Yang Zhenji says in his book that Yang Luchan learned Hong Quan as a youth before he went to Chen Jia Gou. Hong Quan, I believe, is what is known in the south as Hung Gar—in Mandarin: Hong Jia [Quan], and sometimes known as Tiger-Crane, after some sub-routines in its system. I’ve seen in other sources (ex., Wile, Lost T’ai-Chi Classics) that Wu Yuxiang and his brothers also practiced Hong Quan prior to learning Taijiquan, so it must have been popular there at the time. It’s a powerful, vigorous style. My first sifu shared a studio in Sacramento in the early ‘70s with Y.C. Wong, a great proponent of Hung Gar, so although I never learned it, I was able to see plenty of demonstrations! It’s considered a Shaolin art.
Y.C. Wong was especially well-known for his “nine-link chain” routine. This was a weapon that consisted of nine foot-long metal sections linked together, the end-most sections being sharpened blades. On special occasions, Master Wong would do the nine-link chain routine in the middle of our small studio. The students all stood tightly against the walls. Y.C. would go to the middle of the room, take a couple of test swings to gauge the dimensions, then leap into action. As long as we didn’t move, we would be safe. That was pretty exciting, seeing those blades whizzing so close to our heads at such speed!
[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 05-19-2005).]