Many people are under the impression that Kung Fu originated with the Shaolin Temple. It did not. The Chinese Martial Arts were well developed before the Temple was built in the third century, moreover, the Chinese Physician Hwa Tor was using exercises based on animal movements to improve the physical health of his patients well before that date.
That the Temple did become a center of development for the Martial Arts. is beyond dispute, and it remained so for more than a thousand years until it was dissolved by the Ching Dynasty in the eighteenth century.
This association is attributed to the arrival of the Indian Monk Dat Mo (Bodhidharma) at the Temple in year 527. Tradition declares that he found his Chinese disciplines too weak, both physically and mentally, to practice the intensive meditation required by his path to enlightenment. In order to rectify this problem he devised exercises combining physical movement and breathing, thus strengthening the body-mind of his disciplines, enabling them to pursue the spiritual path with more vigour. Since Dat Mo was himself of the Warrior Caste (Ksatriya) it is possible that some of his exercises were drawn from the Indian Martial Tradition.
It is evident, therefore, that early Shao-lin Kung Fu was largely internal in nature, being designed for the improvement of health, control of the mind and the perception of the Buddha Nature. The content of this training has come down to the present time as:
a) Stationary or moving exercises training the practitioner to sense, improve and finally control the movement of the chi in his body.
b) Spiritual training, an effort to directly perceive one’s “original face” (Buddha Nature).
As the monks grew healthier, and thus better able to defend themselves, if needs to be, so the reputation of the Shao-lin’s training methods grew, attracting to it other practitioners of the Martial Arts seeking to exchange knowledge or advance their training. Thus with the passage of time the Shao-lin Temple became the centre of both Internal and External Martial Art Training; the External training being composed of fighting techniques and body conditioning. It is worth noting at this point that the fighting Techniques of the Shao-lin system are classified under one of five animals, Dragon, Tiger, Snake, Leopard or Crane, depending on the nature of the technique and what part or aspect of the body-mind it was designed to train. (The addition of the Mantis and Eagle to Shao-lin Kung Fu are relatively recent innovations.)
Since ordinary people could enter and leave the temple at will and monks having completed their training would move to other temples, what was known as the Shao-lin Fist Arts was widely spread over China. Differences in style depending on physical limitations, mental attitudes and strategy or tactics.
Lau Gar Kuen is based on the five Shao-lin Animals. It is derived from the form of boxing that was practised at Kuei Ling Temple, situated on Bac Pye Saan in Kong Sai province; where it was learned by Master Lau Sam Ngau, whom we honour as founder. It’s subsequently spread through South China where it was learned by Master Yau’s Grandfather, Master Yau Luk Sau towards the end of the last century, from Master Tang Hoi Ching. On returning to Kowloon Master Yau’s Grandfather continued his training with Master Wan Goon Wing. Lau Gar Kuen has thus been in Master Yau’s family for some one hundred and ten years.
All information, pictures and content are under Copyright. Under no circumstances should you copy or reproduce the information without given permission. Please do NOT copy and paste information from this website to your own. In all cases please ask.