Some questions from someone who's interested in Hung Gar

Discussion in 'Chinese Martial Arts - General' started by pankaixilaren, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    Hi, guys!
    I'm pretty interested to start learning Hung Gar.
    I'd like to ask you some (newbie) questions - so, please, forgive me if I sound fool:
    1) I haven't any experience from martial arts, I'm - kinda - old (46) fat (5.5 - 210 / 1.69 - 95) and heavy smoker for the last 31 years - that means I miss stamina and endurance. I guess that since this martial art is based on balance, right body position, (mostly) hands and low kicks, it would be ideal for me, because, I think, I won't have to do so much hard (body) warm up and gym. Am I right?
    2) I - already - like and admire "butterfly blades". Could I stay and focus on them, exclusively, trying to become an "expert", when I reach the weapons level and training?
    3) This is what the (Chinese) Instructor and his School teaches. What do you think? What's your opinion?

    Mui Fa Kuen
    Lau Gar Kuen
    Chin Cheung
    Kung Ji Fook Fu Kuen
    Bong Bo Tonglong Kuen
    Fu Hok Seung Ying Kuen
    Sup Ying Kuen
    Tid Sin Kuen

    Lau Gar Gwan
    Hang Che Pang
    Seung Bei Sau
    Pek Kwa Dan Do
    Wu Deep Seung Do
    See Gar Cheung
    Kwan Lun Gim
    Mui Fa Seung Lung
    Yu Gar Dai Pa
    Kwan Do
    Ng Lung Ba Gwa Gwan
    Sam Jic Bien

    Kung Ji Doy Dar
    Fu Hok Seung Ying Doy Dar
    Hang Che Pang Dot Dar
    Dan Do Doy Cheong
    Seung Do Doy Cheong
    Kwan Do Doy Cheong

    That's all - for now!
    Thank you in advance, guys!
     
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Hung ga is a great and powerful system if learned from a sifu who has a strong understanding of the method and he keeps a high standard in his school.

    Weapons are generally taught later, after you have developed some understanding and skill with the empty-hand methods. Weapons training is gradually introduced along the way. Butterfly swords would probably be considered among the more advanced weapons, because you are using two at a time. So they would not be the first thing that you would learn. However, once you do learn them, there is nothing stopping you from working hard to become an expert with them, if that is where your interest is. However I would be very very surprised if a good sifu agreed to jump over everything else to teach you the butterfly swords first.

    This will require a solid commitment on your part, to train hard and follow the program that your sifu presents to you. You should discuss with him any specific interests that you have, such as the butterfly swords, and then do what he tells you.

    This list is a long list of forms, that is a really big curriculum. How you interact with it, and how well it works for you is up to how hard you work at it. Some systems have a shorter formal curriculum with fewer forms, others have big curriculums. People have different opinions on what is good or bad about that.
     
  3. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    Thank you VERY MUCH, Flying Crane, for your pretty useful and valuable infos and details... You really helped me! :)
     
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  4. VPT

    VPT Green Belt

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    One cool thing I noticed: this school has incorporated the Northern Mantis Bursting Step form in its curriculum. It's the only form that's found in all Northern Mantis. Otherwise it seems like a standard Hung Kyun fist set. There are a lot of weapon forms, including the butterfly swords (as Wu Dip Seung Dou). Rest is paired exercises.
     
  5. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    So, I guess, the teaching of this form, somehow, "equals" the missing of Ng Ying Kuen...

    Really? Awesome! Thank you for letting me know that!
     
  6. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I think you are going to quit smoking soon. lol. Breathing is crucial in martial arts and Hung Gar people do a lot of it. You are correct about Hung Ga being mostly hands and low kicks. There is a risk to kicking high and you'll probably learn a lot of ways to exploit high kicks. Hung Ga is going to demand a lot of you physically. I'm not saying your teacher is going to demand a lot from you. I'm literally saying that the system is going to demand a lot from your physically. The best advice I can give you in terms of this is to take baby steps. Don't push yourself too hard, but don't take it easy. It's like Flying Crane stated, It's going to take solid commitment. The first couple of months are going to suck, but that's just your body adjusting to the new activity and movement. Just stick with it.

    Be honest with your training. There will be times where you want to slack off, don't. Find a good pace, keep that pace and increase that pace as your body gets used to the exercises. Don't "Half ***" your effort mentally. Trust your body and don't let your ego get in the way and don't try to "Man" your way through the training. It's a slow process and your body will need to heal, assuming that conditioning is going to be part of your training as well.
     
  7. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Make sure you have a clear goal. With martial arts you can be an expert in forms or an expert in fighting with the martial arts. The difference is that the expert in forms doesn't always know how to actually use the techniques in a fight. The expert in fighting with the martial arts usually doesn't have as crisp looking movements in the form because he or she isn't practicing the form to look perfect. He or she is practicing the form to be practical. I didn't realize this until I recently looked at my form on video. When I do the form it looks like I'm fighting and not trying to make a form look good. I'm having a difficult time in making my forms look good because of my goal of wanting to be able to use Jow Ga techniques in free sparing and fighting
     
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  8. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    Thank you, so much, JowGaWolf...
    That's exactly what I was thinking and planning to do: I'm not in a hurry; I have the will, the desire and - first of all - the patience. The patience and the time needed to dedicate myself, absolutely and fully, to this wonderful system.
    I don't see myself as a "master", on the far or on the near future. Of course not... I'm not and I never was so ambitious. Just... just someone who will gain 1) body health, 2) spiritual health, 3) wisdom, 4) knowledge and 5) skills / abilities, that I never thought I could grow up and they'll help me, if I find myself some wrong time, at the wrong place.
    Thanks, again, for your so valuable advices, JowGaWolf!!! :)
     
  9. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    Well.. It seems that the instructor (not the Sifu, himself) had a different opinion:
    He turned me down... I had a rejection and, of course, a - big, that's the truth - disappointment.
    He was sincere and honest with me. And I appreciated that... He told me that Hung Gar isn't for me...
    OK, I understand... He was afraid and scared of me. Sure, he wouldn't like to see me laying down unconscious, or, even worst, from a heart attack. The responsibilities for persons like me, are pretty big! If I was him, I'd do the same... I guess!
    Instead of Hung Gar, he suggested me to join the Tai Chi class... No offense to the system, but, I think it won't work for me...
    Besides, I had another, an alternative solution / choice - you may know about it, if you watch my first thread here, on the "Beginners" section.
    My travel to the world of Hung gar has stopped before it starts...
    Thank you, all of you, for your encouraging, full of optimism, messages!
     
  10. VPT

    VPT Green Belt

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    Ooohh, so he's one of those "this other art is better for you than this" -guys...

    You know what? Go and ask him again. Martial arts world is just chock full of stories of people passionate about their will to learn persevering for weeks and asking over and over again until the teachers gave in and decided to teach. It still going until these days. Shaolin teacher Hu Zhengsheng had to ask some old fella nine times and bring him gifts before the geezer decided he was "good enough" to share his stuff with him. This is a very recent case, Master Hu is just under 40 years old I think. So don't give up just yet, if he figures out you are motivated he might change his mind...

    Also, although his system does not have Five Animals/Patterns/Shapes Form (Ng Ying Kyun), there is a Ten Patterns Form (Sap Ying Kyun). There's a kinda lot of variation between versions of the same forms, so I'm not linking video examples. Lam Family lineage of Hung Ga is also the one that has the Beng Bu form.
     
  11. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    When I talk about Saolin gong fu and generally wu shu, or about China, or about Chinese people, I have a big smile on my lips and a glimpse into my eyes. You can see my love, my appreciation and my enthusiasm for EVERYTHING about this country. Wo ai ZhongGuo - "I love China"...
    I insisted.. I tried a lot... I was closed to beg! He didn't gave me, not even a chance... the chance of the "first class", to check myself, if I think that I can make it!
    Maybe the Sifu himself has another opinion - he was absent... But, no... I won't try to talk with him, too...
    As it seems, it wasn't my destiny to learn Hung Gar...
    It's OK... It hurts, now, but I'll get over it. :)
     
  12. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Was he concerned with your overall health? Heavy smoker and quite overweight? He may be concerned that you could have a heart attack in the middle of a training session.

    My suggestion, if you are really interested in hung ga, then earn it. Stop smoking RIGHT NOW, and start working on general fitness and losing weight. You don't have to become perfect, but lose some weight so it is an obvious change. Remove the health concern from the equation. Then go back and ask again, and ask the sifu, not the instructor. Maybe get a doctors note, stating that you are fit and safe for strenuous physical activity.

    And it might be worth asking the sifu directly, bypass the instructor.
     
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  13. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    I would bet based on your statements here that you said you want to train but don't want it to be tough, and not to have to exert too much energy. If I heard that, I would assume you weren't being serious towards it, and wouldn't want you at my school.

    Fix your attitude and your fitness, then go back.
     
  14. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    I decided to learn Hung Gar, because, I think - and correct me, please, if I'm wrong - it's not so "demanding" system. It's based on balance and it keeps low stance. That means to me, no high kicks targeting at the head, and sure, no "flashy" flying kicks - impressive, yes, but out of the principle of the system. So... there's no need for (too much) flexibility, no need for (very) extensive leg stretches, and furthermore, no need for 180 degrees "splits". That's what I'm afraid and I want to avoid. I didn't start Hung Ga when I was (too much) younger, and now, I'm getting old, so, OK... my body will show, sooner or later, the first signs of aging, but I'm already too fit to start worry; I want to start now, at the age of 46, with all the "bad habits" I bring with me! Can you put me there, at a corner, for the whole duration of the class (1 hour? 1 and half?...) having the "horse stance", without doing anything else? Ask me and I'll do it! I won't take it as a "punishment", but as a lesson! A lesson that I can learn from that and I will try to be better and better, class after class. And of course, and you already know that, some day, I'll learn to do the exercise perfectly! On the other side, even I do stretches during the class, all the time, for 5, 6, 10, 20 years, I'll never be able to make a perfect split! And you know, that, too... Because my age, my way of life till now and my body type don't help me, at all!
    Conclusion: Maybe Kung Fu is not for all the ages... I'm a living example! :(
     
  15. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    Oh... Just to prevent you, guys:
    I know that wing chun could work for me; and, perhaps, I could work for that, too...
    Sorry (and no offence to the system), but all this "hand play", doesn't look so effective to me. (And, by the way, - and thanks God - my reflexes work pretty well...)
     
  16. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Hung Ga is very demanding physically and it never really lightens up. It's never as difficult as the first day but it's always challenging. Low stances are tough to do, because you don't just stand in it, you have to learn how to move in it as well as move in and out of the low stance.

    I would go back and let him know that you really want to take Hung Ga and that you are willing to do the training even it's it's difficult. If he says no then find another Hung Ga school to train with. I don't know how much you weigh but my school has a person who is very over weight and has diabetes. He tries his best and he's still training hard after 4 months. I will admit that the first 12 days I thought he was going to literally fall on the floor and die. I think I spent the first 2 weeks always telling him to pace himself and not to over do it. I reminded to give his body a chance to adjust to the training and to get stronger. He can't do the form perfectly yet, but he keeps at it, so it's only a matter of time before he'll be able to do it. Don't let this discourage you. Keep trying if not at that school then find another Hung Ga school that has an instructor that is willing to give you a chance to learn, get fit, and over all improve your lifestyle. I'm 1 year younger than you and I'm 25 pounds overweight. The fact that you see older people doing kung fu should be an verification that kung fu is for all the ages.
     
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  17. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Are you giving up on Hung Ga already.. go back and ask him again.
     
  18. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I totally agree with this. I would ask the Sifu. Sifu's word outweighs the instructor's word. If the Sifu said no, then I would find another Hung ga school to train at. I would use my rejection at that school as fuel to make sure that I train hard and get good at Hung Ga at a different school.
     
  19. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    JowGaWolf, allow me to congratulate you! You are a true Instructor, with the kung fu spirit inside you, enlighten your heart! You see? You believed on that guy; you show his enthusiasm and the glimpse on his eyes, when he asked you to join your school! You gave him the chance - even you took the risk... And now? You feel proud of him - and you should feel proud of you, too!
    You proved that kung fu is a huge "hug" and everyone has his/her place, Regardless if you're young or old, fat or thin... There's no place for racism on kung fu. King Fu is humility!

    No. no... At least, not yet, JowGaWolf... I just pretend those who will (may) suggest me Wing Chun. :)
     
  20. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    Sifu knew that I was (very) interested on his school and I was going to visit him... I contacted him by e-mail, letting him know, from the very first beginning, my "qualifications". He replied to me: "come to see you, so I can tell you..."
    Two days in the row, didn't visit his school, cause he was busy. So, I'm pretty sure, both the students and the instructor, told him about some "fat, pathetic guy" who came to visit him...
    No, JowGaWolf.... I'm afraid, I won't try to find him and talk with him... There are still some pieces of egoism, inside me! I'll check for some other schools, teaching Hung Gar, as well, as you suggested me to do!
    PS. There's a long difference and a long gap between "I started kung fu when I was 15 and now I'm 45, aging on kung fu" and "I'm 45, totally unexperienced and I'm gonna start learning kung fu"... :)
     

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