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Frequently Asked Questions
If this art is a blend between Chinese and Okinawan concepts, how is it different from other arts like Kempo ?
Most arts that claim to blend Okinawan and Chinese concepts are primarily Okinawan with a few Chinese "flavors" thrown in. Pyong Hwa Do, on the other hand, is primarily a Chinese art with Okinawan influences added to it. So you might say it is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Won hop loong chuan is a complete Chinese style (not just small elements taken from one), with a few modifications derived from Okinawan concepts.
What is won hop loong chuan ?
In the history section, you can read about Lau Leong and his family's Chinese gung fu. Won hop loong chuan (wan he long quan) is that gung fu art, although in Lau Leong's time it wasn't known by that name.
Why do you mix Japanese/Okinawan terminology with Chinese terminology ?
Because the art itself comes from both Chinese and Okinawan heritages, and we try to reflect that in the terminology we use. Since the curriculum is designed to be analogous to the training that M. Kushubi received, it consists of Okinawan concepts initially and then transitions into Chinese concepts. We use the appropriate terminology for each portion.
Why do some of the Chinese terms seem to be a mix of Mandarin and Cantonese ?
Won hop loong chuan (wan he long quan), the art that forms the Chinese portion of pyong hwa do, was developed by masters from various regions of China. Some of them spoke Mandarin, some spoke Cantonese, and some even spoke other dialects such as Fukienese, Hakka, and Taiwanese. The forms each created were named in their own dialects. Some of them even "mixed" several dialects in the naming, possibly to try and hide or obscure the meanings.
Although some people have suggested that we just don't understand what we're saying, we are in fact quite aware of the mix of dialects that our art contains. In an attempt to make it easier to understand, we will provide a translation of terms using standard Mandarin Pinyin wherever applicable. For example, the name won hop loong chuan contains both Mandarin and Cantonese words. The Mandarin translation, in pinyin, would be wan he long quan.
Why do you practice in bare feet and wear a gi if your art is primarily Chinese ? Don't Chinese arts typically wear shoes and kung fu uniforms ?
Yes, many "pure" Chinese arts do wear shoes and use kung fu uniforms. However, this is a tradition we got from our Okinawan ancestry and have never had any reason to change it. Besides, the gi is a more durable uniform when dealing with throwing and falling.
Why do you use a Japanese/Okinawan belt ranking system ?
Although most arts traditionally had no ranking system aside from "years practiced", it has become common for most schools in modern times (especially in the West) to institute some sort of ranking system. The Chinese arts typically use colored sashes, while Okinawan arts typically use colored belts. Since we wear the Okinawan gi as a uniform, it is more appropriate to use belts instead of sashes.
In the end, it is really unimportant what one wears around his or her waist. The important thing is how much one practices.
How long does it typically take to get a black belt in this art ?
This question is hard to answer, as the answer really depends on the student. All students in this art progress at their own pace and are not tested based on schedules. Therefore, a student's rate of progress depends entirely on how much they practice and how much effort they put into their own training. But as a very rough estimate, it typically takes an average of 3-5 years to achieve the rank of 1st degree black belt.
Is won hop loong chuan a Northern or Southern Chinese style ?
Won hop loong chuan's evolution included the incorporation and refinement of other arts (both Northern and Southern), as well as original creations by past masters of the art. Since it contains concepts from Northern and Southern styles it is difficult to label it as either. However, outwardly it looks much more like a Southern style (for example, the low powerful stances). Because of this, we sometimes refer to it as a "Central Chinese style". Although this term is not a standard classification of Chinese arts, we find that it helps to clarify the mix between Northern and Southern ideas.
Is pyong hwa do a "traditional" art ? What about won hop loong chuan ?
Well, that can depend on how you define the word "traditional". The dictionary defines it as:
"The handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction."
Based on that definition, both arts are "traditional" since they are taught in that manner - i.e., they are handed down by word of mouth or by example.
However, in some martial arts circles the term "traditional" can be a touchy one because to some practitioners the word carries a connotation of "purity". This can mean "pure" in the sense of a purely Chinese art without any other influences, or it can mean "pure" in the sense that the art is still in the same form as when it was first created.
If one takes these connotations into account, then neither is "traditional". This is because neither is pure Chinese, due to the Okinawan curriculum of pyong hwa do and the modifications that Kushubi made to won hop loong chuan, some of which were based on Okinawan principles.
In addition, the arts have evolved over time, incorporating new information as necessary and discarding old information when it is no longer relevant. Therefore, they cannot be said to be in the exact same form as when they were first created. This, however, is true of almost any martial arts style.