For my 150th post I thought I would shed some light on this style of Chinese Gung Fu firstly this style originates in Toisan, or it is where my teacher learned it. It is not a version of Chu family or Chow family preying mantis, it might share some similarities but that is normal for the area and styles that existed.
My teacher is Chu Siu Woon and he has been teaching in Manchester, England for well over 45 years, he has been teaching Chu Gar Hung Kuen for all those years, and had always said the Hei Gung was from Tibet and the Gung Fu was from China and he had two styles, the first a village boxing style and the second a short arm style to counter the longer and medium range systems, he had taught little bits but very little, it was not until 1991/2 that he started to teach me on a one to one basis, the training I undertook was twice a day 6 days a week for 6 years in that time I learned about how the wooden dummy is constructed and used, the conditioning of the Phoenix eye fist and iron palm plus the bridge arm conditioning needed for this style. There are three hand forms short, medium and long range but they are all short range, they refer to the use of the hand or arm in combat and so are just called short , medium and long. Before starting the one to one training with Chu Sifu I had already been training these forms for a few years they were never demonstrated in their entirety and only the most senior students knew them.
The other training I did was conditioning of the body through Hei Gung skills and other training methods using weights and also ropes and pullies to strengthen the area required, this was supplemented with sensitivity exercises using the wooden dummy. Other techniques were drilled in a linear fashion, and as I was the only student then they were carried out on my own as was all the other training, if we were interrupted during training I stopped immediately and did not resume until the person or persons had gone and if other students then I would start again the next day but usually I made sure to do the conditioning and dummy before anyone else arrived. some of the conditioning was general stuff but a lot was specialised specifically for Chu Gar Kuen.
The complete system is three empty hand forms, a broadsword form, long pole techniques, dummy training and conditioning, Hei Gung and a unique kicking style that is very hard to train. It is not such a difficult system to learn but it is a difficult system due to the amount of training and conditioning needed to be effective, it is based on solid principles and footwork, designed to do maximum damage in minimum time.
I feel very proud and privileged to have been given this system to safeguard and it is a very unique link to an earlier age where the only goal was to defeat your opponent as quickly as possible.
My hope is that a family member will want to learn this unique style or a senior from my Gung Fu brother John Farrell’s group it is not for the faint hearted, it needs a good grounding in a Gung Fu system that has covered basic power development and strong basics, if anyone wants to learn this unique style then get in touch, I cant promise I will teach it to you, but it would be a start. Don’t ask me to expound in print about how you can learn this style only by training it can you understand it.