I learned this internal martial art from George Xu (Guoming) from San Francisco, a well-known Tai Chi master of the Chen Style. It was the beauty and undecorated simplicity of the weapon forms which I learned to appreciate most. There are numerous weapon forms as well as 2 or 3 very long and highly complex solo hand forms. The movements and their execution are reminiscent of karate katas and taekwon do hyongs. Each movement in the weapon forms is extremely clear-cut and efficient for use as a self-defence technique. At first the system looks a little 'external', yet it offers complete access to the inner energies. My own experience of this system consists of the 'Holding the Moon' broadsword form, which I have been practising for roughly 10 years and the wonderful and highly spectacular double broadsword form which goes by the emotive name of '10 000 victory double broadsword form'. Both these forms give you some very real and very practical insights into the use of energy in Lan Shou. According to George Xu, this system was often practised by Muslims in China. In addition, I have also learned one of the system's speer forms (the Cherry Blossom Speer Form), which consists of about 64 movements and contains some beautifully animated elements. Each one of these forms improves your feeling for what can be done with a weapon. You very quickly gain a realistic idea of how to use the weapon in an emergency. I haven't yet studied the unarmed forms in detail.
I am more than willing to pass on to those interested all the weapon forms of the Lan Shou system known to me. As yet, I am not planning any organized group training in this art, which I don't practice in any great detail. In my view, there is little general interest in this relatively unknown art at the present time.
However, if enough people are interested, we will be happy to arrange day or weekend courses in the individual weapon forms. The double broadsword form is a real rarity and, according to my teacher George Xu, one of the most beautiful in all China. It is with this uniquely beautiful form, usually along with the Liu He Ba Fa form 1, that I earn the most applause at demonstrations and shows. Even in 2002 at the centenary celebrations of the Sha family in Kunming, the home town of Sha Junjie, the present head of the Sha family, I received a lot of highly-qualified applause after my demonstration of the Lan Shou double broadsword form. At this demonstration, lasting well over 4 hours, I performed one of the very few double weapon forms shown that day. So even in modern China, double weapon forms are not always on the agenda. Up till now, only a few hand-picked teachers have been able to learn this form in private lessons. Everyone who has ever studied this form is simply everwhelmed by the effect it has on the coordination of the arms and the two cerebral hemispheres. In addition, the broadswords are fairly heavy, offering a good way to train stamina and strength.
If your interest in Lan Shou has been awakened, please contact us.