Question: I have heard that Grand Master Lam Sai Wing has taught in the army. Is it true? Can you please give some examples of simple Hung Gar bare-hand combat techniques, which could be use in unarmed combat situation in the army or on the street today?
Answer: It is well documented that Wong Fei Hung, Lam Sai Wing (and various other Hung Ga Kyun Masters) taught martial arts in the army.
Wong Fei Hung served his duty under famous army commanders Lau Wing Fuk, Ng Chyun Mei and Tong Ging Sung, Lam Sai Wing under Lei Fuk Lam and Chan Jai Tong. (You can find out more in the intro parts of Lam Sai Wing Memorial Book and Lam Sai Wing’s Taming the Tiger Manual).
Their function wasn’t only honorary. We can only guess what specifically did they teach in the army, but we know for sure that both Wong Fei Hung and Lam Sai Wing taught actual combat techniques – not only strength/conditioning drills to keep the soldiers disciplined and fit, but also weapon and bare-handed combat skills. Moreover, they not only taught, but also learned from the other Masters and cross-trained.
To answer the second part of your question, I have selected three useful combat patterns from our Practical Hung Kyun curriculum and have compared them with selected techniques of Western combatives (World War 2 and recent US combatives).
“Straight Palm” (Jing Jeung)
First picture (left) shows “Straight Palm” (Jing Jeung). It is called “Fierce Tiger Pushes the Mountain” (Maang Fu Teui Saan) in the Lam Sai Wing’s “Tiger and Crane Double Form” book, which is in my humble opinion incorrect (and actually not the only one misconception). We use another name.
Notice that although it is the longest one of all three presented techniques, it is still employed in relatively close distance.
Why do you think the other hand goes to the waist in the set?
What attack follows best?
We at Practical Hung Kyun actually have a whole series of drills for utilizing this technique in various reality-based self-defense situations – it is part of the first combo of our “Ten Killing Hands” (Sap Duk Sau).
“Lifting Palm” (Tok Jeung) aka Chin Jab
Middle picture shows one of the variations of so called Tok Jeung (Tok meaning “hold in the palm”). Excellent in confined environment, eg. an elevator. In the World War 2 combatives it is called Chin Jab. Very dangerous technique, if employed correctly! Imagine you ask the aggressor a question, and hit him preemptively with Tok Jeung to the chin, upwards, right on the button!
As for the other hand, the questions are the same as in the first technique – setup and follow up are vital!
“Casting Elbow” (Paau Jaang)
Last picture (right) shows so called “Casting Elbow” (Paau Jaang), also called “Tiger Elbow” (Fu Jaang), one of the most important and very versatile Hung Kyun techniques – if employed correctly and in real fight speed and power.
I know that most of you have been taught that it is an elbow break, but – how many of you can actually pull it of in a real fight? Or full contact sparring? I am not saying it is not possible, but, if the technique is repeated so many times in our fundamental set, there have to be ways how to use almost immediately after you learn it. We at Practical Hung Kyun say: Learn it in the afternoon, use it in the evening. If necessary, of course.
Notice how all three techniques form a logical continuum – they are actually not 3 different techniques, but one technique, employed in different range and emphasis. Palm strike can be longer or shorter, upward chin jab can be easily changed to casting elbow – various families or Masters actually do so.
Practical, ready to use, immediately? You bet!
Make sure you learn the PHK Combatives fundamentals in our PHK Intro Kit: Beginner’s Guide to Chinese Martial Arts.
Pavel Macek Sifu, Practical Hung Kyun
Basic exercises, techniques, sets, application drills, sparring, self defence, weapon training, strength and conditioning, names of the techniques, history and philosophy…
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