Traditional Chinese cosmology as well as systems like (modern) Xing Yi Quan have simple but profound theory of “Mutual Generation” as well as “Mutual Destruction” of “Five Elements”:
“Mutual Generation” (Seung Saang) sequence = Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water
“Mutual Conquest” (Seung Sing)/”Mutual Overcoming” (Seung Hak) sequence = Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, Metal.
The order of the Elements in Ng Hang Kyun part “Ten Forms Set” (Sap Ying Kyun) follows neither of these cycles. The question is: How is it with “Five Elements” (Ng Hang) of Hung Kyun?
Let us have a look at the writtings form the North and read a short part from one of the treatises written by fmaous Wang Xiang Zhai, founder of modern Yi Quan. Grand Master Wang writes about Old Xing Yi Quan (Ying Yi Kyun in Cantonese):
“It did not have the theory of the mutual promotion and restraint of the five elements, there were just the five elements representing five kinds of forces. It did not have any fixed techniques, boxing routines or forms of movements either.
I remember well the words of my late teacher about the five elements:
- Metal means the strength contained in the bones and the muscles, the mind being firm like iron or stone, being able to cut gold and steel. [“Axe-like splitting movements of Fan Gam Cheui, note PM]
- Wood has the meaning of the bending but rooted posture of a tree. [Short boxing techniques of Gaap Muk Cheui, note PM]
- Water means force like the waves of the vast sea, lively like a dragon or a snake, when used, it is able to pervade everything. [Continous Water Wave Strikes of Seui Long Paau Cheui, note PM]
- Fire means strength being like gunpowder, fists being like bullets shot out, having the strength to burn the opponent’s body by the first touch. [Rapid fire strieks of Fo Jin Cheui, note PM]
- Earth means exerting strength heavy, deep, solid, and perfectly round, the qi being strong, having the force of oneness with heaven and earth. [Solid, rooted stances of Tou Paau Cheui, note PM]
This is the syncretism of the five elements. It has nothing to do with one technique overcoming another technique as the modern people claim. If one first sees with the eyes, then thinks of it again in the mind, and then launches the counter-attack towards the enemy, it is very seldom that one will not get beaten up.”
Different art, different techniques, similar concept.
To answer the original question – yes, there is a generation/conquest cycle in “Five Elements” of Hung Kyun.
Any element flows into another according to the needs and situation, any element counters any other element.
Simple (Southern Chinese) boxing – covered in our PHK Intro Kit – works. Don’t get caught into complicated theories.
Pavel Macek Sifu, Practical Hung Kyun
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