The Jow Ga System
The Jow Ga Kung Fu (aka Chow Gar, Chow Ka, Chau Ka, Zhou Jia, and Jow Gar) system precisely incorporates elements from 3 Kung Fu systems (Hung Ga, Choy Ga, Bak Siu Lum), creating just the right combination of fluidity, speed, and devastaing stopping power of which this unique fighting system is greatly renown. One of the most commonly recognized features of this style could be described as a “Windmill atop a Tornado!” which denotes our fast, fierce and powerful fist techniques combined with our equally swift and powerful footwork and stance work. Although Jow Ga specializes in hand, fist, elbow and arm techniques, also included are Kum La(close range grappling), kicks(and knees), sweeps, takedowns, throws and ground fighting tactics are also included in the Jow Ga system. Also, since Jow Ga is completely a Siu Lum (Shaolin) derivative, animal techniques and concepts are also interwoven all throughout training (such as Tiger, Cougar (Panther), Snake, Crane, Dragon, Eagle, Phoenix). Although to truly excel in the more advanced (and effective) techniques of the animals requires a more serious, experienced and dedicated student and much conditioning to reap any true benefits.
Jow Ga Weapons training allows a student to explore the realm of “a weapon as an extension of the body.” Once a student is proficient enough with hand techniques and demonstrates a certain amount of self-control, they may be encouraged to try out one of the many weapons known to Jow Ga. A weapon will allow a student to learn how to control an object and become more sensitive to the weapon and more aware of their surroundings. Through this, much respect is learned and self-control is always practiced. On a practical note, a lot of the basic defensive techniques of our weapons (like Broadsword for example) can translate to practical self-defense if a weapon is near (like a bat, umbrella, or short stick).
Jow Ga Kung Fu students train not only physically but mentally as well. At Jow Ga Kung Fu, mental training is as important as physical training and therefore is a major part of your Kung Fu training. Students are made to think and given opportunities to make decisions. Unlike a lot of other “fighting systems”, Jow Ga is combat-intensive and students are encouraged not only to understand what they do, but why they do something as well.
Like any traditional Kung Fu school, Jow Ga teaches Lion and Dragon dancing. All the techniques and concepts are brought together through daily practice and use. Beyond the physical workout and development that takes place, as well as the practical benefits (such as swift footwork, strong stance work, powerful arms, coordination etc.), Lion and Dragon dancing(among other practices) allow students to get involved with a more recreational (although serious and revered) and important aspect of the Chinese culture. These types of events also allow students an opportunity to get involved with their community through interaction and entertainment. Regular community involvement is important to traditional kung fu schools as it’s also a way to give back to the community.
Jow Ga techniques are simplistic in nature so the techniques can be as practical and effective as possible without having to expel a great deal of energy. Jow Ga Kung Fu also harnesses the principles of Yam and Yeurng by deflecting and redirecting an opponent’s power away from oneself and using that power against that opponent.