Author: Wang Xinde
Publisher: Hai Feng Publishing Co. Ltd
Subject: Chinese Martial Arts/Chin Na
Simplified Capture Skills is a slim volume within the Chinese Kung Fu Series of books.
As its name suggests, it concentrates on capture skills, simplifying them with explanations in both Chinese and English with step by step diagrams, explaining the move and what you should do next. The book is out of print, however it can be found and ordered via several online book sellers.
The book is slightly over A5 paper size and 9mm thick. The cover image conveys the content very well; displaying a nice example of one of the capturing techniques -a man with his arm caught and twisted behind his back, pressure being applied to the shoulder forcing him down thus giving his captor some control over his next movement.
When you open the book it quickly becomes apparent that it’s dual language, Chinese first and English second. This is not a problem, as throughout the book the Chinese text remains on the left hand page, while the English is on the right.
After the traditional contents page there is an interesting foreword written by the author in 1981. Xinde explains a little about why capture skills are not always thought of when people think of kung fu and why they are not taught as widely as other aspects of kung fu.
Then follow 4 pages on ‘Eight Essential Points for Capture Skills’ where the author emphasises the virtues of quick handwork, force, breathing and being sharp-eyed.
Next come 50 pages covering a wide range of warm ups and training methods, each with their own sections detailing ‘Movements’ and ‘Purpose’ which provide a nice explanation of each technique.
We then move to what most people will pick this book up for, the ‘capturing techniques’ themselves. The skills are split into three sections: ‘Simplified Wrist Capturing Skills’, ‘Small-Twining Capture Skillsand Methods of Breaking Away’ and lastly ‘Large-Twining Capture Skills’.
Each technique is broken down over a few pages with multiple diagrams and text explanations underneath. Both the text and drawings are really clear and explain the movements used thoroughly and well.
Lastly the author provides us with a short afterword regarding the number of capture skills the author is acquainted with, who taught him and how many are of his own design.
Chinese Kung Fu Series -Simplified Capture Skills is a great little book. It’s well thought-out and explained. The drawings are clear and concise, featuring clear steps of progress to complete the technique.
The author also explains how he understands 225 capture skills of varying complexity and the techniques displayed in this volume are the more simplified moves. It would be great to see another book with further techniques of a more complex nature broken down and explained;however, with the publishers stopping this series many years ago, it’s very unlikely that we will see these. The series was translated into different languages (including English and German) and further reviews of some of these will appear on Kung Fu Kingdom at a later date.
Overall, this book is agreat learning aid, I just yearn for and wish there were more capture skills displayed and explained!
Book Rating: 8.5/10
- “Generally speaking, capture skills can be divided into five groups and ten methods: breaking the ligaments and dislocating the joints; seizure of arteries and holding of veins; stabbing at acupoints and blocking the breath; tying up and carrying away; and breaking away and counter-capture. The simplified capture skills introduced in this book fall within the first group of breaking the ligaments and dislocating the joints, with emphasis laid on wrist capture skills and how to break away from them.”
- “The principal means for the application of the combat art are the seven methods of kick, hit, throw, pounce, push, bump and capture, of which capture is employed as a concluding method in combat. Wushu in China boasts numerous schools and branches. But because of deep social causes, different schools have been trying, as a protective measure, to develop behind closed doors, refusing to pass on their skills to outsiders.”
- “As one of the key joints of the upper limbs, the wrist is rather vulnerable despite of the fact that it can move in all directions. With certain capture skills applied to the wrist, one can achieve the effect of controlling the enemy’s entire body and thus go on to apply further capture skills. Wrist capturing skills, therefore, are the preliminary and basic capture skills.”