The dragon in chinese culture has long and profound history to the earliest times of Chinese settlement. In folklores and mythology passed throughout time and when discussing the immortals, the Dragon is a prominent figure. Such significance that in folkoric sayings the Chinese are often said to be the descendants of the Dragon.
Lung Ying, also known as Long Ying or Dragon Style Kung Fu, is a Hakka martial art originating from the Huizhou area (Dongjiang - East River) of Guangdong province in Southern China. The Style is said to have originated in South China, when Masters from Southern Fujian brought their boxing down to neighbouring Guangdong Provice. It was the Monk Da Yu who resided on Lou Fu Mountain, who transmitted the boxing method to the Lin Family who inherited the skills and later the Lin Family Boxing under the guidance of Lin Yaogui (c. Lam Yiu Kwai) became to be known as Lung Ying (Dragon Style) Boxing. The attacks or Lung Ying are both fast and flowing, focusing on powerful hand strikes supported by agile footwork. As one of the five tigers of Dong Jiang (East River), Lin Yaogui was a famous Kung Fu expert.
Origins of Lung Ying Kuen
Huiyang Lin Jia Quan (c. Lam Gar Kuen, 林家拳）
Lin He, 林合(1831-1908)
Lin He, (林合,c. Lam Hap, 1831-1908 ) also known as Lin Ruiqie (林瑞初) , was from Liang Hu Town, in the Huizhou prefecture of Guangdong. Since a young he was fond of martial arts and began local village boxing from the age of 10. When he was 17 years of age, he met a master known as Huang Lianqiao (黄连矫, also known as Monk Hai Feng), who came from the Haifeng (海丰县), Lufeng regions on the north east of Guangdong province (thus reference to Hai Feng). Lin He studied with Master Huang for over 10 years and became a true master. The martial arts of Hai Feng are likely to have been similar to Luo Shan Boxing or Hu Shi Boxing (also known as Shi Pan village boxing) which are popular in his areas of origin. Others also believe that Master Huang had studied martial arts from Fujian and possibly a member of the Shaolin Yuan or Hong Men activities.
In 1862 he returned to Liang Hu town and opened a school teaching martial arts the "Lin Jia Wu Guan" (林家武馆，Lin Family Matial Arts School). About three years later whilst he was performing in Hai Feng, a passing monk commented how the skills are the same and enquired as to his master. The monk was the elder martial brother of Master Huang , as a result he stayed in Luo Fu Shan (Mt.) for 3 years studying advanced methods with Master Guang Jin (广进禅师) and improved greatly.
After his training, he returned to Liang Hu Town he continued teaching and was known for his Wu De (Martial Virtue). The focus of the school was 1) Strengthen the body, 2) Cure illness and 3) Protect Life.
The school was referred to as Lin Family Martial Arts School and had many well known students such as Lin Shurong (林树荣, 1880-1953), Lin Shulin (林树麟, 1898-1957), Lin Canguang （林灿光）, Lin Huanxian (林焕先）, Lin Ailou (林捱喽，1880-1953), Qin Chengjiu (秦程九) , Lin Qingyuan (林庆元, Lin He's younger brother), Zhang Liquan (张礼泉, founder of Bak Mei) and Lin Yaogui (林耀桂 , Lin Qingyuan's son, i.e. Lin He's nephew). The Lin Family Style is still passed on in areas across Huizhou.
Long Xing Quan (c. Lung Ying Kuen,龙形拳）
|Lin Yaogui, 林耀桂
Lin Yaogui (林耀桂, c. Lum Yiu Kwai, 1874-1965) from Bo Lou County, Huizhou, from a very young age was introduced to the Lin Family martial arts both from his father (Lin Qingyuan) and uncle (Lin He). He progressed very quickly and impressed his teachers. Later when he was just 16 he gave a performance in which he was seen by a disciple (Gao Xiongwen) of Priest Da Yu ( 大玉禅师) . As the techniques were of the same school, the disciple asked for Lin Yaogui to follow him to Hua Shou Tai Temple on Luo Fu Shan and visit Priest Da Yu, where he later studied more advanced boxing methods.
In the 1920's Lin Yaogui and Zhang Liquan （张礼泉） travelled together to Guangzhou to seek opportunities there. In 1929 a challenge from a Russian boxer, saw Lin Yaogui gain fame in Guangzhou. In the early years, Lin Yaogui became so proficient and undefeatable, that he gained the nickname "Dongjiang Lao Hu" (东江老虎，Tiger From East River). He obtained many positions of teaching including the Military, Police and Security forces. Together Lin Yaogui, Zhang Liquan and a Liu Shui (master of Zhu Jia Jiao) were known as the "Dong Jiang San Hu" (东江三虎，Three Tigers from East River), being considered the best fighters of their time.
On the basis of all his studies with Masters including Lin Jia Quan (Lin Family Boxing from his Uncle and father), all his experiences in combat and his deep reflection, Lin Yaogui enhanced the curriculum and consolidated his teachings into establishing Long Xing Quan (Dragon Style Boxing).
The Dissemination of Dragon Style Boxing
Due to the influence of Lin Yaogui, the Long Xing Quan style consists of different lines or sessions. The oldest is from those practitioners that traced their lineage to Lin He (Old Session), then there is the teachings of Lin Yaogui in Guangzhou areas (early session) and then followed by the Hong kong teachings (later session). The lineages all have the same fundamental features but the content and approaches have evolved with some stylistic differences.
Earlier Session - Guangdong Dragon Style Boxing (c. Lung Ying Kuen,龙形拳）
Lin Yaogui had many students during his time in Guangzhou and in his teaching roles for the various government and military personnel. In Guangzhou he had a few notable disciples which included Ma Qi, Ye Kesheng, Hu Keqin, Ceng Gen, Feng Ming, Liao Wenshen, Han Runsheng, Chen De and Chen Biao. These early disciples were responsible for the development of Dragon Style boxing in Guangzhou and mainland China. Ma Qi and Ceng Gen have been the most active in promoting the style in guangzhou and Foshan respectively.
|Back (L-R) : Feng Ming, Liao Wenshen, Han Runsheng, Ceng Gen Front (L-R) : Ma Qi, Lin Yaogui|
Latter Session - Dragon Style Boxing (c. Lung Ying Kuen,龙形拳）
Lin Yaogui during his later years relyed much on his sons to assist in teaching, Master Lin Yaogui enhanced his curriculum as a result of his exposures and experiences and thereafter taught his latter disciples the revised approaches. His sons Lin Huanguang and Lin Canguang became the most notable representatives and taught many in Hong Kong along their father's side. Other notable students include - Huang Hao, Hu Wenchao, Ye Niu, Cao Lin, Li Nan, Xu Yaoxiang, Lin Daoxun, Lin Hean, Lin Fengting, Pan Fang, Kuang Yuan, Huang Daoping, Zou Fu and Chen Chang.
Old Session - Lin Family Boxing (c. Lam Gar Kuen, 林家拳）
Although it was Lin Yaogui that brought fame to Long Xing Quan, the Dragon Style boxing's roots are with Lin Family boxing as passed by Lin He. There are still some lineages remaining from this session which is prior to the consolidation and additions that Lin Yaogui made. Some of the noted generations of this older session are noted below:
Due In Long Xing Quan it is said "Once the bridges touch, launching an attack is a velocity that leaves no shadow" which emphasises the attacking and verocity of Dragon Style Boxing. Characterised by hands being released from the centreline out (the heart area) and by a strategy that applies "When an assailent fiercely attacks, they should be gently neutralised then once there is real contact, then the strong power is released". Thus, Long Xing Quan emphasised both the hard and the soft (Yin and Yang) skillfully interplaying to create a very effective martial art.
Lung Ying Kuen
The locking, seizing and smashing methods of Long Xing Quan are both characteristic and extremely effective. Some of the basic hand techniques include Mo (Touch/Rub), Hua (Deflect), Pi (Hammer), Chu (Adhere) and Na (Grab/Lock). The basic kicks include Dan (Spring), Ti (Kick in), Ti (Lift), Chuai (Step on), Sao (Sweep) and Ti (Lift). Stepping is vital to the style and includes Niu Ma (c. Nau Ma, Twisted Horse), Pai Bu (c Bik Bo, Forcing in Step), San jiao Bu (c. Sam Kiu Bo, Angled Steps).
In terms of power generation, Biao (c. Biu), Dan (c. Tam), Chen (c. Cham), Su (c. Chuk) and Hua c. Fa) are emphasised. We apply the principles of Eyes, Mind, Hands, Waist and Horse (Stance) combined into one, thus once the eyes are there, intention and the hands follow and supported by the waist, once the hands arrive then the horse (step/stance) also is there. Strikes of the Dragon style are Fast, Flowing Continuously, with intention clearly on the targets. The result are fists propelled like shooting arrows and falling meteorites, simultaneously neutralising, collapsing and attacking.
In Long Xing Quan the basics are focused on footwork or stepping patterns and some key hand techniques which include Sui Qiao (c. Soi Kiu), Bei Jian (c. Bui Gim), Kou Pi (c. Kau Pek), San Tong (c. Sam Tung), Mo Gei (c. Mor Kup), Lan Da (c.Lum Da) and Zhuang Chui (c. Cheung Choi). Therafter, Sup Lok Dong (16 Movements) is the basic set which provides an excellent foundation for further studies.