Hung Kuen, （洪拳） also known as Hung Gar, Hong Jia Quan （洪家拳）is the most representative boxing method from the Lingnan area. Nowadays, Hong Quan has become famous for its deeply rooted stances, iron bridges, the Tiger and Crane (Hard/Soft Balance), the Iron Wire Tension power, the 5 Animals and much more. Around the world there are countless numbers of schools especially of the Wong Feihong, Lam Saiwing lineages. However in its homeland of Guandong there are many variations and Hung Kuen is sometimes a generic term for many different types of boxing systems in the South of China. In Guangdong, Hong Quan is popular in the Zhanjiang, Huaduxian, Guangzhou, FoShan, Nanhai and Shunde counties/areas. Each of the areas have developed certain unique qualities and aspects in their Hong Quan. The main Guangdong branches nowadays are thus :
Hong Xiguan (洪熙官, est. 1743-1806) came to Hua Du county around 1782, most of his efforts in the early stages were in association with the Hong Men effort and many of his earlier students would be from other parts of Guangdong, whilst in Hua Du many locals practiced the boxing which currently their methods remained simple and to the initial principles passed down by Hong Xiquan. Other practitioners that came from afar had often practiced martial arts prior or had latter acquired other skills from experience and other teachers alike.
The Ten Tigers of Guangdong (广东十虎)
During the early 1800's there were many famous martial arts masters and some of these became known as the 10 Tigers of Guangdong as follows:
Liang Kun (梁坤) from Panyu in Guangdong
Huang Qiying (黄麒英) from Foshan, Guangdong
Su Can (苏乞儿), from Nanhai, Guangdong
Liang Renchao (黎仁超), from Shantou, Guangdong
Chen Tiezhi (陈铁志), from Taishan in Guangdong
Wang Yinlin (王隐林), from Zhaoqing, Guangdong
Huang Chengke (黄澄可), from Sanshui, Guangdong
Su Heihu (苏黑虎), from Shunde, Guandong
Tan Jiyun (潭济筠), from Suixi, Guangdong
Zhou Tai ( 周泰), from Zhanjiang, Guangdong
Of the 10 tigers, 8 of them - Liang Kun, Tan Jiyun, Huang Qiying, Huang Chengke, Zhou Tai, Chen Tiezhi, Su Can and Su Heihu were all practitioners of Hong/Hong Men Quan. However each had different specialties and emphasises (like Liang Kun and his iron bridges, Huang Qiying and his no shadow kicks, Su Qier with his drunken boxing and Iron Palm Su Heihu and Chen Tianzhi with his locking techniques. Others such as Liang Renchao practiced boxing from Shantou , Wang Yinlin was a Xiajia Quan practitioner.
Su Heihu founded the Hei Hu Men (c. Hak Fu Mun, 黑虎门) style. Wang Yinlin, master of Xia Jia Quan (c. Hap Gar Kuen，侠家拳) had taught Deng Long and Deng Jintao and they taught Deng Zhenjiang, Zhou Peihong, Wang Shaoyi, Pan Fu, Zu Xiaowang and Liang Yigang.
Huang Qiying is said to have studied with his father Huang Tai (in some versions it is with Lu Yacai (ca. Luk Ah Choy - a member of Hong Men)) and with Li Huzi (From Sichuan said to be of the Xia Jia Quan style).
Huadu Hong Quan (花都洪拳, Fadou Hung Kuen)
The traditions of Hong Quan remain in the villages of Huadu until today, especially in Hong Xiguan's old hometown. Here the young an old practice Hong Quan, to them it is a common pass time, so much so that often they refer to practice as 'playing'. There is less formality amongst the locals and like many small villages in China, students often learn from many teachers, and teachers usually knowing parts or having specialties teach what they know. The methods here are simple and straightforward. The forms include Fu Hu Quan (Tiger Taming), San Zhan Quan (3 Extensions) and others to about only 6 or 7 varieties. The emphasis is on training the basics, and mastering the few techniques.
Tan Min (譚敏), was one of the most notable disciples of Hong Xiguan. He had inherited some boxing methods from his family and later under the guidance of Hong Xiguan developed the system further. At the time the practice consisted of San Zhan (3 Extensions), Wuxing (5 Shapes) and one Gun (Staff) set of practice.
For this reason a derivative of the Huadu style became known as Tan Family 3 Extensions 5 Shapes.
Throughout the 1800-1900's many Hong Quan practitioners were involved in rebellions and civil war movements including the Sanyuanli struggle, Taiping heavenly kingdom peasant rebellion, Hong Bing (Hong Soldiers) uprising and the Qionghua association uprising. Many poractitioners lost their lives in such struggles, but the continued development from experiences gained kept the Hong Quan practices alive until today. As examples, Hong Xiuquan in recognition of their achievements in battle appointed prominent Hong Quan practitioners Zhu Zirui (朱子儒) as marshal for some batallions, Yang Xinglang (杨星郎) as leader of another. Unfortunately Zhu Zirui was wounded in battled and remained disabled passing away at a young age. However, Yang Xinglang returned home to hua county and taught there until he was 93 years of age.
In fact Fu Hu Quan practices were thought to be the essence of Hong Xiguan's martial arts and its influence is found in all Hong Quan styles and associated systems such as Zhou Jia Quan. In Huadu one of the more notable students of Hong Xiguan included Tan Min, who had a disciple Tan Jiyun that became famous as he was one of the 10 Tigers of Guangdong.
In Huadu, Guangzhou (Canton), Tan Jiyun taught his son Tan An. One of Tan An's most known students was Feng Risheng who developed the style further by creating new sets/forms and taught it to his son Feng Yuxin. Currently this is taught in the Bai Yun district of Guangdong by Feng Yihui. Nowadays this style is sometimes referred to as Tan Jia Hong Quan (c. Tam Gar Hung Kuen, 譚家洪拳 or Tam Family Hung Kuen).
In Hong Kong this style was taught by
Master Xian Jun (冼均) who left guangzhou during the second world war period. He tuaght this unique style of Hung Kuen to many students including He Qiang (何强), Gao Hua (高华), Mo Kun (莫坤) and Tan Guohua (谭国华) who are responsible for spreading Fadou Hung Kuen of the Tan family variant outside of Guangzhou and mainland China.
Zhanjiang Hong Quan (湛江洪拳, Tsamkong Hung Kuen)
Zhanjiang (湛江) which is situated on the south of Guangdong province, is one of the main branches of Hong Quan practice. In ancient times Guandong was departmentalised into Xia Si Fu (下四府, c. Ha Say Fu, Lower Four Districts/Prefectures) and Shang Liu Fu (上六 府 c. Lok Seong Fu, Upper Six districts/Prefectures). The upper districts consisted of Guangzhou (广州府), Huizhou (惠州府), Chaozhou (潮州府), Jiaying (嘉应州), Shaozhou (韶州府) and Zhaoqing (肇庆府). The lower districts or Xia Si Fu refer to Gaozhou (高州府), Leizhou (雷州府), Qinzhou (钦州府) and Qiongzhou (琼州府) .
Those two (Gaozhou and Leizhou) refer to the modern areas of Zhanjiang (湛江) and Maoming (茂名). In the early times, two of Hong Xiguan's disciples Yang Fang (杨方) and Wu Yunpu (伍允普) brought Hong Quan to this area.
Another Zhangjiang Hongquan practitioner was Zhou Tai, one of the 10 tigers of Guangdong was from in this area studying with Yang Fang (杨方) and his descendants of Hong Quan developed the style further. Here Hong Quan is famous for the 10 animals, each having its own form, the style of Zhanjiang is also known for its mirrored approach, that is movements are conducted usually on both sides ensuring that the techniques mastered on all limbs and directions. Zhanjiang Hong Quan also influenced the martial arts of Hainan and of Northern Vietnam. Zhou Tai had only few students during his time but these were to be highly influential. His most notable descendant was Chen Guiting. Chen Guiting who was from Guibai county taught many students from Zhanjiang including Liang Yuchu, Liang Dequ, Chen Guoxiang and He Hengye.
In 1898, there were foreign commissions attempted to acquire land in China, one such event was that of the
Guangzhou Bay (nowadays known as Zhanjiang). A Hong Quan practioner, Master Wu Bangze (吴帮泽) led a resistance movement and defended the territory from the better armed foreign forces, in that same month many Hong Quan (known as the brave Hong Boxers) practitioners defended coastal villages. The corrupt Qing government unsupportive of the local movements could come to a compromise and the local villagers could only rely on their people inevitably leading to concessions with foreign forces, but the heroic tribulations of the Zhangjiang Hong Boxers remained in the hearts of the people.
During the Min Guo period (1912-1949), martial arts schools started across the region, as ex-Hongmen affiliates and members sought either a career in politics, crime or as martial arts teachers.
Such schools included the Yingwu Tang (英武堂), Juwu Tang (聚武堂), Shangwu Tang (尚武堂), Qingwu Tang (庆武堂) and Zhenwu Tang (镇武堂). Many of the followers of these schools were active in the revolutionary movements (ironically these were both in support of KMT in some instances, the people's liberation on the other and sometimes there own initiatives). Many masters had been killed during such times, and for those that survived the boxing legacy continued.
In 1922, a collective of boxers was established by Wang Jinlong called the Qingwu Hall (庆武堂) which fought for the rights of the people caring for housing across villages and at its peak reached over 3,000 members. This was the first and largest formal martial arts association in the Zhanjiang (Guangzhou Bay) area. Some of the earlier masters of this school included Xiao Liu, Mai Jingbiao, Hong Bo, Zhao An, Zhao Zhuxiong. Here they also practice Hongquan which is decended from Zhou Tai.
After the success of the people's republic martial arts schools continued their practices and community support amongst the people up until 1966, when training became hidden during the cultural revolution. In the area, masters once again started there activities in 1978, and during the 1980's efforts by the government saw a large resurrection in the martial arts.
Li Taide (李泰德, 1895-1986), was a talented fighter since his youth having studied with Master Chen Shilin ( 陈仕林), a renowned Hung Kuen master from neighbouring Jiangxi province. He came to the Huazhou area of Maoming where he taught many students. The key skills taught included the 5 upper shapes (animals) Hung Kuen, the five lower shapes (animals) Hung Kuen, the famous double ended staff, rake and tiger fork. During that period in Maoming, other masters contributed many methods as well and the influence of styles such as Choy Ga, Fut Ga and Li Ga is also evident in some of the material.
Later masters from Qingwu Hall in the 1980's included Ye Qing (叶青), Zhu Tutang (朱土塘), Liang Zhikun (梁志坤), Wang Huasheng (王华生), Huang Huaying (黄华英), Huang Zhicai (黄志才), Chen Wenjiu (陈文九), Lu Zhenhong (卢振红) and Lu Huasen (卢华森). In 1983, the third generation Qingwu Hall Master Liang Zhikun establised the Zhanjiang City martial arts and Physical Trainining Institute.
Liang Yuchu (梁郁初) a young masterwho was a disciple of Chen Guiting opened a school in Zhanjiang during 1937 known as "Zhen Wu Tang" (Town Martial Hall) and appointed his younger brother Liang Dewu as instructor whilst his martial brothers Chen Guoxiang (陈国祥) and He Henye. From here they expanded and had many branches or associated clubs including Qunying Society, Zhongyi Hall, Hua Wu School and the Haiping Village Martial arts association. These schools developed Hong Quan tremendously and many outstanding martial artists were produced by them including Li Zhouyun and Hong Risheng.
The Zhen Wu Tang became the most representative of Zhanjiang Hong Quan and many of the masters of the area would be either directly from the school or were members of its various associations. Chen Guoxiang's son Chen Funan was one of the masters of Long Kangdi was the standard bearer for Hong Quan in China in the 1980's after his performance in a Shanxi competition at the time of Hu Xing Quan (Tiger Boxing) and Shuang Tou Gun (Double Ended Staff) from the Zhan Jiang Hong Quan. Huang Guolong who was a disciple of Chen Guoxiang taught Long Kangdi, Huang Guoju and Wu Jianhua. Huang Guoju passed on his skills to Wu Songjian.
YangJiang (阳江) which is north of Zhanjiang is another area that is influenced by the teachings of Chen Guiting. His descendants include Yang Shufu and Chen Yangsheng. In Hong Kong this was taught by Master Yuan Yixi (c.Yuen Yik Kai), who sometimes referred to it as the style as 5 Pattern Hung Kuen （五形洪拳).
Foshan Hong Quan (佛山洪拳, Futsan Hung Kuen)
Huang Feihong [黄飞鸿] (1847 - 1925) Huang Feihong (黄飞鸿, cant. Wong Fei Hong), not only for his legends with the people but also because those legends and stories were placed on the big cinema screen way back in the beginning of films with first being in 1949 and then throughout every decade since. Mr. Kwan Tak Hing starred in 99 films as the legendary Master and in fact used to be nicknamed Wong Sifu for his natural association witht the character. In real life Huang Feihung (1847-1925), originally known as Huang Tixian, was a very capable Hong Quan Master, although his father Huang Qiying was indeed more famous in reality, being one of the 10 Tigers of Canton at the time but the stories of Huang Feihong have remained in the hearts of the people in the Guangzhou and Foshan areas to bring into legendary status.
Huang Feihong was born in Foshan on July 1847. In 1853 he followed his father studying martial arts and chinese medicine. in 1859, he travelled with his father around Foshan, Guangzhou and Shunde and during that time had a duel with a person named Zheng Xiongzuo and won, thereafter gained a little fame as the "Young hero". In 1860 after a exchange of hands, he took tutelage from a Master Lin Fucheng (林福成, 1836-1898) (who was a top disciple of Master Liang Kun, better known as Tie Qiao San) for about two years and he learnt "Tie Xian Quan" (Iron Wire Fist). In 1863 he moved to Guangzhou and some local miner workers helped raise funds to open a school but this did not go so well. In 1865 in Guangzhou and was employed by the San Lan Xing (Fruit, Vegetable and Fish) traders as a martial arts coach.
In 1866, there was an incident in the markets when Huang Feihong apprehended a thief of a local Pawn store, after this incident he was invited by the Shi Long village to take students there. Many such episodes were to continue and Huang Feihong increased his fame across the towns and villages. In 1886, his father Huang Qiying passed away and then Huang Feihong took care of the Bao Zhi Lin (宝芝林, c. Po Chi Lam) TCM Clinic. His first wife, Ms.Luo passed away after only 3 months of marriage. In 1895 Bao Zhi Lin commenced teaching martial arts (prior focus was on the Chinese Medicine and only a select few disciples). In 1896, he married Ms. Ma his first wife which bore four children, 2 girls and 2 boys called Huang Han Lin and Huang Han Sen. Not long after she passed away. In 1902, he married Ms.Cen which also bore two boys, Huang Hanqu and Huang Hanzhao. Unfortunatley she also passed away not long after. After this incident Huang Feihong thought he had bad luck with women and was not interested in another spouse. In August of 1911, Liu Yong Fu invited him to be a coach of the Guangdong Youth League. In 1915, he married a very young Ms. Mo Gualin (c. Mok Gwai Lum) whom he met in 1903, a master of Mo Jia Quan (c. Mok Gar Kuen) was to accompany him until his remaining days and beyond. Unfortunately, in 1919, Wong's son Huang Han Sen was killed by gangsters with pistols after an altercation. This caused Wong to withhold his martial arts knowledge from the other children, in order to protect them.
In October 1924, during the surpression of riots and rebellious activities destroyed many homes and the Bao Zhi Lin (c. Po Chi Lum) was also affected losing much goods and valuables that were burnt or looted. Huang Feihong's eldest son, Huang Hanlin lost his employment and became ill with depression and discontent. Huang Feihong passed away on the 25th March, 1925 at a hospital in Guangzhou. Students of Huang Feihong include Liang Kuan (Famous for his Horse Stance) , Deng Xiuqiong, Lin Shirong (1861-1943) (林世荣, c. Lam Sai Wing - Former butcher, had many students and wrote 3 books), Liu Yongfu, Liu Cheng, Wu Quanmei, Lin Jindeng, Han Ruikai, Guozhongxin, Kang Jinlin, Lin Jiakun and Tang Fong (1874-1955) (said to have also studied with Lam Sai Wing ). Mo Guilin with the help of Deng Xiuqiong and Lin Shirong, opened a martial arts school in HK together with two of her sons. In 1983 she passed away.
The early students of Huang Feihong in Foshan had practiced the techniques as passed down by their master. At that time much of the boxing methods had not yet evolved and therefore the sets that were practiced are often predecessors of what would be "New Foshan Hong Quan" which was mainly taught by his later students and further developed by his most influential student Lin Shirong. Some of the key differences between Foshan Hong Quan of the Huang Feihong lineages is the inclusion of the longer arm techniques that are said to have been influenced by Li Huzi and Wang Yinlin of the Xia Jia Quan (Hap Gar Kuen) system and the Tie Xian Quan (Iron Wire Fist) which came from Lin Fucheng. These characterstics of more longer arm techniques and the deeper level of the stances are more distinguishing featured from other lines. It should also be noted that the Jing Wu (Chin Woo) Association of Foshan when they had Hong Quan, also added some sets into the curriculum which distinguished it yet again. Also, In later years though the Foshan schools also assimilated some of Lin Shirong's pillars into their curriculum (like the Shi Xing Quan (10 Shapes)). In fact there are some schools that have named their style "Hu He Shuang Xing" and have based their whole system predominantly on the features of that form.
Lin Jia Hong Quan (林家洪拳, Lum Family Hung Kuen)
Lin Shirong (1861-1943) (林世荣, c. Lam Sai Wing) was the most famous of Huang Feihong's disciples having understood the boxing methods of Hong Quan in detail and for propagating the skills through teaching and publishing.
The early students of Huang Feihong in Foshan had practiced the techniques as passed down by their master. At that time much of the boxing methods had not yet evolved and therefore the sets that were practiced are often predecessors of what would be "New Foshan Hong Quan" which was mainly taught by his later students and further developed by his most influential student Lin Shirong.
Some of the key differences between Foshan Hong Quan of the Huang Feihong lineages is the inclusion of the longer arm techniques that are said to have been influenced by Li Huzi and Wang Yinlin of the Xia Jia Quan (Hap Gar Kuen) system and the Tie Xian Quan (Iron Wire Fist) which came from Lin Fucheng. These characterstics of more longer arm techniques and the deeper level of the stances are more distinguishing featured from other lines. It should also be noted that the Jing Wu (Chin Woo) Association of Foshan when they had Hong Quan, also added some sets into the curriculum which distinguished it yet again.
Also, In later years though the Foshan schools also assimilated some of Lin Shirong's pillars into their curriculum (like the Shi Xing Quan (10 Shapes)). In fact there are some schools that have named their style "Hu He Shuang Xing" and have based their whole system predominantly on the features of that form. Although Huang Feihong and his ancestors had made Hong Quan famous, it was Lin Shirong that really popularized and spread the art, in addition to structuring and further developing its contents.
Lin Shirong's classic books on three of the nowadays "Pillar Forms" being Gong Zi Fu Hu Quan, Hu He Shuang Xing (Tiger and Crane Double Shape Boxing) and Tie Xian Quan (Iron Wire) really helped to standardize the curriculum and laid the foundation for his reputation and significant following. Although Lin Shirong out of respect for his teacher attributed much of the content to his teacher, he had in fact expanded much of the older Foshan Hong Quan and synthesized into the core forms. As an example the Shi Xing Quan (c. Sup Ying Kuen), the five elements section were added later. This is mainly evident by the comparison of the practices of the Foshan group.
During 1917-1923 Lin Shirong served as the head coach in unarmed combat to the National Revolutionary Army. When Lin Shirong moved to Hong Kong in the mid 1920's, he put substantial effort into teaching and had by then developed Hong Quan into a very systematic and complete martial arts system.
Some of Lin Shirong's students include Lin Zhu (c. Lam Cho), Lin Zhan (Lam Cham), Song Shaopu, Tang Fong (supposedly direct disciple of Huang Feihong, but due to circumstances acquired knowledge from Lin Shirong), Chen Hanzhong (1909-1991), Wu Shaoquan (1909 - 1967), Chen Changmian, Ceng Qinghuang, Wang Li, Liu Zhan, Wu Bingquan (also studied with Han Ruikai), He Hua and many others. Wu Shaoquan and Chen Changmian taught Hong Quan around the Guangzhou areas. Ceng Qinghuang is responsible for spreading the art in the Guangning region.
Singapore and Malaysia Hong Jia Quan originates from Song Shaobo (宋少波, c. Song Siu Bo), who had studied under Master Lin Shirong. In Singapore, his son Song Chaoyuan (c. Song Chiu Yuen) carried on the tradition and in Malaysia his disciple Zhang Rongkun (c. Cheung Wing Kwang) spread Hong Quan there. As an example of the older curriculum, Singapore Hong Quan includes the sets Dan Gong Fu Hu, Shi Zi Quan, Hu He Shuang Xing, Shi xing Quan, Shuang Gong Fu Hu, Gong Zi Fu Hu, Meng Hu Chu Lin, Tie Xian Quan and weapons.