To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Middleburgh - Martian Tarts

Recent posts have been predicated on the proposition that someone visiting Hong Kong may wish to watch, learn or participate in some sporting activity whilst here - certainly none of my immediate family who are self declared sports phobics.(in fact they would only read these posts ,if at all, to catch the embedded subtle family in jokes, or marvel at the awesome deep research and inovative spellings that goes into each post!!)

Now you would have thought that a trip to HK , home of Bruce Lee and Jacky Chan would be an opportunity (NB not a joke !) for Martial Arts.... think again !! Both were exponents of chinese martial arts which is a diverse family of syles unlike those more unified martial arts adopted from Japan and Korea for the Olympics such as Judo, Karate and Tae-Kwon_Do and parcticed in the West.

Of course if you are/were or traveling with a member of the Rising Sun Karate Club of Chapel Square, Monkstown, Co Cork (or one of the other 5 nearby locations) or similarly a member etc of the Passage West Tae-Kwon-Do Club you could either contact the International Taekwondo Federation of HK or Judo Association of HK to see if a match could be set up with a member club or contact a club on the CLS List directly .

On the other hand if you were traveling with a member of either the Carrigaline , Cobh or Fermoy Boxing Clubs you could contact the HK Boxing Association but this is where things get complicated. In Asia "boxing" encompasses a broader spectrum of 'sports' than that covered by the Marquis of Queensbury Rules. There is for example Muay Thai Kick Boxing and Tiger Boxing.Coincidently RTE owns the rights to a recent multi-award winning documentary called Flight or Fight concerning Muay Kick Boxing which was directed by Patrick McCarthy Shane Sutton.(NB deep research).

Key point is this;It takes commitment and time to learn these niche "sports" so the best a casual visitor with an unsatisfied blood lust can hope for is to go and watch some matches. The same really applies to chinese martial Arts. Apart from the sheer diversity in styles and the overwhelming number of "masters" tranining aspiring "Bruce Lees" all over Hong Kong unless you speak cantonese (the typical medium of instruction) you are stuffed. However assuming you have the will it is perhaps worth reading this article before consulting the different Martial Arts organisations

It is also worth reading this wikopedia article on Shaolin Kung Fu to get a feel for the different styles practiced by Shaolin monks Frequently in HK Kung Fu movies someone is a master of the "Drunken Fist" form and on You Tube there are comparisons of Drunkan fist v Wushu . Stictly speaking Wushu is a generic term for all martial arts ie Kung Fu of which Shaolin stsyles are a subset. However the sports version of Wushu which has been water downed and stylized is basically a Nancified version. Having said that we do have a friend who is a "real" Wushu practicioner.She is very nice, attractive, unmarried and very useful with various sharp pointy things.

So if you have come to HK with the dream of learning more about a chinese martial art, what CAN you learn!!. Well the HK Tourist Board is dead serious about it's mission and organises free Tai Chi sessions focussing on core moves. This is a form of martial art frequently practiced for health reasons (see here. When done seriously it can be physically demanding depending on how out of shape you are).

If you are not really up for that maybe you should consider simply coming to HK, and either buy a season ticket at the cinema, or bulk buy kung Fu DVDs and lock yourself in your hotel room to watch them or the cable TV. Personally I rate Jet Liover both Jacky and Bruce (you should go visit his museum when its is open!!) and for cultural orientation the film Ip Man is mandatory viewing.

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