by Leon A. Dogan
A short introduction to one of the best books published on Hung Kuen / Hung Gar Kung Fu by Grandmaster Lam Chun Fai of Lam Family Hung Kuen. The following is a short insight and excerpt from the book itself.
Hung Kuen without a doubt is an unmistakeable pillar of Southern Chinese Martial Arts and one of the most respected and wide spread systems of Kung Fu in the world today. Yet, despite the information age of today and thousands of dedicated practitioners worldwide, there is hardly any literature out there documenting the art itself. How many out there truly understand the real art and the rich tradition of hung kuen or its fundamental concepts, principles and core techniques? Or know the factual information on its long, colourful and at times confusing history? Not forgetting its place in Chinese culture, philosophy and folklore.
Within the following pages of this book you will find the answers to these and many other questions about the traditional art of Hung Kuen in general and Lam Family Hung Kuen in particular. The book also offers the opportunity to look beyond the forms and techniques into the society and culture in which the Chinese martial arts were created. At a time when memories and teachings of past masters are steadily fading away, it is imperative to openly share knowledge of the system, in order to preserve its legacy. Therefore following in the footsteps of the famed grandmaster Lam Cho and his endless efforts to openly teach and spread the art of Hung Kuen, Lam family disclose extensive information on their family art of Hung Kuen through the medium of this book.
This is the first time Lam Family is publishing a full-length manual since the Hung Kuen’s famed Tid Sin Kuen manual published under Chu Yuzhai. This is also the first time a manual documenting Master Lam Cho’s version of Gung Gee Fok Fu Kuen is published with full annotations by his son, the renowned Hung gar master, Lam Chun Fai sifu. This book is divided into three parts, which focus on the history and techniques of Lam Family Hung Kuen, as well as giving a memorial to the late Master Lam Cho. The history section consists of three chapters on the origins of the system, the founders of contemporary Hung Kuen, the legacy of Lam Family, as well as substantial information on Master Lam Cho’s contributions and innovations to the modern Hung gar system of Lam family.
Chapter one focuses on the history of Hung Kuen from its origins to the late Qing period, and analyses the historic circumstances against which contemporary Hung Kuen emerged. From popular legends to oral history, secret societies to pirates, feuds to rebellions, chapter one covers it all. Chapter two directs its attention to the origins and founders of contemporary Hung Kuen through a technical analysis of its core forms, as well as reappraising the roles of Wong Fei Hung and Lam Sai Wing in the modern system. It also provides a more personal insight into the lives and genius of these past Hung Gar masters. Chapter three then continues the legacy providing details into the life of Lam Cho, his additions and refinements to the system and how he molded the Lam family system into what it is today. This chapter details the entire Lam family repertoire and gives a basic definition of what Lam Family Hung Kuen actually is.
Chapters four through six, focus on the techniques and training. Chapter four introduces one of the oldest forms in the system, the famous Gung Gee fok Fu Kuen, which is widely accepted as the backbone to the system, and provides a solid foundation in every respect to the Hung Kuen practitioner. This chapter analyses the fundamental principles, skills and core techniques of the set and provides a full English translation to Lam Sai Wing’s introduction to Gung Gee. It discusses the basic importance of the set, and details key concepts with examples. Following on from this, Chapter five begins with a simple, yet important description of Gung Gee Fok Fu Kuen by the late Master Lam Cho. This chapter then develops into your essential walk-through guide to Gung Gee, clearly demonstrated by Lam Chun Fai Sifu. Furthermore, Lam Chun Fai Sifu provides us with his annotations to the movements both in Chinese and English translation. Chapter six is all about the combat applications of Gung gee and takes a closer look at how the techniques of this set may be applied in different situations. It also provides information on the important combat strategies found within Gung Gee Fok Fu Kuen.
Part three of the book is the memorial dedication to Master Lam Cho and in the appendix you will find anecdotes and stories about his life.
While this book will hopefully provide you with the answers to many questions on the traditional art of Hung Kuen and Lam Family Hung Kuen in particular, it must be noted that Kung Fu is defined as a skill gained through hard work, effort and time. As martial artists one can be guilty of absorbing as much knowledge from our teachers, but perhaps taking for granted or not even truly understanding what this system and its forms, as a whole, have to offer. Use this book as an aid and guide to your training, but remember the true secret and part of the key success of previous masters is to continuously and tirelessly practice with diligence, patience and unyielding will power and determination. After all, as grandmaster Lam Cho often reiterated, ‘Ten thousand strings of gold and jade pavilions cannot be compared with a single technique engraved in your heart.’