Hung Hei Guen History
Researched and written by Sifu Hal Asbury
The Hung Ga system began in the Ching Dynasty during the reign of Yung Jing (1723-1736 A.D.). Hung Ga was the number one style among the five family styles of the south. These were:
Hung Ga: founded Hung Hei Guen
Lau Ga: founded by Lau Sam Ngan
Choy Ga: founded by Choy Gau Yee
Lee Ga: founded by Lee Gum Lun
Mok Ga: founded by Mok Ching Gui
Each of these systems is unique and possesses distinctive and special techniques. Originally, Hung Hei Guen's surname was Jyu. His grandfather was an official of the Ming government and the family was well off. Hung was originally a tea merchant before becoming a student of master Jee Sim and graduating from the south Siu Lam Temple. As a staunch supporter of the deposed Ming regime, he changed his surname from Jyu to Hung in honor of the first Ming emperor Jyu Hung Mo (1271-1368 A.D.) Hung would have referred to his martial arts as Siu Lam kung fu, but out of fear that the Siu Lam connection would get him and his followers in trouble, he called the art Hung Ga or Hung family kung fu to hide its true source.
Later, his followers would continue this practice, in honor of their venerated master. After the burning the Siu Lam Temple in Fukien, he met and married Fong Wing Chun, a former student of the Buddhist nun Ng Mui. Fong was knowledgeable in the Crane style kung fu. He later moved to Fa City in Gwang Dung province and later died there at the advanced age of 90 years. His tomb is still located there. There are historical records at Fukien Chan Jau Fu Ji that indicate Hung Hei Guen killed someone there with a single punch. In addition to having this as evidence of Hung's existence, it also attests to the devastating power of his fists.
Hung Kuen became known for two things: the "Thousand Pound Foundation" or horse stance, and the "Iron Fist" and "Iron Arm," or fists and forearms continuously conditioned on sandbags and wooden posts.
For example, when Hung Hei Guen sank into a horse stance, more than ten people with staffs were unable to move him. This is a difficult achievement, requiring 3-7 years practice. Some others occasionally say that Hung Kuen is slow. This is untrue. Like many systems, Hung Kuen emphasizes fast strikes. It believes that a firm root is the most indispensable feature of the training. When people are mobile and flexible but do not have a solid foundation it is easy for them to lose. Thus, Hung Kuen is solid first, and mobile and flexible second.