High & Low The Story Of S.W.O.R.D Full Movie The History of Mui Fa Kuen (Plum Flower Fist)

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The History of Mui Fa Kuen (Plum Flower Fist)

The history surrounding the fighting arts in and around China are extremely vague. This is mostly due to hiding the arts from the Manchu’s during their rule over the Chinese. I have read a number of accounts and stories about the development of Kung Fu and although there are many similarities there are also are a great number of contradictions. I am not telling you that this is “THE” true account of Kung Fu’s history but rather a gathering of terms and events that bring us out of the darker ages. (More historical notes will be included in future lessons.)

Mui Fa Kuen (Plum Flower Fist)

Mui Fa is an extremely common theme in Chinese Martial Arts due to the popularity of the flower in the rest of Chinese culture. Many other styles of kung fu also have Mui Fa forms. It is said that the original Mui Fa Kuen was a Northern Shaolin set, believed to be founded by Hou Yuan Jia. As well as the Mui Fa fist form there is also many other sets including sword and spear sets, making Mui Fa to be a small system in itself.

This short and simple but very practical form is presented in four directions, like the petals of a plum blossom flower, teaching attacking and defending in each direction. The first Mui Fa set teaches basic footwork and stances as well as initial bridging and kicking techniques. Many fundamentals as well as some of Hung Gar’s trade mark techniques are taught in this set.

A Brief History of Hung Gar Kuen

The evolution of Kung Fu is very closely related to the development of Buddhism practiced by monks all over China. Buddhism wasn’t native to China, but introduced from India (between 58-76 A.D during the Eastern Han Ming Dynasty) where it originates. Over the following Centuries, many Chinese Emperors embraced Buddhism slowly becoming China’s most practiced religion and with it was the introduction of Thousands of Buddhist Temples.

In around 540 A.D, an Indian priest named Bodhidharma traveled to China to spread what would later be named Zen Buddhism. On his journey he came across a temple called Shaolin, at the time famous for translating Buddhist writings into Chinese. Bodhidharma observed that the monks were in poor physical shape as they spent lots of their time writing and meditating, so exercises were introduced to enhance bodily strength and the energy flow. These exercises were developed from Indian Yoga and were based on the movements of both real and mythical animals.

Fighting styles had existed in China for many Centuries before Shaolin started to develop any form of martial arts. Monks at the temple were very peaceful but in the remote areas of the countryside they would often encounter bandits or wild animals. Not all monks would study martial arts, but as time passed many retired soldiers of all ranks converted to Buddhism and joined the temple. This meant that the soldiers could accompany fellow monks making dangerous journeys to provide protection, and with there skills combined with the daily exercise, Shaolin kung fu started to develop. Monks studied and imitated animal movements realizing that they possessed natural self defense and killing techniques in order to survive which the monks refined into there own fighting systems.

As time went on, the Shaolin sect began to divert from the other Buddhist sects as there focus became ever more conditioned toward the study of martial arts which appeared to be somewhat of a contradiction of Buddhist principles. The monks replied simply stating along the lines of “To understand something such as violence makes you better equipped to resolve a conflict”.

In the mid 17th Century, Manchurian invaders led by the Ching family ended the Ming Dynasty and eventually conquered China. Those fleeing from the Chings sought refuge in the Shaolin temple, initially only passive residence was permitted but due to the injustice that the Chinese people suffered, Shaolin soon became the centre of the resistance. At this time Shaolin had five elders:

Jee Shin Sim See- Founder of Shaolin Iron Cloth, creator of Wing Chun and founder of Hung Gar Kuen.

Bai Mei – Founder of Golden Bell Iron Body Chi Gong

Fong Sai Yuk- Famous Swordsman, Founder of White Tiger Kung Fu.

Miu Hin- Founder of Five Shapes Boxing and helped to develop Wing Chun.

Ng Mui- Buddhist Nun and Dim Mak expert, helped to develop Wing Chun, founder of Dragon Shape Boxing and Wu Mei.

In 1647 A.D, the original Shaolin temple in Henan province was burnt to the ground by the Ching. Many of the monks were slaughtered and the rest fled, going into hiding, seeking refuge in other temples and monasteries. The five elders are said to have escaped helping to form other rebel groups and training the people up using there expert fighting knowledge. Fong Sai Yuk, took refuge at Wudan mountain in the Hubei province (home of the internal martial arts), with the aid of his fellow elders he organised a following of up to a million strong called the Heaven and Earth Society.

The Buddhist Nun Ng Mui is later said to have taught Yim Wing Chun, one of her close friends a close range fighting system later to adopt her name (wing chun) , so that she may publicly challenge her husband from a forced marriage to win back her freedom.

Fong Wing Chun, relative of Fong Sai Yuk, was a master of White Crane Kung Fu. She married Hung Hei Goon and it was he using his expertise in Tiger kung fu, combined it with his wife’s knowledge of the White Crane system developed Southern Hung Gar Keun. Hung Hei Goon developed a reputation for being a fighter of great skill and was known as “The Southern Fist”. The essence of Hung Gar can be found in its name. “Hung” means to “stand tall with integrity”.

Hung Hei Goon was a disciple of Jee Shin Sim See. As Hung’s master he usually appears at the top of most Hung Gar lineages, placing the origins directly back to the Shaolin temple.

My Masters & Lineage

Hung Hei Goon

Luk Ah Choi (1740-1845)

Leung Kwan aka “Tid Kiu Sam”(1815-1888)

Ng Hei Kwoon

Hang Yat Sui

Lai Ng Sam (1927-1995)

Jeff Hasbrouck (1947 – )

Phil Dandridge (1962- )

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