Hung Hee Gung (ca. 1730 – 1825) was the style founder of Hung Gar Kung Fu. He was a secular disciple of abbot Ji Sim Sin See and left the Shaolin monastery before its destruction to found his own school. His high demands on the character of students and his willingness to pass on his art are still groundbreaking today.
The exact year of birth of Hung Hee Gung is unknown, but is estimated to be 1730. Probably his birth name was Jyu. He was Lay in the Shaolin monastery. This was the name given to secular kung fu students who had no intention of becoming monks. As one of the best students of abbot Ji Sim Sin Lake, he left the monastery after finishing his education with the permission of his teacher.
Jyu met Fong Wing Chun soon after. The two became a couple and got married. Wing Chun was an excellent fighter on her part. From her Jyu learned a lot about her preferred crane techniques. From their common work the form Fu Hok Seung Yin Kuen developed.
In the second half of the eighteenth century, Shaolin monastery was destroyed and Abbot Ji Sim, his young disciple Lukh ah Choi and other survivors fled to Hoi Tong monastery. From there, Abbot Lukh ah Choi sent out to find his older kung fu brother to learn from him. It is said that Lukh ah Choi searched for three years.
Jyu had meanwhile taken the name Hung Hee Gung, paying tribute to the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Accordingly, he also named the Kung Fu he taught Hung Gar. (Shaolin Kung Fu was forbidden at that time under penalty of death.) When Lukh ah Choi finally found him, Hung Hee Gung took him to his training. This was so fruitful that Lukh ah Choi was finally appointed as the first heir to the style.
On July 18, 1785, Hung Hee Gung opened a school in Guangjao called Luk Sin San Fong, which was to become famous. The list of guests of honor included Tit Kiu Sam, Lukh ah Choi and his student Wong Kai Ying. These three names are still of great importance today. (Not surprisingly, Luk Sin San Fong was closely associated with Hung Mun. Several masters who came from this school were very actively involved in the movement).
Morals and Character
Hung Hee Gung already placed great importance on his students following high moral and character guidelines. Luk Sin San Fong only accepted those who could stand up to these standards. It is said that after the opening, one thousand students submitted their application, but only three hundred were accepted because the others did not meet the requirements. This tradition, which Hung Hee Gung established, later spread throughout the line.
Hung Hee Gung taught until old age. He supported Lukh ah Choi in the training of Wong Tai and Wong Kai Ying. He probably died in 1825.