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Fut Gar or Buddhist Palm is a Northern Shaolin style of Kung Fu which utilizes mostly punches, palm strikes and low kicks. It is further characterized by evasive footwork, circular blocks and using the opponent’s force against him/her.
The words “Fut Gar” literally translate to “Buddha Family”. The word “Kuen” in Cantonese would translate to “fist”. “Fut Gar Kuen” would be “Buddha Family’s Fist”.
One style of Fut Gar Kuen has its origins at one of the Sil Lum Temple in Guandong Province. Early on in its history, the monks at this Sil Lum (Shaolin in Mandarin) temple were fortunate enough to learn martial arts from fighters that had mastered the 5 most popular systems of Southern Kung Fu. These styles were Lau Gar, Lee Gar, Mok Gar, Choy Gar, and Hung Gar. The names of the styles reflect the surname of the particular style’s founder.
These Shaolin monks realized the value of incorporating different schools or styles together and took only the best techniques of each style and discarded all techniques they thought were useless or ineffective. This became Sil Lum Fut Gar Kuen Kung Fu or Monk Family Fist.
The style was made popular in Stephen Chow’s blockbuster movie Kung Fu Hustle, where Chow’s character specializes in it, though obviously exaggerating it all the same.
A branch of Fut Gar developed by Leung Tin Chiu is currently being partially taught in schools worldwide and headed by Chen Rong En, the only direct disciple of Leung Tin Chiu who is currently still involved in spreading the style. The Leung Tin Chiu style of Fut Gar is best known in China for the Flying Dragon Staff Form which is known as the King of Staff Forms within the Kung Fu community. The National Fut Gar Kung Fu Training Centrein Toronto, Ontario, Canada is the longest running school under the guidance of Grandmaster Chen. A newer school also closely monitored by Grandmaster Chen exists in China since 2004. In November 2007 an International Fut Gar Federation was formed to unite instructors of Fut Gar Kung Fu worldwide.