Family Styles of Kung-Fu

Some styles of Kung-Fu were closely guarded secrets and only passed down to family members. Such styles are known by their family name and, until recently, only experts claiming direct family lineage could become masters of the style. Chen style Tai Chi Chuan is one eminent example. Chen style’s secrecy was compromised the minute it was taught to an outsider and resulted in Tai Chi’s nationwide popularity, while the original Chen Style remained unknown outside its native village until the early 20th century.

The climate of secrecy surrounding family styles of Kung-Fu was lifted during the early 20th century as the Chinese were encouraged to spread their martial arts knowledge to boost the physical and moral health of the nation. Furthermore, crackdowns on all types of traditional cultural activity during the Cultural Revolution during the 60s forced many masters to flee the Chinese mainland in fear of their lives. In order to survive and in an effort to reverse the damage done by the Cultural Revolution, expat Chinese Kung-Fu masters commonly opened their doors to non family members. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Europe and the United States benefited from China’s loss during the brutal chaos of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

The major Family styles of Kung Fu are:

  • Choi Gar
  • Hung Gar
  • Lau Gar
  • Mok Gar