“Iron Wire Set” (Tit Sin Kyun), one of the “Three Treasures”, secret and most advanced internal set of Hung Kyun’s curriculum.
Very few had the rare opportunity to learn it – Alberto Biraghi was one of the fortunate ones.
Find out more in the sample chapter from his book Hung Ga Story: Me and Master Chan Hon Chung:
“Next time you come, teach Tit Sin!” were the last words that master Chan Hon Chung told me while I was leaving Hong Kong at the end of my 1983 stay. I kept in mind this promise night and day during the 1983-1984 winter, training the dragon of my Sap Yin every day to be ready for receiving the jewel of the South. After learning every form and weapon, after demonstrating my kung fu in front of Chinese and European audiences, after working hard on key passages of the forms, the moment of the ultimate secret had come.
This sort of excitement can be understood only going back to the eighties, in the pre-Internet Europe, when the culture of Chinese martial arts was brought only by some Shaw’s Brothers movies and some impossible to find American magazine. Today, when I google “Tit Sin”, I find a full Wikipedia page, plenty of websites covering the subject, videos on YouTube, included some awesome footage of my own Sifu.
But in 1983, after years of hard training and hundreds of days spent in the gym, I hadn’t seen the full form yet. In those years nobody played the complete set openly in demonstrations or ceremonies, who knew the form performed just a few moves in public, changing the sequence as a rule, then the set was closed. The Hung people were protective with their precious treasure, and they were afraid that somebody might imitate the moves and the sounds without being correctly instructed, obfuscating the family’s image and maybe harming himself. Yes, they constantly said: “Tit Sin Kyun can harm your health if you play it in a wrong way, don’t ever imitate Sifu if he doesn’t ask you to do it”.
On the first day of my 1984 stay in Hong Kong master Chan came out of the side door of his office a few minutes after I had started training at 7 AM and it was a rare event. I had just started my usual warm up of four Mui Fa Kyun when he appeared. We were alone in the gym. He let me play the second set, then assumed the Yi Ji stance and made me understand I had to imitate him. We spent maybe half an hour on breathing, then he switched to the introduction of the form, then the first part.
The movement were the same as in Sap Ying Kuen, of course, but the intensity was way different and – what’s important – there were some subtle but significant differences in the movements and in the breathing (this is the “secret ingredient” that makes the difference, who knows it can tell Master Chan’s real students from the fake ones and the wannabes).
Master Chan looked more concentrated, fully present and in a condition of alert. After a few minutes of hard, forced breathing, the room sort of disappeared and I was close to faint (later I realized that I was doing it in an incorrect way, but at the time I did not have enough information to understand it and master Chan did not say anything).
When I came back to my full consciousness, I concentrated on the form, on the link between stance, movements, diaphragm, center of gravity (another “secret ingredient” that master Chan revealed without words, with the usual pointing his finger to the body and smiling) and breathing.
We stuck to this part for nearly a week, then one night my friend Arthur Chan told me that to be ready early next morning, because I was going to the New Territories with Sifu. No more explanations.
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