Hung Gar vs. Villari

Discussion in 'Kenpo / Kempo - Technical Discussion' started by Jdokan, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. Jdokan

    Jdokan Black Belt

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    Maybe Lawdog can offer some early insight......USSD in the very early days, for my school anyways always discussed the 5 animals.....I am not a good historian and recently came across a Hung Gar website teaching the 5 animals....This led me to start thinking that maybe Fred Villari intertwined some Hung Gar into his system..???? Thoughts on this...
     
  2. clfsean

    clfsean Senior Master

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    Hung Ga is the quintessential "5 Animal" style of CMA. It & Ark Wong's Ng Ying Ng Ga Kuen (5 Animal 5 Family Fist) are what most people think when the phrase '5 Animal' comes up.

    '5 Animal' is also a very popular name for Southern CMA hand sets. Multiple styles have 5 Animal sets, a couple even have multiple.

    I know from reading around that Ed Parker spent some time with a Hung Ga guy as well as Ark Wong & Prof Chow's family art was a Hung Kuen style. However with kenpo being the amalgam it is, there's Hung Ga in it somewhere, but I wouldn't read too much into it since at this point the original Hung training is long gone, but is now a kenpo idea.
     
  3. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    That is one story going around, but I personally am not convinced it's true.

    I think Mr. Parker studied under a number of people, but whether or not he trained under a real Hung Gar sifu is not something I can verify or deny with any authority.
     
  4. clfsean

    clfsean Senior Master

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    Hmm... sounds like somebody oughta fess up... cause like many that are outside looking in on it, I just repeated what I'd heard.

    Wasn't that Jimmy Woo (not Jimmy H from KFSS note) he spent some time with in LA a Hung Ga guy? I'd read that somewhere as well.

    Don't tell me it's getting to where you can't trust what you read on the net?!?!?!:confused:
     
  5. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    yeah, I know this is a common story. It just doesn't ring true to me. Seems to me that if Mr. Chow had learned a kungfu system like Hung Gar that had become part of his family tradition, it would have survived in some manner into what we do today in kenpo. But today's kenpo that I've seen, from the later Parker lineages to the earlier Tracy lineage that i study, looks NOTHING like hung gar. Granted, in Tracys we have adopted a version of Fu-Hok, but nobody pretends that that came from Chow's family. It was clearly and openly brought in from another source, and it's been thoroughly "kenpo-ized" and actually looks fairly different from a traditional hung gar version. It's clearly the same form, but the "quality" of the movement is different.

    The Tracy brothers were early students of Mr. Parker, studying with him from about 1957 into the 1960s or something. They split off from Mr. Parker when Mr. Parker began making changes to the art that the Tracys did not agree with. The split was a gradual process, I'm not sure when it became complete. So what the Tracys kept, was closer to what Mr. Parker had learned from Mr. Chow. So if there was a true hung gar lineage thru Mr. Chow, it could be expected to be seen in Tracy kenpo. But it just isn't there.

    I've spoken with another guy who studies kenpo under a lineage direct to Mr. Chow but not thru Ed Parker. He also studies taiji with my sifu. He has commented that he believes Mr. Chow did learn something from his father, but perhaps he dumped it in favor of what he learned later because he didn't feel it worked well. He was going to get me some article that explained it all, but I haven't seen it yet. So it's still a bit unclear to me and I remain skeptical about the whole thing.

    Mr. Parker did spend time with Jimmy Woo. I'm not completely sure what Mr. Woo's background is. I think he trained under several teachers in different methods, and perhaps Hung Gar was one of them. I don't know exactly how long Mr. Parker's relationship with Mr. Woo lasted, but I don't think it was much more than a couple years, if that.

    Whether or not Mr. Parker systematically studied hung gar with Mr. Woo is something that I simply don't know. I believe Mr. Parker did learn stuff from Mr. Woo. But if it wasn't a systematic study of a specific art, it could have been more of a hodge-podge. In that case I can't really justify saying that he "studied hung gar" with Mr. Woo.

    honestly, I'm not the expert on this topic. I'm commenting based on what I've heard and on what sort of makes sense to me. I'm making conclusions, or remaining skeptical about various claims, based on what does or does not make sense to me, given the stories i've heard.

    I know there are a lot of people who disagree with what I've said here.
     
  6. pete

    pete Master Black Belt

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    not sure if there is any connection at all between parker and villari.

    there was a definite connection between parker and j.w.woo, which resulted in the 'Secrets of Chinese Karate' and the development of forms within parker's kenpo system, including of various hung gar forms such as tiger/crane and book (panther set). in fact parker's first black belt, jimmy ibrao, has continued studying with j.w.wu to this very day.

    there is much controversy of what actually transpired during and at the breakup of parker/wu 'partnership', that i will leave to detail those who were actually there...

    pete.
     
  7. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    yes, I think we are pulling the thread off-topic.

    I know that Panther set did come from Mr. Woo, it is still practiced in the Tracy lineage. I am not convinced that Panther set is actually a Hung Gar set. It would be interesting to show it to an accomplished hung gar guy and see what he says.
     
  8. clfsean

    clfsean Senior Master

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    Is there video of it out anywhere? I'm not a Hung Ga by any stretch of the imagination, but I know enough about southern CMA & have been exposed to enough Hung Ga to have at least an informed opinion. CLF isn't that far removed from the Hung tree... ;)
     
  9. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I did see one out there once upon a time. I'll see if I can find it again.
     
  10. clfsean

    clfsean Senior Master

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    It this it??



    If so... kinda, but not so much...

    The HaSayFu Panther set doesn't resemble that & I've never seen anything in the mainline LSW Hung Ga like that. It looks like something that was engineered for kenpo maybe.
     
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  11. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    By the label, it looks like that's it. I'm at work, and I can't seem to play youtube videos here, altho I can access the website. I'll have to check it later.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  12. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's an interesting last comment there. I know it did come from Jimmy Woo, and my instructor recently went down to LA to visit with Mr. Woo and they discussed the set.

    Mr. Woo is apparently not the most open person to have a discussion with and he doesn't like to give information away too freely, especially to people who aren't his student. But there is no question that the form came from him. But where he got it is the mystery.
     
  13. clfsean

    clfsean Senior Master

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    Hmmm... don't get me wrong, there are some really old Hung Kuen lines out there that didn't follow suit with WFH's line & have some odd sets, but those don't look like the WFH sets, technique or movement. This has glimpes of WFH all over it, but it's nothing I've ever seen from a WFH (LSW/TF) line school.
     
  14. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    that's very much in line with what I've been thinking.

    I also am aware that there are other hung gar lineages, some a good deal older. I believe Wing Lam in Sunnyvale CA teaches one of them.

    It's possible that this comes from one of those, and it's just a lineage that isn't seen much (or at all) here in the States. But I've long held doubts about this set coming from hung gar. I personally like the set, but I just don't think there is real clarity on its origins.

    Supposedly there is a segment missing, that Mr. Woo never taught to the kenpo people. There's been a bit of controversy over that, I'm not sure if it holds water or not. But it's what I've heard.

    And that sort of adds to the confusion, in my opinion. It sort of suggests that maybe Mr. Woo actually created the form, and the "missing" section, if it exists, maybe was developed later or something.
     
  15. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yup, that's it. I don't find this rendition to be especially well done, however.
     
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  16. SL4Drew

    SL4Drew Green Belt

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    I believe that Woo was a student of Ark Wong's, at least at some point. Maybe it came from there. Doc might know.
     
  17. MeatWad2

    MeatWad2 Green Belt

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    I personally don't think there is any Hung Gar in the system. Mainly because I study it now and don't really see it in the SKK system. I could be wrong though...
     
  18. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    From the history I have read on SKK, they trace their roots through Kajukenbo (and then if you go further you would find Chow through the Emperado lineage but it was not a direct study with Villar/Chow). Parker was a direct student of Chow, when he came to the US he did study with some Chinese masters.

    From what I have read, Parker and Woo worked together to bring in the forms that were in early kenpo. Parker always had the final say in the matter. Parker was influenced by Hung Gar so you will see elements in it, but it was always blended with his vision of kenpo. So even the forms like, Panther set and Tiger/Crane are NOT direct from their kung fu source, they were altered to fit into the kenpo of that time. As other forms were developed and the art evolved past that the forms were removed for the "pure kenpo" forms/sets that we have today.

    As for the "Kung Fu" element in SKK, that is VERY open to debate. Some people say that Villari never learned kung fu from anybody and made up all of the "shaolin" elements. Others say that he did study with some masters and the forms come from that study. I have never heard that it was Hung Gar and the forms that SKK does have do NOT resemble any forms in Hung Gar at all, either in appearance or in name.

    SKK does however utilize the 5 animal concept and has created defense combos based on the strategies and attributes of these animals. Again, I don't think that they are a direct import from Hung Gar though.
     
  19. TenTigers

    TenTigers Orange Belt

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    well, being a former instructor for Tracy's as well as for Villari's,(hey, we all did some things we're not proud of...) and having over thirty years in Martial Arts, twenty years in Hung-Gar, both Tang-Fong as well as Lam Sai-Wing versions and Village Hung Kuen, I can state with some authority that Tracy's and Parkers definately contain certain "Hung-Gar-isms" and Villari does not. Villari's doesn't have any authentic Kung-Fu in their techniques. All the so-called animal techniques are his own personal interpetation, and are not related to anything Chinese.
    I have also met a man who studied a Hung Kuen system descended from WFH through Malaysia, which was in fact, very Kenpo-like in its application. Lightning fast barrages of techniques, all flowing from one to the other, very close in and aggressive.
    Is Kenpo descended from Hung-Gar? We may never know, but there are many similarities to Southern Siu-Lum within the system.
     
  20. Josh Oakley

    Josh Oakley Senior Master

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    If there were a connection between Parker and Villari, I would imagine it to be Professor Cerio.
     

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