Hung Gar: Tiger
Unrelenting ferocity, power, and courage, these are the three virtues expressed by the mighty Tiger. It is the Tiger that is the heart and soul of Hung Gar Kung-Fu. Hung Gar was the last fighting style developed at the Shaolin Temple and, in the minds of many, is the crystallization of the Shaolin doctrine of fearless confrontation of evil.
The Tiger is the embodiment of the element or quality of Metal (Chinese five element theory). Tiger, like Metal, is heavy but sharp, it is steadfast and maintains it’s durability in transitioning shape. Tiger is power, directed by the will of the individual and executed by the extremely tough and durable body Tiger style training develops.
The author believes the traditional methodology of Tiger training has yet even to be equaled, let alone surpassed, by a modern equivalency. Illusions of separation between mind, body, and spirit are torn away; as the practitioner strains under constant grueling physical tension, spurned on by the memory of his or her reasons to attain such strength, as well as the righteous spiritual impulses to endure for the sake of something greater.
By the dedicated practice of long duration dynamic and isometric tension sets, supplemented with hoisting heavy iron, and coupled with severe handgrip training, one develops the thick, powerful bones, joints, muscles, hands, legs, back, and spine the Tiger is known for.
Hung Gar Tiger martial theory is about entering into, occupying and controlling the opponent’s space. You give them nothing but take from them everything. When they retreat, you follow (carefully but confidently). Application of Tiger theory allows evil no time or space to regroup or rest, depriving your opponent of his or her balance, stealing their strength, destroying their defenses and using hard vicious assaults to both their body and senses.
Shaolin doctrine is Buddhist teaching and sect. For centuries the Tiger was used to give shape to the Buddhist’s conception of what Christianity would call the “Devil”, a fearsome and terrifying power which often went unseen until it was too late. Fear of being hunted by a Tiger extended to spiritual and moral matters.
It was concluded that neither Tigers nor destructive powers, be they natural or supernatural, would ever go away. Instead, the Monks of Shaolin embraced the spirit of the Tiger, tamed it and turned it against the forces of evil through the creation of Hung Gar Kung-Fu. Hung Gar’s results have proven so spectacular they still echo throughout the 21st century like a Tiger’s roar.