Fighting Patterns of Kuntao and Silat

Monday, October 20, 2014
By Phil Elmore

derbaumThere is a distinct dearth of books on Liu Seong Gung Fu in general and Liu Seong Kuntao in particular. While there are a few, the art of Willem Reeders remains elusive and, for the most part, available only through in-person instruction from schools scattered around the country. Reeders first came to the East Coast of the United States before migrating West, and as a result there remain tiny colonies of his system throughout New York State (where I first trained with a student of a student of Reeders. Chris Derbaum very helpfully includes in his text small portions of the history, timeline, and lineage that contribute to Reeders’ legacy. There is also a very helpful section on how to train the signature “whip” strike that characterizes the system. This, and the pieces of lore from the system that Chris shares, are what drew me to read this book.

This is not, however, a textbook of technique. Most of the book is devoted, as the name implies, to the all-important footwork of Kuntao. This is very helpful if you know what to make of it; students of Liu Seong systems and offshoots will find it very interesting and possibly helpful. This is foundational material and as exhaustive a book on footwork and movement patterns as any I’ve seen compiled.

You will not learn to “do Liu Seong” from this book, nor should you try. You, will however, gain great insight into it from reading this text if you are not a student of the art. If you *are* a student in a Liu Seong lineage, you too will find this book worthy of your time and contemplation, although you will have also the tools required to apply what you are reading. Regardless of your motivation, the book is worth reading and has been nicely put together, with pride and attention to detail.

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