„Ten Forms Set“ (Sap Ying Kyun) aka „Five Animals and Five Elements“ (Ng Ying Ng Hang Kyun) belongs to the advanced sets of Hung Ga Kyun.
“Five Animals” part comes for the (pre-)Wong Fei Hung era, “Five Elements” section was choreographed by Grandmaster Lam Sai Wing. Various old sources suggest that „Five Animals“ and „Five Elements“ were in the past 2 sets (or more probably series of techniques and combinations), which were joined together and re-choreographed.
Sap Ying Kyun is a bridge between beginner’s/intermediate Hung Kyun sets: “Taming of the Tiger in the Gung pattern“ (Gung Ji Fuk Fu Kyun ), „Tiger and Crane Double Form“ (Fu Hok Seung Ying Kyun) and advanced internal „Iron Thread Set“ (Tit Sin Kyun). It contains many sections of these sets – “Ten Forms Set” is actually Southern Chinese “MMA” set (Jaap Ga, “mix of various families”), “Best of Hung Kyun”.
The actual form of the set may vary between different lineages – following article briefly describes “Ten Forms Set” as taught in our school, with video examples of other lineages.
Five Animals (Ng Ying)
The section of Dragon (Lung) is an explicit introduction to the advanced „internal power training“ (Noi Gung) of Hung Kyun. Slow, isometric moves are coordinated with specific modes of breathing (slow/fast; inhaling through the nose/mouth, exhaling through the nose/mouth, holding one’s breath) and different sounds (silent/loud, soft/explosive, short/long).
The dragon section actually consists of greeting section, first section and parts of the second and third sections of the most advanced Hung Kyun set, „Iron Thread“ (Tit Sin Kyun ), and first two sections of „Tiger and crane Double Form“ (Fu Hok Seung Ying Kyun).
The techniques of Snake (Se) comprise of fast, continuous finger jabs (Lin Waan Biu Chyun Sau), aimed to the throat. The other representative techniques of the snake are „snake’s tongue“ (Se Sit) – double finger jab to the opponents eyes (also called „Two Dragons Snatching Pearls, Yi Lung Jang Jyu) and „Snake’s Head“ block (Se Tau). Rest of the snake part is a repetition of short parts of “Tiger and Crane Set.
Fierce and aggressive Tiger (Fu) uses the „hard power“ (Gong Ging) of its „Tiger Claws“ (Fu Jaau). The tiger section – except 2 „Black Tiger Claws“ (Hak Fu Jaau) in the beginning – is identical with „Ten Tiger Claws“ (Sap Fu Jaau) of „Tiger and Crane Double Form Set“, using “Single Tiger Claw“ (Daan Fu Jaau) and „Double Tiger Claw“ (Seung Fu Jaau) from different angles and with different types of offensive footwork. Both Wong Fei Hung and Lam Sai Wing were very famous for their art of „Tiger Claw“.
“Five Animals” part of “Ten Forms”, performed by Cheung Yee Keung Sifu, disciple of Grand Master Chan Hon Chung. Special thanks to Alberto Biraghi, disciple of Grand Master Chan Hon Chung for sharing this rare footage.
The fighting arsenal of agile, fast and ferocious Leopard (Paau) consists of so called “Thrusting strikes“ (Chaap Cheui), „Hanging Fist Strikes“ (Gwa Cheui) and „Sweeping Strikes“ (Sou Cheui), connected with agile footwork and body turning. The three main techniques – „hanging, sweeping, thrusting“ (Gwa, Sou, Chaap) come from the ferocious fighting arsenal of another famous Southern Gung Fu system, Choi Lei fat.
“Five animals” section ends with the taoist symbol of immortality and wisdom, elegant crane (Hok). The evasive and „soft“ crane techniques consist of „crane beak“ (Hok Jeui), „Crane Wings“ (Hok Chi), „Single Leg Stance“ (Duk Lap Ma), knee/front kicks and so called “Crane Head Strike“ (Hok Ding), also called „Phoenix Eye Strike“ (Fung Ngaan Cheui). Again, the crane section – except first three „Crane Wings Hands“ is identical with crane section of Fu Hok Seung Ying Kyun.
According to old Siulam tradition the techniques of the Dragon cultivate „Spirit“ (San), the Snake „vital energy“ (Hei), the Tiger „Bones“ (Gwat), the Leopard “Strength” (Lik) and the Crane “Essence” (Ging).
Contrary the popular theory, Hung Kyun’s Five Elements do not imitate the animals – we at Practical Hung Kyun joke that animals imitate PHK. All techniques have very practical usage – the poetical names were devised later to describe the spirit and usage of the combat techniques.
Five Elements (Ng Hang)
„Five elements“ (Ng Hang) should be more correctly translated as „Five Elemental Processes“ or „Five Phases“. Ng Hang section of „Ten Forms Set“ demonstrates the mighty arsenal of destructive boxing techniques of traditional Hung Kyun system, very useful in fighting mutiple opponents. The fist techniques of „Five elements“ (Ng Hang) were incorporated from „Buddhist Family Arhat Style/set“ (Fat Ga Lo Hon Kyun), commonly know as as „Hero’s family style” (Hap Ga Kyun).
The techniques of Metal (Gam) represent strong and heavy vertical and horizontal axe-like strikes, both from outside in and inside out – „Dividing Metal fist“ (Fan Gam Kyun) and “Chopping Fist” (Pek Cheui). “Ax-like” is important! Many practitioners perform Gwa Cheui as a back fist strike – wrong.
The techniques of Wood (Muk) are characterized by close range fighting techniques (but not only) – the block and punch are delivered simultaneously. One of the typical moves of the wood element is so called „Wood Squeezing Punch“ (Gap Muk Kyun).
Five Animals & Five Elements performed by Chi Kuan Kun in a vintage Hung Ga Kyun Documentary
Long reaching swingings technique of the Water (Seui) – „Water Wave Throwing Punch“ (Seui Long Paau Kyun) – are like wild sea waves. One arm blocks the opponents arm, the other arm breakes the enemy’s elbow in a scissors-like movement (and yes, if you know how to set it up, it works!) or attacks the opponents groin or chin. In the set, the Hung Kyun fighter throws 9 punches to all directions. Paau Cheui belonged to the most favorite techniques of Grand Master Lam Sai Wing.
Fast, continuous „chain“ punches – „Fire arrow Punches“ (Fo Jin Kyun), delivered to the opponents face, solar plexus or soft ribs, represent the element Fire (Fo). „Chain punches“ (Lin Waan Kyun) btw. represent one of the core techniques of Wing Cheun, although the way we throw them resembles more the aggressive “running” style of Hap Ga with zig-zag “Seven Stars Steps” (Chat Sing Bou).
“Five elements” section ends with the techniques of Earth (Tou) with the rising back fist strikes – „Earth Throwing Punches“ (Tou Paau Kyun) in a low and stable stance – famous “Crane Wing Hand” (Pok Yik Sau) of Hap Ga.
As for another common misconception: contrary to common believe, there is not 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.
Pavel Macek Sifu, Practical Hung Kyun
Intro Photo: Gordon Liu (Lau Kar-Fai), from an old article, available together with 30 other rare articles in our Real Hung Kyun special collector’s edition.
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