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Shaolin Eighteen Movement Stick

Within the Mantis Boxing of my shifu, Shi Zhengzhong, exists an ancient staff form from Henan's Shaolin Temple.  


Great Sage shows the flag

Da Sheng liang qi

The form opens up with the move, Great Sage shows the flag. The Great Sage, more commonly known as the Monkey King or Sun Wukong(孫悟空), is a famous mythical figure purported to have escorted Tang San Zang to India to fetch Buddhist scriptures for the Chinese empire. He was famous within the four seas for his unmatched skill at stick fighting. Here he is shown looking off into the distance with his always present stick behind his back before he was converted to Buddhism.


This character, Great Sage Equal of Heaven / Qitiān Dasheng (齊天大聖), is from the novel Journey to the West (西遊記). It is is a fictionalized account of the Buddhist monk Tang San Zang's pilgrimage to India during the Tang Dynasty in order to obtain Buddhist Sutras.

Tang San Zang


Nine and nine

Through eighty-one life threatening perils filled with much comedy, poetry and word play the novel manages to dispense a wealth of spiritual insight. The story is an extended allegory in which the group of pilgrims journeying toward India represents our individual journey toward enlightenment.
It was originally published in the 1590s during the Ming Dynasty. Here I have included the cover of my favorite English translation of this important classical work.


The Manuscript

Before I left Taiwan in November of 2005 my elder brother, who himself has been with our shifu for over thirty years, wrote out the manuscript for me under the old Banyan tree where we had trained together for over ten years.



The Photographs

Below is a translation of this manuscript with pictures of me, Kevin Brazier, on the right and Jim Smyer on the left.


Jim starts from the beginning of the form while my opening move is actually the move from the middle of the form. The numbered moves are done by Jim on the left.







I first attack with advancing step strike the head.

Jim steps back with 1. Great Sage shows the flag.


Without pause I turn my head strike into golden needle pokes the stomach.

Jim twists his body while turning his stick upside down for 2. plant the willow upside down.


Without pause Jim does 3. advance the step strike the head.

I slide back using sit on the mountain and block the stick.


Without pause I step back and turn around with running horse roams the city.

Jim protects his entire outside gate with 4.tyrant lifts the flag.


Jim moves forward and slams the top of his stick with 5. powerfully cleave Mt. Hua.

I shift my body back with Monkey plays with the star.


Jim continues with his forward momentum to stab me with 6. golden needle pokes the stomach.

I hastily retreat with tyrant lifts the flag.


Running forward Jim's right side attacks with 7. advance the step strike the head.

I slide back with right stick high block.


Still running forward Jim attacks my knee or ankle with 8. chase the snake into the hole.

I step back with left stick low block.


The next two moves are not photographed.

Jim swings the left side of his stick past my head as he leaps through the air with 9. flying cloud above the head.

My upper body dodges his head strike while

I swing my stick at his feet with swirling wind sweeps the leaves.


He lands and immediately continues the attack with the move I began the form with called advancing step strike the head.

I am now at the beginning of the form with 1. Great Sage shows the flag.


We don't stop, just do it over and over.


10. Golden needle pokes the stomach and so on...





Continue the progression for ten thousand repetitions. When we can do it without a single slip it can be called a small attainment[


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