Hong Kong Martial Arts Living Archive

Project by International Guoshu Association




backed of US$30,936 goal

10 days

to go

Launched: 15 Aug 2014

Funding ends: 12 Mar 2015


Per International Guoshu Association’s request, FringeBacker is happy to extend this project for a further 60 days of fundraising until Mar 12, 2015. For more details, please refer to the project update of Jan. 9, 2015.

Inherit the past and Inspire the future! - The Preservation Of Hong Kong Martial Arts Heritage

The International Guoshu Association (IGA) collaborates with the City University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to build The Hong Kong Martial Arts Living Archive . Now, with the help of FringeBacker on this online platform, we open an opportunity for you to participate in this meaningful project in conserving Hong Kong’s cultural heritage.


The Hong Kong Martial Arts Living Archive is a collaboration between the IGA and the CUHK. The project encompasses the first-ever comprehensive digital strategy of archiving and annotating Hong Kong’s diverse and rich Kung Fu styles and traditions using state-of-the art data capture tools. In addition, this archive will become a source for exhibitions and installations that promote rich cultural traditions, as well as for the development of mobile apps and other digital learning tools. The Archive, with comprehensive metadata, descriptions and physical annotations will also be a vital source of ongoing research.


  1. The Hong Kong Martial Arts Living Archive initiative is the first ever project that aims to make a comprehensive and precise documentation of Hong Kong’s Kung Fu traditions.

  2. As an intangible cultural heritage embedded in the Kung Fu practices of all styles, there is an urgent need to document the various authentic martial arts styles before they disappear. Kung Fu masters with legendary and refined techniques are aging and their artistry should definitely be captured and preserved in a way that could minimise the loss in translation.

  3. It is important to help the next generation to comprehend and appreciate martial arts and to revive the spirit and virtue of martial arts practices. Martial arts practices provide good training for mindfulness, awareness, patience and endurance.
    "Lam Sifu says modern distractions like videogames are sapping young people of the ability to focus on demanding martial art forms like Hung Kuen, which can require learning as many as 300 movements in a single set." (CNN Report May 21, 2013: English-language manual helps the fight back for Hong Kong Kung Fu by Peter Shadbolt, )


From the early to mid 20th century Hong Kong provided refuge to teeming thousands of immigrants from Mainland China. These people brought diverse skills and knowledge as well as capital to Hong Kong. Among them were some of the most prominent martial artists from China. Continued political instability in China from the late 19th to mid 20th century triggered several migration waves to Hong Kong, which engendered the development of Hong Kong’s unique culture, including Hong Kong martial arts.

As Hong Kong is geographically connected to the Southern province of Guangdong, Cantonese martial arts had the greatest influence on the development of Chinese martial arts. Indeed, it can be argued that some of the most important styles of Southern Chinese martial arts are best preserved in Hong Kong, including Hung Kuen and Wing Chun, as the most important masters of these styles moved to Hong Kong. However, Northern Chinese martial arts and martial artists also made their way to Hong Kong during this period. They mixed with local southern styles of martial arts to develop unique traditions which are found nowhere else.


The Hong Kong Martial Arts Living Archive is a groundbreaking project to develop a sophisticated methodology for the complete four dimensional analysis of Hong Kong martial arts applicable to numerous other performance-based activities (e.g. all marital arts and performing arts). It builds upon extensive work carried out in dance annotations.

Typically, traditional documentation of Kung Fu forms (Fig 1) has involved two-dimensional analysis in a single plane (Fig 2) without considering the third dimensions (Fig 3).

(Figure 2 and 3) Images by Dan Djurdjevic

Using high-definition and high-speed 3D video capture of sequences, the activity of annotation itself will be transformed to include such physical data for: speed, torque, torsion and force (momentum and acceleration). 4D analysis of Kung Fu necessarily includes time. The Hong Kong Martial Arts Living Archive will provide benchmarks in the formation of extensive analytics tools and intangible heritage documentation.

Significantly, different martial art styles/ schools make use of different models of body mechanics which until now are mostly orally transmitted, often in a language crouched in esoteric terms. With the dwindling number of practitioners in some styles, this knowledge is now in danger of becoming lost. The 4D analysis therefore provides the only sure way of documenting and preserving this legacy.

The Archive database is structured on multiple media types and ingests information based on the complete lexicon of Hong Kong Kung Fu. A controlled keyword vocabulary (the Hong Kong martial arts thesaurus) and item-level descriptions define the fields for data entry.


Photography; 2D & 3D video; panoramic video, audio. All video and audio media is tagged along the time code from the outset to enable a finely tuned search among the huge datasets archived through various data capture processes.


  1. 3D motion data (MOCAP) (Fig. 4)
  2. Stereoscopic video (panoptic from six points of view) (Fig. 5)
  3. Panoramic video (Fig. 6)
  4. Stills photography
  5. HD high-speed video sequences
  6. Spatial audio


  1. MOCAP data optimization and animation
  2. Video data annotation (and automation)
  3. Data ingestion and metadata integration


With the pro bono contribution from the City University of Hong Kong (CUHK) since Summer 2013, we have successfully captured a significant amount of data of the following Kung Fu styles as follows:

  1. Lam Family Hung Kuen
    1. Lau Gar Kuen 劉家拳 (cleaned up) performed by Oscar Lam
    2. Monkey Stick 行者棒 (cleaned up)
    3. Gung Gee Fok Fu Kuen 工字伏虎拳 performed by Oscar Lam

  2. Wing Chun
    1. Siu Lim Tou 小念頭 performed by Jerry Yeung
    2. Cum Kiu 尋橋 performed by Jerry Yeung
    3. Biu Zi 標指 performed by Jerry Yeung
    4. Ci Sau performed by Jerry Yeung
    5. Bak Zam Dou 八斬刀 performed by Kong Chi Keung 江志強

  3. Fujian Yongchun White Crane
    1. Sam Zin 三戰 performed by Lee Kong
    2. Kok Zin 角戰
    3. Tin Dei Jan Zin天地人戰

The research funding available can no longer sustain the volume and urgent need of documentation. In view of the significance and scope of this project, it is crucial for us to continue building the archive to a level that is meaningful and relevant when shared to the public, i.e. the data can be rendered for exhibition, manual guides in print and in multi-media format or even integrated in the mobile app environment.

Therefore, we are here to raise funds to hire a dedicated motion capture specialist for the documentation and pay for the data clean up. We hope that , with your support, we can continue the legacy of martial arts and enshrine it through generations.


The International Guoshu Association is committed to protecting, developing and promoting China’s indigenous sports as represented by the guoshu system. Our mission is to revitalise China’s physical heritage by: reforming and systematising its organisational and competition structures, to educate the public and to popularize Chinese sports through printed media, website and organising public events such as competitions, demonstrations, seminars, lectures, and exhibitions. At the same time, the IGA aims to introduce China’s distinguished culture, to introduce China’s distinguished physical heritage to the global audience and integrate Chinese sports more closely with global sports.


i. One hand-made Jian Cun Xiao Yue Jian from Longquan

Sword making and appreciation has a history of over two thousand years in China and Jian Cun is a definitely a leader of swordsmith. All swords are individually crafted and each sword takes 8 months to create. The process of sword-making involves pattern-welding, i.e. adding metallic layers which formed intricate web-like patterns on the surface. Such a process will also enforce the original structure, making it more endurable and less susceptible to cracking. Now you can own this master-piece by being part of the project.

Product name: J219-Jian Cun Xiao Yue Jian with Bronze parts
Length (cm): 57.5
Width (cm): 2.2-3.5
Handle (cm): 13
Weight (kg) : 0.60
Edge: Jian Cun pattern-welded steel
Sheath: mahogany
Decoration: Bronze Tao Tie Pattern
Engraving: Longquan Jian Cun
Edges: Two different edges with both four-side and grooved

ii. Group Rewards $70,000

If your organisation or your group is interesting in backing us, we offer a group reward with the following:

  1. A framed certificate to acknowledge your organisation’s contribution
  2. 10 A3-sized posters hand signed by the Masters of Kung Fu Styles of your choice (Choi Lee Fa、Hung Kue、Wing Chun、Chow Ka Praying Mantis、Fujian Yongchun White Crane、Tai Chi)
  3. 10 iPhone 5 cases with Kung Fu form prints
  4. 10 free tickets (with 2 complementary drinks) (value at $600) to a future seminar organised by the International Guoshu Association
  5. 10 merchandised towels printed with G.O.D. with slogans of the Kung Fu Styles of your choice (Lam Family Hung Kuen, Wing Chun, Yochun White Crane)
  6. 10 hardback copies of Hung Kuen Fundamentals: Gung Gee Fok Fu Kuen(《 洪拳入門︰工字伏虎拳》), co-authored by Master Lam Chun Fai and Hing Chao
  7. 10 hardback copies of Hung Kuen Training: Chin Cheung and Fok Fu Kuen Deui Chak (《洪拳功法:戰掌暨伏虎拳對拆》), written by Lan Chun Fai
  8. A private 30 minute behind the scenes guided tour (for up to 10 people) to the motion capture lab to see the Kung Fu demonstration and capture process
  9. A private guided Hong Kong day tour (for up to 10 people) to tread the Kung Fu Trail – visit important sites of Kung Fu History in Hong Kong. Local transportation and lunch included.
  10. A session of master class training with renowned a Kung Fu Master of the styles of your choice (for up to 10 people) (Choi Lee Fat、Hung Kuen、Wing Chun、Chow Ka Praying Mantis、Fujian Yongchun White Crane、Tai Chi)

iii. Hung Kuen Fundamentals: Gung Gee Fok Fu Kuen, co-authored by Master Lam Chun Fai and Hing Chao

Note: If funding reaches $560,000, all who backed $1,000 level and above will get an exclusive login to the website of the Hong Kong Martial Arts Living Archive, enabled with sophisticated 3D video viewer, to view the progress and results of the motion capture

International Guoshu Association
Project by
International Guoshu Association