SHIFU ALAN M TINNION

MASTER OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE FIGHTING ARTS


 

 

Master Chee teaching Alan application of Luohan Ru-Yi Quan grappling techniques
Master Chee teaching Alan application of Luohan Ru-Yi Quan grappling techniques

 

 

Master Chee teaching Alan application of Luohan Ru-Yi Quan grappling techniques
Master Chee teaching Alan application of Luohan Ru-Yi Quan grappling techniques

 

 

 

Master Chee teaching Alan application of Luohan Ru-Yi Quan grappling techniques
Master Chee teaching Alan application of Luohan Ru-Yi Quan grappling techniques

 

 

Master Chee teaching Alan
Master Chee teaching Alan
 

ALAN’S TRAINING AS A DISCIPLE OF GRANDMASTER CHEE

 
 

Having been accepted to become a potential Disciple, Alan’s training was demanding indeed, by contemporary/Western standards.

Training of a disciple was a very serious matter, and Grandmaster Chee applied the strict doctrine of showing a disciple a new stroke or part of a form but three times and no more: if the disciple could not grasp the new movements accurately and fully by the third time, then the Master would not show him again.

 
 
There is a Gong Fu development purpose in every act and aspect of a disciples training day. This could be improving flexibility and strength in the wrist and developing stance training through having to light and build up the fire on which the kettle for Chinese tea would be placed, by the traditional method of using the hand to fan the flames and keep them going: to do this successfully a certain low stance had to be adopted and maintained, in addition to an inevitable benefit to the strength of the wrists.  No shortcuts were allowed, and Master could tell if they had been used; then he would silently put out the fire and make the culprit start again from the beginning using the proper method! 
 
 
Similarly, the preparation of raw ingredients, such as the appropriate dried herbs, from which Master’s medicine compounds were prepared [Alan was frequently requested to accompany his Master on such journeys to the stores of the suppliers of these precious materials, for purposes of instruction] had to be reduced to powder by pounding by hand, which lead to similar benefits; in particular strengthened limbs and wrists – particularly arduous, since the task was very time consuming, and could take the best part of a day to be completed properly! 
 
 

Stance training would be long and arduous, a test of both stamina and willpower – but of great ultimate benefit in the performance of Forms.  An important – and painful – form of training Alan underwent was ‘limb-knocking, in which the limbs were hardened and made more dense through practise with a partner or through the use of various training aids: frequently such training would continue to the point where calcification of Alan’s bones would develop.  To treat this condition a special ointment prepared by the Master, would be applied: as with stance training, the command was not to slacken or stop, but to train on and pass through the pain and discomfort barriers. 

However, to put such ordeals of traditional training methods in their proper perspective, it must be remembered that the training Grandmaster Chee underwent in his youth was truly fearsome and life-threatening, with not a few perishing in the attempt to develop their skills and powers to the level he attained.

 
 

The training day itself would be long and arduous.  Alan’s day would start shortly after 5am, and often continue to well past midnight.  As stated elsewhere, Alan, when in Kuala Lumpur, lived much of the time with Master Chee and his immediate family. 

 
 
So it was that he would be the first of the disciples and students to begin training, before all but the earliest arrived at the clubhouse in Kuala Lumpur (in earlier times this would take place at his Masters house: only disciples being permitted to attend).
 
 
He was frequently given the honourable task of tidying the altar table and lighting the candles and incense sticks in the Temple - Disciples Room above the training hall.  He would then assist Master Chee to prepare to receive patients in the Surgery.
 
 
Not infrequently when all was ready and before hardly any of the students and disciples had arrived to train, he would interrupt Alan starting his warming-up training, to take him aside to help him perfect what he was practicing, and best of all would spontaneously decide to show him new strokes and forms.
 
 
A great deal of training would have been completed by Alan before breakfast, and continue throughout the day, and into the evening.  If a traditional martial artist suspected on meeting a stranger, that the person practised the arts, he would ask ‘have you had your midnight porridge [congee]?’  An affirmation would confirm his suspicion, and a technical discussion about the arts could then be started; if the stranger replied with a blank expression, it could normally be assumed that he was not a martial artist. 
 
 

However, as the name suggests, this last meal of the training day did frequently take place at about the time of midnight, an indication of the length of the traditional martial artists’ training day: moreover, the meal itself, usually a type of Congee, renowned for its ability to re-hydrate those who had become dehydrated through long training, was a further indication that such a meal would be especially appropriate to a practicing Traditional martial artist.

 
 
Just as the day had begun, so it would end: the privileged position of being an Inner Chamber Disciple and at the same time living alongside Master Chee with his immediate family often meant that at moments he chose himself, when he judged the timing right and he was particularly satisfied with Alan’s development, he would suddenly start to teach him again, some new stroke or part of a form when the clubhouse had emptied and when Alan was looking forward to only two things: a much needed meal and sleep! 
 
 

Palm Training
Palm Training

Demanding though this was, it was a truly enviable position to be in, and immediately his Master would indicate that he was about to teach him something new, all tiredness would drop from Alan, and his attention to absorb accurately and fully what his Master would teach, became sharply focused to receive the treasured jewels of knowledge he felt so privileged to receive.