Mar 19, 2010

Hung Gar Iron Wire Set

Tid Sin Kuen (or Tit Sin Kuen), the “iron wire set” is the highest, most advanced set in Hung Gar gungfu.

Tid Sin Kuen has always been regarded as the "secret" set of the style, the set that a master only passes to his best disciples. Only after perfectly mastering most of the prerequisite "fist" and weapon sets could a student proceed to practicing the Tid Sin Kuen. Tid Sin Kuen is mainly an internal set and if practiced incorrectly may cause internal injuries. Occasions where students tried practicing the set without any guidance reportedly complain about pain in the chest, dizziness or even vomiting blood. Therefore the student must be perfectly ready - both spiritually and physically - when he starts to learn Tid Sin Kuen.  Read more.

The set itself consists of “dragon” movements, which combine proper breathing techniques with isometric techniques, thus combining the opposites or yin and yang.  Because the breathing techniques are considered soft, and the isometrics hard, the set is known as “iron thread” - “hard as iron, soft as thread”.

In conjunction with isometric techniques sounds are made; some soft (yin), some hard (yang). These sounds are related to the emotions, which affect the body’s organs, as explained by the theory of the “five elements”. The “sounds” imitate the "five emotions" (anger, joy, sadness, sorrow and fear) and, together with the breathing, stimulate the flow of "energy" and functions of the "five organs" (liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys). The set regulates the qi, making the body sweat and thereby cleansing the body. Also the set restores imbalances in the qi circulation, so makes the body healthy and stronger. Restored qi circulation also balances the mental state, lengthening life and – last but not least – power (ging) in the fighting techniques.

Tid Sin Kuen also trains the forearms, called Kiu sau (literally bridge hands). The practitioner learns to use the internal energy (sending the qi) and strength (tensing the muscles) to get the most out of his/her forearm techniques. The use of the forearms follows 12 principles, named the "twelve bridge hands methods” (Sapyi kiu sau faat). They are “gong” (hard), “yau” (soft), “bik” (pressing/coercing), “jik” (straight), “fan” (separating), “ding” (solid/steadiness), “chyun” (inch), “tai” (lifting), “lau” (staying/reserve), “wan” (utilizing/sending), “jai” (establishing/controlling), and “ding” (setting/finalizing/piercing).

These forearm principles and techniques are also found in the other sets of Hung Gar, though not as concentrated. Tid Sin Kuen uses little footwork so only a small area is needed for practice. It takes 20 – 40 minutes to perform the set, so it’s very different from the quick fighting techniques in the other sets.

Performer: Sifu Yui Chow Article: Hunggarkuen HatTip:Kungfu Magazine


QiNYC said...

While Sifu Chow shows an expert performance of the form in the video, he is NOT performing Tid Sin Kuen. Rather, he is performing the Gung Ji Fuk Fu Kuen form, which is a basic training form of Hung Gar. It is the first form that students learn, not the last.

Unknown said...

Hi QiNYC, thank you for your kind remarks. This is a modified (and much shortened version for demo purposes) of Tit Sien Kuen (which has elements of Gung Ji Fuk Fu Kuen in it). I chose to play with the form as I learned it for this show. As I understand it, Iron Wire seem to be different amongst the various lineages (so you may have learned/seen a different version), but they all possess the same foundation - which is to develope hard gung through Noi Gung training.

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