Hung Gar Kung Fu is a traditional Chinese martial art, and it belongs to the Southern Kung Fu group of styles. It is believed to have originated from the Southern Shaolin Temple in China’s Fukien province and it dates back to the times of the early Qing Dynasty, in the 17th century China. The founder of the system was one Hung Hei Gun, a student of Shaolin monk Gee Seen Sim See. Hung Gar has a reputation as a strong style that focuses on external force, but internal focus and the cultivation of qi (life energy) are also important parts of this traditional martial art.
The History and Origins
It is believed that the origins of Hung Gar date back to southern China in the 17th century. As is the case with most Chinese martial arts, which were often taught secretly for some time, it is not easy to know the exact history of this martial art. However a legend says that an important figure in its development was a 17th century Shaolin monk, Gee Seen Sim See. He is believed to have trained many people in the Shaolin Kung Fu arts, including both monks and laymen, in the Southern Shaolin temple in the Fukien Province. One of his most important students was Hung Hei Gun, after whom the style is named and who is considered to be the system’s founder. Gee Seen Sim See also taught several others who became the founders of the various other Shaolin styles.
Main Characteristics and Techniques
The main characteristics are powerful close-range hand techniques and deep, low, rooted stances. The most famous techniques include the tiger claw and the bridge hand, and the horse stance (“sei ping ma”). It also uses powerful close-range and long-range kicks. The method includes the five elements, soft and hard techniques, forms, and five animal techniques.
The art of Hung Gar works on building external strength but it also works on internal energy: cultivating the life energy IQ and working on internal focus. Strong, clear breathing is a part of the practice. There are also many sub-styles and each has its own special characteristics.
In the traditional way of teaching the student learns the stances first. Training the stances could traditionally take months or even several years, and only then forms were taught. Weapons are learned last, after forms, and when taught traditionally it can take approximately a year to learn each form. However today some teachers consider this method impractical for modern students and are more relaxed about the order of learning.
Hung Gar Kung Fu is both a martial art and a self-defense system. It builds internal strength together with external health. Regular practice improves students’ body strength and muscle tone, increases self-confidence and brings more energy and clarity of mind. Meditation can also be taught to increase the inward focus. This system is powerful, but it is suitable for everyone who wants to commit to regular practice, and it strengthens the body, the mind and the spirit.
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