HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF
DRUNKEN EIGHT IMMORTALS
Drunken Eight Immortals Cross Sea
One of the Taoist Eight Immortals, Immortal Li Tie Guai, has great significance for our school. When I consulted him while I was learning from my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, the immortal told me:
"There is piece of jade in the house. Wherefore search elsewhere?"
I later realized that the jade was my sifu, the third generation successor from the Shaolin Monastery from Quanzhou. This inspired me to continue learning from my sifu with greater vigor and dedcation, eventually resulting in the establishment of our school. Immortal Li frequents our school to bless us.
My sifu did not teach me the whole Drunken Eight Immortals Set, but he taught me the main technique of each of the eight immortals. Later I learned another Drunken Eight Immortals set from my Wing Choon sifu, Sifu Choe Hoong Choy. The set is called "Chooi Pat Seen" in Cantonese, or "Zui Ba Xian" in Mandrain, which exactly means "Drunken Eight Immortals". I combined the main Drunken Immortals techniques Sifu Ho Fatt Nam taught me, and the useful techniques from this set to compose the Drunken Eight Immortals set we now practice in our school.
The eight Taoist immortals are
- Immortal Zhang Guo Lau
- Immortal Han Zhong Li
- Immortal Li Tie Guai
- Immortal Lu Dong Bin
- Immortal Cao Guo Jiu
- Immortal Han Xiang Zi
- Immortal He Xiang Gu
- Immortal Lan Chai He
Sifu Anthony Spinnichia told me that he found the Drunken Eight Immortals the most complete set in our school. It includes floor fighting and wrestling techniques commonly used today by many martial artists.
When Kai (Sifu Kai Uwe Jettkandt) taught wrestling techniques and counters against pin-downs in a Special Shaolin Kungfu Course in 2005, I discovered that these wrestling techniques and pin-down counters were also found in Shaolin Kungfu though most Shaolin practitioners did not realize their combat application. But at that time my counters were specific, i.e. if an opponent used a particular pin-down, I would respond with a specific counter.
While preparing to teach the Drunken Eight Immortals at the UK Summer Camp 2011, I made a startling discovery. Once we have the skills and knowledge, we can use just one technique to counter any pin-downs! The skills and knowledge are found in "Chai He Stretches Waist" and "Iron Bull Ploughs Field". Size, weight and gender are not important. In many courses small-sized women could easily throw off hefty men pinning them down!
Wong Kiew Kit
21st December 2015