Fut Gar Buddhist Palm

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Fut Gar or Buddhist Palm is a southern style of Kung Fu which utilizes mostly punches, palm strikes and low kicks. It is further characterized by evasive footwork, circular blocks and using the opponent’s force against him/her.

The words “Fut Gar” literally translate to “Monks Family”. The word in “Kuen” in Cantonese would translate to “fist” “Fut Gar Kuen” would be “Monk’s Family Fist”. Any style of kung fu being practiced by monks could be labeled Fut Gar Kuen.

One style of Fut Gar Kuen has its origins at one of the Sil Lum Temple in Guandong Province. Early on in its history, the monks at this Sil Lum temple or (Shaolin in Madarin) were fortunate enough to learn martial arts from fighters that had mastered the 5 most popular systems of Southern Kung Fu.
These styles were Lau Gar, Lee Gar, Mok Gar, Choy Gar, and Hung Gar. The names of the styles reflected the family names or surnames of the particular styles founder.

These Shaolin monks realized the value of incorporating different schools or styles together and took only the best techniques of each style and discarded all techniques they thought were useless or ineffective. This became Sil Lum Fut Gar Kuen Kung Fu or Monk Family Fist.

The style was made popular in Stephen Chow’s blockbuster movie Kung Fu Hustle, where Chow’s character specializes in it, though obviously exaggerating it all the same.

‘The Buddhist Family fist’ (Fut Gar Kuen) is a southern style Chinese martial art. Quite a popular style of boxing in South China, its origins are in Shaolin Buddhism. It accentuates hand techniques and low kicks. Fut Gar Kuen contains softness within the hard and hardness within the soft.

The name Sil Lum Fut Gar Kuen means Shaolin Buddhist Family Fist, and it can be also used to refer to Shaolin Lohan Kung fu. Shaolin Lohan Kung Fu was first developed from Shaolin Eighteen Lohan Hands by various  Shaolin monks over hundreds of years. Some authorities say that many centuries later, after further development and modification in South China it became known as Fut Gar. Others say Fut Gar is a combination style of the best fighting features of all the five southern family kung fu styles. It is sometimes known under the name Ng Dai Gar Kuen, “Five Great Families Fist”

A style of Kung Fu with internal and external aspects, Fut Gar Kuen uses simple, effective and powerful techniques for self defence. The practice of its forms and exercises combined with meditation and hei gung are also beneficial for a person’s fitness, health and general well being.

This style has a wide variety of tactics and hand techniques. Both long range and short distance palm and fist strikes are employed. Evasive footwork, circular moves and circular blocks are used for defence.

Fut Gar means the Buddha’s Style, and is often used to refer to Shaolin Lohan Gung Fu. There was no founder. Shaolin Lohan Gung Fu was first developed from Shaolin Eighteen Lohan Hands by many unnamed Shaolin monks. Centuries later, after further development and modification in South China by many unnamed masters (who were not monks), it was called Fut Gar. The most widely accepted theory is that Fut Gar is the curriculum of Old Style (Northern Shaolin) brought to the Southern Sil Lum Temple in
Fukien, by Gi Sin Sim Si, and taught to Choy Fook (may be Ng Ging Wo Seung), also known as Ching Cho Wo Seung, and Sam Dak (San De) the later of whom included it in the Five Families System.

There are other stories of Fut Gar’s development: One story claims that Sil Lum Fut Ga Kuen (Buddhist Fist Boxing) was developed in the 1700’s by Leung Tien Chiu using techinques from the five great Masters of the Shaolin Temple; Lau, Lee, Mok, Hung, & Choy. Another story claims that Fut Gar was created by five monks at Southern Sil Lum Temple who mastered the five family styles, which were taught in the temple (Choy, Hung, Lau, Li, and Mok), and that the best techniques from each style were taken to create a new hybrid which would become the new standard curriculum for the temple.

Thus, Fut Gar is sometimes called by another name, Ng Dai Ga, which means Five Great Families, in Cantonese. Either way, Fut Gar was founded in the mid 1800’s, by the monk, Leong Sil Jong, at Shaolin Temple on Mount Slung San, in Honan province. Leong Sil Jong entered the monastery at the age of 10 and left 50 years later, as the highest ranking priest and grandmaster of Gung Fu.

In his travels Leong Sil Jong, arrived in Wong-Nam province, where he met a wealthy nobleman, who requested him to teach kung fu to his frail son Hue Lung Gong. The monk agreed, and the nobleman had a school built; where his son would be instructed for the next 10 years in Sil Lum Fut Gar. It is Hue Lung Gong, who is responsible for spreading the system throughout Southern China. The Monks nephew, Leong Tin Chee, who was already an accomplished martial artist, of over 25 years, discovered that his uncle was teaching in Wong-Nam, and set out to find him.

When he arrived, he found that his uncle (over 80 years old) had recently died. Hue Lung Gong decided to teach Leong Ting Chee (Leung Tien Chiu) to show his appreciation to his master. Tin Chee completed his training at age 40 and returned home to his native province of Guang Xi, and later created his own systems, which his disciples later passed on called Fut Gar Kuen (Buddhist Fist Boxing), and another system called Sae Ying Diu Sao (Snake Form Mongoose Hands).

Shortly thereafter, after having placed first in the free-sparring competition at the National Tournament for ranking Kung Fu masters throughout China in 1928, he went from province to province teaching his art of Fut Gar.

The further development and proliferation of the system is credited to Ching Cho Wor Seung (who was either Choy Fook or Ng Ging) who was a disciple of the Abbot of the Shaolin Temple, and one of the six surviving monks from the destruction of the Fukien Shaolin Temple, and was now living on Bak Pai Shan, in Gong Xi province. Chan Heung (founder of Choy-Li-Fut), sent his student, Cheung Yim, in his place, to learn Fut Gar. Cheung Yim left to train under Ching Cho Wor Seung (Ching Chou), and spent the next ten years training in both the martial arts & medicine. At the end of his training, Ching Cho Wor Seung gave Cheung Yim another
name, and from the, on, he was to be known as Cheung Hung Sing.

One modern master was Lum Tai-Yong, a priest who fled his home in Southern China for Hawai’i in the early part of the 20th century. Lum’s top student, was Arthur Yau Sung Lee, founder of Gee Yung Sil Lum Fut Ga system. Upon Lum’s passing, Lee was handed the mantle of leadership to the school christened Gee Yung.

The current Grand Master of the style is Grand Master Chen, acknowledged to be the only person that knows the entire Fut Gar System. Wu Uncle Chan Yuen Wu was a former Shaolin monk and a practitioner of Fut Gar kung fu.

Chan Yuen Woo, native of King Mui village of San Woi district in Guangdong province was the distance uncle of Chan Heung, founder of Choy Li Fut Kung Fu. Chan Yuen Woo’s Gung Fu is the Fut style of Chan Heung’s Choy Li Fut Kung Fu system. The word Fut in Chinese means Buddha and refers to the Shaolin roots of the style because the original system came from Sam Dak (Dak Jeung), the legendary Sil Lum Monk from the Southern Sil Lum Temple of Putian, Fukien province, and student of Gi Sin Sim Si. Sam Dak went to Guangdong to teach Gung Fu in the Hoi Tung Monastery (which later became the Sil Lum Temple of Guangdong), it is here that Chan Yuen Woo became a student of Sam Dak. Chan Yuen Woo’s Buddhist open hands techniques are very famous.

His striking techniques are: Fut-Sam-Jeung, Tsang-Jeung, Gong-Jeung, Dan-Lan, Seung-Twei-Jeung, Fung-Jeung, Yeung-Kiu, Ding-Jeung, Tuet-Jeung, Yum-Yeung-Jeung, Jit-Jeung, Dip-Jeung, Hop-Sup-Jeung, Dot-Jeung, Kwa-Pak-Jeung, Peet-Jeung and many others. Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong’s Plum Blossom Federation is still teaching Chan Yuen Woo’s famous “Buddha Palm” hand form.

The Essence of Fut Gar: Fut Gar is a system, based deeply in Chinese tradition. Sil Lum Fut Gar Kuen Gung Fu (Shaolin Buddhist Fist Style Kung Fu) is a traditional and practical approach to combat, which depends on smooth, soft, flowing movements. It is an external & internal system, combined. In the style, offensive techniques are diverse and include a variety of circular movements; a Fut Gar fighter will intercept an opponents striking arm and quickly execute multiple counter attacks. “Offense should instantly follow defense in one continuous motion.” In defense, a Fut Gar practitioner follows the saying “Your horse stance must be as strong as Mount Everest”. True power in Fut Gar, travels from the ground through the legs, to the waist; it then activates the body at the Tan Tien, when mixed with chi and spirit.

Fut Gar Training: Fut Gar training includes Self defense, hei (Qi) Gung, Weapons, Traditional Forms, Exercises for health, philosophy & meditation, inner strength, discipline & confidence. Offensive techniques in Fut Gar, are diverse and include wide, circular hook punches and Hammer Fists. Evasive footwork and circular blocks are some of the defensive techniques used. Benefits of Fut Gar training include:

Strong Fighting Theory; Short to Medium Range Attacks; Maneuverability and Footwork; Heavy Focus on Hand Techniques; Flexibility of Techniques for All Body Types.

The Fut Gar style traditionally had 3 empty hand sets and 9 weapons. The empty hand sets are: Hu Dip Jeong (The Butterfly Palm); Sup Ji Kuen (Cross Fist); and Dai Ga Lu (Great Family Set). There are now ten empty-hand forms to practice starting with a hard, almost Karate-like form, all the way to an internal form similar to Tai Chi Chuan; they are: Seah Ying Diu Sau (Snake Form); Tai Ji Kuen (Prince’s Form); Bak Mok (White Hair); Lohan Kuen (Monk’s Fist); Dai Lin Wan (Large Connection); Dai Gum Gong (Big Solid Body); Chut Yup Bo (Out In Step); Maang Fu Ha San (Fierce Tiger Descending the Mountain); and Tien Jaang (Complete Elbow). There is also various weapon training The nine original weapons are: the staff, spear, straight sword, broadsword, butterfly swords, kwan do, tiger fork, three-sectional staff, and the monk’s spade. Some of Fut Gar’s weapons’ forms include: Hak Loong Dao (Black Dragon Broadsword); Fook Fu Gwun (Tiger Taming Staff); Ng Ma Quite Show (Five Horses Returning to the Feeding Post Staff); and Loong Chien Gim (Dragon Well Sword).