. Resting stance, carry fan (Xie bu dai shan). The traditional name is Gǔ Shù Pán Gēn, or Uproot the Old Tree, a name that also occurs in double saber, where it’s a 360 turn and a chop down. The breakdown:

  • Turn the waist swing the fan across – zhuǎn yāo bǎi shàn. Bai can mean show or move back and forth.
  • Resting stance, carry fan – xiē bù dài shàn.

It doesn’t sound like either of these fan movements is a strike, and in the demo, they don’t look like strikes, but Gu Shu Pan Gen is a chop down, so maybe they’re based on a striking movement (down). Basically, the saber and fan movements of the same name are not very similar! I can’t see it.

Professor Li, Xie Bu Dai Shan

Professor Li, Xie Bu Dai Shan

11. Point foot, reveal fan (diǎn bù liàng shàn). The traditional name is Chú Yàn Líng Kōng, or Baby Swallow Flies in the Sky. The breakdown:

  • Stamp foot, pound fan – zhèn jiǎo zá shàn.
  • Point foot, reveal fan – diǎn bù liàng shàn

Dian bu is new to me. I would have called in xu bu. Same thing? Seems to be. I recently learned that xu bu can be either toe or heel down, so maybe this just specifies that it’s xu bu with the toe.

12. Resting stance, embrace cloud (Xie bu yun bao). The traditional name is Tian Nu San Hua, or Beautiful Lady Spreads Flowers. The breakdown:

  • Open stance, embrace fan – kāi bù bào shàn.
  • Lean back the head and work the fan – yáng tóu wǔ shàn.
  • Resting stance, embrace fan – xiē bù bào shàn.

Start with the wrists crossed, fan held in front of the chest, open the arms in a big circle so they meet overhead and circle the wrist that holds the fan, Fold the fan down to the chest again. The key here is not to be lazy (as I sometimes am), but to get the fan all the way up there.

Circling way up there over the head. This is Professor Li's wife demonstrating.

Circling way up there over the head. This is Professor Li’s wife demonstrating.

13. Bow stance, cut down (Gong bu xia jie). The traditional name is Yan Zi Chao Shui, or Swallow Touches Water (small swallow, actually), a name from sword form that invokes the image of a swallow skimming the surface of the water. The breakdown:

  • Turn body, turn over fan – zhuǎn shēn fān shàn.
  • Bow stance, cut down (with) fan – gōng bù xià jié shàn.

14. Embrace fan snap kick (Bao shan dan ti). The traditional name is Huai Zhong Bao Yue, or Embrace the Moon, which is familiar from sword form as the posture of standing on one leg, embracing the sword, which is pointed upward. I notice that in the demo, the kick can be held momentarily, pointing up (for those who can do that). The breakdown:

  • Step up, close fan – shàng bù hé shàn.
  • Embrace fan, snap kick – bào shàn dàn tī.

15. Bow stance, push fan (Gong bu tui shan). The traditional name is Shun Shui Tui Zhou, Push Boat with Current. This one caught me by surprise! I was looking up each character when I recognized where it was going. This move is in every sword form. I didn’t recognize it in the fan version, because the fan is vertical, not pointing away as the sword would be. The breakdown:

  • Turn the waist, spiral the fan – zhuǎn yāo rào shàn.
  • Bow stance, push fan – gōng bù tuī shàn.

16. Chop [with] fan, stretch palm forward (Pi shan tan zhang). The traditional name is Bai She Tu Xin, or White Snake Spits Out its Tongue. The breakdown is:

  • Bow stance chop fan – gōng bù pī shàn.
  • Carry (hanging down) by the leg, extend palm forward – tí tuǐ tàn zhǎng.

17. Dance flowers, hit fan (Wu hua ji shan). This is a movement I was particularly interested in getting clear about. I find it a bit tricky!

The traditional name is Wu Song Tuo Kao, or Wu Song Breaks the Handcuffs. This is a movement in Kung Fu; here’s an interesting article from KungFuMagazine.com. Wu Song is a character in a traditional Chinese novel. The short version (which I got from Pan Huai) is that (handsome) Wu Song discovered that his short elder brother’s beautiful wife had an affair with a rich man, so Wu Song killed her. He was arrested, but broke the manacles and escaped to live a Robin-Hood life with bandits.

The breakdown on the fan version of breaking the handcuffs is as follows (translations dicey!):

  • Set down the foot, back and forth step, thread the palm – luò jiǎo bǎi bù chuān zhǎng.
  • Fasten step, close fan – kòu bù hé shàn
  • Point foot hit fan level – diǎn bù píng jī shàn.

Based on what Long Feng as shown me and slow motion vdieo, it looks like this:

Step left and circle the fan shut toward you.

Step left and circle the fan shut toward you.

  • Set down the left foot and cross the inside wrists, fan-hand (right) on top. Catch the edge of the fan with the left outside fingertips.
  • Set down the right heel and pivot to the right, turning to the right at the waist, and use the left hand to close the fan. The right wrist circles inwards. (above)
  • Pivot the right heel to front, shift onto the right, and snap the fan open horizontally, left xu bu. The left hand naturally lands on the right arm.
Stepping right, turning to the right before facing front to snap the fan open.

Stepping right, turning to the right before facing front to snap the fan open.

Best bet for learning this move (unless you have someone to show you): watch Faye Li Yip in Scotland, using the gear symbol at the bottom of the video screen to set the speed at .25, and watch at about 1:23.

Fan Form II: 1st Section

I’ve been going through Li De Yin’s instructional video for Fan Form II in Chinese, with Pan Huai’s help. So far, this involves learning a lot more Chinese–I wanted to know the names of the movements—but also, I’m learning how Professor Li breaks down the movements. Excellent form correction and detail!

Hai Di Fan Hua - Overturning Flowers from the Bottom of the Sea

Hai Di Fan Hua – Overturning Flowers from the Bottom of the Sea

So far I’ve only gotten through the first section, which consists of nine movements:

  1. Qi Shi
  2. Xu Bu Liao Shan
  3. Zhen Jiao Dou Shan
  4. Yun Shou Ba Shan
  5. Gong Bu Tui Shan
  6. Jia Shan Deng Jiao
  7. Du Li Pi Shan
  8. Hui Shen Beng Shan
  9. Ju Shan Chong Quan

The character for fan is this: 扇 and the word is Shan (sounds more like shen). The movements, like the movements of the contemporary sword forms, have two names—a descriptive name and a traditional name. The traditional names for the fan form are drawn mostly from other weapon forms.

The opening, Qi Shi, is the traditional White Ape Presents the Fruit– bái yuán xiàn guǒ. Stand with the fan held vertical in front, left hand shielding (not folded around) the right.

The traditional name for Xu Bu Liao Shan (Empty stance lift fan) is Jin Gang Liao Yi. This move resembles Jin Gang Dao Dui, except that the feet are close together. Liao Yi means to raise the hem, as of a skirt. The move is broken down by Professor Li as follows:

  • zhuan shen you lou (turn body and gather to the right)
  • ca bu ping tui (step the left foot forward and push [the fan to the right] level
  • gong bu zuo peng (bow stance ward-off left)
  • xu bu liao shan

Ca bu is new to me. It sounds a lot like cha bu, but it’s the step forward while shifted back (cha bu is cross step behind).

Third, Zhen Jiao Dou Shan (Stamp foot shake out fan). The traditional name, Hai Di Fan Hua (Overturn Flowers from sea bottom) describes the foam of a breaking wave.

  • Ju shan ti tui (raise fan lift leg)
  • Zhen jiao za shan (stamp the foot, pound the fan)
  • Zhuan yao bai bi (turn waist swing arms)
  • Ba quan dou shan (pull up fist shake out fan)

Fourth move: Yun Shou Ba Shan (Cloud hands pull fan). Traditional name, Cha bu yun shou (Cloud hands with cross step behind). The breakdown:

  • Kai bu you ba (open step pull right)
  • Cha bu Zuo ba (cross step pull left)
  • Kai bu you ba (open step pull right)
  • Cha bu Zuo ba (cross step pull left).

Move number 5 is Gong Bu Tui Shan (Bow Stance Push Fan). Traditional name is Lou xi au bu, the Yang brush knee push (or brush knee twist step).

  • Zhuan yao bai shan (turn waist swing fan)
  • Ti jiao fan shan (lift foot flip over fan)
  • Shang bu shou shan (step up collect/put away fan)
  • Gong bu tui shan (bow stance push fan)

Six: Jia Shan Deng Jiao (support fan heel kick). Jia is frame; jia shan is holding it up as if on a shelf. The traditional name, Tiao Lian Tui Chuang, is familiar from Yang sword—rolling up the screen.

  • Zhuan yao he shan (turn waist close fan)
  • Shang bu rao shan (step up spiral fan)
  • Ti tui ti shan (lift leg lift fan)
  • Beng jiao jia shan (collapse leg, support fan)

Seven: Du Li Pi Shan (stand on one leg chop/split fan) is a saber move, a chop as if to split logs with an axe. The traditional name, Na Zha Tan Hai (Na Zha goes to the sea bottom) invokes a well-known story. Na Zha is angry about his village not getting the rain it needs, so he goes to the sea bottom and hits the Long Wang (Dragon King), the rain god. The breakdown for number seven is:

  • Zhuan shen gua shan (turn body hang fan)
  • Gai bu ju shan (covering step raise fan)
  • Du li pi shan (stand on one leg chop fan)

Gai bu, the covering step, is a step across in front.

Hui Shen Beng Shan

Hui Shen Beng Shan

The eighth move is Hui Shen Beng Shan (turn back collapse fan). Collapse isn’t the right word; it’s a flick back to open the fan. The traditional name is entirely unfamiliar to me: Da Mang Fan Shen (big python turns back body).  It is clearly a snake move.

  • Kou bu chuan zhang (closing stance piercing palm—kou means fasten)
  • Tui bu ya zhang (step back press palm)
  • Zhuan shen chuan ci (turn body piercing stab)
  • Du li beng shan (stand on one leg flick fan back)

Last move in the first section: Ju Shan Chong Quan (Raise fan thrust fist). The traditional name is—surprise!—Wan Gong She Hu! Bend Bow shoot Tiger. Facing front. Professor Li does this with the fist rotated away from the body, as in Hit the Tiger.

  • Luo jiao bai bu (lower leg swinging step)
  • Kou bu fan shen (closing step turn body back)
  • Zhuan shen bai shan (turn body swing fan)
  • Ju shan chong quan
Bend Bow Shoot Tiger

Bend Bow Shoot Tiger

The pictures are all grabs from three wonderful demos by Professor Li’s daughter, Faye Li Yip.

The third video is particularly useful because of the slower pace. The lovely music seems to have been added afterwards. You can see her performing at speed, to Xi Yang Mei, in the first two.

Videos, Fan Form, etc.

Jesse Tsao offers an amazing line of instructional DVDs on Taichihealthways.com. The teasers are poor video quality, but the videos are excellent. I’ve started collecting them. So far I have the videos for 24 and 42 step.

photo (29)

Above, here is the wonderful Amin Wu doing 42-form. A few more times through Master Tsao’s instructions on this form, and I will be able to do it pretty confidently (within my sorry physical capacities). Of course, I follow Long Feng through it every weekend. Next, I’ll get Master Tsao’s video for Wudang sword.

Master Tsao was a collegiate wushu champion and studied with Chen Zhenglei and Li Deyin, so he’s pretty much got it all covered. Too bad he’s so far away (in San Diego). Watching the short clips last night, I was amazed to see Pao Chui in Fan II!

In section five, when you snap the fan backwards, that’s Yan Shou Gong Quan! Then left-right-left punches! Then you turn around and do what I thought was a kick. It’s chong! A sidekick.

In the move that follows, at school, we do a cat stance and snap the fan down. Long Feng does a little jump to cat stance. But what Master Tsao teaches is…Fan Hua Wu Xiou!!! Overturning Flowers! It’s Chen. And Master Tsao learned this form from Li Deyin, who created it. So I’ll need to get that video as well.

Meanwhile, I just finished reading The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan. What a great book! How have I never read it before now? I’m reading it because I am writing up the story of how my Chinese friend Lily came to the US by way of Vietnam.

I have many times been invited to join my Chinese Tai Chi friends for potluck dinners, so I loved the scene where Waverly takes her American boyfriend home for dinner. With the best intentions he commits one faux pas after another. He takes too much on his plate to begin with:

“…he had helped himself to big portions of the shrimp and snow peas, not realizing he should have taken only a polite spoonful, until everybody had a morsel.”

Then:

“He thought he was being polite by refusing seconds, when he should have followed my father’s example, who made a big show of taking small portions of seconds, thirds, and even fourths, always saying he could not resist another bite of something or other, and then groaning that he was so full he thought he would burst.”

I was relieved to know that I had always cautiously taken small portions at first–and it was no artifice on my part that I then accepted seconds, thirds and fourths because I couldn’t resist! Until I begged off because I was so full!

Rich also falls for Waverly’s mother’s criticism of her own cooking–believing her and offering condolences! Only a man could make that error, and not only among Chinese people. But anyway, that’s how you behave at dinner.