Monkey kung fu is a very powerful and wonderful artform. Only a handful of people in the entire world actually know the art. It has been kept secret and only passed on to friends and family members. There are exceptions to the rule which include Grandmaster Matsuda learning the art. The art is only mastered by very few individuals because they are the only ones who have endured decades of training to learn the art. This is not an easy art to learn and 99 percent of the people who study the art only last a few years because it is so difficult.
This page is written because there are those out there attempting to teach Monkey kung fu with very little training and others claiming to be masters when they have only studied for a short period of time. One in particular has less than a year in training and is claiming to be a master. On one site, it has a list of teachers which is not valid. Most of them listed have such little knowledge on the art all they can teach you is one form (they have to buy my DVDs to actually learn the art).
Flexibility & Yoga
Being flexible is always good. It helps you move more quickly and easily. However, I caution you to beware of those adding extreme flexibility or yoga as a primary part of the Monkey art. Grandmaster Kou Sze, who created this art, based it on powerful moves, grabbing, pulling and striking techniques. Its foundation was the art of Tei Tong (Great Earth style). Yoga was never part of the art. One individual added extreme yoga and taught Monkey kung fu like it was a major part of the art form, it is not. Being able to put your face to your private parts, placing your foot behind your neck leaves the practitioner in a vulnerable position. Please beware of those who teach this as actual Monkey. The Grandmaster was furious that a specific teacher added yoga and flexibility to the art and claimed it was Monkey. THERE IS NO EXTREME FLEXIBILITY & YOGA IN MONKEY KUNG FU. Too many people have been fooled to believe there ever was.
Investing in the art
Those looking to learn this amazing art are making a commitment. You are paying good money to learn something that is very unique. The last thing that should be on your mind is wasting good money under someone who doesn’t even know the art. One site even list names of people who have studied the art but as the senior student, I can tell you exactly how long they actually studied. I want everyone to learn this art, but I don’t want people wasting their money and putting their hopes in someone who knows very little of the art.
You need to have a good teacher in the art, I cannot stress that enough. Learning the art incorrectly may cause permanent damage to the knees, back and other areas of the body. If you don’t roll right you could injure your neck and back. If you don’t know how to get low, you could really damage the knee. If you are taught correctly, you should not have any knee strain after a few weeks. Please be careful.
Monkey kung fu techniques are extremely powerful. The strikes, the grabs are all meant to do damage. You should be able to actually see the technique and feel the power of the move. There are those who can only perform in a demonstration or tournament setting. These forms are usually quick but they throw their arms and legs around but with no power or strength. Monkey kung fu is not a demonstration art, it is an art in which you can actually use to protect yourself. Being able to compete and win in a tournament is great, but don’t let your whole training become a performance art. If you are going to learn the art, then learn it as it was meant to be taught.
Learning the Art
Don’t let someone milk the art. By the end of your third year you should know all five forms of the monkey, the monkey staff and Tei Tong. Those who only studied the art for a short period of time and try to teach the art, milk the one form (lost monkey) for many years. It’s because that’s all they know. If they purchased my dvds, they will learn the other monkey forms. I’m cautioning you not to be lead on by someone who knows so very little. If you study the art, you should learn the following: 1) Tei Tong form, 2) Lost Monkey, 3) Tall Monkey, 4) Stone Monkey, 5) Drunken Monkey, 6) Wooden Monkey and 7) Monkey staff and basic staff. That’s it in forms. You should also learn movements, drills, techniques, endurance training, low and high kicking, etc. But form-wise, those are it.
There is only one Monkey weapon, the staff. And there are two Monkey staff forms. They are both advanced staff forms. Monkey ring is just a fun device, there is no such this as a Monkey ring form. Special note, there is no such thing as a Monkey practitioner prompting the staff straight up and balancing himself at the top of the staff; this is Wu Shu Monkey, not Tai Shing Monkey.
Ok, monkeys like to scream. It’s fun, it’s annoying, it’s what they do. However, in Monkey kung fu screams are limited to certain attacks, techniques or deception. It shouldn’t be used throughout the entire form. Screaming will cause you to lose energy and even warn the enemy you are coming at them. A caution flag should go up if a person is screaming throughout the entire form.
People get confused about this all the time. Let me clarify. Tai Shing is the Monkey art. Pek Kwar is an axe-fist art, like Choy Li Fut. Pek Kwar is not Monkey and has nothing whatsoever to do with Monkey. Grandmaster Ken Tak Hoi learned both arts and named his school Tai Shing Pek Kwar, meaning he taught both arts. You do not need to learn any Pek Kwar to learn Monkey. It is not a prerequisite to Monkey.
Learning the Entire Monkey System
Michael Matsuda trained personally with his instructor, Zink, for nearly 33 years. He is the only student that ever lasted with him. He was named successor to the art on many occasions by him. Matsuda knows every form in the Monkey system and has passed it on to his students. In addition, he has also passed on the vigorous training and fighting techniques to his students as well.
Time Periods of Learning
Michael Matsuda was Zink’s first student. Since then, maybe 50 students have come and gone. Matsuda knows them all, how long each of them studied and what each of them learned. That is why you rarely or never seen anyone who is calling themselves a Monkey Kung Fu teacher list their time of study, because Matsuda knows exactly how long each person studied. One individual promotes himself as a teacher but only studied a total 0f 7 months. So please take caution and examine the person teaching you closely.
Grandmaster Michael Matsuda is proud to introduce his certified instructors in the art of Tai Shing:
Sifu C.J. Martinez
Sifu Jacquelyn Egger
Sifu Phoebe Wong
These three have learned the entire artform and are noted as 7th Generation Masters of the art of Tai Shing.
Students who have learned the art to a senior level include:
I want you to learn Monkey kung fu. It is my dream to have Monkey taught all over the world. But the last thing I want is for someone to be under the impression they are actually learning the art when they are not. I don’t want you wasting your money and I think it’s very sad when someone has dedicated years to Monkey and finds out they are learning from someone who is not even qualified to teach the art. These points listed should be considered warning signs and please, please be careful. If you get injured, then there goes everything.