Although Hong Xi-guan (Cantonese: Hung Hei-gun) is usually credited as the founder of hung gar (Mandarin: hong jia chuen, which means the kung fu style of the Hong family), a lot of credit goes to Hong Xi-guan’s teacher, Shaolin monk Zhi Shan, one of the Five Elders of Shaolin. Zhi Shan’s lineage as a student traces back to Tsai De-zhong, one of the Five Ancestors of Shaolin.
As the story goes, when Hong Xi-guan combined his tiger kung fu claw techniques with white-crane kung fu, which was created by his wife, Fong Yong-chuin (Cantonese: Fang Wing-chun), the resulting tiger-crane set became the premier form of hung gar.
At the time Hong Xi-guan created the form, the Ching dynasty had banned martial arts training in China. After the burning of the Jiu Lian Shan Shaolin Temple in Fujian province, Hong Xi-guan began secretly teaching martial arts at a temple in Guang Dong (Cantonese: Canton). Once the government lifted the ban, he set up a school in Fa Cheng and named his style hung gar in order to hide its Shaolin roots from the government.