The History of Hung Gar, pt. 2

Picking up where we left off…However, there are two books, written around the time of Bodidharma, and history has attributed authorship to Bodidharma. One is called the Yi Jin Jing, and the other is called the Xi Sui Jing.

The Yi Jin Jing, or “Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic” is a book detailing a series of exercises and practices which are intended to build up the Qi in the body, and do so to an extraordinary level. It is said the priests at the Shaolin temple found that, after practicing the Yi Jin Jing, they had greatly increased their physical strength.

The Xi Sui Jing, or “Marrow/Brain Washing Classic”, taught them to clean their bone marrow, and thus raise the strength of their immune system. Additionally, the book taught them to refresh their brain, which was essential in Taoist and Buddhist practice, if one were going to attain enlightenment.

It came about that during the year 621 AD, the King if Qin was in dire straits against the King of Zheng, and 13 monks from the Shaolin Temple came to his aid. The same king became emperor of the Tang Dynasty, and awarded the Shaolin Temple with roughly 600 acres of land. In addition, he allowed the temple to own and train it’s own soldiers. Martial arts training was a necessity, as the wealth of the temple grew, it would have definitely been in the sight of roaming groups of bandits. The Seng Bing, or Monk Soldiers main responsibility was to protect the temple.

For the following 300 years, the temple enjoyed this legal status, and its wealth of martial arts grew to profound levels. It was common for soldier who survived to retirement, to actually retire to the Shaolin Temple, and there they would share their knowledge with their temple brothers.

As other skills were introduced into the temple, they were blended with the existing system. The eighteen methods grew to one hundred seventy three. Bai Yu Feng, according to Dr. Yang Jwing Ming, compiled the book titles “The Essence of the Five Fist”. This book is said to have included details on the five animal patterns, Dragon, Tiger, Snake, Leopard, and Crane.
From at least the year 1312, the Shaolin Temple was allowing foreigners to train with them, among the countries people were visiting from were Japan, Korea, and Okinawa.

Martial arts training was forbidden by the Manchu, who took over China around 1644. The only way the arts have survived into the present day is because of the people, who at risk of their own life, continued to train in secret.

It happened that in 1839, the Opium War began, between China and Great Britain. By 1840, the war was over, and China had lost. The Chinese were humiliated, and began to question their outdated military, or martial arts. The situation grew worse, and after being compounded by the famine, and the failed boxer rebellion of 1899-1900, followed by the occupation of China by Britain, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Japan Russia, and the United States, the confidence of the Chinese people was at a terrible low.

But wait!

Now we must jump back in time a bit.
All the way back from 1900, to 1732…There was an important moment…

In 1732, in Fukien Province of Southern China, a boy named Hung Hei Goon was born.
What follows is what was researched and written about Hung Hei Goon by Wing Lam in his fantastic book “Southern Shaolin Kung Fu Ling Nam Hung Gar.” (available, and worth every cent, at www.wle.com )

“Grandmaster Hung Hei Goon was born in the eleventh year of Zhong Zheng (1732) in Cheun Chao City, Fukien Province, and lived until about 1825. He was abandoned by his parents soon after birth, and was adopted by an old man. When he truned eight, his adoptive father passed away, and Hung Hei Goon was alone again.
Hung Hei Goon had been homeless for nearly two years when he was rescued by Gee Seen Sim See (one of the five elders who survived the burning of the Southern Shaolin temple). He brought young Hung back to the temple, and taught him martial arts. Hung Hei Goon grew up in the temple, and became the number one student. Hung completed his training, and left the temple when he was twenty two years old. He became a tea merchant who traveled between the provinces of Guang Dong, Suk Jo, and Gai Lum. This profession was probably a cover for his anti Qing activities.”

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