Friday, June 5, 2009

Friendship is Beautiful

On the second of June, I had the privelage of attending a (to me) historical event. Abot (Mr. Ahmad Nasarudin) of Pertubuhan Gerak Silat Lian Malaysia (you can check their organized a visit to a Gayang Lima class (Pak Atan Air Batu lineage) taught by Tengku Musa (check out Also in attendance was intructor and students of Gayang Lima (Pak Raja Ali lineage) led by Mr. Sudirman whom we visited 2 weeks before. We would have had a complete Lian representation if Mr. Hisham (Lian PadukanMaster) could come but he was stuck with work. Hope to have you along next time Cikgu!

We started by visiting Grandmaster Dahlan Karim of Seni Silat Setiabakti ( who is recovering from a mild sickness. Gayang Lima is actually taught at his centre as a collaboration between two masters.

After a brief tea session, we were ushered to the training ground. Students were already training but Tengku Musa was very kind to allow us to watch. The students was practicing their "Lian" or forms as we might call them. They were also doing A LOT of practical applications. Tengku Musa's teaching methods are informal but very detailed. His students are lucky to learn from him.

I've always had much interest and intrigue in the many different styles of Silat Lian and Buah Pukul Mersing. And last night I had the privelage to watch another lineage, up close with detail. I have also seen classes taught by Cikgu Hisham of Lian Padukan and Cikgu Sudirman of Gayang Lima. In terms of technique and footwork, they are all almost exactly like our Yip Kin Wing Chun. In fact, most their techniques resemble those found in our second form (Tai Fa Kuen or Big Flower). And I personally feel Yip Kin Wing Chun has a lot more similarities to Silat Lian and to the older variations of Wing Chun in China than to the Wing Chun in Hong Kong.

The Silat Lian style was brought to Malaysia by Arab traders who came to Malaysia from China in the late 1800s. Yip Kin came to Malaysia in the 1920s and spread his Wing Chun in Malaysia. By looking at the timeline, Lian and Yip Kin Wing Chun might be the older versions of Wing Chun and therefore the similarities. Who knows? And frankly, I advise you not to care though. What's more important is to keep practising and improving whatever it is that you are learning. Only by that way, you'll make your self and your system good.

We ended the session by having a good "teh tarik" session. I was touched looking at the three Lian future grandmasters sitting and talking like they are old friends. They were so engrossed, I couldn't find opening to go into the conversation!!! Well, by being a kungfu guy I was the ODD man out!

Lesson learned was, MAKING FRIENDS IS A LOT MORE FUN AND PRODUCTIVE than letting your ego take over and make enemies. It's also a lot better to have friends who can watch your back than having to look at it your self! (And we can't even see our backs unless we've broken our necks).

I extend my deepest and utmost appreciation to:
1. Mahaguru Dahlan Karim for receiving us at his home and allowing us to visit his training grounds. We wish you a speedy and complete recovery.
2. Cikgu Tengku Musa and his students for receiving us and allowing us to watch their training.
3. Cikgu Sudirman and his students from Gayang Lima (Pak Raja Ali's lineage) for joining us and sharing their valuable time.
4. Cikgu Ahmad Nasarudin (Abot), Cikgu Abdullah and their students from PGSLM for allowing me to tag along.
5. Mr. Fahmi (Lian Padukan student) for letting me hitch a ride.

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