My Forms: Gung Ji (A History)

When trying to decide whether or not to include a series of articles on the forms practiced in Hung Gar, there were many issues to consider. Not the least of which is the simple fact that not all Hung Gar schools practice the same forms. There are some Hung Gar schools which practice more than fifty forms (when weapons are included in the list). Others practice less than ten. One school that I know of has one form requirement to reach instructor rank! In my school, I teach three empty hand forms, and three weapons.

Next on the list of difficulties in making the decision is the fact that, while I have exposure to other methods of doing the forms, I can really only explain what I have learned, not what I have merely seen or read about. So, what I have decided to do is to cover the three forms that I teach. I will use my own explanations for the techniques, and must rely on outside resources for the translation of the names of the techniques. 

I ask the Hung Gar beginner to please remember that the explanations are mine, and should not be mistaken as being the only proper way. Your school may do things differently. There are entire sections where, unless you are from my branch of Hung Gar, your form may not even contain. In some lineages, this set is still practiced as two separate forms.

We will start with Gung Ji Fuk Fu Kuen. In this post I will give the history as best I can. Subsequent posts will detail the how to do it. This is only a reference. It is not really possible to learn the form in this manner.

The Gung Ji Fuk Fu Kuen form, as practiced in my lineage, was developed by Lam Sai Wing. It has it’s roots in the Siu Lum Fuk Fu Kuen form, which was developed and practiced in the Southern Shaolin Temple. Master Lam learned Hung Gar from Wong Fei Hung. And while there is speculation that the Gung Ji Fuk Fu Kuen form was developed by Master Wong, it does not hold up. It is relatively easy to research the curriculum of Wong Fei Hung. Many sources list the early curriculum as follows;

·        Sei Ping Lok Chan Kuen – Four Levels Six Controlling Fist

·        Saam Tzien Kuen – Three Arrow Fist

·        Ye Fu Chat Lam – Night Tiger Comes out of the Forest

·        Seung Lung Kuen – Three Dragons Fist

·        Daan Gung Fuk Fu Kuen – Single Taming Tiger Fist

·        Siu Hung Kuen – Small Hung Fist

·        Lohan Pao Mo Ying Geuk – Lohan Rope No Shadow Kick

·        Lohan Gam Tsien Biu – Lohan Golden Coin Dart Throwing

·        Sei Tzeung Biu Lung Kwan – Four Hexagram Stick

 

This is reported to be the base of Wong Fei Hung’s training in his early life. Later on, he made his changes to what he taught. This was a much more common practice at this time. In modern martial arts, most instructors would never admit to changing their forms. To do so may lead some to challenge their credibility. But the idea of this time was to change the sets as needed to help people learn the system. In modern martial arts, most students are “form collectors”. The students tend to respect more forms as a sign of knowledge. However, for the serious student, it is much more important to understand the system, and theories which will make the techniques usable. Seen in this light, the exact reproduction of an unchanged form becomes les important.

It is known that in Master Wong’s later years, his curriculum had changed to the following;

·        Daan Gung Kuen – Single Gung Character Fist (Gung is a Chinese Character shaped like the Roman capital letter I)

·        Seung Gung Kuen – Double Gung Character Fist

·        Daan Gung Fuk Fu Kuen – Single Bow Taming the Tiger Fist

·        Seung Gung Fuk Fu Kuen – Double Bow Taming the Tiger Fist

·        Mang Fu Kuen – Fierce Tiger Fist

·        Sei Tzeung Biu Lung Kwan – Four Hexagram Stick

·        Ji Mo Do – Butterfly Knives

·        Mo Ying Geuk – No Shadow Kick

·        Haak Fu Jau – Black Tiger Claw

From this base curriculum, Gung Ji Fuk Fu Kuen was developed. Beginners can easily see where the form is an amalgamation of at least three separate forms.

Next time we will begin to examine the form itself.

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