Shaolin Eighteen Movement Stick
Within the Mantis Boxing of my shifu,
Shi Zhengzhong, exists an ancient staff form from Henan's Shaolin
Great Sage shows the flag
Da Sheng liang qi
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
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.
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.
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.
first attack with advancing step strike the head.
Jim steps back with
Great Sage shows the flag.
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.
pause Jim does
advance the step strike the head.
I slide back using sit on the
mountain and block the stick.
pause I step back and turn around with running horse roams the
Jim protects his entire outside gate with 4.tyrant
lifts the flag.
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.
continues with his forward momentum to stab me with 6.
golden needle pokes the stomach.
I hastily retreat with tyrant lifts the flag.
forward Jim's right side attacks with 7.
advance the step strike the head.
I slide back with right stick high block.
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
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
I swing my stick at his feet with
swirling wind sweeps the leaves.
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.
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[