Huo Yuanjia and Wong Feihung

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Huo Yuanjia and Wong Feihung

Post  wuxia_warrior on Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:42 pm

This is a followup on a discussion Eryn and I had today about how when real people are portrayed in movies, they often aren't shown doing the style of martial arts they actually did. I said [incorrectly] that I thought Huo Yuanjia, the founder of Jinwu/Chin Woo, actually did Hung Gar and Wong Feihung did Mizong. Well, I had that completely BACKWARDS. Huo Yuanjia did Mizongquan. According to wikipedia,

"Mizong Luohan is an external style, with distinct internal influences. It draws on many aspects of the external Northern Shaolin Long Fist style, and the internal styles T'ai Chi Ch'uan , Pa Kua Chang and Hsing I Ch'uan, with which it is often taught in modern times. It is characterized by deceptive hand movements, intricate footwork, varied kicks, and high leaps. In execution, the style changes very quickly.

The emphasis on flexibility in Northern Shaolin styles is a guiding principle of Mizong, and this is evident in the versatility of its attacks and the extent to which it integrates the concepts of many internal styles. An increased emphasis on mobility often comes at the price of power, but Mizong compensates for this by providing a means for the dynamic generation of power. Mizong's unique fa jing (discharging of force) comes from the combination of the internal corkscrew power seen in Chen style Tai Chi Chuan and the external snapping power of Shaolin Long Fist. The result is the efficient generation of force through the dynamic motion of multiple elements of the body, the mastery of which gives a Mizong practitioner the capability of generating force quickly and flexibly from any distance."

Thus, Jet Li's portrayal may have actually been somewhat accurate and the Hsing-I and Chen taiji influences and fa-jin would account for Eryn's point about the twisting phoenix eye fist and other internal-esque aspects of his fighting. Though where the fanziquan form practice came from, I don't know. Likely it's what Eryn thought, that as Jet Li's 'best' style, they probably just wanted to exhibit that rather than go for historical authenticity. Speaking of which, the wikipedia article on Huo Yuanjia shows that the movie Fearless took A LOT of liberty with the story.

As for Wong Feihung, he's the one who was the hung gar master. If my memory serves, the Once Upon a Time in China series starring Jet Li did not use hung gar. I just looked it up on IMDB, and it says in the trivia section: "Wong Fei-hung was a famous practitioner of hung gar kung fu, although the techniques Jet Li uses are mostly of the long fist method and tai chi." So I was at least half right.

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Re: Huo Yuanjia and Wong Feihung

Post  Whiteape on Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:06 am

From what I understand, Huo was exposed to lot's of internal and external northern styles and was THE or A founder of mizongquan (lost track boxing). Wong Fei Hung was a southern stylist known for his tiger/crane and drunken boxing. Jet Li in his movies pretty much seems to just do his own blend of wushu. For instance, there is a scene in Fist of Legend where he talks about the "Hua Fist" which I think was actually a bad dub that was supposed to refer to Huo's style, but the form he demonstrates is actually baji. The way he does it actually has a fanzi like flavor to it to the point that it's barely even recognizable as baji, but the movements are definitely a baji form. And what Jet Li does in Fearless seems to be a mix of northern and internal styles that really doesn't resemble mizong to my eyes. In other films where he does chen style, xingyi or bagua, he is doing the movements, but his flavor is not at all indicative of the style in my opinion. I think his fanzi and northern external stuff is where his skill really shows and when he does other styles, that is what comes out.

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