China’s Wushu Federation announced that they recognize 129 Styles of Chinese Martial Arts. Styles are the umbrella organizations that Chinese Martial Arts lineages of the same style group together under. For example, our lineage, and other lineages of Hung Gar, traces back to Wong Fei Hung or Hung Hei Gun; and we have techniques of similar shape and function, like the Tiger and Crane hands; we use the same hard edgy force and the squarish structure, thus we are called the Hung Gar Style, which in Mandarin, is called Hong Quan.
China Wushu Federation has announced their acknowledgment of 129 different Styles. They have also established the categorization of Four Major Sects, which the various 129 Styles from all over China fall under. These Four Major Sects are namely, Shaolin, Wudang, Ermei, & Nanquan.
Southern Shaolin are Branch Sect of Shaolin. Hung Gar Style is under the Nanquan Sect. Which is why I say you will get to get quite a big and complete picture of Chinese Martial Arts in total if you learn Hung Gar. Tai Chi Style falls under Wudang Sect, as Wudang is the head of the internal martial arts.
We find that having a clear definition is great for all Kung Fu, as now people cannot invent their own martial art and call it Kung Fu, because if it cannot be associated with the top level Major Sect, it cannot be recognized as Kung Fu.
The rest of this classification structure follows: Major Sect > Branch Sect > Style > Style Branch > Set-Routine > Form. Let me do an explanation.
Our Hung Gar Style has several Style Branches. Our Branch is the Sung Branch, Sung Siu Bo’s Hung Gar. Hi Five to Sung branch Hung Gar brothers all over the world! There’s also Chiu branch, Lam branch and Lau branch. So lets say if someone happens to learn from another disciple of Sung Siu Bo, then he belongs to the same branch as we do, but he is of his own lineage that includes his master.
Each branch has their own set of Set-Routines, which might include some Set-Routines that other branches do not have, usually choreographed by the founder of their branch. Or they might have cross trained with other styles and integrated some Set-Routines from those styles into their branch. In another case, it might also mean that some branches’ founders did not learn some Set-Routines from their master.
Within Set-Routine, there are individual moves which we call Forms. So when you see a Form, you can trace it all the way back to which major sect it is from. You can also see which sects tend to contain which type of Forms, and which styles tend to have which type of Form in their Set-Routine.
I know many nerds on the anonymous cyberspace will say the word ‘Set-Routine’ sounds like posing, like it is not usable and is only there for looks and appearance. ‘Set-Routine’ sound like it is not functional ??? Well it really depends on whether these nerds are bullying performance practitioners or getting the truth taught to them painfully by my hard and heavy iron fists.
China Wushu Federation also passed a few rules to regulate the Chinese Martial Arts Community in China, and probably its influence overseas as well. Some of which are:
1) Forbidding of creating your own Sect or Style, that you are unable to associate with any of the 4 Major Sects or the entities under it. It also forbids insulting or illegal assault on other Styles, Style Branches and their members.
2) Forbidding the self proclamation that their Style Branch is the authentic branch of a style, or that they or their teacher is the only disciple of a teacher.
3) Forbidding the spreading of fake news, false news; faked advertising for teaching a martial art and cheating the students or customers for monetary benefits; attacking another person’s reputation through spreading false rumors.
This doctrine makes administration of groups and individuals in the Chinese Martial Arts Community clearer, more transparency and organization. The bad elements of a free but chaotic economy such as random frauds or unsanctioned creation of styles will not be recognized.
This system, I feel bring us all closer and solidifies our identity. Just like Fire, Water, Earth, Air in Avatar: The Last Airbender. We either belong to Shaolin, Wudang, Ermei or Nanquan. Everyone is a part of the family. If you learned from a Sifu on Youtube and another Japanese Sensei on Facebook and want to create your own martial art after mixing these two styles together, you will not be recognized as a Chinese Martial Art as no one from Shaolin, Wudang, Ermei or Nanquan can authenticate your relationship to them.
The system removes any weird creation that muddles our identity within Chinese Martial Arts. It surely gets rid of many problems that the Mcdojo Environment created in the US and the rest of the West. Like the teachers offering Japanese or Korean Martial Arts to those who are seeking Chinese Martial Arts, thinking that ‘All Asians look the Same’, thus their martial culture must also be the same.
Article By Leroy Kwok