Wanderlust Through Books

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is Wanderlust. I love to travel although I do not get to do it as much as I’d like, due to life obligations, money and time:( So, I travel through the books I read.

This week I’ve traveled all the way back to 17th Century Japan with Laura Joh Rowland’s novel, The Perfumed Sleeve.

book cover

From Publishers Weekly

In Rowland’s ninth absorbing historical set in 17th-century Japan (after 2003’s The Dragon King’s Palace), Sano Ichiro, the shogun’s special criminal investigator, must once again navigate treacherous political waters to solve a puzzling murder. Sano finds himself retained by a corpse when the valet of one of the country’s leading figures, councilman Makino Narisada, delivers a posthumous request from his master. Narisada asks Sano to examine the circumstances of his own death. At first it seems that the elderly official succumbed to natural causes, but several clues point to foul play. While the initial suspects from the victim’s household all appear to be harboring guilty knowledge, the detective’s task is rapidly complicated when the two leading political rivals battling to succeed the shogun accuse each other of the murder and pressure Sano to slant his pursuit accordingly. The shadow of events from The Dragon King’s Palace hangs heavily over the two main supporting characters, Sano’s wife and his chief assistant, driving them to take perilous risks; nonetheless, this is an accessible entry point to the series for newcomers. Deftly combining a classic whodunit with vivid period detail, Rowland raises the stakes for her next book with an unexpected twist at the end that promises to present her dogged but fallible hero with even more difficulties in the future.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
home library
I really enjoy this mystery series and it helps feed my wanderlust.
Do you like to travel through books?

Wing Chun Legend, Yip Man

In my last post (My 4 Favorite Male Martial Artists) I mentioned that I loved Donnie Yen in the Ip Man movies. So this post is about that legendary Grandmaster, Ip Man (Yip Man).

Ip Man portrait

On October 1st, 1893, Man was born the 3rd of 4 children to a wealthy merchant family in Foshan, Guangdong. He began learning Wing Chun, a style of martial arts developed in Southern China more than 300 years ago by a woman, at the age of 7.

He became a policeman when he was 24 years old and started informally teaching Wing Chun to his friends and coworkers. From 1937 through 1941, Man served in the army then in 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party came into power he fled to Hong Kong, where he eventually opened a martial arts school, becoming the first master to train students publicly.

Ip Man with wooden dummy

Ip Man with wooden dummy

Despite being 5′ tall and 120 pounds, Man was one of the most respected masters of his time and among his notable students was Bruce Lee. (For more on Wing Chun and Bruce Lee, check out my post: Could Bruce Lee Owe His Fame to 2 Females? )

Ip Man & Bruce Lee

Ip Man & Bruce Lee

To read an interview with Ip Man: www.kwokwingchun.com

Ip Man died of cancer on December 2, 1972. Artifacts from his life are on display at the Yip Man Tong Museum on the Foshan Ancestral Temple grounds.

There have been several movies based on his life. My favorite are the Ip Man movies starring Donnie Yen. To watch a trailer from the movie: www.imdb.com/title/tt1220719/

Ip Man movie cover

 

Donnie Yen as Ip Man

Donnie Yen as Ip Man

“It is difficult for a student to pick a good teacher but it is more difficult for a teacher to pick a good student.”

“Regardless of who starts first, ability decides seniority in Wing Chun.”

Ip Man

 

Sources: wikipedia.org, http://www.biography.com & http://www.malineage.com

 

Do you study martial arts? Have you seen any of the movies based on Ip Man’s life? I would love to hear from you.

 

dragon illustrationHong Kong Treasure – A deadly Philippines typhoon stole Annie’s memory. And now, can a handsome Chinese stranger save her from the danger she has forgotten?

Coming in 2015 from Assent Publishing.

To read an excerpt: romancebyddominikwickles.wordpress.com

My 4 Favorite Male Martial Artists

Previously I posted My Favorite Female Martial Artists so now I want to give you my favorite male martial artists. These men are very popular so I won’t take up space by repeating the usual facts. Instead, I tried to find some fascinating and lesser known facts about each. Enjoy!

 

Donnie Yen1.  Donnie Yen – (Yen Ji-dan) Hong Kong actor, film director & producer, action choreographer.

World Wushu Tournament medalist

Raised in Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Best known for the Ip Man movies, along with Wing Chun, Hero and Shanghai Knights

“When you watch my films, you’re feeling my heart.”

Donnie Yen as Ip Man

Donnie Yen as Ip Man

For more on Donnie Yen, check out his website: www.donnieyen.asia

 

Bruce lee 2

2. Bruce Lee – (Lee Jun Fan) credited with making the martial arts film genre popular in the Western cinemas.

Born in the year of the dragon (1940) at the hour of the dragon (between 6 & 8 am).

Won a major dance championship in Hong Kong.

Studied philosophy at Seattle, Washington, USA.

Made animal sounds when he fought to unnerve his opponents.

Received his formal training in Wing Chun from the legendary Ip Man (Check out my post Could Bruce Lee Owe His Fame to 2 Females? )

When he died, almost 30,000 fans filed past his casket in Hong Kong. A smaller ceremony was held in his hometown of Seattle and among his pallbearers were Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Dan Inosanto.

Bizarre circumstances surround his death, then his son, Brandon Lee died somewhat mysteriously while filming, The Crow (1993).

“Empty your mind. Become formless and shapeless like water. When water is poured into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Be water, my friend.”

Bruce Lee

For more on Bruce Lee, check out his website: www.brucelee.com

 

Jackie Chan

3.  Jackie Chan – (Chan Kong-sang) created his own style of film making combining his love for slapstick humor with his high-energy martial arts action.

Major recording star in Asia with twenty albums out. Often sings the theme songs from his movies. Click here to hear him sing the theme song from Policy Story and The Myth.

Holds two Guinness World Records – one for record of most credits in one movie and one for most stunts by a living actor.

Had an animated series, Jackie Chan Adventures, and numerous video games.

Very involved with charity and human suffering.

“If everyone does some good, think of what a good world this will be.”

Jackie Chan restaurant-fight

Check out his website: www.jackiechan.com

 

MTV Studios, Times Square4.  Jet Li – (Li Lianjie) his career took off so quickly they began calling him Jet Li.

Won his first Chinese national championship in Wushu when he was 11.

Turned down the role of Chow Yun-Fat in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) because his wife was pregnant and he promised he would not make films until she had the baby. (Let’s hear it – Ahhh, how romantic)

Was in the Maldives when the tsunami hit after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. He injured his foot while guiding his family to safety.

“Love is more powerful than kicking ass.”

Jet Li 2

 

Sources: http://www.imdb.com and http://www.brainyquote.com

 

So those are my favs. Tell me who are your favorite male martial artists?

 

dragon illustration

 

Hong Kong Treasure – A deadly Philippines typhoon stole Annie’s memory. Now, can a handsome Chinese stranger save her from the danger she has forgotten?

To read an excerpt: Hong Kong Treasure

Coming soon from Assent Publishing!

 

My 3 Favorite Females in Martial Arts Movies

If you’ve read my previous posts, you know I love martial arts and its movies. And what can make a good martial arts movie even better? A kick-butt female character! So this post is dedicated to them.

Here are my 3 favorite females in martial arts movies:

1. Michelle Yeoh

 

Michelle YeohHer training is originally in dance, having graduated from the Royal Academy of Dance, but she brings that strength and grace into her fighting onscreen. Her beauty won her titles in such pageants as Miss Malaysia and Miss Moomba. She, similar to Jackie Chan, has done most of her own stunts and was known for many years as the ‘Queen of Martial Arts.’ I was particularly thrilled to find she and I share the same birthday (August 6th)! She now has her own production company, Mythical Films.

 

You may have seen her in the following movies:

  • Police Story III: Super Cop (1992)
  • Tai Chi Master (1993)
  • Wing Chun (1994 – See my previous post: Could Bruce Lee Owe His Fame to Two Females?)
  • James Bond: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997 – achieved international success)
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

 

2. Zhang Ziyi – 

 

Zhang ZiyiZiyi also began her career in dance along with gymnastics, which has strengthened her onscreen fighting. Besides being athletically talented she modeled for such companies as; Tag Heuer watches, Maybelline cosmetics, Pantene shampoo and Coca-Cola (in China).

 

You may have seen her in the following movies:

  • Rush Hour 2 (2001)
  • Hero (2002)
  • House of Flying Daggers (2004)
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
  • The Grandmaster (2013)

 

3. Maggie Cheung – 

 

Maggie CheungLike Michelle and Ziyi, Maggie has had no formal martial arts training. Her career also began with her beauty in modeling and commercials. She was a semi-finalist in Miss World and won first runner-up at Ms. Hong Kong. Maggie was the first Chinese actress to win Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival (1992).

 

You may have seen her in the following movies:

  • Police Story (1985)
  • Twin Dragons (1992)
  • Hero (2002)

 

Sources: http://www.imdb.com and http://www.biography.com

You can also find interviews and movie trailers on http://www.youtube.com

Have you seen any of these actresses or do you have other actresses that are your favorites? I’d love to hear about them!
dragon illustration

Hong Kong Treasure – A deadly Philippines typhoon has stolen Annie’s memory. Now, can a handsome Chinese stranger save her from the danger she has forgotten?

Coming this summer from Assent Publishing.

Could Bruce Lee Owe His Fame to 2 Females?

Early in the 1700’s, during the Qing Dynasty, the government of China burned Shaolin temples which they believed to be harboring revolutionaries. One of the Five Elders of the Siu Lam Temple, a Buddhist nun named Ng Mui fled and survived. According to legend, Ng Mui studied a confrontation between a crane and a snake then used their movements along with her style of Chinese boxing to create a new, unnamed martial art style.

Female martial art

Ng Mui had one and only one student, a beautiful fifteen year old girl named Yim Wing-Chun (Forever Spring). Wing-Chun was being harassed by a local, bandit warlord to marry him. She refused then finally agreed only if he could beat her in a fight. Wing-Chun trained with Ng Mui in the new form of self-defense and defeated the warlord. Later, she married Leung Bac-Chou (Leung Bok-Chau), a salt merchant who eventually named the art style Wing Chun Kuen (Wing Chun’s boxing).

There are other theories as to how Wing-Chun was created and named but I like this legend the best. Call me romantic.

Red Black yin yang

Wing Chun uses natural movements to block and strike and requires less force to be equally effective. This means a person’s size or gender is not a handicap. Today, Wing Chun is globally practiced in 64 countries. Legendary Grandmaster Yip Man (Ip Man) was only five foot tall and weighed 120 pounds. Yip Man was the first to teach Wing Chun to the public and one of his most famous students was Bruce Lee. If the legend of Na Mui and Yim Wing-Chun is true – could Bruce Lee owe his fame to these two females?

Wing Chun has been featured in many movies. The 1994 movie, Wing Chun, loosely portrays Yim Wing-Chun’s life with Michelle Yeoh playing Wing-Chun. In 2010, Kung Fu Wing Chun, stars Bai Jing portraying Wing-Chun.

There has also been three Ip Man movies, the first in 2008 with Donnie Yen as Grandmaster Yip Man. I saw the first Ip Man movie and loved it, soon to watch Ip Man 2.

movie passes and popcorn

For several years I studied Tae Kwon Do and Combat Hapkido. Very good exercise and a lot of fun. My favorite part was the kicks!

Have you studied or ever wanted to study martial arts? If so, what style did you study and what was your favorite part?

 

Sources: http://www.blackbeltmag.com; wingchunmaster.com/history.html; http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/yim_wing_chun  (pics)www.morguefile.com

dragon illustration

 

 

Hong Kong Treasure – A deadly Philippines typhoon stole Annie’s memory. Now, can a handsome stranger save her from the danger she has forgotten?

Coming this summer from Assent Publishing.