Snake, Cat, Crane Combined Fist: Hung Style

Hung Jia Kung Fu Snake Cat Crane combined fistThere sit a number of books in my Kung Fu library that I hope to someday get a chance to translate. One of these—an inexpensive volume with wonderful pictures which I have returned to over and over—is the Hung Jia form: Snake, Cat and Crane Combined Boxing. The postures intrigue me. What exactly was the relation of this form to its more famous brothers like Tiger/Crane, Iron Thread and such?

A while back we were informed by our friend Eric Shou-li Yao that he was involved in publishing this book, en face, in Chinese and English. It seemed that the author was Leung Wing-hang, Eric’s grand-uncle. It also appeared that while Eric had a later edition than ours it was less accurate. We were delighted to try to help and I remember taking our copy and holding it against a window while Debbie photographed each page to send to him.

And now the Snake, Cat Crane book is here. Not only does it contain the entire form, but it gives some great historical information on the creation of this set and, in the wider picture, the creative process that was occurring with many other teachers developing a rash of customized forms such as Ying-Jaau-Tong-Long-Bo-Yin-Sun (Eagle Claw, Mantis Step, Swallow Body).

Leung also became the martial arts director for that famous movie series about Wong Fei-hong, showing real Kung Fu technique for the first time on the big screen.

Besides teaching Kung Fu Leung Sifu was a Dit Da (traumatology) specialist. And a chrysanthemum painter. A student of Lam Sai-wing, his every posture has the correct spirit, the right fragrance, the truest shape.

Why cat not tiger? Snake, not dragon? There are reasons. This book is a fine addition to a Kung Fu library not only for Hung style but for enthusiasts of Kung Fu history. This text doesn’t just re-issue the original but it keeps the end papers, prefaces, and personal notes for fellow practitioners and admirers which is such a part of martial culture.

5 Responses to “Snake, Cat, Crane Combined Fist: Hung Style”

  1. Gabe says:

    Very interesting.
    I’m curious to see if it is closer to the form I have on tape or this clip on youtube:

  2. Stan Meador says:

    If only these books all came with DVDs these days! This one looks like a precious find! Too bad I spent my allowance already. Looking forward to finally reading the Bandit Knife when it arrives in my hands next week!

  3. Patrick says:

    Gabe. I learned this a million years ago. I also had book in Chinese. Yes it looks like what is in book. The routine I learned was tighter and not as extended.

  4. This reminds me of the 80s kungfu flicks where they featured hung gar style. I would bet that I’ve seen this form in some of those movies!

  5. Gabe says:

    I have compared the book with both the Youtube video and the old VHS from Green Dragon. The Youtube video is much closer to what is in the book. The versin from Green Dragon contains the basic moves but they have been rearranged and a few things have been added like a tornado kick near the end. What I cannot assess are the dynamics and transitions as those are very difficult to communicate with still photographs.

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