Historical Research

Unless we practice traditional Chinese martial arts in the manner they were originally intended, with the tools and weapons of the time, they cannot work or be effective when called upon. They will remain a pastime or a simple form of exercise only. We must return to the original concept and environment from which these amazing arts were created in order to understand and feel what the masters of old meant for us. Only then, can we find the true way – the original way – of our warrior arts. This can only be achieved through specialised research of the historical record, combined with the correct knowledge of a living tradition!

Research Outline

The following is a brief outline of our research and practice. More detailed articles will be presented in the research articles:

  • Direct transmission: Our current Masters – Les and Noelle Conn – both served a 20 year formal apprenticeship with Master Guan Run Chang 關潤昌. They received a written record of the art and a verbal transmission of the secrets. Their historical research would not be possible without such transmission and experience in the field.
  • Old martial arts manuscripts: The Warrior Heart private collection contains many documents rescued from the destruction of the cultural revolution. It is possibly the largest private collection of such material in the world today. Much of the collection has been put in digital format for long-term preservation.
  • Military manuals: We have copies of all the classic Chinese military manuals and we have access to most originals in one way or another. We also have an in-house computer program for searching and referencing within the classics.
  • Ancient books: We use many historical books written on various subjects not related to martial arts. These have proved a surprising source of information.
  • Museums: We use museums for weapons, weights, info on armour, etc. This type of information needs intelligent reconstruction and testing to be of use.
  • Hermits: Les and Noelle Conn spent many years gathering information and indeed studying with the hermits and recluse community of China and South East Asia. Their knowledge and customs are a surprising source of information.
  • Fellow researchers in China, Japan, Mongolia, Korea, and Malaysia, have been a great help to us. The Mongolians have been especially helpful with  some surprising information.
  • Masters in Japan: During the period 1992 to 2005 Les and Noelle Conn interviewed many credible Japanese masters (those considered credible by the Japanese government) on their art, origins, and surviving documents.
  • Anecdotes and notes from ageing Chinese masters: during the 1996 – 2005 period Les and Noelle Conn interviewed and received many documents from Chinese masters living in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Many were desperate to share information as their art was in terminal condition. Today they have all gone.
  • The Chin Woo (also called Jing Wu) record: We have copied a large part of the Chin Woo record. It is a massive store of books and other documents from the Qing period to the present day. The record contains  interesting information, but it takes a mammoth amount of sifting to find gold.
  • Independent Chinese collectors: We have a network of Chinese collectors we work with.
  • Inside the Yakuza: Les and Noelle Conn entered the Yakuza and were able to spend time with the members discussing all things related to martial arts and much more.
  • Inside the triads: during their years in Hong Kong, Les and Noelle Conn had an opportunity to enter a triad group. The relationship lasted approximately two decades, in which time they investigated the triad martial arts practices and use of stealth. This particular area of their work was the most revealing.
  • Les and Noelle Conn were able to gather information from both the Hong Kong police and the Thai police on triad traditions and activities.
  • Computer modeling: Technology has given us the opportunity to explore theories and analyse data in ways never before seen in the martial arts world.
  • Martial arts dating and “DNA”  model: The team has developed a method that can date martial arts techniques and identify their origin with great accuracy. As time passes we may submit academic papers on this development, but for now, we continue working with it in-house.