Hakka Kung Fu

This is a gem of a video on the Chu Gar system from this Facebook page “Traditional Chinese Martial Arts Confederation“.


The following are some of the things that came to mind as I was watching it :-

a) 1:45 – lifting of the foot reminds me of how we begin the first qigong set known as 行功吊勁 as shown below. The camera was too slow to catch Master Cheong doing it but managed to catch my leg still up in the air.


b) 1:53 – that movement of the belly reminiscent of how one particular lineage of Ip Man does their power as mentioned in my eBook “The Ip Man Questions : Kicks, power & strategies in the martial art of Wing Chun“. This sucking in of the belly is similar to an essential component of the practice of the first qigong

c) 2:20 – another similiarity to first qigong hard-soft alternating practice

d) 2:47 – I see this squatting down and standing up in front of some of our forms. The last part of the first qigong set also has something similar except we do punching as demonstrated by Master Cheong below :-


e) 4:44 – I had a similar feeling from the first qigong set in terms of power

f) 6:31 – I just love traditional styles; they just go straight in for the kill; no techniques that require you to do 2-3 movements before ending with the technique. Ngok Gar Kuen techniques are similar – an example is shown below – just smack them balls, man!


g) 7:29 – despite looking like he has balance on both legs many times his balance is really on one leg and it is good that he mentioned it specifically. Again similar to this particular Ip Man Wing Chun style that also emphasizes keeping the balance on one leg most of the time

h) 8:54 – buttock tension is also an important part of the first qigong practice

i) 9:28 – on the agile wrist – this is why this is the first step to mastery of this particular lineage of Ip Man Wing Chun as I explained in my eBook “2-Dots : Six Learning Steps for Mastering Wing Chun’s Kicking Model” – an example of one of the wrist exercise is shown below :-


j) 10:01 – Wing Chun follows this practice but today it is common to see many Wing Chun masters break this rule. In Tai Chi we use open fingers to project power in solo form practice. For push hands we stress never to keep the fingers apart unless you are doing a holding action

k) 11:41 – the two palms facing up posture – so similar to one of our Ngok Gar Kuen first qigong posture as seen below :-


In hindsight, we should not be surprise that there are similarities between Chu Gar and Ngok Gar given that they are both Hakka systems.

Story Becomes Reality

A long time ago, in a small town, there was a shop selling gas canisters, the type used for home cooking. I used to pass by the place a lot but I never stopped at the shop.

As life would have it, one day my Ngok Gar senior brought me to the shop to talk to the owner. As it turned out the owner used to learn Ngok Gar too.

However, the owner learned from another master but his grandmaster was the same as ours. I heard an interesting story from him about how his teacher came to learn Ngok Gar.

It seemed that his teacher, Philip, was a practitioner of Wing Chun (which style or lineage I have no idea) who one day for whatever reason went to try out the skills of our grandmaster.

The grandmaster invited Philip to attack him. This he promptly did, releasing a fast punch at the old man.

One second Philip’s punch was on the way in. The next second he yelled in pain and jumped back as if he had been struck by lighting.

Perhaps it was a fluke, so thought Philip. The grandmaster sensed that Philip was still doubtful so he asked him to try again to the same conclusion. As with most of these stories, Philip took up Ngok Gar after having been bested.

I found this story interesting because although I have felt what hard blocks were like they didn’t make me jump back. After I had learned Ngok Gar I was still no wiser.

However, some years after I learned from Master Cheong I had an insight that perhaps this particular movement in technique number two of a series of eighteen techniques was the key to doing this. Below is what technique number two looks like (this clip was previously posted on 5 Jan 2017) :-

When I looked through some old clips I found one example of this movement used in an application when I showed my student Ngok Gar techniques. Yikes, it certainly was a painful technique as seen at the end of the clip where he grasped his arm.

Ngok Gar techniques are pretty hardcore and straight forward. Even if you do not jump back in pain the speed of the movements can be overwhelming unless you are trained to handle fast attacks.

These type of hard and fast techniques can be the basis of no-nonsense responses when used for self-defense counters, an example like the one below :-

If I were to ever teach a self-defense course I would structure it around Ngok Gar techniques.