Hung Gar is a southern Chinese style of kung fu developed in the 19th century. Like other Chinese martial arts, Hung Gar has its roots in the Shaolin form of kung fu and its five animal styles: dragon, tiger, crane, snake and leopard. The Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy of Mooresville, North Carolina, calls Hung Gar a primarily tiger style, but incorporates techniques from the other animal styles. This style of kung fu emphasizes strong stances, powerful hand strikes and low kicks.
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Form a horse stance by standing with your feet double the shoulder-width apart. Distribute your body weight evenly between both legs with your feet pointing forward. Then bend your knees and sink down into the stance, keeping your back straight and buttocks tucked. The Hung Kuen website, an online Hung Gar resource, cautions that you should not lean forward or backward while in the stance. The horse stance gets its name because it resembles a rider straddling a horse. Hung Gar uses various stances but the horse stance is a basic position from which you can practice many of the style’s techniques. Strong stances provide a foundation for good kung fu technique. In addition, practicing the horse stance develops balance.
Stand in a horse stance, as described in step 1, then form fists with your palm facing upward and the fingers curled into the palm. Your thumb, meanwhile, should be tight against the index and middle fingers. Cock both arms by holding tight fists against your hips, with your elbows pointed back. Using a heavy bag for practice, punch the bag, alternating between the right and left hands. When striking the bag, your palm should face down. The Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy advises starting soft with your fist training. Striking objects too hard before the fists are properly conditioned can cause injury.
Hold your arms in front of your face, palms facing outward, then curl your fingers forward to form claws. Then using a heavy bag for practice, extend your hand forward, striking the bag with your palm. Alternate between the right and left hands as you practice this technique, known as the tiger claw. Stand in a horse stance with fists cocked to practice this technique, forming the tiger claw as you extend each arm toward the heavy bag. The Hung Gar Academy says the tiger claw technique uses the palm for striking and the fingers for grabbing and gouging. An effective tiger claw targets the temple, eyes, throat and other sensitive areas of an opponent.