On a sunny Saturday afternoon in Highbury Fields, members of Tiger Crane Kung Fu Club were participating in the 100 Battles Challenge. This was a fundraiser for Claremont Project.
This particular charity is important to the club for two reasons. Firstly Claremont Hall in Angel is used by the Islington club as its primary training hall. Secondly in Chinese culture, especially in a Kung fu club, there is a strong adherence to, or belief in, filial piety. What this means is a respect for your elders and ancestors.
Claremont Project provides low cost services to the over 55’s, such as light exercise, social oriented and musical classes and various entertaining activities. Claremont also has on-site therapists and a team to help the older members of our community and they hold various awareness courses for mental illnesses. Our club also teaches Shuang Yang (Tai Chi) and Yong Chun Kung Fu to Claremont members. These activities have become especially important post the pandemic, due to increased loneliness and isolation.
Back on point, we are doing this fundraiser to pay for a Defibrillator and a pair of evacuation chairs, to assist any disabled persons down the stairs in an event of a fire, both of which could be literally lifesaving. We are hoping to raise over 4000 Pounds.
Some of you may be wondering what painful activity has been undertaken for this fundraiser. So the theme is 100 Battles – technically 99 to be more accurate.
Fortunately, this isn’t a 100 person fatal Battle Royale from the Japanese Film based on the 1999 Novel by Koushun Takami or for the younger generation who don’t get the reference, Hunger Games (or Fortnite).
We decided that repeating our first form, San Zhan, which means 3 Battles, or Wars, 33 times in a row would be sufficiently painful for our friends, family and colleagues to want to sponsor us. This name of the form refers to the battles to gain mastery of the mind, body and spirit (or breath). A form in Kung Fu is a set sequence of moves of a particular style. This is how traditionally masters pass down the style to the students, the forms being essentially the encyclopaedic knowledge of style.
San Zhan is the first form in our syllabus, but also our highest form. It is the first form in the syllabus because it’s the simplest to learn in terms of movement, but the highest because it takes years to master the 3 battles, especially mind and spirit/breath. In ancient China this form was often taught last, but as it takes a lifetime to master, many eastern traditional martial arts now in the modern era teach it first.
This undertaking was performed by instructors, senior and junior students, plus some of our more heroic kids. Doing this form many times over can help to understand oneself physically, mentality and, for some, understand the use of breath. It also drills some important postures, stances and structures used throughout the style. It is said that to achieve the highest levels of Kung Fu, you only need to master two forms, which are the Shuang Yang, often referred to as the soft style, and San Zhan from the Tiger Crane style.
However, to master anything requires dedication, a lot of time and plenty of blood, sweat and tears. If you want to help out or donate to our worthy cause check out the links below.
[If you would like to make a donation towards our amazing cause, please click this link!]