A Buddhist monk named Lei Jo Fune, created this southern Shaolin-based Kung Fu system during the 17th century in the Fujian province of China. Hung Fut is considered to be a hybrid system; its philosophies are a mixture of two martial art systems, the powerful hard style of Hung Gar with the flowing soft style of Buddha’s palm (Fut Gar). The system is based on various fighting forms that develop body co-ordination. Hung Fut is a combat method that uses economy of motion in order to achieve efficiency. Its techniques are to try to throw the opponent into an awkward position that makes defense tricky and counter attacks unlikely. There is no need to keep contact with an opponent, as the system uses interchangeable and flexible movements.
Practitioners are taught the use of twenty weapons, the best known of which is the left-handed staff style. There is traditionally ten different staff forms taught; each successive one increases in difficulty and intensity. The staff is the first weapon taught in the system and also the last. The final staff form is the most famous and mysterious. Most commonly known as the “mad devil staff” it was traditionally passed down only to the one or few select students appointed to succeed a teacher. This form was used by the sixth generation Grandmaster, Hung Ju Sing, also known as the “White Haired Devil”, and there are several students known to have been taught this.
Another aspect of training is to endure the iron-rings. This method is used for solidifying technique and strengthening the arms and shoulders. Heavy iron rings are placed over the arms of the student, who then starts performing punching exercises. Over time the student’s forearms become stronger, which increases their effectiveness for striking and blocking.
The system also includes techniques from Fut Palm/Jeung which is thought to be a Shaolin Buddhist method, and ten animal styles (snake, tiger, leopard, lion, eagle, crane, monkey, elephant, horse and dragon) as well as “8 Drunken Immortal” forms (based on the personality traits of the 8 heavenly deities of Chinese traditional religion), “4 Cripples” forms (a deceptive mimicry of one who is crippled) and a left-handed form (based on the legend of a famous general fighting while holding the infant son of a Chinese emperor).
There are to some extent different lineages and succession stories listed by various Hung Fut schools around the world. The stories of the masters vary also from version to version. As the style has moved around the world, the content of the system, number and names of forms, types of power used, stances, techniques, theory, and training methods has also changed, leading to a large variation from school to school.
8th generation grandmaster, Tai Yim, the adopted son of Hung Yu Chung, the 7th generation grandmaster, immigrated from China to the United States in 1977. He traveled to the United States to fulfill the wish of Hung Yu Chung to spread Hung Fut to the west. He opened his first United States side school in Wheaton Maryland in 1978 and now teaches in Kensington, Maryland, a suburb outside of Washington D.C.
The Way of the Warrior: Martial Arts and Fighting Styles from Around the World 15 Sept 2008
by Chris Crudelli