The Kung Fu in Kung Fu Hustle (Half 1)

Kung Fu Hustle

I at all times start my posts with a quick intro phrase like “when you haven’t seen this, the place have you ever been”, and this one isn’t any exception. Kung Fu Hustle (功夫, Gōng Fū) is a 2004 movie by Stephen Chow. Kung Fu Hustle is a martial arts comedy not like another that got here earlier than. Stephen Chow had been doing comedy movies in Hong Kong for some time (that’s principally his total profession). Even mixing some martial arts in them like in his Chinese language Odyssey movies. Nevertheless it wasn’t till Shaolin Soccer (his earlier movie) that he discovered the stability between his model of humor and traditional kung-fu lore. So, in an identical vein to what I did with Avatar, I believed I’d speak in regards to the martial arts represented on this movie. Each the true life and the fictional ones. As a warning, this won’t be spoiler free.

On this first half, I’ll cowl the true world martial arts proven within the film and go away the fictional ones for the second half.

One of the posters for Kung fu Hustle
One of many posters for Kung fu Hustle

What’s Kung Fu Hustle about?

The movie follows the misadventures of Sing (Stephen Chow himself) in Nineteen Forties Shanghai. He’s a loser who desires to develop into a gangster. In his makes an attempt to develop into a member of the notorious Axe Gang he comes throughout Pig Sty Alley, a rundown slum, and tries (and fails) to extort the residents. To everybody’s shock, a number of the slum’s residents flip as much as be wonderful kung fu masters. This begins an escalation of violence between from the Axe Gang who begin sending much more highly effective assassins. Sing should ultimately resolve if he actually desires to develop into a gangster or assist the residents.

Kung Fu Hustle’s actual world martial arts

All however one the kung fu masters from Pig Sty Alley characterize actual world martial arts, certainly one of them in a extra fictionalized manner.  The primary two are depicted in a really correct manner, whereas the third one has been embellished for the movie. Nonetheless the movie transmits the essence of the three types.

Hung Gar Kuen

GM Chiu Chi Ling as Tailor exhibiting his Hung Gar together with his iron rings. Combating again to again with Coolie

Hung Gar Kuen (Hung Household Fist) is certainly one of Southern China’s extra well-known and widespread types. And is represented by certainly one of its foremost representatives, Grasp Chiu Chi Ling who performs Tailor. I’ve talked about it earlier than in my article on Avatar, however principally it focuses on low, sturdy stances, it combines strategies primarily based on 5 animals with an emphasis on tiger and crane. The tiger represents more durable strategies to overwhelm the opponent. Crane is the other, smooth and nimble, combining deflections and dodges with extra exact assaults. The character of Tailor fights utilizing iron rings on his arms. These rings are literally coaching instruments however he makes use of them as a kind of armor/weapon. Within the movie it’s recognized as Iron Wire Fist. Iron Wire is a particular kind throughout the model.

Tan Tui

Tan Tui's first line.
Tan Tui’s first line.

Following the pattern of well-known nicely represented types we have now Tan Tui (弹腿), actually spring leg. Certainly one of Northern China’s staple boxing types. Carefully associated to Ku Yu Cheung’s Northern Shaolin, Zhaquan, Muslim types and Shaolin associated types. The character of Coolie is performed by Xing Yu, an precise Shaolin Temple alumni. Tan Tui doesn’t have varieties as most Chinese language techniques do however brief mixture sequences practiced in traces, that you could later mix. Its fundamental focus is leg strategies, although the system incorporates punches, throws and locks. That mentioned, Coolie fights utilizing his kicks virtually completely. Once more we repeat a sample, these masters use a subset of their model which is a standard thought in Chinese language martial arts (I’ll get again to this in pt2).

Eight Trigram Employees

Hung Ga Kyun's "Eight Trigrams Long Pole" (Ng Long Baat Gwa Gwan)
Fifth Son Eight Trigram Employees from the homonymous film with Gordon Liu

Wu Lang Bagua Gun (五郎八卦棍) or Fifth Son’s Eight Trigram Employees is much less a mode than a particular kind from the Hung Gar model. In line with legend this employees kind was designed by a member of the Yang household that lived again within the Tune dynasty. They have been all within the navy and their weapon of selection was the spear. The fifth son of the household grew to become a monk later in life. As spears and bladed weapons weren’t allowed within the temple he developed the employees kind from his personal expertise with the spear. For this reason the character Donut makes use of a employees at first and a spear later. 

Tai Chi Chuan

I’ve talked at size about this explicit model of Chinese language martial arts in a earlier publish. In abstract, it’s a, so referred to as, smooth model, emphasizing grappling and controlling your opponent in shut fight. Tai Chi Chuan trains rest, however that doesn’t imply free. The concept being that in a relaxed state you may really feel what your opponent does and react quicker. After all you utilize rigidity when crucial. On this film we see a fictionalized exaggerated model of Tai Chi. The primary thought and the ideas are there but it surely’s nearer to a wuxia model of the model. The character of the owner, performed by the good Yuen Wah, throws round two lethal kung fu assassins utilizing this “smooth” talent.

Subsequent up partly 2

Partly two I’ll handle the fictional kung fu depicted within the movie. This movie incorporates A LOT of references to traditional kung fu movies, and traditional wuxia novels. Keep tuned for the following half, subsequent month. As at all times, be at liberty to depart a remark beneath.

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