Hung Ga Kyun Concepts: Four Sides, Eight Directions

Hung Ga Kyun Concepts: Four Sides, Eight DirectionsPractical Hung Kyun Self-Protection Combat Strategy is often criticised to be violent, ruthless, cruel. We don’t wait for the other guy to attack first  – we strike pre-emptively – fast, accurately, with power, hard, continously and without holding back. Actions beats reaction. We say self-protection on purpose. “Self-defence“ implies that you are already under attack – it is one of the last pieces in the chain of the events in overall self-protection game plan. Getting involved in fight at all is very bad. Being under attack means that things are already going very, very bad. I am not saying that surprised ambush cant happen – it can, and we at Practical Hung Kyun devote lot of time to worst case scenarios (being hit from behind, knocked down, stomped in fetal position the ground is not fun…). But in most of the cases – if you get involved in fight, it is your fault. Grand Master Lam Sai Wing’s Taming of the Tiger in Gung Pattern (download of English translation available here) gives one of the most important tips for traning and reality-based self protection right in the beginning. His disciple Jyu Yu Jai writtes:

„The eyes watch on the Four Sides ( Ngaan Gun Sei Bin)

Ears listen to the Eight Directions.“ (Yi Teng Baat Fong)

Hung Ga Concepts: Four Sides, Eight Directions

The concept of Sei Bin, Baat Fong has to be applied both in training and daily life:

  • Training: „Get ready!“ (Yu Bei!) for the next drill/application dril/set. Concentrate!
  • Daily life: Switch on your alarm – your awareness has to cover 360 degrees of your enviroment, including everyone and everything in it.

i am not saying paranoid, but alert. Lam Sai Wing’s Tiger and Crane Double Form“ book says: “Ears and eyes have to be alert and quiet like a maiden’s“. Recognize the threat and whenever possible and:

  • Avoid the conflict. One of famous Chinese Masters was asked abouthis fighting experience, and he has answered: „I have never lost a fight.“

After few seconds he added: „…Well, I did not get involved in any fight.“ Fight avoided = fight won.

  • Escape. If not possible to avoid the danger, run away. Traditional Chinese saying goes, „Of the Thirty-Six Stratagems, fleeing is best“ (Saam Sap Luk Gai, Jau Wai Seung Chaak).
  • Verbaly de-escalate. Lift your hands up, say sorry, smile or pretend you are dumb, leave.

Hung Ga Kyun Concepts: Four Sides, Eight DirectionsHow often do you see guys swearing and cursing, red faces few inches from each other, big chest, hands down? Who throws first headbutt or haymaker is the winner. How often do you hear: „I did not see it coming…“? Well, you probably could have “see it coming”, or better say, avoid it at all. . That is 95% of all self-defence and it has to be learned and trained on regular basis. But – you have to be see/hear/realize the possible threat. Stay aware and alert. „Watch Four Sides, Listen to Eight Directions“ and you are already one step ahead. „What if…? (I can’t escape, run away, talk it out… ) Don’t wait for the other guy to attack first  – strike pre-emptively – fast, accurately, with power, hard, continously and without holding back. „And if…“? (He swings first?) Well, you are screwed – but don’t worry, our drills will get you ready for most of the „ifs“. Following the self-protection game plan will make you safe in most of the situations, but you have to train for worst case scenarios.

Pavel Macek Sifu, Practical Hung Kyun

Self-defense fundamentals are covered in great detail in our PHK Intro Kit.  

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