Historically, Southern China has been dominated by five Kung Fu styles: Hung, Lau, Choy, Lay and Mok. Hung Gar is most widespread and popular of these. Gar means clan or family in Cantonese, whereas Hung refers to the family name of the man who invented the system, Hung Hei Goon, a Fukien tea merchant. According to legend, Master Gee See, a monk of the Fukien Shaolin Temple, taught Hung the Shaolin Tiger Style. Hung being a curious man, always sought to improve his skills. He added to his Tiger Style elements from his wife's White Crane system, movements from the Dragon, Snake, and Leopard forms, and techniques from the Five Elements Fist. He modified and expanded his Tiger Style to develop a system better balanced in long- and short-range applicationd, a system which better reflected his own character and skills -- Hung Gar.
Hung Hei Goon developed a reputation for being a fighter of great skill and was known as "The Southern Fist".
The essence of Hung Gar can be found in its name. "Hung" means to "stand tall with integrity." Hung Gar tenents stress honesty, directness, iron will-power and righteousness.
|Hung Gar tenents stress honesty, directness, iron will-power and righteousness.
Southern China is a wet land of great rivers and agriculture. Trade and transportation centered around its rivers. Its population is greater than that of Northern China and its cities more crowded. Hung Gar is well adapted to close quarter fighting in small, crowded alleyways or in wet, slippery rice fields. Hung Gar training emphasizes strong stances, iron-hard blocks, low snapping kicks, ambidexterity, deceptive hand techniques and power, all geared for close-range techniques. The low, strong stances conform well to encounters on barges and rafts. Low snapping kicks are well suited to wet and slippery ground.
Hung Gar hand techniques stress ambidexterity and use simultaneous blocking and striking. The blocking maneuvers of Hung Gar were well-known and feared. Opponents often thought twice before challenging a Hung Gar practitioner, for if a block could numb an attacker's limb, how much more painful must a strike be?
The training is grueling and highly demanding and fits well the student who is physically strong and compact, of muscular build and who possesses great endurance. Legends depict of Hung Gar students who stood in horse stance the length of time an incense stick burned down completely, anywhere between one to three hours.
|Hung Gar hand techniques stress ambidexterity and use simultaneous blocking and striking.
At the Seattle Kung-Fu schools, the Hung Gar curriculum includes empty-hand, weapon and sparring sets. The sets include traditional Hung Gar forms. Each form builds on the basic skills of Kung Fu but each emphasizes a different ability. There are seventeen weapon sets, covering the four basic weapons - staff, broadsword, spear and straight sword - as well as more exotic weapons, including the long pole, hoe, double butterfly knives, and trident. The sparring sets complete the Hung Gar curriculum. These sets include hand and weapon sets, such as the Tiger and Crane Sparring Set, sword versus spear, and Spear versus butterfly knives.