Although Hung Kuen is based on a core of four fist forms; i.e. Taming the Tiger
Fist (Gung-zee-fuk-fu-kuen),
Tiger Crane Fist (Fu-hok-seung-ying-kuen), Ten
Shapes Fist (Sup-ying-kuen), and Iron Wire Fist (Tit-sin-kuen), there are a
series of secondary forms practiced by the different
Hung Kuen branches that
bring great diversity to the overall system. The
Butterfly Palm (Wu-dip-jeung) is
one of the most popular of these secondary forms.

Leung Wing-hang, Hong Kong's well known traditional dit da doctor and direct
disciple of
Lam Sai-wing, was one of the primary successors of the Butterfly Palm
form, and contributed largely to its dissemination in the early to mid-1900s.
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Hung Kuen's Butterfly Palm
A recent publication on the Butterfly Palm form (Hudiezhang) was
produced in 2009 by Lam Wing-kit and Yong Fun-fong of Taiwan.
The publication is a low-cost print-on-demand staple bound booklet,
that depicts the movements of the authors' version of the form,
however gives minimal descriptions of the actions. No historical
background information is given, with the exception of the mistaken
credit to
Leung Wing-hang as the form's creator.

Available at:
Wu Wan-fei performing the Butterfly Palm form, c.1951
Butterfly Palm in Kung Fu

Hung Kuen is not the only kung fu system
that possesses a butterfly palm form or
technique. The following is a brief
description of some of these systems
that are still practiced today:

Fut Ga Kuen 佛家拳 (Buddhist Style Fist)
This is a Southern Shaolin style that is
primarily a combination of Hung Ga 洪家
and Choy Ga 蔡家. The Butterfly Palm
form of this style is performed facing the
four cardinal directions and is composed
of palm strikes, grabs and throws.

I-Liq Chuan 意力拳 (Mind & Body Fist)
This is a Chinese martial arts style
founded by Chin Lik Keong of Malaysia in
the mid-1970s. The Butterfly Palm form of
this style bears resemblance to forms of
Hsing-I Kuen 形意拳 (Xingyiquan) in its
straight-line striking techniques and
expression of fa-jing 發勁

Xiliang Zhang  西凉掌 (Western Palm)
This style, also known as Yin Yang Palm
阴阳掌, originated in the Liangzhou 凉州
district of Gansu 甘肃 in the late Qing
Dynasty (late 1800s). This style
possesses a set called the Penetrating
Flower Butterfly Palm 穿花蝴蝶掌 that
features large arm swings and body
slaps, reminiscent of Tongbeiquan 通背

Tamo Wu Dip Pai 達摩蝴蝶派
This style was popularized in Hong Kong
in the 1970s by the late master Ma Daai-
ying 馬大英. It is a Northern Shaolin
based system, named after the patron
saint Bodhidharma, and employs rapid
successions of palm, fist and finger

Wing Chun Kuen 永春拳
This well known style is said to have
been created by Shaolin nun Ng Mui 吳梅
in the mid 16th century. Legend says that
Ng Mui was inspired by observing a fight
between a snake and a crane.

In the Yuen Kay Shan 阮奇山 system of
Wing Chun, one of the techniques is
called the Butterfly Hands (aka "Po Pai
Jeung" 抱牌掌, or "Breaking Row" palms).

In the Kulo 古劳 Village system of Wing
Chun, one of the techniques, known as
the Butterfly Palms, was one of the secret
techniques of Leung Jan 梁贊 (Yip Man's
si-gung). This is primarily a double
horizontal palm strike that resembles a
Recent Butterfly Palm Publications
Leung Wing-hang's 1930s Butterfly Palm Book
Leung Wing-hang is often credited as having created the Butterfly
set. This is likely due to his efforts in teaching this form to many
of his Hung Kuen brothers, who eventually became great masters in
their own right, subsequently passing the form down to their own
students. Over time the lines between successor and creator can get
blurred. What further obscures the history of this set is that
published a book on the Butterfly Palm in the 1930s,
which has unfortunately been lost over time.

Leung Wing-hang's book was likely a thin booklet, containing about
50 photos with descriptions of each action in Chinese, as well as the
rhyme for remembering. The photo to the right is an example of one
of these photos from the opening sequence of the set.

If you have any information on this book, please contact us at:
Leung Wing-hang c.1931
Leung Wing-hang c.1931
The Butterfly Palm form is performed along a straight-line path, as do most
Shaolin forms. Unlike the core Hung Kuen forms, it features jump kicks
and ground leg trapping techniques. It is well known for its emphasis on the use
of palm strikes, and for its highly practical applications.

In the words of
Chan Hon-chung (who learned this form from Leung Wing-hang):
"Each of the 60 steps of the Butterfly Palm form have practical self defense and
attack applications; it is because of this that the Hung family have the greatest
respect for this form. Even for beginners who learn it fluently, it alone is more
than enough to be capable of defending oneself".
Chan Hon-chung c.1970