Hung Fa Yi History & Culture

Hung Fa Yi Culture

Hung Fa Yi culture owes much to the culture and traditions of the Boxer Societies who were the protectors of the system. The Tong of the Hung Gun Wui (Red Bandana Boxers) was the Jung Yi Tong (Loyalty Righteous Hall). Membership of these societies required a strict code of conduct and was a serious undertaking with serious consequences for violations of the code to all concerned, the virtues of loyalty and righteousness being highly valued to this day.

Rather than name the system after a person or family as is common with Chinese martial arts the system we teach at the school today was named Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen, or “Red Flower Righteous Praise Spring Fist” by one of the ancestors “Hung Gun Biu” to honor the spirit and intentions of the systems creators. An understanding of the meaning of the name Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen will give the student a deeper insight into the deep history, culture and philosophy that stand behind the Hung Fa Yi system.

Chinese character for redHung – Red; the color used to symbolize those who fought against foreign invaders beginning with the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Chu Yun Cheung, a former monk who other threw the occupying Mongols in 1368 in battle whilst wearing a red turban under a blood red sky and is synonymous with heroic deeds. This was a rallying point centuries later for the revolutionaries attempting to restore the Ming to power after defeat at the hands of the Manchurian invaders and the start of the Qing dynasty.

Fa – Flower; represents the Shaolin Chan (Zen) philosophy in the system. In a lecture on Reality Buddha held up a flower and one student Makashyapa, comprehending the essence of the flowers reality simply smiled without saying a word. The flower represents the concept of “wordless transmission of the mind” meaning that words can never express total reality

Yi – Righteous denotes the sacrifice and high personal standard of character required to be a martial artist.

Wing – Praise; alludes to passing on the art orally and is the Chinese character used to name the art after the destruction of the southern Shaolin temple. Nothing was written down due to the inherent dangers involved with being associated with activity related to the overthrow of the occupying forces.

Chun – Spring; is another Chan (Zen) concept and represents rebirth, in this case the desire to restore the Ming Dynasty.

Kuen – Fist; Indicates the close quarter combat nature of the art.

Hung Fa Yi History

Throughout the three hundred year plus history of the Hung Fung Yi Wing Chun System, from its origins in the Shaolin Temple and subsequent journey as the fighting system of the revolutionary Hung Gun Boxer society, to the present day three distinct eras and names stand out in Hung Fa Yi lore.

Cheung Hin (Tan Sau Ng) – Anti Qing and Opera Era early 1730’s

In the Hung Fa Yi lineage Cheung Hin is recognized as the 1st generation Hung Fa Yi Grandmaster, he was a disciple of the 22nd generation Southern Shaolin Temple Grandmaster Yat Chan Daai Si who is believed to have relocated south after the destruction of the Northern Shaolin Temple. As well as being a military man and martial artist Cheung Hin was also highly skilled in Beijing Opera and is credited with founding the King Fa Wui Gun (Beautiful Jade Flower association), the forerunner some 140 years later of the Red Boat Opera. This enabled him the perfect cover for his anti-Qing activity, as a member of the “Hung Fa Wui Gun” (Red Flower Society). Cheung Hin received the nickname Tan Sau Ng because of his skilful ability to quickly subdue opponents with only one technique “Tan Sau”, Wing Chun’s dispersing hand. Eventually Cheung Hin’s anti government sentiment was exposed forcing him into hiding and he was taken in by his friend and sworn brother Chan Jin ling.

Whilst in hiding Cheung Hin passed on his Wing Chun system to his friend and protector Chan Jin Ling’s grandson Chan Sai Yuan who became the 2nd generation Hung Fa Yi Grandmaster. The Chan family was now custodians of the Hung Fa Yi system, Chan Jin Ling in turn passed the art on to his son Chan Bo Jung the 3rd generation Grandmaster who then passed the art to his relative Chu Tien Jow, 4th generation Grandmaster. Chu Tien Jow, took his relatives family name Chan Biu to hide his identity, being the lone survivor of the massacre of his own family at the hands of the Qing government forces. Keeping the system in the Chan family in a direct line greatly contributed in maintaining its integrity and safety from falling into enemy hands.

Chu Tien Jow aka Chan Biu (Hung Gun Biu) – Red Boat Opera era 1850’s

The Red Boat Opera Troupe, (Hung Suen Hei Ban) descendents of the King Fa Wui was involved in instigating political unrest in the mid 1800’s. At the same time another group known only to inside members by the name “Hung Gun Wui” or Red Bandana Boxer Society, descendants of the “Hung Fa Wui” was also actively engaged in operations to end the influence and involvement of foreign powers and restore the country to the Han people. It should be noted here that both the Hung Suen Hei Ban (Red Boat Opera Troupe) and Hung Gun Wui (Red Bandanna Boxer) groups trace their lineage to Tan Sau Ng. On one side of the coin the Red Boat Opera troupe traveling the waterways of southern China is publicly raising awareness and garnering support to the cause via plays and performances, on the other side is the Red Bandana Boxer Society of the Jung Yi Tong (Loyalty Righteous Hall) working in a more clandestine fashion. Different groups with the same cause that may or may not have had any interaction.

The 4th generation Hung Fa Yi lineage holder, Chu Tien Jow, aka Chan Biu held a high position in the Hung Gun Wui as denoted by his pseudonym, Hung Gun Bui (Red Bandanna Biu). Hung Gun Biu made many contributions to the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun System; in fact he is responsible for the system being named Hung Fa Yi as well as developing some of the training methods, for example the “Bai Jong Baat Bo Jin” training platform to complement the Chum Kiu level. Hung Gun Bui’s Red Bandanna Boxers were actively engaged in open warfare from 1862 until their defeat in 1874 by the overwhelming might of the Qing forces and their foreign allies. After the defeat Hung Gun Biu retired from active duty in the Hung Gun Wui and subsequently passed on the System to his grand nephew on his mother’s side Chueng Gung 5th generation inheritor.

Chu King Hung (Garrett Gee) – modern era opened up the system to the public 2000

The Hung Fa Yi system would pass through two more generations of lineage holder, Wang Ting 6th generation and his son Dr. Wang Ming 7th generation Grandmasters before passing to Chu King Hung (Garrett Gee) the 8th generation Grandmaster and the person responsible for opening the system up to the public.

Garrett Gee comes from a very old and privileged Chinese family of scholars and martial artists. He is a 33rd generation descendant of the famous Chinese philosopher Chu Hsi. His grandfather Chu Jun-Bak was a distinguished military officer alongside Chiang Kai-Shek at the Wong Po military academy and later police commissioner and deputy mayor of the city of Fatshan. Grandmaster Peter Kim Ho Chu, his father and 1st Sifu is responsible for introducing many (40+) styles of kung fu to to the USA upon emigrating here in 1975. Some of which were considered lost to the martial arts community; Fu style Tai Chi, Sun Style Tai Chi, Leung Yi Kuen, Sei Cheung Kuen, Lightning Palm Kuen and Dragon Style Pakua, to name a few.

As a young man in China Garrett Gee was already an accomplished martial artist and expert swordsman in the Wudong and Shaolin styles of his father. Whilst practicing in a park he came to the attention of Dr. Wang Ming the 7th generation Hung Fa Yi Grandmaster. After some observation Dr. Wang introduced himself and after discussing and exchanging ideas on Kung Fu became Garrett Gee’s 2nd Kung Fu Sifu teaching him the art of Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun. Garrett Gee was Dr. Wang Ming’s 4th and last disciple (two of which were Buddhist disciples only) and received the complete system from him making him the 8th generation Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Buhn Jyun (system protector).

Grandmaster Gee has privately taught approximately seven generations of students in both Wudong and Wing Chun since 1975 upon his arrival in the USA. In mid 2000 he made the decision to open the Hung Fa Yi branch of Wing Chun to the public at Master Richard Loewenhagen’s school in Arizona and currently has students around the globe participating in the long distance instructor program. He stresses that it is impossible to fully understand something just from reading a book or watching videos and continues to teach in the Hung Fa Yi tradition of Hou Chun San Sau (mouth passing on/teaching body receive) method of direct experience/transmission from teacher to student.

The Hung Fa Kwoon of Arizona is one of a handful of locations where you can learn this fascinating and effective close quarter combat system. As well as a full schedule of regular classes we hold frequent instructor training sessions and public workshops with Grandmaster Gee at this location.

Hung Fa Yi Philosophy

Hung Fa Yi philosophy is greatly influenced by Chinese culture history and tradition and borrows heavily from the philosophies of Confucianism, Chan (Zen) Buddhism and Daoism. Some examples specific to Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun’s training methods are given below.

The great Confucian philosopher Chu Hsi stated that learning for the sake of learning was pointless and that learning for self improvement was all that mattered.  He believed in a “Cosmic Blueprint”, scientific concepts based on the principles of time, space and energy that governed all things. His Idea was to study the underlying principle of a subject in order to fully understand said subject through a method known as bounded learning (define the subject boundaries based on what is important and filter out what is unimportant), then  fully  learn and understand everything within those boundaries. The Six Gate concept from the Hung Fa YI Wing Chun formula owes much to this philosophy; by defining the limitation of human movement within the six gate boundary the student focuses on the reality of combat within their direct sphere of influence.

“Know the ultimate truth within a defined boundary”
– Chu Hsi

Hung Fa Yi’s “Saam Mo Kiu” (Three Connecting Bridge) philosophy, a method to experience reality through three stages of awareness has its roots in Chan Buddhism and is integral to learning the system through direct experience. Basically all learning is experienced through three stages and these stages are all inter connected. The first stage is known as “Fau Kiu” (Floating Bridge), it is the stage of wandering or unclear purpose; from a martial arts systems standpoint it is the beginner level, an introduction to basic training and body mechanics. At this stage the student has no clear knowledge of the system or of their martial arts identity. Stage two of this philosophy is called “San Kiu” (Separate Bridge), the stage of awareness; the student has identified with the system and is working towards understanding and applying its concepts and principles. The third and final stage is “Weng Kiu” (Everlasting Bridge), the stage of enlightenment, where one has fully internalized the system, its concepts and principles and thoughtlessly expresses them in every action. This philosophy can be applied to the whole system as in the preceding example but also applies to any subset of the system serving as a guide to monitor one’s learning progress.

 “Mind Understands – Body Knows”
– Grandmaster Garrett Gee

Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun’s “Tin Yan Dei” (Heaven, Human and Earth) technology is Hung Fa Yi’s method of utilizing the awareness of structural position and alignment to precisely measure time and space during combat. There are six specific categories of the “Tin, Yan, Dei” concept ; 4 Gate TYD, 6 gate TYD, Saam Dim Yat Sin TYD, Jong Sau TYD, Gee Ng Kiu TYD and Kin Kwun Jong TYD. These 6 categories enable the Hung Fa Yi practitioner to read, respond to, and manipulate changes in range, facing and energy whilst in contact with the opponent. Although these ideas are rooted in the Tin Dei Yan (Heaven, Earth and Human) concept from Daoism it should be noted that the order of the words are different.  The Daoist concept was used to help explain the order of how things came into existence, whilst the Hung Fa Yi concept is a method of measuring positioning and alignment and enables the practitioner to read and respond to changes in time space and energy.

“Kin Kwan Taai Heui, Lau Yam Fa Ming.”

Within the changes of space and time,

harmonize the yin and yang to regain superior position.

–Hung Fa Yi Kuen Kuit (Fist Saying)