Jow-Ga Kung Fu
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Jow-Ga Kung Fu (Chinese: 周家) (aka Zhou Jia) (Chinese: 周家功夫) is a form of Kung Fu. It was founded by Jow Lung who was born in 1891, on the eleventh day of the third lunar month (April 16, 1891) in Sa Fu Village of the Canton Province, and died in 1919. His father was Jow Fong Hoy and his mother’s maiden name was Li. At the time of its inception, this particular style of Kung Fu was labeled as having the head of Hung Gar, the tail of Choy Gar and the patterns of the tiger and leopard, or simply Hung Tao Choy Mei. It was so labeled because the essential techniques incorporated the muscular and mighty movements of Hung Gar and the swift footwork and complex kicking of Choy Gar, making it a very effective form of self defense with emphasis on simultaneous attack and defense.
Beginnings in Southern China
Jow Lung 周龍 began his martial arts training with the local town master Zou Geng 邹耕.
Jow Lung 周龍 also had an uncle named Jow Hung Hei 周雄喜 A top fighter in Sun Wui county & a student of Wong Fei Hung's father Wong KayYing. He taught Jow Lung and his brothers Jow Hip, Jow Biu, Jow Hoy and Jow Tin "Nam Siu Lam Hung Gar".
Jow Hung Hei recognized Jow Lung as his best student due to his hard work. Due to the return of a chronic illness, Jow Hung Hei would teach him the remaining techniques and the Pa Kua staff fighting techniques. Only a month later Jow Hung Hei died.
The death of his uncle did not stop Jow Lung from continuing his studies learning Kung Fu. He traveled to Siu Hing County to become the student of Choy Gau Gung 蔡九公 who taught the Choy Gar 蔡家 Kung Fu style.
Constantly exploring the strong points of each style with his brothers (Hung Ga's Steady Power & Penetrating Strikes and Choy Ga's Fast Changes & Fluid Footwork), they came up with the name "Hung Tao Choy Mei (Hung's Head & Choy's Tail)洪頭蔡尾".
Jow Lung's Travels in South East Asia
Due to family hardships, Jow Lung (age 19) left home (first to Singapore then to Malaysia) to find work. While there, he was involved in a fight that fatally wounded a gangster. On the verge of collapse from exhaustion and starvation he sought refuge at a Monastery. Abbot Chian Yi/Hong Yi being most sympathetic to his plight allowed him to stay. After several months of keen observation, the Abbot had no doubt as to Jow Lung’s character and began teaching him Bak Siu Lam (Northern Shaolin) Kung Fu that he learned in Honan Province. The Abbot encouraged Jow Lung to combine all 3 of the Kung Fu systems he had mastered into a single style. He stayed in the monastery for over three years before achieving this goal. After returning home Jow Lung instructed his brothers on the new style.
Acceptance in Canton and death of Jow Lung
In 1915 General Lee Fook Lam of Canton needed a chief trainer for his army. He issued an open invitation for anyone interested to compete in an elimination tournament. Out of 100 applicants only Jow Lung had defeated all his opponents and was then appointed to the position. Jow Lung sent for his brothers to assist with the training of the soldiers.
In 4 years they taught and steadily refined the teaching methods and material into a new system which they decided to call it "Jow Ga Style". Due to the system’s effectiveness and the fame of their fighting abilities, the brothers were honored with the title "Five Tigers of Jow Ga" (周龍五虎傳).
Sadly, in 1919 - Jow Lung, due to exhaustion from teaching and promoting the Jow Ga Style, died at the age of only 29 from Pneumonia.
New Leadership and continued growth
After the death of Jow Lung the family met and elected Jow Biu to assume leadership of the system. Jow Biu resigned his position with the army and began promoting the Jow Ga system of Kung Fu. Within one year he had established 14 Jow Ga schools throughout China and within a few years the number had grown to more than eighty.
In 1936 the first school was established in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The Hong Kong school produced several notable masters. Among them, Chan Man Cheung, Lui Chu Shek, Wong Kun Leung, Lee Au and many others. Jow Tin and Jow Hip also came down to Hong Kong to teach, many of their disciples are still teaching in Hong Kong.
Today, Jow Ga is very popular around the world.
Primary (Seen as Core Jow Gar Forms)
Siu Fook Fu Kuen - Small Tiger (小伏虎拳) - The oldest and foundation form of Jow-Ga, teaching the primary fundamental techniques that are essential in order to master the system. Almost all the stances and the majority of techniques are contained here. Hung Gar origins are obvious.
Dai Fook Fu Kuen - Big Tiger (大伏虎拳) - An advanced form used to practise strong stances. Usually a number of movements are done in one stance before moving. The first part (the longer part of the form) trains some Chi Kung and also the Kiu (Bridge, 橋) representing Hung Gar. The second part of the form is much shorter and consists of rapid movements, representing Choy Gar. . This form emphasizes the gist of the style known as "Hung Tao, Choy Mei".
Chai Jong Kuen - Wooden Post Fist (柴樁拳) - is one of the more powerful forms known distinctly for its constant power movements and its utilisation of the shadowless kick. It tends to use the leopard technique and some of the Chi Kung techniques.
Man Gee Kuen - 10,000 Fist (萬字拳) - A form that literally is "The head of Hung, and tail of Choy". This form starts off at a slower pace with many Hung Gar movements, as the form progress the pace speeds up because of the use of rapid stance-changing as in Choy Gar. It is quite a long form and trains some Chi Kung and endurance as well. It also has the "Bill Gwa Jon" (標掛撞) technique, which is 3 movements performed consecutively.
Fu Pao Kuen - Tiger Leopard (虎豹拳) - Usually last form to learn and most famous. It teaches many advanced fighting combinations. There is one ground technique which closely resembles a kneebar done on a standing opponent.
Secondary (Not Found in All Jow Gar Lineages)
Say Ping Kuen - Four-Level Fist (四平拳) - Also known as Four-Square, this basic set is sometimes taught before the Small Tiger because it is shorter. Teaches many of the basics of Jow-Ga (including some techniques not included in the Small Tiger). Consisting of between 60-70 moves of mostly Hung Gar origin including the fundamental branch binding hand sequence. Also is the first basic form to include (in some lineages) a jumping kick.
Lohan Kuen - Arhat Fist (羅漢拳) - Lohan is a mythical figure in Chinese Buddhism, and many Chinese martial arts have a form dedicated to such a being. It is characterized by large powerful movements. It is also a form that emphasizes the use of "Chong Chui" (Rushing Fist, 羅漢洗面), and also introduces the "Lohan washing his face" which is actually 3 techniques (Cup Chui, Com Chui, and Jon Chui) done consecutively. This form was created by Chow Biu after he came to Hong Kong.
Fa Kuen - Flower Fist (花拳) - A mix and match form, supposedly created during an impromptu performance given by Chow Bill at a banquet. Thus at the start of the form it looks like a mix of movements from several forms.
Ying Jow Kuen - Eagle Claw Fist (鷹爪拳) - This form teaches swift movements and quick attacks, characterised by 3 consecutive clawing movements and a fourth claw movement on the ground after a flying kick.
Kwok Gee Kuen - China/Country Fist (國字拳) - An advanced form which is quite long and incorporates almost all of the Jow-Ga systems primary techniques. It has a distinct Northern Shaolin kicking technique in the end.
Sup Gee Kuen - 10 Character Fist (十字拳) -
Lok Kwok Chung Kuen - 6 Cornered Seed Fist (六隅子拳) -
Siu Hung Kuen - Small Red Fist (小紅拳) -
Dai Hung Kuen - Big Red Fist (大紅拳) -
Dan Gong Fook Fu Kuen - Single Crouching Tiger Fist (單弓伏虎拳) -
Seung Gong Fook Fu Kuen - Double Crouching Tiger Fist (雙弓伏虎拳 ) -
Fu Hok Seung Ying Kuen - Tiger Crane Double Shape Fist (虎鶴雙形) -
Tit Jin Kuen - Iron Arrow Fist (鐵箭拳) -
Sher Ying Bat Gua Zheung - Snake Shape 8 Diagram Palm (蛇形八卦掌) -
Siu Ng Ying Kuen - Small Five Animal Fist (五形拳) -
Dai Ng Ying Kuen - Big Five Animal Fist (大五形拳) -
Being an ever evolving style the Jow Gar system is always growing in material just like a library or university. One thing all Jow Gar schools have in common is their focus on Martial Virtue seen in their distinctive Bow that is executed before any performance.
The Jow Ga system contains all the primary weapons found in Southern and Northern Styles.
Darn Tao Gwan (Single Headed Stick) 單頭棍
- Ng Lung Bat Gwa Gwan (5th Brother 8 Diagram Pole) 五郎八卦棍
- Jung Bat Gwa Gwan (Middle 8 Trigram Pole)
Seung Tao Gwan (Double Headed Staff) 雙頭棍
Darn Dao (Single Saber) - Fu Mei Darn Dao (Tiger Tail Single Saber)虎尾單刀
Ying Cheung (Tassle Spear) 槍 - Mui Fa Cheung (Plum Flower Spear) 槍
Seung Tao Cheung (double headed spear) 雙頭槍
Seung Dao (Double Saber) -Sup Gee Mui Fa Seung Dao (Cross Pattern plum flower double saber) 梅花雙刀*
Bao Jong Doa (Forearm Knives) 刀- Wu Dip Seung Dao (Butterly Double Knives)
Dai Dao (Big Halberd) 大刀
- Kwan Dao (Kwan's Knife) 刀
- Gau Wan Dai Dao (9 Ring Big Halberd) 大刀
- Choi Yeung Dai Dao (General Choi Big Halberd) 大刀
Dai Pa (Big Lance) 大巴
- Dai Fu Pa (Big Tiger Lance/Trident) 大巴
- Fut Ga Dai Pa (Budhist Family Big Lance/Trident) 大巴
- Sae Mao (Snake Lance)
- Fong Tien Gik (Heaven Splitting Lance)
Darn Gim (Single Sword) 單劍- Jik Mei gim (Swallow Tail Sword)
Darn Bin (Single Whip) 單鞭 - Lung Mei Bin (Dragon Tail Whip)
Seung Bin (Double Whip) 雙鞭 - Mui Fa Seung Yun Bin (Double Plum Blossom Chain 梅花雙軟鞭)
Sam Jit Gwan (3 Section Staff)
Seung Pei Sao (Double Daggers) 雙
Chor Tao (Farmers Hoe)
Gao Chi Dai Pa (9 Tooth Big Lance/rake)
Ma Kiu Dun (Horse Bridge Bench)
Lung Wan Sin (Dragon Cloud Fan)
Weapons Forms vary from lineage to lineage. - some have many more different weapon sets.
Jow Ga is most famous for its double-sabres ("梅花雙刀"), so much so that it is used in the standard Jow Ga Logo "double-sabre" underneath the Jow character ("周") written inside a five petaled plum flower.
Siu Fook Fu Doi Chak - Small Controlling Tiger Combat Fighting
Man Gee Kuen Doi Chak - 10,000 Character Combat Fighting
Daan Tau Gwan Deui Chaak (Single-Headed Pole Sparring Set 單頭棍對拆)
Seung Tau Gwan Deuichaak (Double-Headed Pole Sparring Set (雙頭棍對拆)
Daan Dou Deui Cheung (Saber versus Spear Sparring Set (單刀對槍)
Seung Doa Doi Cheung - double Saber Combats Spear (雙刀對槍)
Daai Dou Deui Cheung (Halberd versus Spear Sparring Set (大刀對槍)
Seung Bei Sau Deui Cheung (Daggers versus Spear Sparring Set 雙匕首對槍)
Fu Dai Pa Doi Darn Doa Dip - Tiger Big Lance/Trident Combats Single Saber with Shield
Bau Jong Doa Doi Cheung - Elbow Knives(Butterfly Knives)Combats Spear
The Jow Ga Style is famous for its lion dance. Their participation can be seen in numerous performances at various important ceremonies, primarily Chinese New Year, Weddings and Government Functions.