The internal Kung Fu styles are Tai Chi, Xing Yi and Bagua. Some say Bajiquan and Liuhe Bafa are also internal martial arts. The bulk of their teachers and practitioners believe that internal structure has more value than technical applications or muscular strength conditioning.
To put it straight, they feel that Gung Ji Fuk Fu is not worth learning for strength and stamina, and Tiger and Crane is not worth learning for speed. They feel that Iron Wire Fist is the only skill worth learning in the entire Hung Gar syllabus.
It is our standard to bring our strength and stamina to any fight. If someone does not have stamina and muscular strength, that person is not a Hung Gar fighter. In fact, I intend to retire the day I realize I no longer have enough stamina and strength to fight.
Gung Ji Fuk Fu is a long form that takes roughly 5 minutes to complete, compared to the 70 seconds of most styles' forms. This is because we involve isometric strength with strokes done one by one. Force generation is done separately each stroke and is not strung up with a flow. This trains muscular strength at a steady rate while expanding the aerobic endurance.
Iron Wire Fist is a force multiplier. For people who already have Hung Gar bridge hands structure and energy, plus already have relevant muscular strength and aerobic endurance, Iron Wire Fist will make their strikes and arm position jockeying power overwhelming to even the fittest. That said, you don't amount to much when you have little force to multiply. You can't use your internal structure when your lungs are panting all over and your eyes blur from aerobic stress.
Hung Gar practitioners do shouting breaths to coordinate power. The body is proven in medical science to let go of joint restriction when breathing out. It is quite natural to release a shout, you actually have to strain your throat to mute your voice box when breathing out.
The benefits of breath control is highly valued in Hung Gar Kung Fu. We believe that breathing produces involuntary isometric stability to the muscles and joints for more devastating strikes. It also regulates our cardiorespiratory circulation and greatly enhances our combat endurance. We learn how to use abdominal, thoracic and combined breathing. Breath control is not limited to Hung Gar Kung Fu. It is generic to most Kung Fu styles.
For Tai Chi, Xing Yi, Bagua or the alliance's practitioners, I am glad that they are open minded to cross train in Hung Gar. I recommend them to start with the Hung Gar basic stances and learn the Gung Ji Fuk Fu form, get 500 reps of the whole form done in good form and manageable fatigue, then move on to the Iron Wire Fist, I'll be happy to teach by then.
Many Kung Fu reformers and I feel that the separation of 'internal' and 'external' has done more harm than good to Chinese physical culture. It antagonizes practitioners from different parts of China. It creates an illusion in some styles that their sophisticated qualities are exclusive to themselves and that striking parrying movement applications as well as body conditioning in their own systems should be omitted from practice to differentiate themselves from the styles they deem less sophisticated.
Article By Leroy Kwok