Hung Fut Philippines: Authentic Kung Fu Quest

I enjoyed watching kung fu action films as a child. I’m amazed with how Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Jackie Chan fought. Fists as hard as steel, kicks as fast as lightning, and movements as fluid as water. Years later, videos of various martial art styles sparring another became available online. Chinese Kung Fu practitioners were often on the losing end. Even worse was that i saw them get knocked out without much of a fight. With that kind of fight record, it is easy to think that “legendary kung fu” is just a fantasy made to entertain people. Or is it?

Rad Rookies - Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines

Hung Fut practitioner breaking an unhusked coconut with his back fist.
Hung Fut practitioner Brian breaking a coconut with his back fist. Look at that beautiful coco water splash. 🙂

I continued thinking that kung fu is an impractical martial art for a long time. But this changed when I met practitioners of the Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu – Philippines. This 400 year old kung fu style was able to preserve its authentic martial arts training. One of their traditional practices is the iron palm and fist tempering. Diligent students can break unhusked coconuts with their bare fists as early as 6 months through continuous practice.

Breaking husked coconuts (no outer armor) is the norm for iron fist demonstrations. But breaking unhusked coconuts with your bare fists is super badass. Do you know how tough coconuts are? There are death reports from coconuts falling on people’s heads. Adding insult to the injury, those coconuts didn’t even crack. Now imagine what an authentic iron fist can do to a person’s head. Yikes!


“Dropping a coconut on a person’s head will crack the skull but… NOT the coconut…”

The search for authentic kung fu

Online sparring videos often show that modern kung fu practitioners lose the fight. The best examples of these are the viral fight videos of a Chinese Mixed Martial Artist. This guy took it upon himself to expose “Fake Kung Fu” by duelling with “masters” or even “grandmasters”. There were even times he showboated by putting his hands down and taking punches to the head on purpose. And you got to give credit to the guy because he handled each one of these “masters” with ease.

Chinese MMA “Mad Dog” beating up a “Kung Fu Master”

So, is anything Kung Fu related a load of BS?

In my experience, no. What we are seeing may be a case of the McDojo epidemic. These schools churn out “black belts” left and right due to the demands of their clients. Most martial art schools focus on sustaining the number of their students. And passing of genuine martial knowledge becomes secondary.


“McDojos produce ‘black belts’ that are just on par to beginners of Authentic Kung Fu such as Hung Fut”

This is a problem for most martial art schools and not unique to Kung Fu. And you can’t blame these schools that want to earn a profit. Most students simply don’t have the patience for countless hours of “basic training”. Having strict training discourages paying clients from trying their school.

Lay people only want to learn self-defense techniques or train as a hobby and they want to “progress” fast. But traditional kung fu requires a lot of dedication in developing its fundamentals. These include exercises, stances and forms. Imagine spending an hour or two doing only horse stances. Sounds boring and mundane, right? This requirement makes the transfer of deep martial knowledge very difficult.

You can only gain deep martial knowledge through blood, sweat and tears. This is what makes Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines an authentic Kung Fu style. It is one of the longest running traditional kung fu styles in Manila. They chose to preserve their traditional training over the profitable “layman friendly” curriculum.


What is Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu?

Hung Fut Kung Fu has roots from the legendary Shaolin Temple. The same place where Shaolin Monks came from. The monks might look very skinny but they are quite ferocious when they show you their skills. Shaolin Monks are very consistent with their display of superhuman strength. They can bend spears with their throat, break rocks with their fists and et cetera. They spent countless hours training in traditional kung fu to achieve that strength.

A Shaolin Temple in China

Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu is a 400 year old martial art style. Masters of several generations combined their knowledge to develop and polish the style. Traditionally, only Shaolin monks learn the art. But on the 5th grand master’s time, Hung Fut started accepting students outside the temple.

Hung Fut is a hybrid kung fu style. It is a combination of the powerful hard style of Hung Gar and the flowing soft style of Fut Gar.

Philippine TV featured Hung Fut Philippines several times doing incredible feats of strength. And these demonstrations were on par with the Shaolin Monks!

So how does the training of Hung Fut Philippines look?


Hard / External training

Muscle Conditioning

There is basic muscle conditioning. Most commercial martial arts have this type of training though. So yeah, nothing special about this one.


10 Animal Styles

Rad Rookies - Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines

Sifu Ronald Nuqui teaching student Ria proper form
Sifu Ronald Nuqui teaching proper form to student Ria

There is the usual forms practice that you see from every Chinese martial art. The basic ones are the 10 Animal Styles that mimic the movements of mighty beasts.

These forms include the following:

  • Tiger
  • Snake
  • Leopard
  • Lion
  • Dragon
  • Eagle
  • Crane
  • Monkey
  • Elephant
  • Horse

The forms help train your flexibility, balance and endurance.

Forms are pretty to look at and has deep meaning. But fighting using the forms without proper body tempering is suicidal. Let us take the ever famous “snake fist” or “spear hand” for example. Now imagine your fingers hitting the fist or any other hard body part of your opponent. Without any proper finger tempering, the word that will come out from your mouth is “ouch!”.

Snake fist

A Hung Fut master explained to me that most kung fu strikes are only effective if you practice proper body tempering. And this brings us to the next topic…


Hung Fut Body Tempering

There is truth to the “legendary strength” from kung fu!

What makes Hung Fut Philippines unique is their own iron body and power development training. Their methods help transform your body into a lethal weapon (not a figure of speech). I was fortunate enough to witness some of these methods for strengthening.

Rad Rookies - Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines

Student Ria doing Iron Claw training
Student Ria doing Iron Claw training

Some of these traditional methods include the following:

  • Iron Palm (Striking table)
  • Iron Fist (Striking table)
  • Iron Claw (Grabbing bag)
  • Iron Grip (Bamboo twisting)
Rad Rookies - Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines

Iron Grip training
Iron Grip training using bamboo bundle

I tested the iron claw and iron grip training for a bit. And I found out that it did work out several forearm muscles that don’t get trained in weight lifting.

Rad Rookies - Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines

After the coconut break test
Destroyed coconut after the break test

The result of diligent training is an iron fist that can crush even a tough unhusked coconut. You can achieve this strength with at least 6 months of training. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. Think of it as just the “blue belt promotion” of Hung Fut.

Rad Rookies - Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines

Marvin breaking a coconut. Coco water is splashing from the strong impact.
Hung Fut practitioner Marvin breaking a coconut. Coco water is splashing from the impact.

I saw 4 Hung Fut practitioners attempt the coconut break test. And each were successful regardless of height, weight and muscle build. Hung Fut Philippines consistently produced practitioners with this strength for several decades. So yeah, their unique traditional tempering is legit!

Rad Rookies - Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines

Jan breaking a coconut. Check out the veins on his arm!
Hung Fut practitioner Jan breaking a coconut. Check out the veins on his arm! I’m pretty sure the coconut got scared and peed itself. 😛

The traditional strengthening is definitely effective but it isn’t easy. You will need to devote countless hours for practice. It will be painful at the beginning and your progress will feel very slow. But this ground work will be your investment for your future exponential growth.


“Hung Fut power training help transform your body into a lethal weapon (not a figure of speech)”

Soft / Internal training

One of the guys that broke a coconut was Jan who has been training for 5 years. Frankly speaking, he is so thin that you wouldn’t think he can fight. But how was he able to break the coconut despite lacking the muscle mass?

The answer to this is internal strength training or the ancient practice of qigong. It has a lot to do with breathing exercises and manipulating the flow of energy in your body. Hung Fut practitioners concentrate their Qi to their fists when breaking coconuts.

Rad Rookies - Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines

Jan practicing basic Qigong
Hung Fut practitioner Jan doing Qigong in preparation for the coconut breaking

Look, I also am skeptical whenever someone mentions breathing and meditation. I prefer doing exercises backed by scientific or statistical evidence. Which is why I definitely understand if this sounds like crazy talk to you. And that is also the reason why I dug deeper for information about breathing exercises.

It is interesting that science is starting to catch up with ancient eastern knowledge. And the good effects of “breathing techniques” now has solid scientific evidence to back it up.

A man named Wim Hof, also known as “the Ice Man”, claimed that breathing exercises work. And that it is because of breathing techniques that he achieved his Guinness Records. He proved to everyone that his breathing method works by undergoing several scientific tests. And he was able to replicate successful results from 12 people he trained.

I’m well aware that this is not common knowledge. And that you might still have your doubts since it isn’t mainstream. But keep in mind that scientific results already proved that breathing techniques work. And this definitely challenges the way you understand the human body.

Rad Rookies - Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines

Jackie, Brian and Jan practicing Qigong before the coconut break test
Jackie, Brian and Jan doing Qigong before the coconut break test

The training process known as qigong isn’t fully understood yet in the western world. So whether you believe that qigong works or not is up to you. There are scientific results backing it up and the upsides are great. Breathing exercise is definitely something I want to explore.


The Right Training Attitude

Okay, I’ve hyped out Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines but I haven’t gone over the most important aspect of being a disciple. I’m talking about your personal character.

You can achieve extraordinary strength with Hung Fut but it comes with sacrifice. You’ll need a lot of patience or grit. In fact, that is the single most important word that Hung Fut uses to describe their training process.

Rad Rookies - Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines

Hung Fut training is effective but you need patience to be skilled.
The Chinese character in his shirt means “patience” or “grit”

You make your spirit stronger every time you do the painful traditional tempering.

In this digital age, organizations optimize our daily tools and make our lives easier. Because of this, we tend to expect good things to come our way without much effort on our part. And as we grow up, we become so engulfed in the instant gratification mindset. We become impatient when it feels like we are “taking too long to progress” or that “the process is too hard”.

Hung Fut offers a very important life lesson that we all need to hear in today’s society. You can learn anything you want as long as you have the grit for it.

Hung Fut Philippines’ traditional training is time-tested. There are Sifus or teachers that can show you the way. But it is up to you to take the journey towards deep martial knowledge.


Conclusion

If you are looking for an authentic kung fu school, then your best bet is with Hung Fut Philippines. You can join their training even without a martial arts background. But don’t go there expecting that you can “break a coconut” after just a few sessions. An authentic kung fu like Hung Fut requires patience and hard work.

Rad Rookies - Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines

Hung Fut Philippines - Quezon City Chapter
Picture of me (Rad) together with the Hung Fut Philippines – Quezon City Chapter

Hung Fut hasn’t competed globally in MMA yet. So I’m not sure about the combat effectiveness that comes from the forms practice. But what I’m certain of is that their striking power is the REAL DEAL.

I’ll be trying Hung Fut Kung Fu to see for myself how effective it is. I hope I’ll be strong enough to break a coconut as well within 1 year of training. And I hope that the Hung Fut forearm exercises also improve my rock climbing skills.


Update (June 30, 2019):

Shaolin Hung Fut Kung Fu Philippines currently train in Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Center, Quezon City, NCR. They train every Sunday 10am onwards. You can comment on this post if you want more details.

References:

47 thoughts on “Hung Fut Philippines: Authentic Kung Fu Quest”

  1. Very nice. If there is one activity that I am most interested in, it’s martial arts. I’ve been wanting to enroll in a training gym near the office but my budget would not permit it.

    1. Hi Ivan! This isn’t just a regular modern martial art though (I know because I’ve tried and tested several gyms, lol).

      I’m not gonna hide the fact that the training is painful and boring (HF practitioners are very aware of it, hahaha). But you do get unexceptionally strong because of their traditional training method. 🙂

    1. Hi Karla! Do let me know when you plan on doing that. I’m still a beginner and have not practiced enough animal styles. But I do know the Hung Fut practitioners that can teach you, haha 😀

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    1. Hi Monz! Yes, authentic kung fu exists in the Philippines. It takes a lot of patience and diligence to be effective at it though. 🙂

    2. ask them what is authentic and original? Name itself mix with Mandarin andd Fookien and they call their teacher Sifu (Cantonese()。 Lineage unverifiable and form are also copies from different arts

      1. How do YOU define “authenticity”?

        Authentic is defined as “genuine; real; not false”.

        In the world of martial art, Kung Fu has become a laughing stock because most practitioners lack the “basic skill requirements” to make the forms “work”. So many videos show kung fu practitioners from major styles being knocked out left and right. This is the reason why they call Kung Fu in China as “Fake Martial Art”.

        I don’t know what your beef is with Hung Fut Philippines but I can attest that they have REAL POWER TRAINING that can make the kung fu forms work. The group has a good understanding of combat applications versus most people you say are from “verifiable lineage”, lol.

        So I’ll throw you some questions.

        What factors do YOU think are MOST IMPORTANT in selecting a martial art (not just kung fu)? Is “lineage” more important than the “skills” of the average practitioner in the group (the “rule” and NOT the “exception”)? How about the depth of martial knowledge? Combat and sparring experience?

  5. Tempering specific body part having only few hours or even minutes a day to practice martial arts is not practical, instead of practising techniques like how to escape a knife point, or even trying to defend yourself from punches is way better, there’s a reason why some kung fu school don’t fight on a MMA type setting

    1. There is truth to what you just said. Authentic Kung Fu is NOT for everybody as it involves a lot of patience to progress. It does take time to be strong using Hung Fut’s training but when you do… you get overwhelmingly strong. 🙂

      I’m with you in practicing techniques for practical reasons like self-defense. Most moves in kung fu forms are only effective when you have tempered hands already.

      To reframe your mindset, just think of “iron body tempering” as a replacement for “weight lifting”. Doing body tempering is similar to lifting weights but is more geared towards combat. 😛

  6. I always thought that the kung fu I loved watching on tv/movies isn’t real — until I read this article. It’s very informative and well written with some sidekick jokes 😂!
    I really enjoyed reading your article! I really want to know your progress practicing this Hung Fut in your future article. Please, let us know if you able to cracked any unhusked coconut. Good luck!🍀

    1. Hi Athena! I’m glad that you found this article entertaining!

      Yes, I was also surprised that REAL kung fu exists,haha. I’ll be posting my progresses from practicing Hung Fut. Hopefully, I can crack a coconut within 6 months. 🙂

  7. “I’m pretty sure the coconut got scared and peed itself.” 🤣

    I’d hit myself in the head and get knocked out just to avoid getting whacked by him too! 😂

    1. Man, those Iron Fists are scary to confront in sparring for sure. Just a single hit from that looks like it is capable of knocking someone out, hahaha

    1. Yes, discipline and grit is very important in learning authentic kung fu. That attitude is what will help you push through the iron body training. 🙂

  8. Your article is so informative and interesting. I noticed you also pulled off some jokes here and there. Great job. Am very curious about this and would consider it as i progress through my fitness journey. Haha

    1. Hi Christian! I’m glad you found it interesting and entertaining!

      Go and visit the Hung Fut Kung Fu training location in QC. You’ll be surprised that although the training is “ancient and traditional”, they have “advanced” strengthening compared to modern fitness. 🙂

  9. Man, that unhusked coconut sure looks a lot tougher than the husked one.

    Also, I can imagine how much tougher the thin guy breaking the coconut would be if he put on some muscle.

    Can’t wait to see these guys in the ring hahahaha.

    1. The unhusked ones (green coconut) are so much tougher than the husked coconuts (brown). The unhusked ones contain a brown coconut inside it. The green outer shell is “extra armor” that absorbs most of the impact. Your punch will really need to have penetration for it, haha

      Yeah, can’t wait for them to compete in the ring! 😀

  10. Wow! Imagine breaking an unhusked coconut with your bare hands! Wouldn’t think it’s possible until I read this article. Very informative.

    1. I was in awe when I saw this happen in front of me! 😮

      These guys are really strong. I really want to see them compete in the MMA. 🙂

  11. I find Kung Fu very interesting! Great that there is something like this in the Philippines. 🙂

  12. Hala it looks so much fun! I also enjoy watching kung fu movies. My mind wants me to try it. My body says, no. 🤣

  13. I used to watch these Kung Fu movies when I was young with my family and we find them truly entertaining. Good luck on your training!

    1. Yes, animal styles combined with the iron body training would be good for self-defense. Using just the forms wouldn’t be enough. 😛

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