Definition of Lau Gar Style
Martial Art styles are classified by using pairs of contrasting words, such as External or Internal, Hard or Soft, Long or Short, Northern or Southern. Since these descriptions often lead to confusion the following notes are offered in the hope that they will clarify the matter.
External Training the fighting techniques, conditioning the body, training the more obvious forms of strength.
Internal Training to strengthen the internal organs, improving and conditioning the circulation of Chi, training the mind, a style is classified depending which pair is trained first.
Thus Lau Gar is External
Hard A blow which is seen to be powerful by an observer and results in bruises and broken bones, plus internal damage if the boxer is good enough, a forceful block to deal with a forceful attack.
Soft A blow which is delivered in a relaxed manner and will damage an opponent internally without causing surface bruising or broken bones, turning a forceful blow aside by non-forceful means.
A style is classified on the appearance of the sets, if they are brisk and forceful then they are said to be Hard.
Lau Gar tends to be Hard
Long Movements are fully stretched.
Short Movements are tight, blows move short distances.
A style is classified depending on the major appearance in the sets.
Lau Gar is Short
North Refers to the geographic origin of the style but has also come to mean styles that include tumbling routines, very mobile stances, emphasizing kicks.
South Refers to styles originating in South China, but also means styles that are thought to emphasize hand movements from stable low stances
Lau Gar is clearly a Southern Style
In conclusion Lau Gar can be said to be a short southern kung fu style being external and hard in nature.
Every true traditional Martial Arts is a blend of the External : Internal, Hard : Soft, and Long : Short. Moreover such styles will also contain movements which have no fighting application, being designed for improving the health of the practitioner.
The modern trend of discarding such movements is to be deplored, since it shows lack of respect for the Shaolin tradition and could be detrimental to health
Lau Gar Kuen is based on the Five animals. It is derived from a form of boxing that was practiced at Kuei Ling Temple, situated on Bac Pye Saan in Kong Sai province
From the earliest times Shaolin kung fu has featured five styles derived from animal movements called the 'Ng Ying Ga'. This article explains what the five animals are and what characterizes the kung fu movements based on them Each of the five animals is said to embody specific characteristics and the styles based on those animals were developed to have distinguishable but complimentary movements. The five Shaolin animals are:
Dragon, Tiger, Leopard, Snake and Crane.
The dragon style represents the cultivation of the spirit. Pronounced back arches, side horse stances and twisting body postures feature strongly in the style. Flexibility and graceful movements are stressed.
The Tiger does not need to defend, it is the ultimate predator. It has no evasion techniques, no blocking or defence. In any confrontation it leaps into attack going for the quick and direct resolution of the conflict. The Tiger uses any simple and direct approach. It's techniques and methods are easily understood with not a lot of strategic thinking or planning; and absolutely no preparation. The Tiger is purely reactive. Either the world is OK or the Tiger will do something immediate and sudden.
The leopard style represents bravery and martial ferocity. It requires the development of strength and features a strong waist and lower extremities. The leopard style also requires the development of power and speed and swift penetrating strikes.
The Snake uses very simple, straight and Snake (s bend) techniques both for the hands and legs. Generally aiming with a toe or one finger at a specific target that the Snake has identified for their current opponent. This will then be executed with minimum energy usage. For the Snake is that of a single, accurate, very high efficiency strike or kick .It does not use any style of blocking but relies on it's agile body and quick reflexes being enough to avoid any contact what so ever. The Snake allows only one contact and that is it's attack.
The Crane does not attack only counter attacks. It would do this from any angle except the front. It would always side step the attack, possibly using it's wings to mask the movement, change direction again, possibly to deliver a technique to the attacker. It is a master of evading supported by blocking and redirection. It would seek to frustrate it's opponent, helping it to defeat itself.