Tit Sin Kyun – Iron Wire Set

Discussion of Tit Sin Kyun
By Wu Lap Kung, 1951.

If you want to be successful in your career, you have to be physically fit first. If you want to be physically fit, then you must do more exercise. There are many exercises that train the body. However, learning kung fu is the most suitable and safest.
Kung fu can be divided into two types, that is: external and internal. External kung fu requires more energy and yields quick results. Internal kung fu requires more mental energy and yields slower results. If internal and external are linked together, then it will bring twice the result with half the effort. Tit Sin Kyun, the Iron Wire Set, is a good example of this.
About twenty five years ago, I became a student of sifu Lam Sai Wing, after Wong Kin Yuen introduced me to him. In order to successfully learn kung fu, it is always necessary to receive corrections. With Tit Sin Kyun I needed three periods of corrections before understanding the set fully. I am happy that I have learned the complete Tit Sin Kyun in the end. This has been the most remarkable achievement in my kung fu studies for sure.
Sifu Lam also told me about the history of Tit Sin Kyun. The set Tit Sin Kyun was created by Tit Kiu Sam. It has been passed down through many people and then finally to my sijou, Wong Fei Hung. On the other hand, some people say that sijou Wong Fei Hung learned the Tit Sin Kyun from Lam Fok Shing. Then my sijou taught it to sifu Lam. However, this all was a long time ago, and there might be some factual discrepancies. The truth still remains to be verified. But, it is an undisputed fact that Tit Sin Kyun actually originated from master Ng Mui, a disciple of the Siulam monastery.
Tit Sin Kyun is a combination of external and internal kung fu techniques. Furthermore, the set focuses on training the bridge arms – that is the forearms. There are twelve bridge arm principles(1) in Tit Sin Kyun:

– 剛 gong: hard – 串 chyun: string together(2)
– 柔 yau: soft – 提 tai: lift
– 逼 bik: press – 留 lau: to be reserved
– 直 jik: straight – 運 wan: flow
– 分 fan: separate – 制 jai: control
– 定 ding: stabilize – 訂 ding: penetrate

The set contains both external and internal aspects. The external aspects are hand/arm, eye, body, waist and stance. The internal aspects are heart, soul, thought, spirit and power. If you practice Tit Sin Kyun, you should understand how to link external and internal first. But, this alone is not enough. First of all, the body has to be ready and you have to practice with intention. If a person practices Tit Sin Kyun without intention, he is only acting like a puppet. All of the actions should be done with heart and soul thrown into them and intuitively understood. As a result, intention and sense will be generated. The shape of the set is generated by the intention. Together with the shape and breathing, the power will be very strong. This is called internal kung fu. Breathing is the main connection between internal and external kung fu. The body, combined with the sound of the breathing, can help regulate the internal organs. As a result, the blood circulation will improve. Furthermore, the muscles will develop powerfully and the tendons and bones will be strengthened.
From my experience, playing any sport is very exhausting and one will be out of breath. However, I do not have the same feeling after practicing the Tit Sin Kyun. Even after practicing it several times, I do not feel exhausted or out of breath at all. On the contrary, I feel comfortable and pleasantly warm throughout my body. It is because when practicing Tit Sin Kyun you use the breath to gain energy. When you apply power, your power will not be wasted. Thus, Tit Sin Kyun is suitable for anyone to practice, whether you are male or female, young or old. Tit Sin Kyun is simply the best constructed of all of the fist sets.
When practicing Tit Sin Kyun, you should seek the stillness within the movement and seek movement within the stillness. You should relax, but not totally. You should be reserved, but not totally. Those are the skillful hand techniques. Moreover, your fast movements should not be sloppy and your slow movements should not be casual. This way you can continue doing the set calmly. In addition, there should be no timidness in your mind and no expression on your face. When you are in a stance, the momentum should look like you are running. Even when there are many thoughts crossing your mind, your soul should be calm. Hard and soft should be combined together in Tit Sin Kyun. Everything should be mid-way. This can correct your posture. If you practice Tit Sin Kyun a lot, then you will attain perfection gradually and eventually get the wonderful benefits.
The theory behind the Tit Sin Kyun is intricate and complex. If you are not a martial arts expert, then you cannot understand it at all. Sifu Lam is good at giving systematic guidance during his lessons. However, the movements of the Tit Sin Kyun are heavy and slow. Most students do not like this set at all. Moreover, in the set sounds, breathing and actions have to be coordinated. If people who do not know any martial arts see this, they have to laugh. Many students then feel embarrassed and have to blush. For that reason, Tit Sin Kyun is not suitable for demonstrations.
Now Lam Cho, the nephew of sifu Lam Sai Wing, and his kung fu brothers are publishing a memorial book for sifu Lam. As part of this I am writing this article about Tit Sin Kyun. As I am not a good writer, this article is not long and only describes the main idea of Tit Sin Kyun briefly.

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1 The keywords are only translated literally, as can be found in dictionaries. Since the keywords are old Cantonese metaphorical concepts, the translations may not cover the original principle completely or at all.
2 Here a wrong Chinese character is used. For the twelve bridge arms normally 寸 is used (寸 chyun = inch).

Translation: Van ‘t Slot-Lai

Published in the Lam Sai Wing Memorial Book, 1951:
http://www.lulu.com/nl/nl/shop/c-van-t-slot/lam-sai-wing-memorial-book-english/paperback/product-21016954.html