February 16, 2015

The Bible of Ngo Cho Kun - Book Review

Mark Wiley and Tambuli Media have become known for offering titles on a multitude of styles and topics, but it is rare for us to get some a special, personal insight into a project that is so near and dear to his heart.  Though probably better known for his FMA background, Dr. Mark Wiley has been studying Ngo Cho Kun (Five Ancestor Fist) for decades.  Not only is Ngo Cho Kun rarely seen in print format, it is rarely openly taught here in the west.  This translation is an absolute gem for Chinese martial arts enthusiasts the world over. 

Originally written by Yu Chiok Sam under the title "Chinese Gentle Art Complete" in 1917, Tambuli's edition was translated into English by Alex Co, with additional editing and translating by Russ L. Smith and Mark Wiley.  Five Ancestor Fist is a southern Chinese martial that incorporates a wide range of tactics and traditional weapons, and this manual represents the fundamental movements including strikes, stances, kicks, and partner routines.  I am certainly not familiar enough with Ngo Cho Kun to critique the breadth of the art encapsulated in this text, but as an outside reader it certainly seems comprehensive of at least the basics. 

Broken into five volumes, 27 chapters, over 240 pages this text is thoroughly illustrated with clear, concise pictures of what the author is trying to convey.  Again in some of the partner pictures I would have liked to have seen one person in lighter colored clothing to offer some contrast for ease of the reader.  As far as a manual goes this translation is exactly what students look for, it is precisely how I envision a treatise of the systems I have learned.  The Chinese text is offered in traditional hanzi.  Directly below that the authors offer the English translation followed by a series of photographs demonstrating the translation.  Mark Wiley annotates the entire text with pertinent footnotes. 

Overall I must say I am quite happy with Tambuli's "Chinese Gentle Art Complete: The Bible of Ngo Cho Kun."  A professionally edited and presented text on a rarely seen art.  A welcomed addition to the martial collectors shelf. 

Click here to order The Bible of Ngo Cho Kun

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