Training the Hung Ga Pillar Sets and How to Progress without a Training Partner

Question: How much progress can one make with the first three of the four pillar forms (Gung Ji Fuk Fu Kyun, Fu Hok Seung Ying Kyun and Sap YIng Kyun)? As I mentioned I have moved away from my Sifu and impending family responsibilities prevent me from spending large amounts of time with him, which is needed to learn Tid Sin Kyun.

Mark V.

Answer: I have few recommendations and tips, presuming you have no traing partners (yet):

  • Use “block training method”, ie. work on each of the pillars sets for cca. 1-3 months, then switch to another set. Practice the other just occasionaly not to forget the sequence. Work on different aspects – sometimes structure, sometimes movement, power, visualization of the usage and “fighting spirit”. Don’t just “work out” – practice.
  • Do not practice just whole set – select a section or two and work on it for some time. Have plenty of rest in between sets  – save the cardio for the end of the training session
  • Select 3-5 offensive combinations (combos of 2-5 techniques, Jou Hap in Cantonese) from the set you are working on, and practice it as a combative drill with speed, power and intent.
  • Practice the “Dragon Form” (LHung Ga Grand Master Lam Cho - "Iron Thread Set" (Tit Sin Kyun) - Courtesy Francesco Palmieri Sifuung Ying) EVERY day, preferably twice a day (in the morning and in the evening; if not possible, in the morning). Get yourself a notebook and start a training log. Try 4 week challenge first, ie. practice your Dragon Form every day for 4 weeks. After you make it, try 12 week challenge. You can practice the Lung Ying part just once, or 2-3 times. Have asufficient rest in between the sets.

Lung Ying part of “Ten Form Set” (Sap Ying Kyun) is called “Head of Iron Thread Set” (Tit Sin Tau). Once you master Lung Ying (and i mean MASTER), you are ready for “Iron Thread Set”. I have been working on my Lung Ying part dilligently for 5 years before I had the privilege to learn Tit Sin Kyun from my Sifu. Time innvested to Sap Ying Kyun payed off – i was able to learn Tit Sin Kyun correctly in a relatively short time.

  • Strength & conditioning is a must – “Three Stars Conditioning” (Da Saam Sing), hitting the sandbag, strength training. Try to concentrate on increasing your max strength, cca. 3 times a week – it has the best transfer to explosive power we need. Recommended tools: Bodyweight training (like single legged squats, one arm push ups, pullups, kettlebell (get-up, swing) or barbell (deadlift, bench press or standing press). Keep it simple – 3-5 exercises, 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps, 3-5 minutes of rest in between. „Lift heavy, not hard“.

Three Stars Conditioning Da Saam Sing

  • As for cardio, I recommend hitting a sandbag – again, throw a combination, fast, explosive, powerful –  and then just shadows box, in a “fast and loose style”. Repeat that to up to 50 minutes. The key is to maintain the same power output, “Strong Endurance”.
  • Notebook applies to everything – keeping notes is one of the best thing you can do.

PHK Intro Kit: The Plan

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All the best in your training!

Pavel Macek Sifu, Practical Hung Kyun

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