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The History of Mui Fa Kuen (Plum Flower Fist)
The history surrounding martial arts in and around China is extremely obscure. This is mainly due to the Manchus hiding the arts during their rule over the Chinese. I have read a number of stories and accounts about the development of Kung Fu and although there are many similarities, there are also a large number of contradictions. I am not telling you that this is a true account of the history of Kung Fu, but a collection of terms and events that bring us out of the darkest ages. (More historical notes will be included in future lessons.)
Mui Fa Kuen (Plum Blossom Fist)
Mui Fa is an extremely common theme in Chinese martial arts due to the popularity of flowers in the rest of Chinese culture. Many other kung fu styles also have Mui Fa forms. The original Mui Fa Kuen is said to have been a Northern Shaolin group, believed to have been founded by Hou Yuan Jia. In addition to the Mui Fa fist form, there are many other groups including sword and spear groups, making Mui Fa a small system in itself.
This short and simple but very practical form is presented in four directions, like the petals of a plum blossom, teaching attack and defense in every direction. The first Mui Fa set teaches basic footwork and stances, as well as basic passing and kicking techniques. Many basics as well as some of Hung Gar’s trademark techniques are taught in this group.
A brief history of Hung Gar Kuen
The evolution of Kung Fu is very closely related to the development of Buddhism practiced by monks throughout China. Buddhism was not native to China, but was introduced from India (between 58-76 AD during the Eastern Han Ming Dynasty) where it originated. Over the following centuries, many Chinese emperors embraced Buddhism slowly becoming the most practiced religion in China and with it came the introduction of thousands of Buddhist Temples.
Around 540 AD, an Indian priest named Bodhidharma traveled to China to spread what would later be called Zen Buddhism. During his journey he came across a temple called Shaolin, at the time famous for translating Buddhist scriptures into Chinese. Bodhidharma noticed that monks were in poor physical shape as they spent much of their time writing and meditating, so exercises were introduced to increase physical strength and energy flow. These exercises were developed by Indian Yoga and were based on the movements of real and mythical animals.
Fighting styles had existed in China for many centuries before Shaolin began to develop any form of martial arts. The monks in the temple were very quiet, but in the deep areas of the countryside they often encountered bandits or wild animals. Not all monks would study martial arts, but over time many retired soldiers of all ranks converted to Buddhism and joined the temple. This meant that soldiers could accompany other monks on dangerous journeys to provide protection, and with the skills combined with daily training, Shaolin kung fu began to develop. The monks studied and imitated the movements of the animals, realizing that they possessed natural techniques of self-defense and killing to survive, which the monks refined into their fighting systems.
Over time, the Shaolin sect began to deviate from other Buddhist sects, as the focus became more and more conditioned towards the study of martial arts, which seemed to be somewhat contrary to Buddhist principles. The monks responded simply by saying along the lines of “Understanding something like violence makes you better equipped to resolve a conflict.”
In the mid-17th century, Manchurian invaders led by the Ching family ended the Ming dynasty and eventually conquered China. Those who fled from the Chings sought refuge in the Shaolin Temple, initially only a passive attitude was allowed, but due to the injustice suffered by the Chinese people, Shaolin soon became the center of resistance. At this time Shaolin had five elders:
Jee Shin Sim See- Founder of Shaolin Iron Cloth, creator of Wing Chun and founder of Hung Gar Kuen.
Bai Mei – Founder of Golden Bell Iron Body Chi Gong
Fong Sai Yuk- Famous Swordsman, Founder of White Tiger Kung Fu.
Miu Hin- Founder of Five Shapes Boxing and helped develop Wing Chun.
Ng Mui-Nun Buddhist and expert Dim Mak, helped develop Wing Chun, founder of Dragon Shape Boxing and Wu Mei.
In 1647 AD, the original Shaolin Temple in Henan Province was burned to the ground by the Ching. Many of the monks were slaughtered and the rest fled, hiding, seeking refuge in other temples and monasteries. The five elders are said to have survived by helping to form other rebel groups and training the people using the knowledge of the combat experts there. Fong Sai Yuk, took refuge in Wudan Mountain in Hubei Province (the home of internal martial arts), with the help of other elders, he organized a following of up to one million people called the Heaven and Earth Society.
Buddhist nun Ng Mui is later said to have taught Yim Wing Chun, one of her close friends, a close combat system, later to adopt her name (wing chun) so that she could challenge publicly her husband from a forced marriage to win back. her freedom.
Fong Wing Chun, relative of Fong Sai Yuk, was a master of White Crane Kung Fu. She married Hung Hei Goon and it was he who used his expertise in Tiger kung fu, combining it with his wife’s knowledge of the Southern developed Hung Gar Keun white crane system. Hung Hei Goon developed a reputation as 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 “standing tall with integrity.”
Hung Hei Goon was a disciple of Jee Shin Sim See. As a Hung master, he usually appears at the head of most Hung Gar lineages, placing the origin directly in the Shaolin Temple.
My Masters & Lineage
Hung Hei Goon
Luk Ah Choi (1740-1845)
Leung Kwan aka “Tid Kiu Sam” (1815-1888)
By Hei Kwoon
Hang Yat Sui
Lai Ng Sam (1927-1995)
Jeff Hasbrouck (1947 – )
Phil Dandridge (1962- )
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