By Grandmaster Lam Chun Chung and Vincent Liu
A. Stance Training
Basic training in Hung Gar traditionally consists of stance training. That is, a practitioner is required to sit in the Sei Ping Ma (Horse Riding Stance) for an extended period of time which may be up to the time for the burning of one stick of incense, which is usually approximately one hour. However, this sort of training is no longer practical for modern martial arts.
Unlike common misconceptions that the thighs and Kiu Sao (bridge hands) must be parallel to the ground when practicing Hung Gar, in Lam Family Hung Gar the Sei Ping Ma is practiced with the thigh being at an angle to the ground. The other main points to note whilst practicing the horse riding stance are:
In Lam Family Hung Gar, it is sufficient if a practitioner is able to sit in the Sei Ping Ma adopting the above guidelines for two to five minutes.
The focus in Lam Family Hung Gar is on smooth transition of footwork and agility in footwork. This could be trained by way of forms training or drill training.
B. Empty Hand Forms
Hung Gar may be practiced alone or with a partner. When practicing alone, Hung Gar may be practiced by way of forms or patterns (also know as Kata in Japanese Karate). These are series of movements that the founding fathers of the style have choreographed together so that later generations of practitioners could practice the core movements of the style and develop the key concepts of the style by simply practicing these movements.
A practitioner should remember that the core movements as set out in these forms are concepts only and should not bind limit the freedom of the practitioner in adapting these movements for his or her own use in self-defence type situations.
The forms which are practiced in the Lam Family Hung Gar curriculum are as follows:
This is a set that is borrowed from the Lau Family style, one of the five main southern Shaolin styles of Kung Fu. This set is practised in the Lam Family Hung Gar curriculum as an entry level or beginner's level set. Despite being relatively short, the key concepts which are practised in this form include:
Gung Gee Fok Fu Kuen originates from the Southern Shaolin Temple. It is said that Chi Shin Sim See taught the form originally to Hung Hei Gwoon. At that time, the form was called Shaolin Fok Fu Kuen. However, to hide its Shaolin origins, the form was renamed Gung Gee Fok Fu Kuen subsequently. It is said that if the practitioner practises on a dirt surface, that the Chinese character which resemble an "I" (i.e. Gung Gee) would be drawn by the footwork of the practitioner. The form is practiced as the foundation form in Lam Family Hung Gar and is one of the four pillar forms of Hung Gar.
One of the longer forms of the system, the key concepts which are practiced in the form include:
It is said that the Gung Gee Fok Fu Kuen is the favourite fist form of Grandmasters Lam Sai Wing and Lam Cho as diligent practice of this excellent form will result in the practitioners arms being hardened without the need for training on wooden dummies and the stance being rooted in the ground without the need for sitting for extended periods of time in the horse stance. Therefore, it is an excellent form for building a strong foundation in the art of Hung Gar before learning other hand and weapon forms.
Fu Hok Seung Ying Kuen was created by Hung Hei Gwoon, having combined the Shaolin Tiger techniques with crane techniques of his wife. Wong Fei Hung is said to have re-choreographed the tiger and crane form by adding the Kiu Sau techniques learned from Tit Kiu Sarm. The form is practised in Lam Family Hung Gar as an intermediate form and is one of the four pillar forms of Hung Gar.
The key concepts which are practiced in the form include:
With diligent practice, this form builds upon the foundation built up in Gung Gee and adds additional vocabulary to a Hung Gar Practitioner's repetitior. The set contains hard and soft techniques, as well as long and short ranged techniques. Many of the techniques practiced in Fu Hok Seung Ying Kuen are directly applicable to self defence situations. It is said that this form is often used by instructors to gauge a student's level of skill in Hung Gar.
Ng Ying Kuen is created by Wong Fei Hung. The form progress from the foundation built in Gung Gee and Fu Hok and lays the foundation for a student to study and practice Tit Sin Kuen.
In Ng Ying Kuen, the Lam Family practitioners practices the animal forms in the following order: dragon, snake, leopard, tiger and crane. In Sup Ying Kuen, the student practices the animals forms in the following order: dragon, snake, tiger, leopard and crane. In opinion of the writer, the animals forms have been so named because the hand movements and footwork of the forms resemble the movements of relevant animals.
The Sup Ying Kuen comprises of the Ng Ying Kuen plus the Ng Hung Kuen (Five Elements Form) which was added to the form by Lam Sai Wing. In Ng Hung section of Sup Ying Kueng, the student practices the gold, wood, water, fire, earth forms. In the opinion of the writer, the elements forms have been so named because the names of the relevant techniques contain a character from one of the elements.
The form is practised in Lam Family Hung Gar as an intermediate/advanced form and is one of the four pillar forms of Hung Gar.
Each of the animals and elements practised in the Sup Ying Kuen are explained as follows (each animal or element comprises a one or two techniques which are representative of that particular animal or element):
This form is said to be a dictionary of all of the most characteristic Hung Gar techniques. With diligent practice, this form builds upon the foundation built up in Gung Gee and Fu Hok and adds additional vocabulary to a Hung Gar Practitioner's repetitiore. The techniques practiced in this form are directly applicable to self defence and combat situations.
Tit Sin Kuen was a form passed down the generations by Tit Kiu Sarm (Iron Bridge Three), one of the ten tigers of Canton and a grandmaster of Hung Gar Kuen. The form was taught to Grandmaster Wong Fei Hung by Lam Fook Sing, one of the students of Tit Kiu Sarm.
Tit Sin Kuen is essentially an internal form of the Lam Ga Hung Kuen System. It utilises dynamic tension, breathing exercises and pronunciation of sounds to generate power and improve the rooting of a practitioner. The form also have the effect of cleansing the five major organs of the human body (i.e. Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lungs and Kidneys).
Rather than the Sei Ping Ma (horse riding stance) and Ji Ng Ma (Front Stance) which the previous forms of the system emphasised, Tit Sin Kuen focuses on development of the Yee Gee Kim Yung Ma (Two Toes Clamping Groin Stance). The stance is introduced in the beginning of Sup Ying Kuen. The stance is shorter in width that then Sei Ping Ma being only shoulder width apart. The practitioner should also concentrate on clamping the knees together just enough so that the practitioner stands flatly on his/her feet. The practitioner should also concentrate of Tai Gong, keeping your hip forward and tucked upwards so that all power is generated from the ground. The practitioner's shoulders are also rolled forward in executing the techniques. It is said that when Tit Kiu Sarm execute this stance that no one could move him. The stance is very similar to the Yee Gee Kim Yueng Ma which is executed in Wing Chun but the Hung Gar stance is a little bit wider (half a foot length).
In addition, the form also introduces the 12 bridges of Hung Gar which are practised with breathing from the Dan Tien pressure point and pronunciation of sounds. These 12 bridges and the corresponding sounds are as follows:
Through diligent practice of the form, it is said by Grandmaster Lam Sai Wing that the practitioner's strength and health will be substantially improved. The power of the Hung Gar practitioner's strikes and blocks will be greatly improved. Grandmaster Lam Cho attributes his longevity to his practice of Tit Sien Kuen on a daily basis.
For further information concerning Tit Sin Kuen, please refer to the following article published by GM Lam Chun Chung and Vincent Liu on the topic:
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