Shaolin Fo Jia Chuan or Sil Lum Fut Gar Kuen
Sil Lum Fut Gar Kuen - The Traditional Southern Style That is the predecessor to modern Wing Chun
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Shaolin Fo Jia Chuan Or Sil Lum Fut Gar Kuen
During the time China's Ching Dynasty, which ruled during the 18th century, a style of kung fu called Sil Lum Fut Ga Kuen was created.
Any citizen who would dare oppose the Ching government was tortured and killed. The Han Chinese, who made up the majority of the population, was subjected to the worst kind of physical and mental degradation under the Manchu rule.
Secret societies of revolutionaries dedicated to the overthrow of the Manchus formed. These secret organizations consisted of many of China's most skilled fighters
Hence, the Ching Dynasty realized the threat posed by well-trained fighters against the Ching Regime. Manchurian rulers required commitments of loyalty from all martial arts masters. Those masters who refused were put to death.
Therefore, many revolutionary fighters were executed. Others were forced into exile. The Shaolin temples, located in the center of the country, served as refuges for many soldiers, dissidents, and persons fleeing persecution.
However, several of these refugees were martial arts experts. Their combined presence at the temple allowed for the exchange of different fighting styles and techniques.
Thus, these fighters helped to refine and improve the techniques already known by the monks, during their stay. The monks, in turn, fused these techniques with their system of meditation and qigong.
The 5 Famous Families Of Southern Style Kung Fu
One monk living at the Sil Lum Monastery was fortunate enough to receive the attention and guidance of 5 different masters of Kung Fu. He learned from masters of Lau Ga, Li Ga, Mok Ga, Hung Ga, and Choy Ga styles. Each Kung Fu style had unique characteristics and emphasized different techniques.
For example, Hung Ga Kuen emphasized brute strength and a low wide stance. The stances in Hung Ga Kuen are deep and low to develop strength in the legs but become very upright when fighting. You should be able to stay rooted and balanced standing upright because of the feeling gained at the deep posture.
Next, Mok Ga was famed for its kicks. You attack an opponent's knees and feet in this style.
Finally, Lau Ga Kuen contained all of the locking hand techniques.
This one monk integrated this accumulated knowledge into a single style. This monk kept only the martial arts techniques he felt were most efficient. He then discarded all techniques he considered less essential. He condensed them down to only those techniques he thought were really going to work in a true fight.
This is SiI Lum Fut Ga Kuen.
Sil Lum Fut Gar Kuen contains elements that are typical of both Northern and Southern Gong Fu styles.
Sil Lum Fut Gar Kuen - The Style Of Ng Mui
To begin with, The Sil Lum Temple takes in mostly men for members. To live at the Sil Lum Temple during this time in history, you almost certainly had to be a man.
However, one outstanding lady monk or nun studied this system, her name was Ng Mui.
Ng Mui was a very powerful martial artist and gained the respect of all of the men at the temple. She would sometimes leave Sil Lum and visit the neighboring villages. It is during one of her outings that she met a young woman named Yim Wing Chun.
The Wing Chun Connection
In this case, Ng Mui taught another famous teacher named Yim Wing Chun.
However, Wing Chun felt the training was too strenuous and took a long time to master. So, Wing Chun created and perfected a system of her own which now bears her name. In fact, there is still a very strong resemblance to some of the Sil Lum Fut Ga movements in Wing Cun Kung Fu, especially in the hands.
The Buddhist Connection
Unlike many other martial arts forms, Sil Lum Kung fu origins are based in religion. The Sil Lum Temple was founded as a part of the Chan Sect. Imported into China, the Chan sect was a school of Buddhism that was founded in the Sixth century.
The Chan Sect was a school of Buddhism imported to the Chinese culture during the early Sixth century. The Chan Sect soon became the dominant Buddhist school in China, with more than 79 percent of the country's temples practicing its teachings.
Actually, two completely separate Sil Lum temples were built, one for the Northern sect and one for the Southern sect. These Sil Lum Temples distinguished themselves from the others in that their monks were martial arts experts. Throughout history, dedication to studying and living the scriptures of Buddhism, and intense martial arts training were the hallmarks of the life of a Shaolin monk.
What Is Traditional Kung Fu?
Did you know that some people call my school and ask if I teach ‘traditional” kung fu? Usually, I say yes. Then I think to myself what a loaded question that is. I really have no idea how to answer them because “traditional” can mean so many different things to different people. The art of kung fu itself is ancient. For example, it is hundreds of years old. So, kung fu is “traditional” in that these many techniques survived the test of time because of their efficiency.
However, some schools think “traditional” as being one true way.
They do not intertwine other styles and even they go so far as to say “We teach the art as it was taught by the founder”.
Traditional thought could not be farther from this. The art that I teach called Sil Lum Fut Ga Kuen is an intertwining of five different styles itself.
We would not be practicing Sil Lum Fut Ga Kuen today if the original creator of this martial arts style had taken this so-called “traditional” approach. Bruce Lee was not the first person to incorporate different styles into his training. Martial arts are always evolving because people are all different.
Specifically, what works for you might not work for someone else. For example, a tall person with a long reach will want to stay to the outside rather than get in real close. However, someone with long legs will want to develop their kicks to a high level while if you have a short muscular build you will want to get in tight against the person you are fighting.
Each individual student should receive customized instruction in martial arts. Any martial arts instructor worth their salt will realize this obvious fact.
Use Everything You Know
In conclusion, most people when entering a new school may know some martial arts already.
Very few of these new students like to demonstrate their previous knowledge. Sometimes, they may think it disrespectful or as showing off somehow. However, I always emphasize in my classes for you to use what you know if it is going to help you become a better fighter.
For example, you can use Free fighting or shadow boxing as drills that combine all of your skills together. You should try to become fluid at using them all the styles in conjunction seamlessly.
To summarize, you can take from each art the strength of the art. Kung Fu is really good at targeting. Kung fu hits the eye, throat, and groin as its primary targets. You can steal from boxing the defensive tactics and evasion techniques. A good boxer utilizing slips can become virtually unhittable. From jujitsu, you can incorporate the grappling techniques and ground fighting. Escrima has the best knife defense drills and tactics. You can incorporate Wing Chun Kung fu’s chi sau drills which develop a very high level of sensitivity and flow.
Lastly, my own personal goal and the goals of many of my students, are to become complete fighters. In my very “traditional” school I recommend using everything at your disposal to become one
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