My Jhong Law Horn Couplet

Lineage Chart

Deceptive and Deadly: My Jhong Law Horn

Grand Master Johnny Kwong Ming Lee

Kung fu

The execution of techniques and the appearance of movements of different styles, whether in fighting or forms, have special flavors peculiar to each style. However, it is not the physical difference of technique that makes the distinction in styles, but rather the mind of the student. His thinking and strategy dictate the technique to be used, which in turn requires a special way to initiate the discharging of power suited to his tactics. It is this means of accomplishing a strategy of combat that creates a difference in style.

My Jhong Law Horn and northern shaolin long fist are similar in the bold action of jumps and long-range attacks, but different when one looks at their combat strategies. Long fist uses its jumps and long-range techniques to form a precipitous attack so that the opponent has no chance to even get close. My Jhong, however, is more deceptive. Bold leaps become nimble jumps to achieve a superior position for countering. The long range strike is replaced by the shrewd precision of a multiple-angle combination.

My Jhong Law Horn’s fighting prowess is based on deception and mobility. These principles are reflected in the versatile use of the hands and feet, which are characterized by markedly fleeting movements coupled with nimble jumps and shrewd attacks. A technique may change from a side blow to a flying kick in mid-air, or to a sweeping stroke beneath the legs, thus demonstrating its mobility and the viability of multiple angle attacks. In the face of such unpredictable motions, the opponent is left in confusion, vulnerable to an unexpected angle. Carrying out such minutely devised maneuvers requires that the hands, eyes, body and feet move in one coordinated motion of swiftness and agility. A technique designed for mobility has a flexible and extensive stretch which gives the appearance of relaxed and fluid motion while containing the potential for tremendous force. The production of this strength gives My Jhong Law Horn its fa ching, or discharging force, a cross between the internal corkscrew power of Chen style tai chi and the second joint (elbow) snapping power of shaolin long fist.

We shall use the skip-step wheeling-arm slap as an example. In performing this technique, the practitioner strikes with the wheeling-arm slap with the maximum summation of forces without the conventional lowered-gravity, wide-based, rooted footing. In fact, the strike occurs while his feet skip-step around the opponent to cover distance. The momentum of the reaction force of the skip-step combines with the corkscrewing force of the waist rotation and the snapping force of the wheeling arm to deal a crushing palm strike to the opponent.

The keys to generating My Jhong’s fa ching are as follows:

  • Iron hard fist, cotton soft wrist
  • Supple whip arm, spinning wheel elbow
  • Unified scapulas, loose hanging shoulders
  • Wide open chest, snake slithering waist
  • Opened and closed hips, rounded crotch
  • Bent knee, spring loaded feet, and swift-flowing steps

The fa ching of My Jhong uses an element of spiral energy, which is usually considered to be part of the internal styles. The fighting principles of the internal stylist call for him to get in close and tight to his opponent, and stick to his target with a soft hand. Therefore, without punching space, he must discharge force from the rear thigh by driving against the ground, reflecting the force through the heel, and transferring it from the rotation of the hips and waist to the shoulder. From there it is conveyed through the arm and imparted by the hand.

But the fighting tactics of My Jhong cause damage through its iron hand rather than by uprooting its opponent. Therefore, if the fa ching were to start from the rear thigh, it would be too slow and have to cover too long a distance. Instead, it starts with an elbow snap, followed by driving the opposite shoulder away from the target, which transfers a reaction momentum through the unified scapulas to the striking arm. This is augmented by the corkscrew force produced by the rotation of the hips and waist and the final twist of the wrist upon impact. This imparts tremendous momentum in a very short period of impact, causing massive spot-damage while the practitioner’s body remains in a mobile state.

Southern shaolin’s tactics call for quick blocking and multiple trapping hands to open the opponent’s centerline for attack. These techniques require strong shoulders, forceful arms, closed hips, and superior upper body strength for stiff, direct power. My Jhong’s combative focus is on mobility in countering and shrewd tactics to create confusion. Consequently, it has less need for concentrated blocking techniques.

But while My Jhong principles for the upper body use dodging, lay back, shifting, spinning, bob and weave, rotation, and suck in, its footwork includes back peddle, skip, spin, steal step, lunge, and retreat as main tactics to be elusive, with soft flow like golden lasso using the blocking hand as a safety check while countering and as an illusory ruse while attacking.

My Jhong training uses forms practice as one of its main tools. There are more than 60 forms encompassing empty-hand, weapons forms, and two-man sparring sets. Sparring is important for the development of efficient, economic footwork, precise alignment, and fast, fluid action. It also trains the acceleration of body parts to deliver maximum power on demand, as well as developing a highly refined sense of timing and rhythm in technique execution. Training externally conditions the tendons, bones, and muscles while simultaneously strengthening the breath of chi. Agility and flexibility in action and strength and hardness on impact are acquired through vigorous external training in basic techniques and combinations. The hands are conditioned through iron palm training, while the grips and jabs of eagle claw are conditioned through specialized rubbing and thrusting at a magnetized iron plate.

Internal training occurs solely through the practice of the empty hand and weapons forms and moves through three stages. In the beginning, diligent and thorough practice of the forms with the correct postures and details of the techniques is required. The second stage progresses beyond technique, as the forms are performed with swift coordination, precise timing, fluid rhythm, flowing momentum, and maximum focus. Combining these qualities with an understanding of the techniques allows one to practice the forms as if one were encountering an opponent. The final stage reaches the state of chuan, no chuan (technique, no technique), yi, no yi (mind, no mind). The Chinese maxim reads “from no yi shoots out true yi”, meaning that from thoughtlessness comes true meaning. The internal practice follows the tradition of Zen rather than Taoist methods of consciously or willfully guiding the chi through special routes. All one needs is a total commitment to the form without any mistakes or artificial feelings for the true unification of mind, body, and action to occur.