Hung Gar Kuen

It is a system derived from the southern Shaolin monastery, belongs to the five major southern systems. It is one of the few systems that has survived to this day in an almost unchanged form.

The characteristic of the Hung Gar Kuen

Hung Gar Kuen is a system derived from the southern Shaolin Monastery, belongs to the five major southern systems. The others are Liu Gar (Lau Gar), Li Gar (Lei Gar), Mo Gar (Mok Gar), Choi Gar (Choy Gar). It is one of the few systems that has survived to this day in an almost unchanged form. Of course it has evolved like any system, but it has evolved by enriching the system, not by replacing some techniques with others, as is the case with some systems. The basis of the system are the techniques of the five animals, five elements and the Chi Kung exercise system.

Performing techniques based on animal movements does not consist in placing the hands in a specific way, but the way of using force and the way of moving, which is characteristic of each technique, is important.


When performing tiger techniques, a person should concentrate his efforts primarily on destroying the opponent, not only hard blocks are used for defense, but also curtains made at the front entrances. These techniques are usually performed against fast and small opponents. These techniques are characteristic of the "long hand" forms. Another feature that we can notice is the way you move when performing the tiger techniques, attack and defense are in the same line. The most famous tiger technique that Hung Gar is famous for is fu jow (tiger claws), so many versions of which only exist in this system.


Crane attacks are performed in an arc, bypassing the opponent's defense, are associated with the "short zone" forms, side slides use the force of body rotation to increase the effectiveness and strength of the blow, they are characteristic of the "long zone". The crane's techniques place great emphasis on defense and counterattacking the opponent's vital points. The use of wrist force for locking is characteristic. The other movements symbolize flexibility and docility.


The techniques of the dragon are mainly rotating and circular movements, modeled on the movements of the mythical dragon's tail. Characteristic of the dragon techniques are constant changes in the direction of attack and descent, and the lack of visible aggression - he never attacks first, which is a sign of calmness. It is a symbol of spirituality and longevity, it is identified with the inner strength of Chi. The characteristics of the dragon are embodied in each technique through the use of Chi, regardless of what techniques it is considered to be.


The snake technique is characterized by a method of deriving the technique which makes it impossible to predict its final form. The fingers symbolize the tongue, the hand - the head, and the body - the snake's arm, attacks are made in arcs with a constant change of directions at high speed. The person using the snake techniques uses the speed of movements against the overwhelming physical strength of the opponent.


The leopard techniques are simple attacks and small arcs with the use of various hand configurations, moving in soft positions. The strength and effectiveness of these techniques largely depend on speed and determination.

Summing up, it can be stated that by practicing the tiger techniques we influence the development of physical strength and body muscles. Crane techniques increase joint mobility and tendon flexibility. Dragon techniques strengthen the mind and spirit of the practitioner - the result is a strong motivation in life to do right, righteous behavior. Snake techniques improve health and vitality - by stimulating the flow of Chi in the body. Leopard techniques improve speed and coordination.


  • Metal – one of the characteristic techniques are blows with a reverse hand and a fist with a hammer.
  • Wood – manifests itself in simultaneous attacking and blocking techniques.
  • Water – attacks with these techniques are like ocean waves in succession, the techniques are generally far-reaching.
  • Fire – characterized by quick and straight blows.
  • Earth – first of all, strong, stable postures, strikes aimed at the opponent's vital points.

The sequences of techniques based on the principle of the five elements include the Sap Yin Kuen form (10 animals). Training based on the techniques of the five elements is most suitable for people of short stature due to the fact that these techniques are focused on strength and close combat.

Another aspect of Hung Gar is the principle of five emotions (anger, joy, anxiety, sadness, fear), which is inextricably linked with Chi Kung exercises and with the principle of the five elements - which results in creating and destructive relationships between given emotions.


When writing about Hung Gar one should mention Chi, which is included in every movement, it is related to a specific breathing system, not found in other martial arts. As a result, this system is difficult, and mastering some techniques may take many years, but the effect that we will achieve is far beyond our expectations.

There are Chi Kung elements in each Hung Gar form, their number depends on the form's advancement level. The most advanced form of the system is Tid Shin Kuen (a form of the Iron Rope), which was created as Hard Chi Kung - it contains the complete Chi Kung exercise system (i.e. it stimulates and controls the flow of Chi in all meridians). As a result, the Hung Gar system is included in the group of internal systems, which few know about. However, people who observe only the work of the muscles without delving into the purpose of the exercise may mistakenly claim that it is an external system.


The characteristic principle of two zones is to be next to the opponent in the first (short zone) to prevent him from using all his strength. The second (long zone) is to stay out of reach of your opponent to sense the moment when your opponent's strength is exhausting.


It should also be mentioned about the Chinese Na leverage system, which is included in the Hung Gar system. Their presence in the system results from the wide application of the system in combat in cities, where close combat, using the short zone, played a key role.


Summarizing the above characteristics of the system, it should be stated that: five animals, five elements and emotions, the full system of Chi Kung exercises, the principle of two zones (long and short) and the techniques of China Na make Hung Gar one of the most complete Kung Fu systems. It develops both the physical and spiritual side of a person.

Back to top