training for Life
Column by Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong
July 2008 Issue

Choy Li Fut's Horse Style Hand Form

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The Choy Li Fut kung fu system was founded by Chan Heung in the King Mui Village of Xinhui district of Jiangmen city of China in 1836. This kung fu system combined the Shaolin kung fu techniques of Choy's handwork, Li's footwork and Fut (Buddhist) open handwork. Choy li fut has ten different animal style hand forms. Most people today are only familiar with the classical five animal forms which are the Dragon, Tiger, Leopard, Snake and Crane. However, the new five animal forms are not very well known. The other half of the ten animals are the Lion, Elephant, Horse, Monkey and Tiger Cub. Many southern kung fu practitioners have heard of all these ten animals, but know little of their techniques and movements, because there was not much information written about them.

The Horse style hand form (Ma Ying Kuen) is not practiced by many people these days. When the name of horse form is mentioned, most people confuse it with Choy Li Fut's horse stance training forms. The main horse stance training form is called "Ng Lun Ma" or Five Wheel Horse. The King Mui lineage also has an advanced stance training form called "Jau Sang Ma" or Lively Running Horse. Both of these sets are for footwork training only and have nothing to do with the Horse style kung fu form.

Choy Li Fut's Horse Hand Form is a very unique kung fu form. In the Choy Li Fut system only few schools from the founder's family might still have it. The horse hand form came from Choy Fook, the system founder's third teacher. This unique hand form has 74 steps in the original King Mui form script (kuen Po); in total the horse hand form has 102 movements. Besides the individual horse hand form, there is also a Horse vs. Elephant two person fighting form.

The Ma Ying Kuen or Horse Hand Form has both hand and foot fighting techniques. The form has punching, kicking and jumping movements. There are some fancy names for these unique techniques such as: white horse tunes his hoof, heavenly horse flying in the sky, wild horse chasing the bull, old horse pulling the carriage, twin horse jumping out from the stable, male horse licking the cub, war horse raising up his front hoofs, black horse swinging his head and many more. All the fighting techniques use a combination of different basic handwork, footwork and stances. The basic hand techniques are the pek (chopping), jong (uppercut), kwa (back fist), kup (stamping fist), tsop (poke), dot (whipping fist), tsang (thrusting hand), jit-fu (tiger blocking), jin-chui (arrow fist) and cheong-ngan-chui (eye snatching fist). The footwork techniques are: sow-geuk (sweeping leg), sin-geuk (sliding leg), dau-sum-geuk (heart thrusting kick), da seung-fei (butterfly kick), fei-geuk (flying kick), fan-geuk (back reversed foot), ngau-geuk (hook kick), kup-geuk (stamping leg), kwa-geuk (hanging leg), jong-geuk (up lifting kick) and tsang-fu (pressing tiger leg). Other stances and footwork include; sieh-ma (slanting stance), gwai-ma (cross stance), tau-ma (stealing stance), nau-ma (twist stance), lok-quai-ma (kneeing stance), diu-ma (suspending stance), ding-ji-ma (ding character stance), sei-ping-ma (square stance) and duk-lup-ma (single leg stance).

To perform the horse hand form correctly the practitioner must be able to perform fast and powerful hand movements with agile and flexible legs. Strong hands and powerful kicks are the main tools one should develop for this unusual Choy Li Fut form. It's a form with both southern hands and northern kicks.

Doc-Fai Wong writes a bi-monthly column for Inside Kung-Fu.

July 2008 Inside Kung-Fu