Hong Xi Guan
Hung Hei Gune, Hoong Hei Goon
Hoong Hei Goon, which is a more popular pronounciation in Cantonese than the Mandarin pronounciation of Hung Xi Guan, was a great Southern Shaolin master with far-reaching influence on martial arts of the world today. He is often described as the founder of Hoong Ka (Hung Gar) Kungfu. Actually he did not invent Hoong Ka Kungfu, he passed on to posterity what he had learned from his master. For a few generations after him the style of kungfu he passed down was still called Shaolin, although the term "Hoong Ka" which means "Hoong Family" was also used. It is only in modern times that the term "Hoong Ka Kungfu" has become popular.
Born in Huaxian in Guangdong (=Kwantung). He was believed to be of distant royal ancestry, one of his forefathers being Prince Liang (personal name: Zhu Wenzhong), the fifteenth son of the Ming Emperor Chong Zhen. (After the fall of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu changed his name to 'Hong' as a tribute to the Qing Emperor Hong Wu - to avoid persecution from the new Qing authorities.)
Hoong Hei Goon was a distinguished disciple of the Venerable Chee Seen, the abbot of the southern Shaolin Monastery in Fujian Province, and the First Patriarch of Southern Shaolin Kungfu. "Che Seen", or Zhi Zhan in Mandarin, means "Extreme Kindness".
After the burning of the monastery, Hoong Hei Goon escaped to Guangdong Province, and established a school teaching Southern Shaolin Kungfu.
His constant flight from the Qing authorities eventually brought him to Hauxian, where he married a woman named Liu Yingchun and had one son, Hong Wenting. Apart from instructing his own son in martial arts, he also took Luo Xiaojuan, Zhou Renjie and Hu Zhibiao (the son of Hu Huiqian) as his students. When his wife died, he remarried;
He married a lady kungfu master called Fong Chet Leong who specialized in the Crane style. Hoong Hei Goon incorporated the Crane style of his wife into his Tiger style, resulting in the famous Tiger-Crane Set of Hoong Ka Kungfu.
(Fang Yongchun was born in Zhaoxing in Guangdong. She is not identical with the nun Yongchun, referred to as 'The Third Lady of Yongchun' (Cant. Wing Chun), nor identical with Fang Qiniang, who founded the White Crane Fist. Crane techniques were already part of the Shaolin Five Animal Fist that Hong Xiguan learned in the Shaolin Monastery in Fujian.)
Probably the most well known Hoong Ka, or Hung Gar, Kungfu today, the style one frequently sees in Hong Kong movies depicting Shaolin heros, comes from the lineage of the legendary southern Shaolin hero named Wong Fei Hoong. It is illuminating that Wong Fei Hoong was not descended directly from Hoong Hei Goon, but from his junior classmate Lok Ah Choy.
Legend has it that Hong lived to the age of 93, into the early years of Emperor Dao Guang (who acceded to the throne in 1821). He died when taken unaware in a fight by a young girl, who used the Phoenix Eye Fist (Fengyan Quan) manoeuvre against him. Apart from being a master of various fist styles, Hong was also expert in the Shaolin Pole techniques.
Hong Xi Guan was supposedly the founder of Hong Quan (Hung Gar). Hong Xi Guan, an 18th century kung fu exponent who devoted his life to developing kung fu, was schooled by the Shaolin Abbot Gee-Sin and his future wife Fang Yung-chun. Hong combined the best of the two instructor's methods to form Hong Quan, otherwise known as Hong Jia (Hung Gar) Quan or the Hong Family Fist.
From Abbot Gee-Sin, he absorbed the vigorous and strong hand techniques reminescent of the Tiger Style; it's precise leaping and stepping, it's low kicks as well as the dynamic tension exercises. From Fang Yung-chun, he learned the Crane Style of fighting, which stressed one-legged stances, pecking, wing and beak attacks, and short and long fist movements. Thus Hong Quan would be known as a combined tiger-crane style of fighting.