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Tang Family History - The Red Boat branch

Tang Yik kept some newspaper cut and passed onto me, which gave a good "story" on Weng Chun Kuen and I believe people might be interested. The author was a well known and respected writer on martial arts books. Lee Kong Sifu said that he actually was 許凱如先生, once the deputy chief editor of New Martial Hero Magazine. My sister-in-law was so kind to translated such to English and I believe that such might be interested to you. The articles were published in 1960's.

Michael Tang



Chapter 2

San Gam (新錦) helped Fung Siu Ching (馮小青) hand in his resignation to Xiao Quan (蕭權) and took him back to the red boat. From then on, San kept Fung as a personal attendant and when he played on stage, Fung would help at the back stage taking up jobs like tidying up San’s costumes and put back in the chests. As Fung worked carefully and systematically, he won the favour of San who would not hesitate to teach him what he knew. No matter where the red boat went, San always took Fung along. At that time, San was a very famous Cantonese opera actor but he continued practising martial arts assiduously. On the red boat, facilities like the wooden dummy, the movable dummy and sandbags were installed. San told Fung that those were bases for practising Weng Chun Kuen as handed down by Master Chi Sim (至善襌師). Because of his anti-Manchu sentiment, Master Chi Sim was closely watched by the Qing (清) government after the Shaolin Monastary (少林寺) was burnt down. Since he wanted to pass his martial arts skills to people in the southern part of China, he disguised himself as a cooking staff in the red boat. During that time, he secretly took in two students. The students were Wong Wah Bo (黄華寶) and Leung Yee Tai (梁二娣). The former played Da Hua Mian (大花面) [strong male character] in the troupe. The latter was the boatman known as Du Shui Guai or Water Ghost Duk (篤水鬼). He steered the boat by pushing a long bamboo pole against the riverbed.

Master Chi Sim taught students according to their aptitude. The Shaolin fist-figthing skill (少林拳) was based on the five forms (五形拳). Nevertheless, due to the lack of space on the red boat, Master Chi Sim could not teach Huang and Leung the five forms which required long bridge and big stance (長橋大馬). He taught them short bridge and narrow stance (短橋窄馬) instead and modified the big stance to the er zi qian yang stance (二字箝羊馬) [a pair of pliers on a goat]. In practice, the two feet were about a foot apart and the two knees were but a few inches apart. In such a position, the feet would be like a pair of pliers (箝), and if you were riding on a goat’s neck, it would not be able to free its head and escape because of the force of your feet and that was why it was so named. Qiao shou (橋手) can be catergorized as tan shou (攤手), fu shou (伏手), geng shou (耕手), ze shou (責手), lan shou (攔手), and shi shou (拭手). Palm fighting skill (掌法) can be catergorized as zheng zhang (正掌) [the hand is held perpendicular to the wrist], heng zhang (橫掌) [the ridge-hand] and di zhang (底掌). Stance is simple with alteration from horse style (馬式) to bow style (弓式). The bow style stance is characterized by having the foot behind as the dominant weight anchor while the foot in front played subordinate. The Weng Chun training focused on practising with the wooden dummy. The stance for practising is to turn the body from sideways to front while engaging the hand and elbow at the same time with the elbow and palm striking simultaneously, fist-fighting with elbow, strike with the palm when the body is sideways. La jiao (辣腳) [sweeping feet] and geng shou are heavy blows. [埋樁的時候,步馬採用側身轉正,手睜並用,睜掌齊施,拳是用踭,側身用掌,辣腳,耕手,都是側重的.] Chi shou (黐手) [adhesive hand], practising with the wooden dummy and the sandbags are functional skills. While the latter two skills could be practised individually, the first one will require a partner and is similar to the push-hands (推手) of the Taijiquan (太極拳). As short bridge and narrow stance is adopted and there is little stepping, space required to complete a full set of fist-fighting skills for combating will be only a few square feet, which made it suitable to be practised on the red boat.

Chapter 3

Wong Wah Bo was San Gam’s sifu [teacher in martial arts] in Weng Chun Kuen and they had their lessons on the red boat. At one time, Leung Yee Tai was the boatman on the same boat and San took the opportunity to learn the liu dian ban gun from Leung. San was eager and persistent and practised with the wooden dummy whenever he found time. He therefore got great advancement.

Having taken Fung as his student, San taught him Weng Chun Kuen on the red boat for six years. During that period, Fung was keen in his martial arts practice but he showed no interest in the performing arts of Cantonese opera. He did not succeed in singing, walking techniques, hand movements or distinctive facial expressions. He could only play some low status warrior characters and came on stage when fighting scenes were on. However, San was fond of him. KnoWeng Fung’s aspiration and interest, he and would not force him to learn opera. He continued to teach him Weng Chun Kuen and let him work as his attendant. Fung would help at the back stage folding San’s costumes and played unimportant warrior roles when required. He earned only very little. It was a rule on the red boat that students who learnt performing arts were to undertake a contract. They would learn their skills for three years and after that, their teachers would take them on stage. They would then work for three years to repay their teachers and to complete the contract. After that, they would be free to work for themselves. In Fung’s case, he achieved very little in performing arts as he spent most of his time in learning martial arts. He was devoted to San, worked diligently and carefully and had no complaint about the low wages. San nevertheless knew that Fung had little chance of developing a career in the troupe. On the other hand, Fung had achieved very high standard in martial arts and could become a master in such area. San did not want to stifle Fung’s real talents and told him what he thought and persuaded him to leave the red boat so that he could develop his career in martial arts. San also urged Fung to carry forward the Weng Chun Kuen skill. Fung agreed with his teacher and took his advice. He left the red boat and looked for chances in the field of martial arts.

Fung’s hometown was Nanhai (南海). At that time, the Qionghua Guild (瓊花會館) [the association established by Cantonese opera artists] at Foshan (佛山) was burnt down and Ba He Guild ( 八和會館) was not yet set up in Guangzhou (廣州 ). The red boats usually anchored at Foshan and Fung had been there many times. He became a friend to Tung Yu Ching (董業卿), the owner of Lian Chang Hua Hong Shop (聯昌花紅店) at Hua Hong Street (花紅街). Having left the red boat, Fung decided to pay Tung a visit. Tung had two sons, namely Tung Jik (董植) aged 18 and Tung Lun, (董倫) aged 16. The two brothers loved martial arts and their father sent them to a teacher who taught Hong Quan (洪拳) at Anning City (安寧市). They spent three years with the teacher and could master a complete set of ‘five form fist-fighting skill’ (五形拳). They told their father that they could easily fight against two to three average-looking guys on the street.

When Fung arrived at Lian Chang Hua Hong Shop, he found Tung Yu Ching and told him that he had left the red boat and his teacher wanted him to develop the Weng Chun Kuen. He therefore intended to set up a martial arts school in Foshan. When Tung Yu Ching heard this, he said, ‘You are also a Weng Chun Kuen practitioner? At present, there is a teacher of Weng Chun Kuen in Foshan and his name is Leung Jan (梁贊). He learnt his skill from his uncle Leung Guoan (梁國安) whose wife was Yan Yongchun (嚴詠春). Yan was the daughter of Yan Yee Kong of Jiangxi who was the student of Master Chi Sim. When Leung Guoan went to Jiangxi, he married into Yan Yongchun’s family and lived there and had the advantage of learning Weng Chun Kuen skill from both his father-in-law and his beloved wife. After the death of Yan Yee Kong, Leung took his wife back to Guangdong and taught Leung Jan the skill. Leung Jan is running a Chinese medicine shop called Zansheng Tang Chinese Medicine Shop (贊生堂藥材店) and he practises as a doctor. He does not teach Weng Chun Kuen openly. Apart from his two sons, he has another student called Chen Hua (陳華). Chen has a money exchange stall outside Zansheng Tang and people used to call him Money Exchanger Hua (找錢華). There is nobody teaching martial arts officially here.

Chapter 4

Tung Yu Ching’s remarks reminded Fung about what his sifu told him, that Yan Yee Kong was a student of Master Chi Sim. He knew that Leung Jan’s martial arts skill was of the same school as his own and as nobody had yet set up a martial arts school in Foshan, it would be an opportunity for him to do so. While he was talking to Tung Yu Ching, Tung Jik and his brother came home unexpectedly. Their father introduced them to Fung and mentioned that Fung was a distinguished student of San Gam and could master Weng Chun Kuen very well. He also told them that Fung had left the red boat and intended to teach Weng Chun Kuen in Foshan.

Tung Jik was practising Hong Quen at that time and his sifu always openly criticized Weng Chun Kuen as not functional for its short bridge and narrow stance. Tung Jik therefore did not believe in Weng Chun Kuen and had been trying to find a chance to combat with someone practising Weng Chun. When he heard what his father said, he replied, ‘I heard that the Weng Chun style is handed down by Master Chi Sim to opera artists while he lived on the red boat. The aim was to facilitate their performance on stage. However, this means the skill is only good for visual delight and not functional. That’s why Leung Jan and Chen Hua who are reputable Weng Chun masters wouldn’t dare set up a martial arts school in Foshan. Even if Master Fung would like to teach Weng Chun Kuen, I’m afraid nobody would like to learn it.’

On hearing his remarks, Fung understood that Tung Jik looked down on the Weng Chun style and decided to display his skills to convince Tung Jik otherwise. So he smiled and said, ‘This could be your sifu’s perspective. In fact, the Weng Chun style, with its short bridge and narrow stance, could guard the body very well. Moreover, it’s good for both attack and defence. Your sifu is prejudiced by saying that it’s not functional. You have practised Hong Kuen for a few years and should be good at it. If you wish, we can have a contest to prove what I have said.’ Tung Jik was just too happy to hear Fung’s suggestion. His sifu always praised his achievement in Hong Quen and said that he could fight any martial arts master. He had been looking for a match for a long time and Fung’s proposal was exactly what he had been waiting for. He would also take the opportunity to show his father what he had attained. So he replied without any hesitation, ‘You are right. I’d very much like to take your suggestion and see which martial arts skill is more functional.’

The inner building of Lian Chong Hua Hong Shop was very spacious and Tung Jik and his brother always had their practice there and so it’s an ideal place for the contest. Fung posed a er zi qian yang stance and displayed the tan shou. He then said to Tung Jik, ‘You can attack me with Hong Quen at full force. Don’t hold back or we won’t be able to tell the weak from the strong.’ Tung Jik saw that Fung’s stance was just like standing and quickly dismissed it as superficial and not steady. He therefore took a step forward and applied the jin long xian zhao (金龍獻爪) [the golden dragon showed its claws] of the five form fist-fighting skill under Hong Quen. With his left hand supporting the right elbow, his right hand was in the form of claws and he adopted a feint to attack Fung’s face but in fact, he intended to change the left hand into claws and attack Fung’s body. Fung saw his real intention and used fu shou to subdue Tung Jik’s left wrist, blocked his advance and lifted his right palm with his own, so as to undermine his force. As Tung Jik’s right side of the chest was exposed, Fung applied shuang tui shou (雙推手) [push with both hands] and pushed Tung Jik at the front. Tung Jik fell back to more than seven feet away, hit the wall with a big bang and then fell to the ground. As his waist hit the wall, he slipped and fell on his buttocks, which hurt so much that he could not stand up again. At that moment, Tung Jik knew that his skill was far behind that of Fung. After all, he had hit Fung with all his might, yet with hardly any effort, Fung had overpowered him. Tung Jik was won round completely. He knelt down in front of Fung, acknowledged his far more superior skill and asked to become his student. Seeing this, Tung Yu Ching asked Fung to stay and teach his sons Weng Chun Kuen.

Chapter 5

As the Dongs were sincere in their request, Fung was happy to consent. Tung Yu Ching therefore took some money to install all the basic practising equipment, such as sandbags, wooden stake and wooden dummy (木樁,棍樁) Tung Jik had a friend named Tang Suen (鄧算), whose hometown was Nanhai as well. He learnt Hong Quan from the same sifu as the Tung brothers. Tang’s father was a master in fist-fighting skill and the family had a long tradition of learning martial arts. Tang learnt fist-fighting skill at a very small age and when he grew up, he married the daughter of a master in fist-fighting skill. Their happy marriage was praised far and wide. His intention of learning Hong Quan was for advanced training and he became very good friend of the Tung brothers. Tung Jik told Tang about Fung’s skill and persuaded him to learn Weng Chun Kuen from Fung and Tang agreed. At that time, Fung had a few other students, all introduced by Tung Jik. However, as the Tung brothers and Tang had solid foundations in fist-fighting skill, Fung regarded them with respect.

Tung Yu Ching was a wealthy businessman in Foshan and loved to make friends with people practising martial arts. He was an acquaintance of Leung Jan. Since Fung took up the teaching role at Lian Chong Hua Hong Shop, Tung had talked to Leung and told him about Fung’s background. Leung Jan knew that Fung’s skill and his own were of the same origin and was happy to make friends with him. Tung therefore introduced them and they had a good talk on fist-fighting skills. Leung told Fung that his skills was learnt from his uncle Leung Guoan. His aunt Yan Yongchun had also coached him. Leung Guoan taught him three sets of fist-fighting skill and each set was practised in a different way. The first set was called xiao nian tou (小念頭), and practised with the face looking to the front. One should pose the er zi qian yang stance and stand still. The feet only move twice in the course of practising the full set of xiao nian tou. For the hands, they got tan shou, fu shou and bang shou (榜手). It’s very good for defence and the body was well protected. The second set was xun qiao (尋橋) and practised with the body turned half sideways, i.e. about 45 degrees. To practise this set of skill, the stance would have to shift from the horse style to bow style. The bow style would centre on the foot behind which will be assisted by the foot in front, another saying being ‘arrow in front of the bow’ (前箭後弓) which was its main difference from bow style stance in other schools of martial arts which adopted ‘bow in front of the arrow’ (前弓後箭). For the hands, emphasis was on bang shou and lan shou. Bang shou was further classified as shang bang (上榜), zhong bang (中榜) and xia bang (下榜). Other hand movements were similar to that of xiao nian tou. The third set was biao Chi (標指) which was the foundation for practising with the wooden dummy. The stance would be turning from sideway to the front. As both the hands and feet would be used simultaneously, the full set of biao Chi would adopt la jiao and geng shou. The fist would be assisted by the heel, and the palm would be used when turning sideways. The flow of the movement was to prepare for practising with the wooden dummy. The wonder of these three sets of skills was that it was all embracing.

In exchange, Fung expounded on what he knew about Weng Chun Kuen. The fist-fighting skill that San Gam taught him included ‘Weng Chun Kuen’, ‘Shaolin Quan’ (少林拳), Fo Quan (佛拳) and Zhuang Quan (樁拳). Weng Chun Kuen was the foundation of the Weng Chun style. Shaolin Quan was also known as Chi Sim Quan (至善拳) to honour Master Chi Sim. Fo Quan was so called because it originated from the Shalin Monastry. As for Zhuang Quan, it was mainly for practising with the wooden dummy. Wooden dummies for the Weng Chun style were classified as tian pan zhuang (天盤樁) and di pan zhuang (地盤樁). Though the name of the set of skills differ, the stances were the same. When one was facing the front, the er zi qian yang stance was adopted. The bow style was ‘arrow in front of the bow’. Practice for the hands included tan shou, fu shou, bang shou, ze shou, shi shou, geng shou and lan shou. For the palm, zheng zhiang, heng zhiang and di zhiang were the same. Both schools emphasized practising with the wooden dummy. Having practised fist-fighting, they would practise chi shou. The movement and functions were all the same. Although the order for the practise differ, when it came to chi shou, the methods were compatible thus making it possible for them to practise chi shou with one another.

Chapter 6

When they talked about pole-fighting skill, Leung Jan took the lead and explained that the liu dian ban gun he learnt from Leung Guoan had ti, lan, dian, jie, ge, yun and lou as main points and from which modifications were derived. Nevertheless, he was fortunate to meet Leung Yee Tai three years ago and learnt from him as well. He also told Fung Xiaochun how he met Leung Yee Tai.

There was a butchery named De Chang Pork Shop (德昌豬肉店) in Kuai Zi City (快子市). One of the partners was called Leung Gwai (梁貴) who had once worked as a boatman on the red boat as partner of Leung Yee Tai. When Leung Yee Tai grew old and could not work as a boatman any more, he came to look for Leung Gwai in Foshan and the latter was then working as a butcher living in a room in a warehouse in Qing Yun Street (青雲街). Leung Gwai was also known as ‘Pork Gui’ (豬肉貴). He had learnt Weng Chun Kuen for two years under the instruction of Leung Jan and he did very well in his study. When Leung Jan taught him liu dian ban gun, he told his sifu that he had learnt that from Leung Yee Tai and what Leung Jan taught him was somewhat different. Leung Jan knew that Leung Yee Tai learnt the liu dian ban gun directly from Master Chi Sim and he was eager to learn more about it. As it so happened that Leung Yee Tai came to Foshan and was staying with Leung Gwai, Leung Jan sent his invitation through his student. When he saw Leung Yee Tai, he respected him as a senior and asked him about liu dian ban gun. Leung Yee Tai asked Leung Jan to demonstrate what he knew about the skill. When Leung Jan finished, Leung Yee Tai told him that it was basically the same as his. The only difference was that Leung Yee Tai learnt the skill on the red boat and as a boatman, he had to manipulate a long pole and emphasized practising with the wooden dummy. On the other hand, when Yan Yee Kong learnt the skill from Master Chi Sim, they were on solid ground which was a very different environment. In learning the liu dian ban gun, Yan did not need to practise with the wooden dummy. The wooden dummy for practising fist-fighting skill was again divided into sheng zhuang or huo zhuang (生樁/活樁) [movable dummy] and si zhuang (死樁) [static dummy]. When Yan Yee Kong learnt his skill, si zhuang which was partially buried in the ground was used. When Wong Wah Bo learnt the skill on the red boat, the wooden dummy could not be buried in the ground and therefore huo zhuang was adopted. Such explained the difference between the two sets of skills. When Leung Jan heard what Leung Yee Tai said, he understood that there was a difference between what they practised and he earnestly asked Leung Yee Tai to stay in Jan Sheng Tang for some time. He then spent time to discuss martial arts with Leung Yee Tai every day until it was time for the latter to return to Guangzhou. At that time, Leung Jan had already mastered a comprehensive study of the two sets of skills. He later learnt that Leung Yee Tai died from sickness some time after he returned to Guangzhou.

When Leung Jan finished his story, Fung looked at the facilities for practice and noticed that the wooden dummy was actually partially buried in the ground and therefore fixed in position. The sandbags, however, were hung on the wall as his. On the other hand, Leung did not install wooden dummy for practising pole-fighting skill. Both of them were so keen on finding out the origin of the Weng Chun style and they had a pleasant discussion. After that, each of them demonstrated a few sets of fist-fighting skill and a set of pole-fighting skill for sharing so that they could learn from each other. Fung told Leung that when he was living on the red boat, Master Chi Sim taught him the liu dian ban gun and taught Wong Wah Bo a set of tie bao jin gun (鐵包金棍) [iron wrap gold club] for performance on stage. A pair of qi mei duan gun (齊眉短棍) [eyebrow clubs] was used and Wong Wah Bo could master it very well.

Fung and Leung became friends after the first meeting. Fung was also on friendly terms with Chen Hua. By that time, Chen had been learning Weng Chun Kuen for some time and attained very good standard. Leung concentrated on practising as a doctor of Chinese medicine. Apart from his two sons, Leung Chun (梁春) and Leung Bi (梁璧), he took no other students for Weng Chun Kuen. He acknowledged Chen as his successor in Weng Chun Kuen and assigned him the task of teaching the skill openly. Chen had a nephew He Jian (何建), whose nickname was Gao Lao Jian (高佬建). He owned a shop selling earthenware at Lian Hua Di (蓮花地). The inner building of the shop was very spacious. Apart from storage for the earthenware, there was space enough for practising martial arts. Though not a proper school, Chen taught his students in the shop after he finished his work with the money exchanger stall in the daytime. His students were mostly workers in shops and some were sons of the owners. His students in the early days included Lei Ruji (雷汝濟), He Hanlü (何漢侶), Chen Xihou (陳錫侯), Li Houpei (黎厚培), Li Xiao (黎孝), Wu Xiaolu (吳小魯), Chen Guan (陳冠) and He Jian (何建). During the same period, Fung Siu Ching was teaching at the Lian Chong Hua Hong Shop at night.

Chapter 7

At that time, there was another Weng Chun Kuen practitioner called Ou Kang (區康). Ou’s hometown was Dongguan (東莞). He learnt his Weng Chun skill from Wang Laozuo (王老佐). Ou was proficient in liu dian ban gun but he learnt that from Leung Boliu (梁博流). Both Wang and Leung were natives of Dongguan. Leung Boliu’s village was near Hou Street (厚街) which was a place with a good number of temples. As village people loved to watch Cantonese opera, there was a big opera bamboo-shed (戲棚) set up in the market place for performances to celebrate birthdays of deities and Buddha (神誕). Although the performances were in name ritual performances (神功戲), a group of people was responsible for organizing the activities and villagers had to get admission tickets, thus making it a profitable business. Because of the good profit, troupes were invited one after another to stage in performances which usually continued for two to three months until it came for time to celebrate the birthday of another deity. It’s a practice that when an opera bamboo-shed was set up, it would not be taken down and business ran like that for a modern theatre. Troupes in Guangdong were usually invited to perform in Hou Street. The artists and the natives got on very well.

Leung Boliu came from a wealthy family. He was fond of watching Cantonese opera and was good at martial arts. He had followed different sifus in his village and as he did not need to work, he devoted all his time to practising martial arts and music. He would not miss any performance in Hou Street. One day, he learnt that a renowned troupe was going to perform and so he set off to Hou Street to watch the Cantonese opera after dinner. While on his way, he was caught in a torrential rain. Since he had not brought his umbrella along, he could only find shelter under the eaves of an ancestral hall (祠堂). While he was standing there, he heard shouting from inside as if people were practising martial arts. He looked inside and saw an old man teaching a few students pole-fighting skill. The old man waved the pole with vim and vigour which was so different from what Leung learnt in the past and he was soon carried away. Meanwhile, the rain was pouring down and seemed to continue for a long time. Raindrops came in with the wind and Leung could not stay dry where he was standing. So he stepped inside the ancestral hall and said to the old man, ‘Sifu, I am from the adjacent village. I was on my way to watch a performance in Hou Street but was caught in the rain. I took shelter under the eaves but as the rain was so heavy, I got soaked. I had no alternative but to take the liberty to come inside. I know I have broken a rule in martial arts but I hope you would forgive me.’

On hearing what he said, the old man looked at him and asked, ‘You’ve been learning martial arts? You know the rules quite well.’ Leung answered, ‘ I have loved martial arts from a very young age and have learnt it for a few years. Regrettably I did not achieve much. Just now I saw you teaching pole-fighting and I admired your skill very much. Would you take me as your student?’ The old man said, ‘ You’d like to become my student? Please show me what you’ve learnt. Demonstrate one or two sets of skills that you know.’

Leung Boliu held his fists together as a gesture to greet the old man and said, ‘I’ll show myself up.’ He then posed a stance and waved his fists and performed a set of Fojia Quan Fa (佛家拳法). When he finished, the old man handed him a pole and Leung demonstrated what he knew about pole-fighting skill. After that, the old man said to him, ‘Your posture and stance are good. It’s a pity that your sifus did not employ good methods to teach you, and that’s why you did not achieve much. With your foundation, I can transform you into a martial arts master if you follow my instruction and work hard.’ Learning that the old man was willing to take him as a student, Leung was very happy and knelt down in front of him and formally became a student of this master.

Chapter 8

Having formally taken Leung as a student, the old man told him that he was Master Chi Sim of the Shaolin Monastry. He escaped to Guangdong after the monastry was burnt down. To avoid the chase of the Qing government, he let his hair grow and disguised himself as an ordinary old man. He had been searching far and wide for talented people whom he could coach and hand down his martial arts skill. He had been teaching at Dongguan for about half a year and yet the few students he got were lacking in intelligence and did not achieve much. By then, Leung knew that the old man was an eminent monk and so he devoted all his heart and attention to learning. After three years of painstaking practice, he could master Weng Chun and liu dian ban gun. And Master Chi Sim left Dongguan.

Though Master Chi Sim had left, Leung took his order and installed all the necessary equipment at home to continue with his practice. On the other hand, he kept an eye on talented people and eventually he took one student, Wang Laozuo from Hou Street. Leung taught Wang all that he knew. When Wang could master all the skills, he set up a martial arts school at Hou Street. Many people came to learn from him and he became very famous. By that time, Hou Street was still a place for Cantonese opera performance and many artists gathered there. When the red boat anchored by the riverside, they would go to learn martial arts from Wang as they knew that he taught Weng Chun style. Before becoming a student of Leung Boliu, Wang had already learnt a set of Fo Zhang (佛掌), which was also originated from the Shaolin Monastry. However, the pose for practising was long bridge and big stance. Upon learning Weng Chun Kuen, Wang realised that Fo Zhang was good for attack but not adequate enough for defence. He then devoted his time to analysing the Weng Chun Kuen and Fo Zhang. He then incorporated their strengths to develop an all embracing fist-fighting skill which was good for both attack and defence. He called such skill San Bai Fo Shou (三拜佛手). In his school, he mainly taught Weng Chun Kuen, San Bai Fo Shou and Zhuang Quan (樁拳) and the weapon was liu dian ban gun.

San Gam had also heard about Wang Laozuo teaching Weng Chun Kuen and liu dian ban gun at Hou Street and firmly believed that they were of the same school. He took an opportunity to visit Wang when he was with the troupe performing at Hou Street. He called on Wang after the performance. When they talked about the skills they learnt, San was informed that Wang’s skills were handed down by Master Chi Sim and was certain that their knowledge and skills came from the same origin. They had a good discussion which revealed that the Weng Chun Kuen they learnt was the same and so was the liu dian ban gun. The only difference was that Leung Boliu learnt the skill in a house and San learnt that on the red boat. The wooden dummy for practising was differentiated by the ‘static dummy’ and ‘movable dummy’. In respect of the liu dian ban gun, San was taught to take the wooden dummy as an imaginary enemy. However, when learning the art on solid ground, more attention was paid to stance and footwork. After their first meeting and in-depth discussion, Wang was convinced that what San practised was suitable for his students who were mostly working on the red boat. So whenever San went to perform at Hou Street, Wang would invite him to his school for further discussion. Both of them would exchange information which served as further reference and strength-building. Therefore San also learnt the san bai fo shou.

Before San became a friend of Wang, Wang had already claimed that his martial arts skill was of the Weng Chun style, and he was good at liu dian ban gun. Although he had many students coming from the red boat, they would question the credibility of such claims as they all knew that Weng Chun was handed down by Master Chi Sim to Wong Wah Bo and Leung Yee Tai while he found his living on the red boat. Since then, the skill was spread by Huang and Leung to people in the troupe. As Wang had no connection with people on the red boat and he stated that he learnt his skills from Leung Boaliu who again was not connected to people in that circle, it was a mystery how he got to know such skills. That’s why a lot of people from the red boat suspected that he had made a false claim. There was a er hua mian (二花面)[subordinate strong male character] named Da Niu Xiang (大牛項) who was a student of Huang Huabo and he learnt the liu dian ban gun from Huang. He was among those who did not believe in Wang and he told the others that Wang’s skill could not be handed down in a direct line from Master Chi Sim. He kept looking for a chance to combat with Wang. It was only when San and Wang became friends that Da Niu Xiang could verify with San that Wang was of the same school as his.

Chapter 9

Since then, Wang Laozuo became even more famous and many people came to learn martial arts from him. Popularity of Weng Chun Kuen was almost comparable to that of the Mo Jia (莫家) style. At that time, a wu ju ren (武舉人) [a successful candidate in the imperial examinations on martial arts at the provincial level] called Gao Houci (高厚慈) was sent to the Wu Dou Si (五斗司) Yamen (衙門) [government office in feudal China] at Foshan as bazong (把總). His duties were to be in charge of all work related to suppressing bandits in the area. The armed force under him was made up of about a thousand man who were sent to station in different villages to guard the granaries. Wu Dou Si Yamen was situated at Da Wan (大灣) where a lot of Dongguan (東莞) natives lived, and together they formed a united force. For although Foshan belonged to the Nanhai County, people moved in from different places but apart from the Dongguans, other natives’ dwellings tended to scatter. Therefore Da Wan was also known as the ‘land of the Dongguans’ (東莞地). The Dongguans living in Da Wan were mainly vegetable farmers and vegetable farms and melon patches could be seen spreading for miles. Nevertheless, the biggest business there was manure pits. For manure was used as fertilizer at that time and farmers had to buy excrement and urine. Such bought items required some treatment before they could be used. Urine could be easily stored for all farmhouses had places for such storage. Dungs, however, must be stored in pits and chaff had to be added to turn it into manure. There were merchants running big businesses by setting up manure pits in the open space in Da Wan and selling manure to farmers to make profit.

The Dongguans living in Da Wan were very united and always helped one another. If one person was in need, others would render assistance and protection and they became a powerful force. Gao was a typical Dongguan. He favoured using Dongguans to work for him. As he was head of the Wu Dou Si Yamen, many in the armed force were Dongguans. In fact, there was another important reason for employing them as members of the armed force. Dongguans were renowned for being able to bear hardships and work assiduously. Their fierce temperament, bravery and excellent fighting skill also render them suitable to suppress the bandits in the area. Gao also thought about employing a martial arts coach from Dongguan. Gao knew that Wang Laozuo was a master in Weng Chun and intended to invite him. However, Wang was engaged in numerous teaching duties and did not have time. He therefore picked one of his students, Ou Kang (區康), to take his place. Ou had been Wang’s student for seven to eight years and had attained very good standard. As he had no job, Wang considered him the most suitable person to take up the duty. When he talked to Ou about it, Ou was delighted and agreed. So Wang wrote a recommendation letter and Ou took that to see Gao at the Wu Dou Si Yamen. Gao was not at all pleased to see Ou. For though Ou was a husky fellow with a strong build, he had red lumps all over his face which made him look very much like a leper. But since Ou was recommended by Wang and he was a Dongguan, Gao finally employed him as the martial arts coach in the yamen and taught the armed force Weng Chun Kuen. People called Ou ‘Fa Fung Kang’ (發瘋康) [Kang the leper].

At this time, Leung Jan was also teaching Weng Chun Kuen at Jan Sheng Tang. He taught xiao niantou, xunqiao and biaozhi. Ou heard that Leung’s Weng Chun Kuen was divided into three sets, which was different from what he learnt, and that his teacher was Leung Guoan while the founder of the school Ou followed was Leung Boaliu. Based on all such differences, he pointed out that what Leung Jan taught was not legitimate Weng Chun. After some time, his remarks reached Money Exchanger Hua (Chen Hua) who, considering it a malign statement, was rather provoked. However, Chen dared not challenge Ou for Ou was the martial arts coach in the Wu Dou Si Yaman and was backed-up by Gao. Chen discussed with Leung Jan and proposed to declare that their style was Yong Chun (詠春), in memory of Yan Yongchun (嚴詠春). Leung Jan agreed that the name marked a memorial fact but it should only be taken as a branch of Weng Chun.

Chapter 10

Ou Kang worked at Wu Dousi Yamen for two years and Gao Houci got a transfer and left Foshan. He did not take Ou along. At that time, Ou was acquainted with many Dongguans in Foshan. KnoWeng that Ou learnt his Weng Chun Kuen directly from Wang Lao Zuo, many people wished to become his students. But employed by the Wu Dousi Yamen as a coach to the armed force, Ou could not take outside students. Now that Ou was left without a job, people persuaded him to start a martial arts school in Foshan and taught the Dongguans Weng Chun Kuen. As Ou had a good provision of equipment installed during the period he taught in the Wu Dousi Yamen for practising Weng Chun, he agreed and set up a school at Shang Sha (上沙) which was very close to Jin Lan Bridge (金蘭橋) where a lot of Dongguans lived. When the news spread among the Dongguans that Ou had set up his school, many enrolled as his students.

Fung Siu Ching set his mind on building up a link among all the Weng Chun practitioners. Since he became a friend of Chen Hua, he had learnt from Chen that while Ou worked at the Wu Dousi Yamen, Ou always talked about Leung Jan’s Weng Chun Kuen and commented that Leung’s skill was not legitimate. Such comments provoked Chen and his fellow learners. A few young ones wanted to challenge Ou but was held back by Leung. Considering that Ou had lost his strong backup from Gao Houci, he should restrain from making offensive comments but he kept his same old style and continued to defame Leung and Chen. Leung’s students were annoyed with Ou and Fung knew that if Ou went on like that, it might lead to an open conflict between the two groups of Weng Chun practitioners. Fung was afraid that Ou would get himself into trouble and cause an internal strife among Weng Chun practitioners. On the other hand, he knew that the Dongguans at Da Wan were united and any outbreak might lead to more far-fetching consequences. Fung therefore tried to settle the matter with Ou.

By that time, Fung had a lot of students besides the Tung brothers and Tang Suen. They included Lin Zuxing (林祖興), Jian Dexing (簡德興), Ma Zhongru (馬仲如) and Huang Shiyi (黃十一). All of them were friends of the Tung brothers and they admired Fung’s skills in martial arts. With the groWeng number of students, the Tung brothers thought of moving the practising venue to some other places. For although the inner building of Lian Chang Hua Hong Shop was spacious, goods ready for shipping would need to be stored up there during the busy season which fell in the last lunar month. This left no space for practising. Therefore they decided to change the venue to their residential quarters which was at Buguo Xuan (補過軒) at Da Ji (大基). Buguo Xuan looked very much like a hamlet with large and spacious buildings. It could easily accommodate a couple of dozen students to practise martial arts at the same time. That was why after they had moved to that place, Fung could take in more students. Nevertheless, the most accomplished students were Tung Jik and Tang Suen and they specialized in different areas. Tung was tall, sturdy and full of energy. His stance was firm and solid and when he fought with his fist, he was very powerful and threatening. He was outstanding in fist-fighting. Tang, on the other hand, specialized in the liu dian ban gun and got the quintessence of Fung’s skill. He eventually became a master in pole fighting.

Fung had two other students who should be considered his first students. He met them while he was still working for San on the red boat and that was more than five years since he started learning the Weng Chun Kuen. There was a rule for all the red boats in the Guangdong province that all the troupes performing Cantonese opera need to break up in the fifth lunar month. New troupes would be formed in the sixth month and before the birthday of Guanyin (觀音誕). For those famous artists, they would soon get a new contract and would take a month’s leave. When the new troupe was formed, they would sail with the others on the red boat and continue with the performing art. San was a very popular artist then and naturally was among the first to get a new contract. As Fung was San’s personal attendant, he too had his job secure and could enjoy his holiday.

Chapter 11

During the period when the troupe was dispersed, Fung Siu Ching went back to his hometown Xiqiao(西樵). The native people highly respected him for his accomplished martial skills learnt from San Gam. There was a young man named Luo Yinnan (羅蔭南) who practised the Cai style (蔡家) fist-fighting. He was tall and strong and although he was only twenty years old, people urged him to take students in fist-fighting. Luo agreed and with the help of his younger brother Luo Qiteng (羅啟騰), they established themselves as teachers of martial arts in their village. Qiteng was only eighteen years old but was already an accomplished fist-fighting master of the Cai style. Fist-fighting of the Cai style was characterized by the ‘tiger paws’ (虎爪) and footwork (腿法). Since the Luo brothers were young and strong, they became the best fighters in the village. Not even the experienced fist-fighting masters would dare look down on them. Some young man from Fung’s clan became their students and told the Luo brothers about Fung’s returning to his hometown. The Luo brothers were told that Fung learnt Weng Chun Kuen from San Gam. Luo Yinnan did not believe in Fung’s skill for he thought that San was an actor and his martial arts, while good for visual delight, was not functional. Luo wanted to meet Fung with the intention to test his skills. So he asked his students to introduce him to Fung.

When Luo met Fung, they talked about martial arts. Luo had a superficial understanding of the Weng Chun style which he thought was characterized by its ‘short bridge and narrow stance’. He commented that such stance would be adequate for passive defense yet ineffective in attack. People who practised such skills would be at a disadvantage in a combat. On hearing Luo’s remarks, Fung knew that he was mocking at his skills and defaming it. Fung decided to teach Luo a lesson and so he smiled and said, ‘Master Luo, short bridge and narrow stance might be good for attack as well. You can try it if you so wish.’ This was just the opportunity Luo was waiting for and so he replied without hesitation, ‘Brother Siu Ching, I’d very much like to witness that.’ Fung said, ‘Let me pose properly and you can start your attack at full force. Look carefully to see how I defend myself. Yet you should also watch out for I would attack at any time.’ He then posed the er zi qian yang stance and put the palms together. He held the breath from the pubic region and directed the force to his palms. He concentrated his energy and kept close watch over Luo and said, ‘Master Luo, please charge.’ On hearing that, Luo shouted ‘Be careful now!’ and at the same time, he exerted force on his tiptoe, did a ‘fei niao tou lin’ (飛鳥投林) [a bird flying into the forest] and jumped towards Fung. Once he pressed close, his right arm exerted a jin bao lu zhua (金豹露爪) [a leopard shoWeng its claws] and hit Fung’s face. But this in fact was a feint to attract the opponent’s attention. When the latter reacted and was ready to ward off the blow, Luo would turn his left palm and chop right down his opponent’s right chest. Nevertheless, Fung was calm and when Luo’s right claws reached him, he just raised his head slightly and evaded Luo’s attack. When Luo’s left palm came chopping down, its force was so great that it was like a charging ox or a galloping horse. But Fung only moved his palms slightly and changed the position so that the left palm was placed in front in a position lower than the right palm. This is known as the zi wu shou (子午手) in the Weng Chun style. Though it looked simple, it could easily be shifted from the yin (陰) to yang (陽) and vice versa. Such posture allowed Fung the flexibility to move his palms so that he could strike when the opponent took the defensive role; or he could obstruct the opponent’s advance if he chose to attack. There was no need to reposition the hands during combating. Fung saw Luo turn his left palm which was approaching the bottom of his own chest. He then lowered his palms and hit against Luo’s wrist and arm. Such ‘shuang chen shou’ (雙沉手) caused a great shock and Luo’s wrist and arm ached and became numb. Luo’s attack with the tiger claws had indeed failed totally. Luo had to admit that Fung was nimble and dexterous in exercising the Weng Chun Kuen. With only a slight movement, Fung could strike him as if without effort but he could hardly see how Fung moved his hands. By this time, Luo really adored Fung. He knew that if they continued with the combat, he would suffer more failure. Luo therefore ended the fight and with his hands held together in a respectful manner, said, ‘Brother Siu Ching, your Weng Chun skill is really marvellous. I now understand that it was wrong of me to say that short bridge and narrow stance is not adequate for attack. My skill is far inferior to yours. Would you please take me as your student?

Chapter 12

Fung said, ‘I am not an eligible teacher. At present, I am still working for my sifu on the red boat and I do not run a martial arts school. I cannot take you as my student.’ Yet the Luo brothers insisted to formally acknowledge him as their teacher. Fung stayed in his hometown for a month and during that period, the Luo brothers visited him every day and sought his advice on martial arts. Impressed by their sincerity, Fung tried to enhance their skills and supplement on their fist-fighting knowledge. Yet Fung had to leave Xiqiao once the new troupe was formed and performance began. Though the Luo brothers were extremely diligent, they could only get a general grasp of Weng Chun Kuen with the limited learning time. It was not until Fung had left the red boat and took up teaching duties at the Lian Chong Hua Hong Shop at Foshan that the Luo brothers had a chance to continue their learning. As Foshan and Xiqiao were quite near, Fung always went home to visit his relatives when time allowed. When the Luo brothers knew about that, they considered it an opportune time to carry on their learning on Weng Chun Kuen. They proposed to learn it in Foshan. By that time Fung had moved the practising venue to Buguo Xuan. The place was spacious and could accommodate the Luo brothers. Fung had a discussion with Tung Yu Ching. The latter agreed to let the Luo brothers lived in Bu Guoxuan and learnt with the Tung brothers. Being the first to become Fung’s student, Luo Yinnan was acknowledged the most senior among all fellow students (大師兄) and he earned the respect of the others. The Luo brothers also made painstaking effort in learning Weng Chun Kuen.

Da Ji (大基) was near Shang Sha (上沙). Lin Zuxing (林祖興) [one of Fung’s students] lived in Ma Dou (孖竇) which was close to Ou Kang’s martial arts school. That was how they got to know one another. Lin came from Nanhai (南海) and so he did not enrol in Ou’s school which took only Dongguans. At that time, Ou maintained the view that Chen Hua did not teach genuine Weng Chun and openly defamed Chen. This provoked many of Chen’s students. A few young ones wanted to take punitive actions and challenged Ou. Fung knew that the martial arts of both branches came from the same origin. He did not want to witness an internal strife and so he decided to mediate the dispute. He asked Lin to find Ou and to arrange a meeting between himself and the latter. Ou knew that Fung learnt his Weng Chun from San Gam and though they had their lessons on the red boat, their Weng Chun was the same as his. Ou acknowledged Fung as his fellow Weng Chun practitioner and agreed to see him. Through their discussion, Fung knew that Ou’s Weng Chun Kuen (永春拳), san bai fo (三拜佛), quan zhuang (拳樁) and liu dian ban gun (六點半棍) were the same as what he learnt. Regarding stance, er zi qian yang stance and arrow in front of bow were identical. However, Fung’s branch named them as qi long stance (騎龍馬) and san jiao stance (三角馬), which was the main difference. Fung told Ou about Leung Jan’s acquisition of the Weng Chun skill and confirmed that they were all learning from the set of martial arts spread by Master Chi Sim. That was the reason why all the movements and functions were the same. The only difference would be while one branch practised on the red boat, the other one practised on land. On hearing Fung’s narration, Ou did not disagree openly. However, he was not totally convinced and he continued to speak insolently about Chen Hua’s branch from time to time.

Most of Chen’s students were businessmen and some were doctors. They were educated and refined and were not the type to enjoy creating disturbances. However, they were upset when they heard it said that Ou was always making impertinent remarks about their not being a legitimate Weng Chun branch. None the less, they followed Chen’s advice about not causing any conflict and so they took no action against Ou. But that did not apply to Chen’s son, Rumian (陳汝棉). Rumian was at that time a youngster of about sixteen to seventeen. He had been learning martial arts from his father for a few years and was quite an accomplished fighter. He had been stubborn and obstreperous even as a child. Foshan natives called such unruly children pixiu (貔貅) [a mythical wild animal]. When Rumian was about fourteen or fifteen, he therefore gained the nickname Pixiu Mian (貔貅棉). Relying on his martial arts skill, he always won in fighting. Many children or his fellow students at school had been injured by him and they went to seek help from Chen. Chen had more than once made compensation for the injuries. Rumian’s love for fighting was well known in Foshan.

Chapter 13

When Rumian was seventeen, he was strong and had acquired good martial arts skill. Yet he was short-tempered and loved fighting. Chen Hua always urged him to hold his temper but to no avail. He continued to cause troubles. When he knew that Ou Kang regarded Chen Hua’s Weng Chun as illegitimate, he was so infuriated that he wanted to fight it out with Ou. One summer day, he went to Ou’s martial arts school at Shang Sha by himself. As the weather was hot, Ou was having an afternoon nap on a bamboo bed. While calling ‘Master Ou’, Rumian let himself into the school. Ou was dozing but opened his eyes when he heard the shouting. He saw a young man in front of him and so asked what he wanted. Rumian announced wilfully, ‘I want to learn martial arts.’ Thinking that the young man wished to enrol as his student, Ou got up and replied, ‘So you want to learn kung fu. Have you had any such lessons before?’ Rumian answered, ‘I’ve learnt Weng Chun Kuen from Hua the Money Exchanger for two years. But I heard people say that Hua's Weng Chun Kuen is not legitimate and not as accomplished as Master Ou’s. So I wish to learn from you.’ Ou responded, ‘You are correct. Hua’s Weng Chun is not official and is no match to mine.’

For Chen Rumian, Ou’s remarks confirmed that what he heard was no rumour. He got so angry that he said, ‘Master Ou, that Hua’s kung fu is no match to yours is only your thinking. I am not really convinced. Though I came here to look for a teacher, I want to test you first. I will only become your student if you can prove that your kung fu is really above Hua’s.’ By then Ou knew Rumian had come to make trouble and so he said, ‘It seems that you have come to stir things up. You young and inexperienced guy, how dare you make trouble in my place. Who are you?’ Rumian replied sternly, ‘You want to know who I am? Alright, a man of honour does nothing underhand. I am Hua’s son Pixiu Mian. I know you are always spreading the rumour that our Weng Chun Kuen is not genuine kung fu. So I come here to challenge you and to see who has really mastered genuine kung fu.’ Now that it was clear to Ou as to Rumian’s intention, he would not take him lightly. So he posed the er zi qian yang stance and zi wu shou and said to Rumian, ‘Pixiu Mian, you are courting death to challenge me. Don’t blame me for bullying you!’ Rumian saw that Ou had posed for fighting, so he stepped forward and shouted, ‘Kang the Leper, don’t sing your own praises. Watch out!’ Without delay, he used a you [right] biao quan (右標拳) to strike at Ou’s chest. Ou saw Rumian use his right fist to attack, so he immediately used shang gu shou (上箍手), crossed his hands and lifted Rumian’s you biao quan. However, Rumian’s biao quan could be used with both fists. When his right fist was lifted up, his left fist followed in the attack. Ou was swift and changed his shuang gu shou to shuang xun shou (雙尋手). He crossed his hands and turned them down to suppress Rumian’s right fist. At the same time, Rumian had withdrawn both his fists. He turned sideways and attacked Ou with biao quan. This in fact was a feint to distract Ou. By the time Ou raised his hand in combat, Rumian had changed to ze shen ceng jiao (側身撐腳) [kick with the body turned sideways] and kicked Ou’s thigh, which made Ou back a few steps. As this was done at great force, when he reached the bamboo bed and fell on it, the impact caused the bed to fall apart. Ou could not get up at once and he shouted, ‘Pixiu Mian, you are an unruly fool. I am your senior in Weng Chun Kuen. Yet, you are so rebellious and hit your senior. I will ask Hua and see whether he has sent you here!’ Rumian laughed and said, ‘ Kang the Leper, you finally admit that we are practising the same Weng Chun Kuen? It’s too late! You declared in the past that ours not genuine Weng Chun Kuen but now you said you are my senior. Isn’t that contradictory? If you lodge a complaint to my father, you are only disclosing your own inferiority.’

Chapter 14

When Rumian finished, he did not pay any more attention to Ou and left. Yet he had always been afraid of his father. He was certain that if his father knew about this issue, he would be punished. He envisioned that if he returned home and told his father what happened, his father would be furious. All his fellow students would be scared and no one would dare speak for him. So he would be in real trouble. He thought carefully about all his father’s friends. Among them, Fung Siu Ching was his father’s best friend. Since Fung was also a Weng Chun practitioner and a mutual friend of both Chen Hua and Ou Kang, he was the ideal person to help settle the issue. Once decided, Rumian walked to Da Ji and turned to Buguo Xuan to look for Fung. It so happened that Fung had just returned home after his tea and dim sum. When he saw Rumian standing in the living room, he was rather surprised and asked why he was there. By then, Rumian had to report to Fung the dispute between himself and Ou. He also added, ‘Uncle Fung, I know I am wrong in such an issue. Yet Ou had been going too far in disgracing us. If I do not teach him a lesson, he will become even more aggressive. I could not hold myself and so without telling my father, I went to challenge Ou. But when he lost the fight, he threatened to tell my father. Uncle, you know my father well. If he finds out what I have done, he will definitely punish me. You are my father’s best friend and so I have come to seek your help. Please help to settle this issue and get me out of trouble.’

On hearing the narration, Fung knew that Rumian had just challenged Ou and won the fight. Personally, he admired Rumian for his courage. After all, Ou had frequently and openly disgraced Chen Hua’s kung fu. Even Fung himself had warned Ou against such doing yet to no avail. Now he got beaten up by Rumian, this should be what he deserved. Fung considered Rumian not blameworthy for the incident. Yet he must render assistance or Rumian would be punished by his stubborn father. So he smiled and said, ‘Nephew, you are wrong in stirring up such trouble. But what is done is done and it’s too late for regret. Fortunately you come and tell me all about it. I’ll do what I can to help sort out the issue. Meanwhile, you stay here for a few days. I’ll go to find Ou immediately and explain the case. At the same time, I’ll talk to your father. I believe he won’t punish you.’ With Fung’s words, Rumian felt relieved and he stayed in Tung Jik’s house.

Fung took prompt action and went to Shang Sha to look for Ou. He met Ou at Ma Dou unexpectedly. Ou was a rude man and the moment they met, he bellowed. ‘Brother Fung, what a coincidence. I tell you one issue. Hua the Money Exchanger allowed his son Pixiu Mian to stir up trouble in my school. He knocked me down and broke my bamboo bed. I am on my way to find Hua to demand his apology and compensation. You know us both parties. I wish you would act as a judge.’ Fung asked deliberately, ‘Brother, Pixiu Mian is only a boy. He would not dare ask for trouble for no reason. Do you know what has caused all this?’ Ou replied, ‘ He said I always disgrace their branch of people as not legitimate Weng Chun Kuen. So he came to challenge me.’ Fung said firmly, ‘ Brother, I have urged you not to discriminate against Leung Jan’s branch. I have also told you that all our Weng Chun Kuen originated from the same source and we are one big family. But you never take my word seriously. You have only yourself to blame for being beaten by Pixiu Mian. Do you want to demand an apology from Hua? You should understand that your defaming them is a fact. I would not say for sure whether it’s Hua who sent Rumian to you. You are not even a match to the son, how can you fight the father? If the issue is disclosed and publicised, you’d be disgraced. Do you think you can still have a foothold in Foshan? I suggest you cover this up as far as you can. I can guarantee that the issue will not be known.’

Chapter 15

Ou was frightened when he heard Fung’s words. Yet he knew Fung’s right. As a martial arts coach, if news of him being beaten by a young boy was spread, people would definitely look down on him. But even if he agreed to keep the secret, he could not guarantee about Pixiu Mian not talking about it. He told Fung about his worries. Fung smiled and said, ‘Brother Au, the fault is yours. If you had not spoken against Chen’s branch so openly, Pixiu Mian would not have challenged you. But I know Chen has brotherly affection for his fellow Weng Chun practitioners. Although my branch is different from his, he regards us of the same family and we are on very good terms. This also applies to Paohua Lian (刨花連) from Lian Hua Di (蓮花地) [land of the lotus flowers]. Lian learnt his Weng Chun from the Qionghua Guild and therefore was a different branch from Chen’s. Nevertheless, he was once tutored by Leung Yee Tai and Chen considered him a fellow practitioner and they became close friends. I would conclude that Chen does not regard you as an enemy. Pixiu Mian would not dare tell his father about his fight with you. If I find Pixiu Mian and warn him against it, he would not talk openly about the issue. I would only do this to keep everyone practising Weng Chun on good terms and so outsiders would not look down upon our sect. From now on, you must listen to me and should not continue to speak against Chen and his branch.’

Ou Kang had been working hard for some years to make his martial arts school flourish. He would not easily give it up and therefore would rather take Fung’s advice. So he said, ‘Brother Fung, I was wrong in saying that Master Leung Jan’s branch is not legitimate. Now that I fought with Pixiu Mian, I can see that they are really skilful and I dare not look down upon them any more. I hope you will mediate our dispute and make Pixiu Mian keep the issue a secret. And I won’t venture to speak against them from now on.’ On hearing Ou’s words, Fung knew that he hadn’t wasted his efforts. He repeatedly reminded Ou to keep the issue to himself before he left Xindou (新竇) and made his way back to Buguo Xuan. Seeing Rumian, he said, ‘Nephew, Ou Kang was on his way to make a complaint to your father when I found him. It took me a lot of explanation and mild intimidation to make him change his mind. But he stressed that you must promise not to spread news about the fight so as to keep his reputation. And you must keep your promise.’ Rumian replied. ‘No worry. I am anxious not to let my father know about it or else he would punish me. There is no reason for me to invite trouble.’

Having reconciled Ou and Rumian, Fung found out that hardly anyone knew about the fight between them. Fung then thought about organising a social gathering among all Weng Chun practitioners to boost team spirit. He talked to Leung Jan and proposed to have the function held on the birthday of Bodhidharma (達摩祖師) which fell on the fifth day of the tenth lunar month. Bodhidharma was the founder of Shaolin martial arts. When he got to the Shaolin Monastry, he noticed that the monks dozed off and were in low spirits when he was preaching Buddhism. So he designed the shi ba lou han quan (十八羅漢拳) [the fist-fighting skill of Eighteen Buddhism Arhat]. He taught the monks about it and therefore became the founder of Chinese fist-fighting. The skill was passed on from generation to generation. All martial arts school of the Shaolin style would celebrate Bodhidharma’s birthday. As the Weng Chun martial arts was passed down by Master Chi Sim, it was genuine Shaolin style. Taking into account the large number of Weng Chun practitioners in Foshan at that time, Fung suggested holding a grand ceremony. It was proposed that a banquet be organised so that Weng Chun practitioners of different branches could come and meet one another. By that time, Leung Jan was already an elderly man. His two sons, Leung Chun (梁春) and Leung Bi (梁璧) had no intention to develop in the field of martial arts. As Chen Hua was chosen as his successor and had taken a large number of students, Leung Jan asked Fung to discuss the issue with Chen. With the blessing of Leung, Fung found Chen and told him about his thinking. Chen had always supported the idea that Weng Chun practitioners should be one big family and with the approval of his sifu, he was willing to lend a helping hand. They chose San Pin Lou (三品樓) as the venue for the banquet and urged their own students to pay for the tickets for the occasion.

Chapter 16

Fung went to inform Ou Kang about the great occasion. By that time, Ou was convinced and was willing to urge his students to get tickets for the banquet. Chen, on the other hand, was to inform Paohua Lian about the arrangement. Paohua Lian was a native of Shi Wan (石灣) and had his business outside the Tai Shi Di (太史第) [mansion house of a high official]. His business was selling pao hua (刨花). At that time, Chinese ladies used to wear their hair in braids or had their hair worn in a bun or coil. They put on a kind of gum secreted from a particular kind of wood shavings to keep their hair tidy and shiny. Pao hua is a particular plant which is rich in gum secretion. In order to be ready for use, it must be made into very thin wood shavings. When the women bought the pao hua, they would soak it in water and the gum would come out. In those days, most women kept a handleless cup at home for soaking pao hua. The pao hua gum would be used with hair oil when the women combed their hair. Paohua Lian was doing very well with his business and he knew many people. Some people knew that he practised Weng Chun Kuen. They also knew that he learnt his skills at the Qionghua Guild and directly or indirectly from Wong Wah Bo and Leung Yee Tai. At that time, neither Fung Siu Ching nor Chen Hua had set up a martial arts school. As those people admired Weng Chun skills, they urged Paohua Lian to take them as students. Since Lian only did his business during the day and had nothing to do during night time, he agreed to take a few students and let them practise at his home where wooden dummy and sandbags were installed.

Lian’s stall at Lian Hua Di was just opposite Chen Hua’s earthenware shop cum martial arts school. Chen knew that Lian was also a Weng Chun practitioner and was very friendly with him. For that same reason, Chen made it a point to invite Lian and his students to join the banquet for celebration of the birthday of Bodhidharma. On the day of the big event, San Bao Lou was bustling with noise and excitement. A painting of Bodhidharma was hung at the central hall. On both sides of the painting were an antithetical couplet (對聯). The content of the couplet was on how Bodhidharma practised Buddhism and his accomplishment. A burner was placed in front of the painting. Only incense was burnt but no joss sticks or candles were used. Above the painting was a horizontal scroll with the words fo guang pu zhao (佛光普照) [radiance of the Buddha shed in all directions and illuminate all things]. Those who took part in the ceremony had to bow three times to the painting on their arrival. Among all the participants, Leung Jan was the most senior. After him came Fung Siu Ching, Chen Hua, Ou Kang and Paohua Lian. For their students, Chen Hua got Wu Xiaolu (吳小魯), He Hanlu (何漢侶), Lei Ruji (雷汝濟), Li Kao (黎攷), Chen Xihou (陳錫侯), Wu Zhongsu (吳仲素), Li Houpei (黎厚培), He Jian (何建), Chen Rumian (陳汝棉) who had all acquired good skills. Among Fung Siu Ching’s students were Tung Jik (董植), Tung En (董恩), Luo Yinnan (羅蔭南), Luo Qiteng (羅啟騰), Tang Suen (鄧算), Lin Zuxing (林祖興), Jian Dexing (簡德興), Ma Zhongru (馬仲如) and Huang Shiyi (黃十一). Although Ou Kang had the most students, the really accomplished one was Xian Yujie (冼玉階). He was Ou’s assistant teacher at that time. As for Paohua Lian, he only got about ten students.

When everybody had arrived, they were led by the sifus to pay homage to the painting of Bodhidharma. Hoping to bring together the different branches of Weng Chun, Fung Siu Ching briefed the assembly about the origin of the different branches of Weng Chun in Foshan. It was verified that all martial arts were handed down by Master Chi Sim. As Master Chi Sim first taught the Shaolin monks in the Weng Chun Hall (永春殿) of the Shaolin Monastery, the martial arts was named thus. When Fung finished, each branch sent a few able students to demonstrate martial arts as entertainment. Definitely all demonstrations were of the Weng Chun style. Leung’s student demonstrated three sets of fist fighting skills, which were xiao nian tou (小念頭), xun qiao (尋橋) and biao Chi (標指). These were in fact similar to Fung’s Weng Chun Kuen (永春拳), san bai fo (三拜佛) and quan zhuang (拳樁). Leung’s er zi qian yang stance (二字箝羊馬) was identical to Fung’s qilong stance (騎龍馬) and san jiao (三角). Movement and style for the liu dian ban gun (六點半棍) was the same for all the different branches. The demonstrations only differed in the technique of the performer and the length of the pole. Among Fung’s students, Tung Jik was most skilful in fist fighting and Tang Suen was most skilful in pole fighting. Tang used a pole of nine feet two inches (Chinese measurement) long as his sifu. For Fung learnt the skill from San Gam on the red boat and they practised with the wooden dummy. That explained why the pole they used was longer than normal. Tang Suen had Fung’s direct teaching and he was an assiduous student. Those were the bases for Tang’s accomplishment. The great ceremony was a success since it brought together the different Weng Chun branches and the followers became united.

Chapter 17

Weng Chun Kuen developed quickly in Foshan. A few years later, Master Leung Jan and Fung Siu Ching subsequently died of illness. Leung’s successor was Chen Hua. He continued teaching Weng Chun in his martial arts school and got a large number of students. For Ou Kang’s branch, the most outstanding person was San Yujie and he carried on teaching at Shang Sha and Da Wan area. Most of his students were Dongguans. Among Fung Siu Ching’s successors, Tung Jik and his brother Tung En devoted their time to the family business after their father died. They did not take students despite their good martial arts skills. Only Tang Suen inherited Fung’s mantle and taught Weng Chun in Foshan. However, he did not run a martial arts school. At that time, trading flourished in Foshan. Goods sent by boat to Guangzhou along the Xi Jiang (西江) went to Foshan as a centre point. As goods were sent to Foshan first, business like ping ma hang (平碼行) [kind of agency firm for trading] and banking houses (銀號) were booming. There were many large commercial firms around areas like Doushi Xiang (豆豉巷) and Fu Wen Li (富文里). Such commercial firms were spacious and had many employees who were keen to learn martial arts skill for self-defence purposes. For these employees, even if they did not need to work at night, they had to stay in the firm. So it was quite a common practice to pool their money to employ Tang Suen who would go to their firm and teach them at fixed hours. Sometimes the employers also took the lesson with their employees. Even if the employers were not interested to learn, they were willing to let their employees have their martial arts lessons in the firm as a sign of goodwill and to keep them there at night. Tang Suen earned his living by giving two to three martial arts lessons each night.

At that time, an itinerant monk arrived at Foshan. He came from Hunan (湖南) and had been making painstaking efforts to practise martial arts for years in the Zhurong Mountain (祝融山), a very high mountain in the southern part of China. He was good at pole fighting. As the liu dian gun fa (六點棍法) in Guangdong was renowned in all parts of China, he came to Foshan hoping to make extensive investigation on the skill. In order to do so, he stayed in the Jing Tang Monastery (經堂寺) for some time. Jing Tang Monastery was a famous ancient temple in Foshan. There was a saying that the temple existed before the naming of the Foshan city. It referred to a folklore which said that when the temple was built, the city was not yet named Foshan. One day, people dug out three ancient Buddha statues on the mountain ridge. The statues were enshrined and worshipped inside the temple and so the city was thus called [Foshan literally means mountain of the Buddha]. With such historical background, the monastery was eventually rebuilt into a towering and majestic group of buildings. It was also called Tapo Ancient Temple (塔坡古寺). There were many famous monks coming from the temple throughout the years. During the Taiping Revolution (洪楊之役) [1851-1864, the largest peasant uprising in the history of China], a famous Shaolin monk called Heshang Neng (和尚能) [Neng the monk] was in charge of the monastery. He had liaison with Qian Jiang (錢江), a great soldier of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (太平天國) [established by Hong Xiuquan (洪秀全) during the Taiping Revolution], to rise in revolt in Foshan. They planned to join force with Li Wenmao (李文茂), who was once an actor, and attacked Guangzhou (廣州). Although they failed, Neng was admired for his martial arts skill. Many monks from the Jing Tang Monastery learnt his skill.

By the end of the Qing Dynasty and the beginning of the Republic of China, Monk Jianke (鑑可和尚) was in charge of Jing Tang Monastery. Jianke learnt martial arts from Neng and he was a great fighter. He was most skilful in xingzhe bang (行者棒) [a kind of pole fighting]. That was what attracted the itinerant monk, whose religious name was Liaoyuan (了緣), to stay at Jing Tang Monastery in the first place. Jianke and Liaoyuan talked about martial arts and knew that both were practising Shaolin style. They got along very well. Liaoyuan told Jianke that he specialized in san gou gun (三鈎棍) [a kind of pole fighting] which was also Shaolin style. Since he left the Zhurong Mountain, he had travelled to Hubei (湖北), Guizhou (貴州) and Guangxi (廣西) provinces. He had combats with famous pole-fighting experts in those places and he never lost. When he travelled to Guangdong (廣東), he learnt that the liu dian ban gun, which was also Shaolin style, was very popular in that place. He really looked forward to competing with such an expert. Jianke had been living in Foshan for a long time and was fully aware of the current situation in the field of martial arts in that place. So he told Liaoyuan that liu dian ban gun was Weng Chun style. Fung Siu Ching learnt it from San Gam and developed it in Foshan. Fung had passed away and among his students, Tang Suen was the one most accomplished in such art. Although Tang did not run a martial arts school, he went to his students’ place to teach them. He got many students and was the most famous among all his fellow practitioners.

Chapter 18

Upon hearing Jianhe’s words, Liaoyuan asked the former to introduce him to Tang Suen. As Jianhe did not know Liaoyuan’s standard in pole fighting, he wanted to combat him first. The latter agreed and they had a contest at the open space outside Jing Tang Monastery. Jianhe was also a master in pole fighting. When the contest began, each of them held a long pole [7 feet 2 inches long, Chinese measurement] as weapon. Jianhe stepped back a few steps and flicked his pole with vim and vigour. The other end of the pole circled with a whistling sound. Jianhe shouted, ‘Watch out!’ and adopted a qingting dian shui (蜻蜓點水) style [like a dragonfly skimming the surface of the water]. He pointed the pole at Liaoyuan’s chest. The latter turned sideways and stepped aside. At the same time, he pressed his pole on Jianhe's. Nevertheless, Jianhe was dexterous. He retrieved his pole immediately and attacked Liaoyuan’s chest from the sideway. Seeing the danger and threat, Liaoyuan squatted immediately and turned his pole upside down in a dao cha he hua (倒插荷花) style [a lotus flower in an inverted position]. While impeding Jianhe’s attack, he adopted a wu long bai wei (烏龍擺尾) style and swept his pole at Jianhe’s thigh. Jianhe ‘planted’ his pole on the ground to protect the lower part of his body. However, Liaoyuan manoeuvred his pole with vitality and when he hit Jianhe’s pole, the force numbed Jianhe’s arms and he could not keep a steady hand on his pole. It slipped out of his hands and fell a few feet away. By that time, Jainhe jumped out of the combating circle and held his palms together while he said to Liaoyuan, ‘You are really skilful in pole fighting and I adored you for that. No wonder you claimed you found no match throughout the Hubei, Guizhou and Guangxi provinces. Judging from your performance, you can win Tang Suen. I am on friendly terms with Tang Suen. Let me arrange for a meeting and you can have a contest here.’

Jianhe got to know Tang Suen through Pan Fangda (潘芳達), the owner of Ji Lan Tang (集蘭堂) at Sheng Ping Street (昇平街). Pan came from Xiqiao (西樵), the same village as Fung Siu Ching. Pan and Fung were good friends. When Pan grew old, he believed in Buddhism and loved to make friends with monks. He visited Jing Tang Monastery frequently and discussed Buddhism with Jianhe. They got along well. All those people working in Ji Lan Tang were mainly Pan’s sons and nephews and they loved martial arts. On the other hand, Pan also wished that they could practise kung fu at night so that they would have spiritual sustenance and would not idle away their time. He discussed with Fung and hoped that Fung would teach his juniors Weng Chun kung fu. However, Fung was very old then and did not want to teach any more. His only wish was to return to Xiqiao to rest and recuperate. He therefore introduced Tang to take up the teaching. Tang did not dare go against his sifu’s will and so he had lessons at Ji Lan Tang every night from nine to ten. His students were all the shop assistants and among them were Pan’s two sons. As Jianhe and Pan met frequently, he got to know Tang Suen. He knew that Tang’s skill in liu dian ban gun was almost as good as Fung’s. When Jianhe visited Ji Lan Tang, he saw that wooden dummies were installed in the warehouse. Tang Suen asked his students to treat the wooden dummies as imaginary enemies. As a master in pole fighting, Jianhe found Tang’s teaching methods innovative. He was willing to make friends with Tang and they often discussed pole fighting. Tang won Jianhe’s admiration.

As Jianhe agreed to introduce Liaoyuan to Tang Suen, he had to notify Tang first. He told Tang that Liaoyuan was a monk who practised Buddhism in Zhurong, a high mountain in the southern part of China. After painstaking practice, he became adept in san gou gun fa (三鈎棍法). When he left the Zhurong Mountain, he had travelled to Hubei, Guizhou and Guangxi. He met many skilful pole fighters yet they were no match to him. When he reached Guangdong, he stayed temporarily at Jing Tang Monastery. A few days before, Jianhe and Liaoyuan talked about pole fighting and they had a friendly combat. The result was that Liaoyuan hit Jianhe’s pole with such force that the latter lost hold of his pole. Jianhe considered Liaoyuan a good pole fighter and told him about the ingenious liu dian ban gun of the Weng Chun style. Liaoyuan was keen to learn about the liu dian ban gun and therefore asked Jianhe to introduce himself to Tang.

Tang Suen heard that Liaoyuan wanted to exchange views on pole fighting. He knew that his pole fighting skill was almost as good as his sifu’s and had been the best in Foshan. He had never found a match and it might be a good chance to combat the prestigious monk. Therefore he was willing to accede to Jianhe’s request. He asked the latter to take him to Jing Tang Monastery to meet Liaoyuan. Jianhe also invited Pan Fangda to go along and be an onlooker during the combat.

Chapter 19

On the second day, Pan Fangda and Tang Suen went to Jing Tang Monastery where Jianhe and Liaoyuan were expecting them. On arrival, Jianhe invited them to the guest hall to rest for a while. After the junior monks had served tea, Jianhe introduced Liaoyuan to Tang Suen. Liaoyuan also introduced himseld and told Tang that he came from a high mountain in the southern part of China. He was persevering in learning pole fighting and eventually mastered the san gou gun fa. He had travelled to the Hubei, Guizhou and Guangxi provinces and combatted skilful pole fighters yet he could find no match. When he got to Foshan, he learnt that Tang’s liu dian ban gun was passed down from Fung Siu Ching and was unrivalled in the southern part of China. Therefore he requested Jianhe to introduce himself to Tang so that they could learn from each other.

Tang smiled and replied, ‘The respectable Monk Jianhe has passed me your words. If to learn from one another is the ultimate aim and there is no ill intention, I am willing to combat with you.’ Jianhe made a side remark, ‘ Master Tang is right. If there is no ill intention from either party and without taking it to an extreme, there’s no harm having a combat.’ On saying that, he took out two long poles, both measuring seven feet two inches (Chinese measurement) and Liaoyuan and Tang were both given one separately. He then led them to the courtyard of Jing Tang Monastery. Pan Fangda followed them. By that time, all the monks in the monastery had learnt about the event and they gathered to watch the fighting.

Liaoyuan and Tang Suen each held a pole and stood opposite one another. Liaoyuan posed a dian yu gun (釣魚棍) [fishing style] and indicated that Tang should attack first. However, Tang posed a guai zhang shi (拐杖式) [crutch style]. He stood upright with his pole to his right. His left hand was held horizontal in front of his chest and it held one end of the pole. The right hand hung down and held the middle part of the pole. With his left foot slightly lifted, he was ready for defense which was a sign to invite Liaoyuan to take initiation in attack. In fact, before he had an idea of Liaoyuan’s skill, Tang would rather stay alert than take reckless actions. Liaoyuan took Tang’s behaviour as cowardly and so he said bluntly, ‘In that case, I’ll take the first step.’ He held his pole horizontally and pointed at Tang’s chest. In response, Tang stepped back with his left foot and used his pole to hit Liaoyuan’s so as to undermine the force. At the same time, he changed his position and cast his pole at Liaoyuan’s shoulder. Liaoyuan stepped back immediately, warding it off with a da liu shui style (大流水) [floWeng water]. Meanwhile, he changed his position and attacked Tang by the waist with a lan yao gun (攔腰棍) style. By that time, Tang knew that Liaoyuan was an experienced fighter and would not underrate him. When Liaoyuan’s pole was about to hit his waist, he used a da zhe lan fa (大遮攔法) to ward him off. In the meantime, he stepped forward and used his pole to chop down on Liaoyuan’s vanguard hand. In order to protect his hand, Liaoyuan adopted a xiao zhe lan fa (小遮攔法) to avert the assail. He jumped slightly back and attacked Tang’s waist with da jia gun (大夾棍). He was forceful and fought with sinister intention. The opponent would not be able to slip away if he was weak.

But Tang was dexterous. When Liaoyuan jumped back, he could predict that Liaoyuan was trying to trap him. Not daring to act rashly, he also jumped back and changed his pose. Liaoyuan’s da jia gun thus could not be put to good use. By that time, Liaoyuan got rather impatient. When Tang jumped backwards, he leapt at the chance and assailed. He used the du she chu Tung (毒蛇出洞) [a poisonous snake coming out of its cave] style and pointed his pole at Tang’s chest. Liaoyuan was as quick as lightning and Tang could not but pare down Liaoyuan’s pole with his own. However, Liaoyuan was quick at manoeuvring his pole which he turned downwards to attack Tang’s knees. With the sudden and rapid change, Tang withdrew and dropped his pole to exercise the guai zhang gun (拐杖棍) to divert all the attack directed to the lower part of his body. When he succeeded in warding off Liaoyuan’s pole, his right foot stepped forward and with his body turned sideways, he used the xiang zi chui xiao (湘子吹簫) style. He pointed his pole at the lower part of Liaoyuan’s body and tilted it up until it reached the waist. Then he changed to biao long gun (標龍棍) and pointed at Liaoyuan’s chest.

Chapter 20

Liaoyuan knew this was a lethal strike. If he didn’t retreat, he would get hurt. So he jumped back couple steps to save himself from the long pole strike. It was so close that it scared him. Meantime Tang Suen was pressing on hard. When Liaoyuan was using a “Night crane seeking for shrimps” to attack his feet, he used a “Iron ox ploughing the field” to counter it. Then engaging “QiLun steps”, he used a “Poisonous snake sliding into the hole” to pierce the pole towards Liaoyuan’s groin. Liaoyuan had no other option but to jump up to avoid the attack, but Tang Suen’s long pole already got him through his robe and went straight to pierce through his pants and left a hole there also. Tang Suen then withdrew his long pole and said, “ Master Liaoyuan, sorry for offending you.” Liaoyuan knew that if Tang had already exercised control, or he would have been badly hurt. So he saluted Tang and responded , “ Master Tang, I have spent years of hard work practicing my long pole techniques, and have traveled to many provinces and had matches with numerous masters and never got beaten. Now I lost the match to you. If you had not controlled, I am afraid I am already a dead man.” Watching all these on the side, Monk Jianhe discovered that Tang Suen’s skill in his “6 & half point long pole ” was extraordinary, so he said, “ The skills of both masters are really terrific and the matter of win or lose was only by a tiny point. So it is good that we call it a day and let’s get into the guest room to relax with a cup of tea and talk some more.” So he led both of them into the guest room to discuss more on long pole techniques.
After being defeated by Tang Suen, Liaoyuan did not turn bitter about the incident. On the other hand, he was praising Tang’s expertise in the long pole techniques to everyone and stayed in Fo Shan for a month to learn more from Tang every evening. And Tang Suen did not hold back any secrets and explained to him all relevant details. The incident was spread all over Fo Shan and Tang’s skill in the long pole became famous .
At that time, there was this rich merchant by the name “Soo” who was trading in herbal medicine in the “Triangle Pier” area in Hong Kong. He had to purchase the products in Xi Jiang which was at the upstream of Fo Shan. So Mr. Soo had to spend a lot of time in Fo Shan while he was doing his purchases. He was therefore well acquainted with merchants in the same trade in Fo Shan and was a good friend of Pan FangDa of Ji Lan Tang. Because of that, he also got to know Tang Suen. At that time, a good number of people in the herbal medicine trade in Hong Kong were originally from Fo Shan, and they admired the Weng Chun Kuen. So they requested Mr. Soo to seek a good Weng Chun instructor to teach them in Hong Kong. So he solicited Tang Suen on this possibility. Tang remembering what his Sifu Fung Siu Ching had told him, to develop Weng Chun Kuen and spread its name, gladly accepted the offer from Mr. Soo, who was sincere and supportive. Now that in Fo Shan, they had already The Tung Ji brothers and Chen Hua to teach and promote the art professionally. So even when he left for Hong Kong, there were still very good people teaching Weng Chun in Fo Shan. So Tang did not hesitate to take this opportunity to take off to Hong Kong with Mr. Soo.

So Mr. Soo proceeded to send people to Hong Kong to prepare for it. They rented a shop space on Hollywood Road as the training studio and recruited students, so that there would be a good foundation for Tang to start his teaching in Hong Kong. Tang then relinquished his teaching jobs at Ji Lan Tang and a few other places, and sent his SiDai (junior kungfu brother) Jien DeHsing to replace himself.
He then headed to Hong Kong with Mr. Soo, and set up the necessary training gears and equipment in the studio, like wooden dummy, long pole dummy, punch bags, etc. Students who enrolled were mostly from the herbal medicine trade, and some from “Nan Bei Hang” (South & North Merchants ). So they were mostly merchants and good people, and Tang was devoted to teaching them. So Weng Chun Kuen started to develop in Hong Kong . Tang Suen was very serious and dedicated to his teaching. Other than the basic techniques, he also paid a lot of attention in teaching them “ChiSao”. The studio was spacious and could accommodate more than 30 students in a class. Every evening, they trained very diligently under the instruction of Sifu Tang Suen. Tang was aware that Hong Kong was a complicated place and so was very cautious about accepting students. If anyone was not having a decent job, he would not take him as a student. Also he always warned his students not to cause trouble.

Chapter 21

With the guy charging on him with a hammer, Soo Tao thought he was in a bad situation to fight with the guy bare-handed. He then saw some bamboo poles in a corner of the pier. So he leaped and grabbed one of them, to stand by for the Singh (*nickname of all Indians in Hong Kong in the old days) to charge again. So when the Singh jumped on Soo, he used the bamboo pole as a long pole, and knocked off the hammer from the Singh, and stabbed him on the chest. The Singh with no training in Chinese martial arts, of course could not avoid it and the bamboo pole stabbed right on his chest. He was hurt very bad and fell flat to the ground and started to puke blood. Seeing what happened to the Singh, Soo Tao knew the Singh was hurt bad. So he dumped the bamboo pole right away and started to run. He knew the case could be serious and he could not get away with it easily. He took a look at the time and it was 3. 50 pm. There was a vessel leaving for Guangzhou scheduled at 4.00 pm, so he ran straight to take the trip and within minutes, he left town.
When Soo Tao ran away from the Triangle Pier, the Singh was still hurt and could not get up, only to scream because of pain. After a while, his co-workers arrived and saw what he was suffering, called for medical emergency immediately. Upon examination, they found the chest bone of the Singh was broken and the condition was bad. Knowing that Soo was the man in charge of weight measure in the herbal medicine trade, the police went to the shop to arrest him. But Soo Tao had already fled to Guangzhou and the authorities had to put the responsibility on the herbal medicine shop and penalized them for a sum as compensation to the Singh for medical expenses. They also found out that the martial arts skills were taught to Soo Tao by Tang Suen, so they put the blame now on Tang that he indulged his students to hurt people and reprimanded him to close his training studio.
Tang Suen knew then that he was not going to go far in Hong Kong, so he returned to Guangzhou. When he arrived, there was this Chen Jin Hua as Chief of Police. During that time, even thought the Qing Regime was overthrown, yet the various political powers in China were not united and there was conflict between Southern and Northern China. For Guangzhou, the warlord in power was General Loong Ji Guang, who was like a local king there. He knew that the crime/security problems in Guangzhou was yet to be resolved, and the most notorious gang was the “Er Bai Yu” (120 guys). Gang members in the “Er Bai Yu” were mostly well versed in martial arts. To be able to suppress them, it would take the policemen to be well trained in martial arts too. So they decided to hire a martial arts instructor to train the police force. The way to go about it, was to have open contests by elimination bouts. The best one who won the final bout would then be the candidate.
So Chen Jin Hua was in charge of this task and Tang Suen also enrolled for the competition. There were 36 contestants and the location for the tournaments was on the training field of the police department. The contestants were put into 18 teams, whoever won the match would move one step up by elimination, there would be only 2 for the final match. Tang Suen was 1 of the last 2, while the other one was a man nick-named “Iron Legs Chen Wu”. Chen Wu was from DongGuan, and his style was the Mok’s Family Style kungfu. He was good in the sweep kicks and bragged that he could break a tree as thick as a child’s arm. He was full of confidence to fight for this instructor’s job, and during the various matches, he took the other 5 contestants without sweat and got the same score as Tang Suen. If Chen would win this last match, he would get the position of the martial arts instructor. As far as Chen observed, Tang Suen did not look like much a warrior. So he indicated to Tang before the match, it would be wise for him to give up the fight as he did not want to hurt Tang. But Tang did not see it that way, and had to go ahead with the fight, and he would not blame anyone even if he lost and got hurt or even losing his life.

Chapter 22

On the day of the final contest, Ironleg Chan Wu and Tang Suen facing each other with Chen Jing Hua watching on the side. Tang Suen in a Kare Lung Ma( Riding dragon stance)posture inviting Chan Wu to take the offensive. Chan Wu lowered his body slightly and attacked with a thrusting punch towards Tang Suen’s chest. Tang Suen waited for the fist to come closer, shifted his body sideway, parried the oncoming fist and countered with a left palm strike. Chan Wu hopped back one step and darted forward again executing a technique called Lin Wan Saam Bo (continuously three steps). This technique attacks the opponent's upper, middle and lower gates almost at the same time. If one’s martial art skill is not adequate enough, he would only be able to block the upper gate attack but could not defend the middle and lower attack. Tang Suen stayed calm, stepped back one step, used bong sau to diffuse the upper gate attack and Fuk Sau to counter the middle and lower gate attacks. Chan Wu realized that he had to use his favorite kicking technique. First by lowering his body with both hands pressing on the ground, executed a So Tong Tui (sweeping ground kick). Chan Wu spent many years training this technique. His shin bones were so tough that one sweep could break a tree trunk the size of a forearm. Tang Suen was already in alert when he saw Chan Wu lowering his body. Although the sweeping kick was swift, Tang Suen just used the Kay Lun Bo ( Unicorn steps) to skip out of the attack. With Chan Wu still in a crouching position with both hands pressing the ground, Tang Suen darted forward and executed a combination of punches from four different directions. Chan Wu did not have time to bring his hands up to block so he simply rolled back a few feet to avoid the punches and counter attacked with consecutive left and right sweeping kicks. Tang Suen jumped up and avoided the sweeps. At this time, Chan Wu has already spent a whole lot of energy and started to pant while Tang Suen stayed calm the whole way. Without bringing his body to a upright position, Chan Wu suddenly changed his kicking into a Lin Wan Fung Chare Gerk (continuous horizontal windmill kick). While the sweeping ground kick attacks the opponent's shin, it has a smaller range of attack. The windmill kick would allowed a wider range but still aimed at the opponent’s lower gate. Once executed continuously it would look like a horizontal windmill spinning. To encounter this fierce attack, Tang Suen used a stepping technique call Wart Ma( gliding steps) to get out Chan Wu’s kicking range. All of a sudden, Chan Wu pulled his leg back and changed into a half kneeling horse stand, executed a Yip Dike Tout To ( stealing a peach below the leaves) towards tang Suen’s Groin. Tang Suen immediately sank down and shifted his horse stand sideways, chopped down with a cutting palm. This turned out to be Chan Wu’s evasive tactics. Chan Wu immediately pulled back his hand and did a jumping sidekick to Tang Suen. To Chan Wu’s calculation, Tang Suen has no chance of escaping this attack. However, Chan Wu has exhausted himself and thus this execution was a bit too slow.

Chapter 23

”Tang Suen” used his left hand to do a ‘fok sao’, and pressed on the opponents, “Chan Ng’s” kick. since “Chan” threw his kick too much in a rush, he could not withdraw in good time. so “Tang Suen” grabbed his leg near the ankle and threw him on the ground. it was so hard that “Chan” could not stand up. so “Tang Suen “won the match and got the position with the police department to teach Chinese martial arts there. Tang however made his point that his job was only to teach the police martial arts and nothing associated with arrests of the bandits. That was why he did not make enemies for himself. It went on for more than a year when later on due to some politics of the warlords, Chan King Wah (the one who hired him) had some conflicts with his superior , General Loong Chai Kong, and was invited to a moon worship party in Goon Yum Hill, but arrested then and shot on the spot. So his position of the Chief of Police was replaced by someone else and “Tang Suen” decided to resign and returned to Futshan. his son “Tang Yik” at that time grew up to an adult, and also started to teach a group of students to promote Weng Chun Kuen.
Whereas in Macau , the one to teach Weng Chun kungfu was “Tung Jik”. his most decorated student was “ Chu Chong Man”, who was from Futshan. Chu’s father was a businessman, with his business operation in Macau. “Chong Man” was weak when he was young, and his father worried a lot about it. then he was having a chat with his friend, “ Lau Pui Chi”, who suggested that “Chong Man” was weak mainly due to lack of exercise. so it was then arranged that “Chong Man” would study medicine during the day, and practice martial arts in the evening. it sounded like a good idea, and “Chong Man’s” father requested “Lau Pui Chi” to refer to them a sifu. “Lau Pui Chi” himself also knew some martial arts, but he was not a professional instructor. he ended up referring a “Master Choi” to them, who was good in Hung Ga. His studio was not far from the Chu’s, so “Chong Man” could conveniently study in the day, and go to practice in his studio in the evening.
“Chong Man” turned to be very interested in martial arts training, and gradually he became stronger and visits to doctors turned less and less . in time, he attained pretty good skill levels in his martial arts. then there was this “Master Wong Jit Shing” from Ching Yuen, who came to stay in Futshan. “Master Wong” was very good in Fa Kuen (Floral Fist) and “Chong Man” heard about it, and asked for permission from his father to learn the Fa Kuen series from “Master Wong”.
Meantime, Weng Chun Kuen in Futshan got very popular. “Fung Siu Ching” and quite a few of Chan Wah Kung’s students were teaching Weng Chun kungfu professionally. “Chu Chong Man” happened to know one of Chan Wah Kung’s student, nicked named “Dai Shan Shu” (big mountain Shu), who was acquainted with “Chong Man’s” father. so “Chong Man” also took up Weng Chun Kuen training from “dai shan Shu” for some time.
Time passed by and “Chong Man” grew up to adulthood while his father was also getting old. So he handed over his business to “Chong Man” to take care. So “Chu Chong Man” left for Macau to take care of the business there.His job there was to like an office manager and actually not too busy. he lived in the shop and had the time and the training equipment for his kungfu training. Incidentally,” Master Tung Jik” at that time, also travelled to Macau. “Tung” was also acquainted with “Chong Man’s” father. “Chong Man” had long heard of “Tung’s” reputation as one of the best students of “ Fung Siu Ching”. now knowing that “Tung Jik” was in Macau and had plans to stay for good, he did not hesitate to pursue further training with Tung. As he had previous training with “dai shan Shu” in Weng Chun, “Chong Man” took up his training from “Master Tung Jik” with more ease. “Chong Man” was also very serious about the “Bai See” (an old tradition in kungfu by being accepted as a student) and treated “Tung Jik” with a lot of respect. He even arranged Tung to live in his shop. So with the previous years of foundation, he had great achievements by studying with “Tung Jik” and got all he had to transcend. When Tung finally left and headed back to Futshan, Chu had very good achievements already.

Chapter 24

At this time, Chu Chong Man had taken over the executive duty of running his father’s business. There were quite a few of Macau’s martial art enthusiasts, knowing that Chu as a Weng Chun expert, wanted to learn from Chu . But running the business had taken up most of his time, so Chu had no choice but to decline their requests. However, Chu did teach a selected few. Among them, two closed friends named Tsui Kwok Leung and Kwok Man Jyke. The three of them would hang out together and practice. One day, while Chu and the two close friends were passing through a temple named Lin Kite Meel, they saw a crowd gathered around. They knew it must be someone doing a martial art exhibition, so they went over for a look. Standing in the middle of the crowd was a husky fellow from Shan Tung, performing martial art along with his teenage assistant. The Shan Tung man’s movements were fluid and agile. His hands and feet slapping each other making crisp sounds. With Chu ’s martial art background he realized this is Northern Shaolin Kung Fu which was some what similar to the Weng Chun Kuen. And this man’s skill was good. After finished performing the set, the Shan Tung man walked around the crowd asking for donations. However, very few donated and some even walked away. Upon seeing that, Chu felt sympathetic towards the Shan Tung man. So when the Shan Tung man approached him, Chu took out one dollar and gave it to the man. Chu said: Lao shown (dear brother) this is not the most suitable place to perform martial art and make a living. Why don’t you finish the performance and lets go find a restaurant and have some tea together?" Although feeling kind of strange by Chu ’s action, the Shan Tung man accepted the invitation. After exchanging their names, Chu asked the Shan Tung man why was he in Macau ? This Shan Tung man’s name was Chiu Juk Kite from Shan Tung Pung Lai. The martial art he learnt was called Tai Gik Tong Long (Tai Chi praying mantis). His teacher was the famous master Chi Sho Jin. After completed the training with Master Chi, Chiu started teaching in his hometown. However, a few years went by, Chiu felt that he should do something more rewarding. At the time, silk brocade from Shan Tung was a famous product from the region. Every year during the first two months of the year, a lot of Shan Tung people would travel by boat to arrive at Kuang Tung along with their silk brocades. Chiu knew someone from his village who sells silk brocades at Kuang Tung every year, and profits from one trip would last the whole year’s living expenses. Chiu had never been in this business before but wanted to try it out, so he went into partnership with this friend. Chiu borrowed some money and let his friend took charge of the operation. Chiu also took along one of his disciples named Jiang Mi Ling. Upon arriving Kuang Tung, they found a hotel to stay. Every morning after breakfast, the three would go out to the residential district and yelled “Shan Tung silk brocade”along the way. Because of their heavy Shan Tung accents, the locals knew that they were selling authentic Shan Tung brocade and were buying up their merchandise. After about a month in Kuang Tung, they had already sold out about 80% of the merchandise. So Chiu’s friend who was in charge suggested that they should move to Macau in order to get rid of the rest of the merchandise. After arriving Macau , they sold the rest of the brocades in a matter of few days, made a good profit. They figured they could go sight seeing around Macau for a couple of days and then return to Shan Tung.


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