Hung Gar Kung Fu

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Hung Gar, also known as Hung Kuen or Hung Ga, is a southern Chinese martial art associated with the Chinese folk hero Wong Fei Hung, who was a master of Hung Gar.

According to legend, Hung Gar was named after Hung Hei-Gun, who learned martial arts from Jee Sin, a Chan (Zen) master at the Southern Shaolin Temple. The temple had become a refuge for opponents of the Qing Dynasty, who used it as a base for their activities, and was soon destroyed by Qing forces. Hung, a tea merchant by trade, eventually left his home in Fujian for Guangdong, bringing the art with him.

Even though Hung Gar is supposedly named after Hung Hei-Gun, the predominant Wong Fei-Hung lineage of Hung Gar claims descent not from him but from his classmate Luk Ah-Choi, who taught Wong Fei-Hung's father Wong Kei-Ying and, by some accounts, Wong Taai, who is variously said to be Wong Kei-Ying's father or his uncle. Because the history of the Chinese martial arts was historically transmitted orally rather than by text, much of the early history of Hung Gar will probably never be either clarified or corroborated by written documentation.

Because the character "hung" was used in the reign name of the emperor who overthrew the Mongol Yuan Dynasty to establish the Han Chinese Ming Dynasty, opponents of the Manchu Qing Dynasty made frequent use of the character in their imagery. (Ironically, Luk Ah-Choi was the son of a Manchu stationed in Guangdong.) Hung Hei-Gun is itself an assumed name intended to honor that first Ming Emperor. Anti-Qing rebels named the most far reaching of the secret societies they formed the "Hung Mun" which, like "Hung Gar," can be translated as "Hung family." The Hung Mun claimed to be founded by survivors of the destruction of the Shaolin Temple, and the martial arts its members practiced came to be called "Hung Gar" and "Hung Kuen."

The hallmarks of the Wong Fei-Hung lineage of Hung Gar are deep low stances, notably its "sei ping ma" horse stance, and strong hand techniques, notably the bridge hand and the versatile tiger claw. The student traditionally spends anywhere from months to three years in stance training, often sitting only in horse stance between a half-hour to several hours at one time, before learning any forms. Each form then might take a year or so to learn, with weapons learned last. However, in modernity, this mode of instruction is deemed economically unfeasible and impractical for students, who have other concerns beyond practicing kung fu. Hung Gar is sometimes mischaracterized as solely external—that is, reliant on brute physical force rather than the cultivation of qi—even though the student advances progressively towards an internal focus.

22 Oktober 2006