Tit Sin Kuen: common errors

Chan Hon ChungI had the honor to learn Tit Sin Kuen, the ultimate form of the Hung Kuen school, 30 years ago from master Chan Hon Chung, in his country house and to refine it with my elder brother Cheung Yee Keung. I kept a daily written trace of what I learned and spent a few hour asking question to master Chan with the help of my elder brother Chan Kwoon Kwok. In my old paper notebook I still have pages of pages of notes, memories, drawings, comments.

At the time Tit Sin Kuen was a strictly private matter between the master, the “si-hing” and the student. I kept this tradition private for 30 years. Today, more and more Hung Kuen students are uploading videos and pictures of themselves executing the Tit Sin Kuen or part of it that I cannot keep me from watching, in spite of my disagree about showing this form. I understand that some different positions are a consequence of the different “lineages”, but I occasionally see what cannot but be defined “errors”, without any compromises, according to what master Chan taught and corrected. And in these errors IMHO resides the proof that the ancient statement of the potential danger of this technique – if badly executed – is real.

Please note that I am not a “sifu” nor a teacher, but just an Hung Kuen lover, who made of this awesome art a part of his daily life since the mid Seventies. To whom it might concern, with the only intent to share what I had the opportunity to learn, I underline the most frequent errors that I notice in these videos and pictures, the same errors that were noticed and corrected 30 years ago by master Chan in my execution:

1 – a wrong position of the lower part of the back, with an hyperlordosis of the lumbar vertebrae that can bring to pains or even hernia in the long term. Please watch yourself in the mirror, bend slightly forward your torso, control the angle of your pelvis bone and the tension of your abdominal muscles to keep the column inline. And be sure to follow the basic principles of the form, as they are taught by a real expert who knows them.

2 – a wrong breathing, with air intake wile executing the technique. In Tit Sin Kuen there should never be a forced air intake while executing a technique. Every gesture is executed breathing out and the air intaking occours at the end of every technique, releasing the pelvis and letting the belly expand, bringing the air in almost automatically. There might be an exception, a movemente that could be executed in “reverse breathing”, but this is a personal deduction that I made after many years of constant practice, I want to make clear that I was never talked about this explicitly.

3 – Last but not least: relax you facial muscles, you will find that this will produce a subtle smile, to be enhanced while doing certain movements. But But a straight and gritty face, with muscles and mouth clenched has nothing to do with Tit Sin Kuen, a gentle, intense and moving form, that surely is not about rage.

Thank you for reading.