Shaolin Flower Set

The Flower Set


Is Fa Kuen the same as Wing Choon?

In many schools of Wing Choon today, "Fa Kuen" or "Flower Set" is not a part of their training programme. The three standard sets in many Wing Choon schools are "Siu Lim Tau" or "Little Intention", "Cham Kiew" or "Sinking Bridge" and "Phiew Chee" or "Thrusting Fingers".

-- Marek, Germany


But in the style of Wing Choon that I practice, i.e. Choe Family Wing Choon, "Fa Kuen" is an important part of the syllabus. In Choe Family Wing Choon, the three sets of "Siu Lim Tau", "Cham Kiew" and "Phiew Chee" are incorporated into one fundamental set called "Siu Lin Tau", which means "Little Beginning". Besides these two sets, "Siu Lin Tau" and "Fa Kuen", there are many other unarmed and weapon sets. It is illuminating to note that in Choe Family Wing Choon, while the Goat Stance is the main stance in “Siu Lin Tau”, the usual Shaolin stances like the Horse-Riding Stance, the Bow-Arrow Stance and the False-Leg Stance, are used in “Fa Kuen” and other Wing Choon sets.

I believe that "Fa Kuen" as well as other sets practiced in Choe Family Wing Choon, like "Chin Cheong" or "Battle Palm" and "Shui Ta" or "Essense of Fighting", were initially practiced by the founder, Yim Wing Choon, who learned them from her sifu, the Venerable Ng Mui, a famous Shaolin nun. Yim Wing Choon selected patterns from her various sets that were of particular uses for her needs, and composed these patterns into a set for convenience of practice.

Like many systematic practitioners, she practiced this set at the start of her training session. When asked the name of this set, she might have called it "Siu Lin Tau", which means "Little Beginning", suggesting that this was a little (meaning short) set she would practice at the beginning of every training session. Over time, “lin” could be mis-pronounced as “lim”. This was probably how this fundamental Wing Choon set developed.

Why is it that in Choe Family Wing Choon, the Goat Stance is mainly used in “Siu Lin Tau”, whereas other stances like Horse-Riding, Bow-Arrow and False-Leg are used in “Fa Kuen” and the other sets? The following background information may suggest an answer. In Shaolin Kungfu where internal force training is involved, the Horse-Riding Stance is usually used. Where combat application is involved, the Bow-Arrow Stance and the False-Leg Stance are generally used.

Yim Wing Choon practiced “Siu Lin Tau” for force training, and the other sets for combat. But as she wore skirts, using the Horse-Riding Stance would not be suitable. Hence she used the narrower Goat Stance instead. For the other sets which she practiced for combat application, she retained the Bow-Arrow Stance and the False-Leg Stance.

Reproduced from December 2006 Part 3 in Selection of Question-Answer Series


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