Lau Gar Kung Fu is a traditional Southern Chinese self-defence system, based on the defensive movements of several animals, as originally taught to the monks of the Shaolin Temples.
The five original Southern Chinese styles of Kung Fu were named after the families of their founders and in the case of Lau Gar (some times pronounced Liu Jia, depending on the dialect being used) the master acknowledged as founder of the style was a stick fighter and tiger hunter called Lau Sarm Ngau (or Liu San Yan). The name means “Three-eyed Lau”, for Master Lau had a deep scar in the centre of his forehead, which looked from a distance like a third eye. Master Lau learned the fighting arts at the Kuei Ling Temple, which was also the birthplace of the Hung family style. The origins of the style can, therefore, be considered to be closely linked with those of Hung Gar.
Lau Gar Forms
The forms, or sets, of Lau Gar are based on the five original animal styles of Shaolin Kung Fu, often referred to as the ‘five ancestors’; the tiger, crane, dragon, snake and leopard; with a strong emphasis on tiger forms, for strength and external power, and crane forms, for balance and agility.
Initially Lau Gar was a “closed” style, only taught to the master’s family. There are very few sets in the Lau Gar syllabus, since Master Lau put heavy emphasis on there being no substitute for sparring practice, and so the style fell from favour during the period when martial arts training was banned in China as there were so few elements of the syllabus which could be practised as a simple “exercise” routine.
To this day it is impossible to find a teacher in China who teaches only Lau Gar. The sets of Lau Gar were incorporated long ago into the Hung Gar syllabus and it is here one has to look, to find a Chinese Master of Lau Gar.