If you’re on the prowl for new ways to improve your martial arts skills and expand your knowledge base, the five animals of Shaolin kung fu are for you. By studying the fighting methods of the snake, crane, tiger, leopard and dragon, you’ll glimpse kung fu through the eyes of
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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.