Hakka Kuen (客家拳) is a general term describing a variety of Chinese martial arts originating from the Hakka community of Southern China and is considered to be an important style within Southern Chinese Martial Arts.
The Hakka heartland is located in the inland part of Guangdong Province east of the Pearl River Delta. According to the Dragon style teacher Steve Martin, Hakka Kuen was influenced by the style that the legendary monk Gee Sim Sim See taught in Guangdong and the neighboring province of Fujian in the 18th century.
Regardless of the historical veracity of Gee Sim, the similarities between Hakka Kuen and the Fujian martial arts strongly suggests that the two are related.
According to Leung Ting, the head of the Wing Tsun branch of Wing Chun, "Their common features are that during fights, pugilists of these systems prefer short steps and close fighting, with their arms placed close to the chest, their elbows lowered and kept close to the flanks to offer it protection. Another characteristic of these two systems of kung-fu is, unlike those of Kwangtung Province and Northern China, their boxing forms are rather simple".
The characteristic rounded shoulders and concave chest of Hakka styles are the features that distinguish them from Fujian styles.
Until the generation of masters Lau Shui and Lum Wing-Fay, Southern Praying Mantis was taught exclusively to Hakka. In fact, the general public of the Pearl River Delta referred to Southern Praying Mantis as "Hakka Kuen," according to the traditions of its Kwong Sai Jook Lum branch.
Other styles that are associated with Hakka Kuen include:
- Bak Mei
- Chuka Shaolin
- Southern Dragon Kung Fu
- I Liq Chuan
- Southern Praying Mantis
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