Why learn Kung Fu in Hong Kong and not China?
Well firstly if you’re serious about learning kung fu as a foreigner/expat who doesn’t have much background knowledge about the Chinese language or culture then we would recommend Hong Kong rather than China as the first stepping stone in your martial journey. Beyond everything as a student having understanding and communication is key to understanding the background and fundamentals of kung fu. Studying in Hong Kong which is an English speaking city will make your trip/vacation/stay amply easier as the City has bilingual signs everywhere, bilingual speakers and crucially if you were to visit our Gwoon you would be greeted by bilingual masters and senior students who can help train you and answer your questions.
Having a right start and strong foundation in Kung Fu is critical to a successful and strong martial journey no matter where your destination ends up. Its often stated that its much harder to correct mistakes than learn afresh. Even more stated is the importance of having a good teacher to set you on a good path – the concept of a “leading master’, moreover its just as a famous Hong Kong Kung Fu teacher – Yip Man says, It’s difficult for a student to pick a good teacher, but it is more difficult for a teacher to pick a good student’. Being able to make that impression to your teacher requires communication and presentation and as much cultural difference there is between Chinese and western culture, learning Kung Fu in Hong Kong will give you the best starting point to meeting a good master.
Another aspect of learning kung fu in Hong Kong is that you get to meet a multitude of styles condensed into one city, you’ll be able to meet other like minded martial artists, kung fu stylists and modern mixed martial artists to test your mettle, train your learning and pick your brain. In China, while studying in Shaolin Temples and Mountain Retreats sound tempting you’ll also be pigeon holing yourself into a specific doctrine which as a beginner can endanger you to misconceptions and set you up for a narrow style.
What kind of Kung Fu can I learn in Hong Kong?
While Hong Kong is known for Southern Styles as made famous by the 70’s Kung Fu movie scenes there are still many traditional Kung Fu styles available for you to learn. From Wing Chun to Hung Gar to Choy Li Fut and Bak Pei to northern styles such as the ones we teach at Hkpiguatongbei.
In fact, at our school, we share it with Mak Che Kong of CTMASA at the Gwoon run by ReelEastStudios. On Mondays and Tuesdays you can learn the rare style of Fut Kuen. Otherdays you can learn lion dancing, traditional hung gar training, On Wednesdays, you can learn Baguazhang, Wu Tai Chi and internal fighting applications. On Thursdays, you can learn the rare northern style of Tongbei Pigua Zhang and the bountiful weapons of the style such as Miao Dao, Da Qiang, Spears, Feng Mo Gwun, Mo Mian Quan and more. Sundays you can also study Calligraphy or do private practice and consult the masters who are casually hanging out at the gwoon.
These styles are often the same that are available in China, and on some occasions learning from masters in Hong Kong can offer you an ever richer syllabus and tailored curriculum as the teaching mentality and methodology of Hong Kong has advanced – even offering online lessons and virtual classes.
What kind of Kung Fu can I learn from you?
At Hkpiguatongbei we teach the namesake style of Zuo family Tongbei PIgua Zhang which is a nowadays rare style of Northern Kung Fu that was once prominently practised by the militia and soldiers in Cangzhou. Our syllabus goes back to the founder of Tongbei PIgua Zhang, Zuo Baomei of Zuozhang village which is nearby to the villages that famously practice Bajiquan. Through generations of martial exchange and knowledge Pigua Zhang has become adopted into Baji syllabus and through the efforts of different family styles and pop cultures such as manga, anime and computer games, Pigua Zhang has become a well known yet mysteriously rare style of Kung Fu that is seldom learnt purely as an individual system. At our school, you can learn this Kung Fu style in its raw unedited form as was taught by our ancestors since the 17th Century. In fact, you can still find the villagers practising there today in Cangzhou, however, to get to them and to learn from them will be difficult as internet connectivity is still unmodernized. Hence another reason why learning kung fu in Hong Kong can be much more accessible for foreign students looking to enter the martial scene.
In addition, Master Yeung Yat Fan is a proficient Baguazhang, Xingyi and Taijiquan practitioner having trained in this style for more than 10 – 15 years. He is well versed in the application and combat usage of these styles that is rare taught in most kung fu schools. To learn these kung fu applications alone without the form is an option that Master Yeung can make available, for instance regardless of your tai chi family style you can still learn kung fu push hands aspect and the weapon sparring aspects.
Likewise with Baguazhang whether you have experience in other styles or not, master yeung can expertly tailor your training with his knowledge of traditional applications, weaponry, circle walking and single palm forms to give you greater insight into your body postures, muscle usage and energy generation.
In summary, yes this article is written by yours truly the writer and senior student of Hkpiguatongbei as a somewhat biased piece towards why you should learn kung fu in Hong Kong. As a British born Chinese who came to Hong Kong in 2017 to learn kung fu and having met various masters and teachers I can certainly vouch for the clear advantages to studying here rather than in China or Singpore or even Korea – all places I had considered. Whether its food, temperature, pricing, language, kung fu options – all of this is a clear winner for expats and tourists to visiting hong kong who want to learn kung fu here. If you are considering visiting and would like to set up a private class with myself or yeung sifu, or join our calligraphy or martial art lessons we are both able to accommodate and tailor a session plan with you. We are always looking for keen martial artists who want to learn kung fu the traditional way as the traditional way requires a lot of partner work, partner drills, conditioning, 2 man forms, weapon sets – all things that cannot be trained on your own, lessons that cant be learnt by just watching a video but skills that are taught and learnt through experience. If you are interested do get in touch by leaving a message on our Facebook of Instagram, our contact us page or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org