Yau Kung Moon

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Yau Kung Moon (also Yau Kung Mun and YKM) (Chinese: ???) is a Southern Chinese martial art that originated in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) with a Shaolin monk named Ding Yang (~800 CE) and is closely related to Bak Mei.

The Chinese term, ???, can be roughly translated as “the style of flexible power”. The Hong Kong and US schools usually use the romanization “Yau Kung Moon” or “Yau Kung Mon”, whereas the Australian schools use the romanization “Yau Kung Mun”.

According to traditional lore, this style was taught only to monks within the confines of the Southern Shaolin Temple. During the time of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 CE) the temple was again destroyed and many of the monks were hunted and killed. One of the surviving monks was Doe Sung – a skilled Yau Kung Moon disciple. Doe Sung then taught a Buddhist monk named Tit Yun. Tit Yun was the first to pass the tradition on to a layperson when he accepted Ha Hon Hung (1892-1962) as a disciple in 1915. Ha Hon Hung had also studied Choy Lee Fut with his brother, Ha Sang and Bak Mei with Cheung Lai Chun.

In 1924, Ha Hon Hung opened up the first Yau Kung Moon Academy at the Pearl River Martial Arts Club in Guangzhou (Canton) and formed the Ha Hon Hung Sports Association. Yau Kung Moon primarily gained popularity in the Cantonese-speaking region of China, but remains somewhat uncommon outside of the region. It is taught in several countries but is most active in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, the US and Australia.

The Yau Kung Moon System is representative of southern styles in being based on a low, stable horse stance. It employs many upper body techniques and most kicks are kept low. The YKM stance resembles the familiar “ding gee ma” or Kung-Fu side horse but back arch is more pronounced and the shoulders are thrown forward with arms and hands protecting the chest and groin area. Defense is natural since the critical areas of the body are behind the protective wall of the shoulders and arms. Kicks or punches delivered within range of the practitioner would still be out of range of vital areas. This same stance also lends itself readily to offense as the arms are already in the attack position and the back leg has the distance of leverage required for powerful kicking.

Yau Kung Moon has both an external and internal training. However, like most other styles of Kung-Fu renowned for their internal power, the individual system’s manifestation of internal power is still somewhat secretive. The majority of early forms are primarily external while the most advanced forms evolve into primarily internal. The external training consists of 13 fist and 28 weapon sets. Besides the 18 classical weapons (see the Eighteen Arms of Wushu), weapon sets using common farm implements (the hoe, long chair, spade, etc.) are also part of the system.

Yau Kung Mon schools now exist around the world. The main schools can be found in China, Hong Kong, Australia, United States and Europe (Hungry and Sweden).

The original organization started by Ha Hon Hung is still in operation in Hong Kong.

During the 1960s, two of Grandmaster Ha Kwok Cheung’s top disciples, Wong Cheung and Wan Tak Kei, immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong. Both Wong and Wan continued their training and teaching of the art – with Master Wong establishing a club in San Francisco and Master Wan creating a group in Los Angeles.

Since that time, both masters has taught thousands of students. Some of the oldest students from Wong and Wan include: Bill Lee, Loi Lok Fu, Lok Sang Lee, Michael Lau, David Louie and Bob Gin. In 2000, Sifu Lok Sang Lee promoted two of his students to the rank of Sifu, Susan Yee and Richard Ow. So that they can continue to teach this traditional style.

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