What is Traditional Kung Fu / Wushu? Traditional Kung Fu / Chinese Martial Arts Styles, Wushu is the martial art of China developed by the Chinese people for self-defence over many centuries. So how can we define what the Traditional arts are? For me they must be developed in China this might seem obvious but I remember some years back a guy in the UK telling me that his style is tradition and it was developed by an English guy 25 years ago so its now traditional! For me this is nonsense firstly and foremost it should have been developed in China pre 1900 not in the UK, USA or anywhere else in the world. If you do Traditional Chinese Martial Arts you also have a linage that can be trace back though many generations to the founder, a clear family tree which represents the history of the style. Only the most committed students will be added to the family tree to pass on the tradition to future generations and preserve the style in its entirety. Forms in Chinese Martial Arts One of the things that all Traditional Kung Fu styles have in common is the practise of forms. The forms are prearranged sequences of movements and contain the fighting techniques and principles of their style; these forms have been handed down through generations of Masters and form an integral part of Chinese martial arts training. Many people today question the validity of forms practise saying that it is now an out dated mode of training and that their styles are only concern with what works and is useful for real fighting. The question of what works will depend on the individual and his own natural strengths and weakness. A traditional Kung Fu style will teach many different techniques which are contained within the forms they can be adapted by the individual for his own self defence needs. It is also my opinion that only the Masters of the past have had to use their martial arts for real fighting in a kill or be killed situation in war and peace and that only traditional style martial arts have the centuries of REAL fight In the west we can hear everyday of instructors claiming to teach the BEST of a dozen or more different styles. Paul H Crompton wrote many years back in Karate and Oriental Arts Magazine No. 127 The other side of this arguable line is that often people start their own style because they will not face the discipline of going through a traditional style; they want to be teachers but without training. Their motive is money and / or glory. This type is not worth bothering with for five seconds.
SEVEN STAR PRAYING MANTIS KUNG FU By Sifu Derek Frearson Throughout Chinas turbulent history there have been many styles of Martial Arts that owe their development to the Shaolin Temple in Henan province. The Temple has acted as a catalyst for the development of the Chinese Martial Arts for generations. According to tradition the founder of the Seven Star Praying Mantis style was Master Wong Long, an unshaven monk of the Henan Shaolin Temple. Wong Long was a native of Shandong province; he came from a wealthy family and studied the martial arts in his youth. Wong Long entered the Shaolin Monastery around 350-400 years ago in the period between the Ming (1368- 1644) and the Ching (1644-1911) Dynasties, it was a time of chaos for China with the Manchus committing many atrocities. The Manchus were Mongoloid people of Manchuria who conquered China in the 17th century establishing an imperial dynasty that lasted until 1912. At Shaolin, Wong Long would train with his Kung Fu brothers, but no matter how hard he trained, he could never reach their standard and was always defeated by them. Wong would often travel to other areas of China seeking out famous Kung Fu masters to help improve his skills. When he returned to Shaolin he would again train with his Kung Fu brothers, although he had obtained the techniques of seventeen different Kung Fu styles he could still not defeat the other monks. While he was away his martial skills had grown to a higher level, but his Kung Fu brothers were also training hard and so their skills had kept pace with his. One day while out walking, Wong Long witnessed a fight between a Praying Mantis and a Cicada (a large broad winged insect of the homopterous family). Although at first glance it would appear that the small Mantis had a distinct disadvantage against such a large insect, it fought with great courage. Wong was fascinated by the aggressiveness, speed and strength of the apparently overmatched Mantis. When the Cicada attacked, the Mantis would angle its body to the side, and with lightning speed and strength it would pin the Cicada with its powerful forearms. Wong Long took the Mantis back to his living quarters for further study, he used a reed to prod the Mantis and carefully studied its movements, examining how it reacted to various situations,. Wong would then imitate these actions and over time the system slowly evolved. Wong Long compiled these movements into what is known today as the 12 Key Words Verbal Formula, the 8 Rigid hand Patterns, the 12 Flexible Hand Patterns, the Eight Vulnerable and 8 lethal points of attack. This led to the development of the Praying Mantis style of Kung Fu with its characteristic strong and rapid movements. When Wong Long was satisfied he added to the new style the best techniques from the other seventeen styles which he had previously studied. The more he practised, the more he realised that although the structure of the style was very fast, depicting the power and speed of the Mantis, the footwork was inadequate to deliver these speedy blows. Wong later observed monkeys playing and fighting, the solution was very clear. If he could blend the clever footwork of the monkey with the hand movements of the Mantis, both speed of hands and feet would be assured. After a further period of training Wong Long tried his newly created style while practising with his fellow Monks. Much to their surprise he was able to defeat them, so much so they continued to train and research together to further improve the skills of this new style. On leaving the Shaolin Monastery Wong returned to Shandong and helped to establish a Temple at Laoshan. The Seven Star Praying Mantis style takes its name from the star constellation the Big Dipper, the inside meaning being the disciples of this style should spread all over the world Some historians link this with the Secret Societies whose aim was to overthrow the Ching and restore the Ming Others say that the Mantis which Wong Long caught had Seven Stars on its body. Of course, with the passing of time it's very difficult to verify these stories, the oral tradition of our school however leans in favour of the first explanation THE MASTERS The first generation successor was a Taoist Sing Sil, who was a Chinese herbalist and surgeon. Little is known about his life, except that he entered the Laoshan Temple to consult with other herbalists there, on seeing the monks practising their Praying Mantis Kung Fu he asked to be taught this art. After many years of diligent practise he finally mastered the complete system. On leaving he relocated to the Taoist Temple of the Green Dragon. Sing Sil became friendly with a security guard named Lee San Chine ( second generation ) after helping him defeat a number of bandits. As their friendship grew and seeing that Lee San Chine was a sincere man, Abbot Sing Sil taught him the complete system of Seven Star Praying Mantis. Returning to his security work, Lee San Chine became famous for his Lightning Fists. At the age of 60 he returned home to Shandong Province where he met Wong Wing San (third generation) who was a national Kung Fu champion. Its said that Wong was giving a demonstration of his skills when Lee San Chine made some offhand remarks about his Kung Fu abilities. This enraged Wong, so he left no time in challenging the old man. In the ensuing contest Wong couldn't dent the old mans defence, seeing that his Kung Fu was of such a high level, Wong begged to be accepted as a disciple. Wong came from a wealthy family so he never taught the art openly, he took the civil service examination and was awarded the title of third degree graduate of martial arts. In later life Wong accepted a disciple by the name of Fang Yuk Toung fourth generation). Fang was a giant of a man weighing some 280lbs, his skill with the iron sand palm was known over a large area. Its said he used this technique to kill two charging bulls and in 1870 he defeated a Russian strongman in a contest which took place in Siberia. This made him a national hero with the nickname the giant with the broadsword. Fang Yuk Toung taught openly and had many students. Notable amongst these was Low Kwan Yu (fifth generation). In 1909 Master Hou Yuan Jia helped to establish the Chin Woo Athletic Association in Shanghai. A request was sent to Master Fang Yuk Toung to teach there, this was turned down partly due to the fact that he was now by this time in his eighties. Instead he sent his student Master Low Kwan Yu, who taught for ten years within the Chin Woo Association. This was the first time that the style of Seven Star Praying Mantis was taught openly outside of Shandong Province. In 1919, Lows reputation grew even further when he won the Grand Championship in a fighting competition held in Shanghai. Master Low Kwan Yu became one of the Four Super Lords of the Chin Woo Association. In 1929 one of Master Low students, Ma Shing Kam, won first place in a national Kung Fu tournament in Nanjing. In 1930, at the request of the Hong Kong Chin Woo Association, Master Low moved south to further spread the Seven Star Praying Mantis style. The martial arts fraternity in Hong Kong was buzzing with anticipation at the news of Master Lows arrival. STRONG INTEREST One young man who eagerly awaited the opportunity to train with him was Chu Chi Man (sixth generation ). Chu Chi Man had a strong interest in the Chinese Martial Arts from an early age and was introduced to the Chin Woo Association by close friends in 1924. Chu Chi Man first began the study of Shaolin Tam Tui style under Master Cheung Shu Ching, he later followed two other Tam Tui Masters, Miu Yuk Kei and Chui Lin Wor. Chu Chi Man also studied under Master Chui Lin Wors top student Master Bak Lin Sai. Great effort and dedication was put in for six years, but not being contented he went on to further study the Eagle Claw style and Taijiquan within the Chin Woo Association. It was through an introduction from Taiji Master Ng Po Cheng, that Chu Chi Man began to follow Low Kwan Yu. Under Master Lows personal instruction and through laborious practise Chu Chi Man achieved remarkable results. In 1933 Chu was appointed as Master Lows assistant instructor and took full responsibility for the classes in Master Lows absence. In the same year, he was also nominated as the Department Head Manager of the Chinese Martial Arts division of the Chin Woo Association. Chu occupied this position for six years and during this time Chu Chi Man travelled with Master Low to Guangzhou, China and other neighbouring countries to give kung Fu demonstrations. Later, due to an economic crisis in the colony, the Chin Woo Association was forced to close down. Not to be discouraged, in 1938 Master Chu and his Kung Fu brothers set up the Man Keung Athletic Association in Hong Kong. Master Chu was elected as the first chairman while grandmaster Low was appointed as the Chief martial arts instructor. Master Chu gave frequent demonstrations throughout Hong Kong and the New Territories at theatres and open air fund raising events for charity. Some time later the Pacific war broke out, the Man Keung Athletic association was forced to close down. Grandmaster Low returned to his home town of Fung Loy in Shandong Province where he died shortly after the war. At the end of the war things were very difficult in Hong Kong and as the inhabitants struggled for survival the majority of Grandmaster Lows students went into the commercial field. Those who remained to teach were few and far between Chu Chi Man has been an outstanding promoter of the Seven Star Praying Mantis Style, he was the foremost student of Grandmaster Low in Hong Kong, having studied under him longer than any of Master Lows other students. In April 1956 Master Chu, and representatives of other Kung Fu styles, formed a visiting demonstration troupe and went to Taiwan where they performed for Chinese troops stationed at Peng Hu Islands. They also visited Ping Tung, Kaohsung, Tainan, Mt Phoenix and the Fisherman Islands. Master Chu never forgot his gratitude to his Master, and his Masters lifelong endeavour to promote the Seven Star Praying Mantis Style. Master Chu has acted as the Chief Instructor of the Low Clansmen Martial Arts Club, Chairman of the Chu Chi Man Physical Training Club, member of the Development Committee of the Hong Kong Martial Arts Association, permanent superintendent of both the Hong Kong and Kowloon Northern Seven Star Alumni Association and the Lee Kam Wing Martial Arts Gymnasium. Lee Kam Wing (seventh generation) was born in Hong Kong in 1947 and came from a martial arts family, his father Lee Chau was a practitioner of the Pak Mei style of Kung Fu. As a young child he would often watch his father practise with his Kung Fu brothers but being a merchant, he never taught the art of Pak Mei and only practised for his own health and self defence benefits. For the same reasons he would not teach the young Lee Kam Wing. Although he knew very little about the different styles of Kung Fu, Lee Kam Wing was fascinated by the Chinese martial arts throughout his childhood and was always thrilled by the antics of the Monkey King in various operas and film shows. His father opened a dying factory and as his eldest son, it was his responsibility to help. Master Lee recalls that these days were very hard, working long hours in adverse conditions of damp and heat. The fabric had to be stirred and removed from the vats with a long pole while being heavily weighed down with water. The cloth had to be delivered by hand and loading upon large barrow, he would make deliveries around the Kowloon area. In those days most of the buildings didn't have lifts so each roll had to be carried up stairs often six floors or more. Because of his interest in the martial arts his uncle took him to view a Kung Fu class run by Master Chu Chi Man, the young Lee Kam Wing was goggle-eyed, he could not believe the speed, power and agility of the students on view and he felt that this must surely be the Monkey style. It didn't take him long to find out that he was really watching the Seven Stars Praying Mantis Kung Fu. At fifteen years of age he started his studies under Master Chu, he began to look upon the hard work in his fathers dye house with a more positive frame of mind. It could be used as a method of training, building up strong leg and arm muscles. Lee Kam Wing studied with Master Chu for ten years and learnt the complete system as handed down by Grand Master Low Kwan Yu. During this period, a famous Pak Mei Master arrived in Hong Kong from China; Lee Kam Wings father assisted him in setting up a gymnasium. Of course, Lee Kam Wing helped his father and had the opportunity to study the Pak Mei style. Chu Chi Man, hearing of this, was very worried that his student might change styles. Master Chu spoke to his student about this; Lee Kam Wing reassured him that this would not be the case as he is dedicated to the style of Seven Star Praying Mantis and will only teach this style in the future. RESPECT FOR ALL STYLES Although Master Lee has the greatest respect for the Pak Mei style and for all other styles of Kung Fu, he told his Sifu that it was his duty to teach and promote the Seven Stars Praying Mantis style In 1972, with the encouragement of Master Chu, he opened his own Martial Arts Gymnasium. Master Chu presented him with four hand written books which were given to him by his teacher Low Kwan Yu. The books were entitled The Origins of Shaolin Kung Fu, Basic Structure of Iron Palm Techniques , The Boxing Theories of The Seven Star Praying Mantis Style , and Methods of Bone Setting . Master Lee has made an advanced study of Osteopathy and Acupuncture in Guangzhou and is a graduate of the Famous Foshan Orthopaedics Hospital in China. In co-operation with Master Leung Ting he provided information for the book Seven Star Praying Mantis Kung Fu which was published in 1980. Lee Kam Wing has been a practising Buddhist since 1981 and in 1985 produced his own book The Secret of Seven Star Mantis Kung Fu . This was the first detailed book on the Praying Mantis style to be published, featuring Three Hand Forms, Basics, Kicks, Chi Gung and many theories and applications. His promise to Sifu Master Chu Chi Man to promote the style has been kept and he has taught the art to many overseas students from Japan, America, Germany, England, Italy, South Africa, France, Brazil, Hungary and Holland. Seminars have also been held in Germany, England, Hungary France, America, Italy and Australia. In 2005 Sifu Lee led a team from the Hong Kong Chinese Martial Arts Association to Yantai in Shandong province he won gold medals for his performance of Mantis Empty hand and Stick forms. Sifu Lee Kam Wing is a permanent member of the Hong Kong Chinese Martial arts Association, Vice president of Hong Kong Southern and Northern Martial Arts Association (Founder member) President of Hong Kong Shandong Mantis Boxing Association (founder member) Senior Instructor of Hong Kong Chin Woo Athletic Association. Our family line from the Great Grandmaster Low Kwan Yu has an 85-year involvement working inside the Chin Woo Athletic Association. Director and Seven Star Praying Mantis Coach of the Hong Kong Chin Woo Athletic Association, Consultant of the Guangzhou Chin Woo Athletic Association China, Director of the International Taijiquan and Shaolin Wushu Association, accredited Coach with the Hong Kong Coaching Committee, overseas consultant for the Singapore San Cheen Do Institute and is the Guardian of the German Seven Star Mantis Group. Sifu Lee continually strives to promote understanding of the Chinese Martial Arts and gives many demonstrations around the Hong Kong area and on television. During a competition in America Sifu Lee gave a demonstration which prompted Master Wu Bin (the teacher of Jet Li) to ask Sifu Lee how can you move so fast with so much power. On December 15, 2006 Master Lee celebrated his 60th birthday in Hong Kong. Sixteen Disciples came to pay homage to their mentor namely Kwok Wing Ho (Hong Kong), Chan Sie Hung (Hong Kong), Derek Frearson (United Kingdom) Malcolm James Franklin (United Kingdom), Sergio Marzicchi (Italy) Pierluigi Barbieri (Italy), Brunke Bast (Germany) Nikolai Schild (Germany), Raul Ortis (United States), Brian Bateman (United States), Laszlo Kovacs (Hungary), Lam Chi Ming (Hong Kong), Yu Fu Keung (Hong Kong), Tung Fu (Hong Kong), Wang Kin Wai (Hong Kong), and Sin Ting Fung (Hong Kong). The above disciples represent the first-generation intake by Master Lee Kam Wing. 10 Grandmasters witnessed the ceremony including Master Kong Pu Wai (Hung Fung), Master Poon Sing (Choy Lay Fut), Master Cheng Wan (Chu Ka Tang Lang), Master Lau Bill ( Choy Mok), Master Tung Kin Kwong (Dragon), Master Kwok Pui Kai (Mongolian Wrestling), Master Cheng Po Lam (Northern Shaolin Tay Tong Pak Kar), Master Lo Wai Keung (Lama Style), Master Yip Chi Keung (Chow Ka Tang Lang), and Master Leung Ting (Wing Tsun). In 2009 Master Lee organised a World Record event in Shamshuipo when he brought together over 50 schools covering many different styles with over 1600 participants to parade through Shamshuipo and gather on a football pitch in the shape of a Golden Flower. Master Lee has also organised many competitions in Hong Kong and in 2009 alone he was responsible for three major tournaments, in August of that year he led and organised a visit to Beijing and the Shaolin Temple with participants from 6 countries. 2011 saw a gathering of over 1000 competitors for an international competition in Shamshuipo organised by Master Lee. Many officials from China and Hong Kong attended the event to Celebrate the 62nd Anniversary the Founding of the Peoples Republic Of China. In 2004 Grandmaster Lee was a founding member of the World Organisation of Kung Fu Masters and is now graded to the 10th level Master Grade in January 2012 he was voted to the position of President for this organisation. Master Derek Frearson Derek first became interested in the Chinese arts through contact with Chinese friends in the early 60s this time was spent just working techniques. He joined his first club in Leicester in the mid-60s again the club concentrated on self-defence style techniques without formal training of any style of Chinese martial art in particular. He continued training throughout the 70s and in the end inherited the group by default; it was in the early 70s that he started training in Manchester in a new mystical style call Taijiquan. It was through his teacher Sifu Danny Connor that he had his first introduction to Seven Star Praying Mantis, and Wing Chun under Master Joseph Cheng who taught seminars for Sifu Connors group. During this time Derek also continued to practise Seven Star Praying Mantis from Sifu Connor, Sifu Connor had been studying this style in Taiwan and founded an organisation to promote the Chinese Martial Arts the British Kung Fu Union. The British Kung Fu Union was a founding member of the British Kung Fu Council which was later renamed the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts. Later Derek formed his own Association the then British Taijiquan and Shaolin Kung Fu Association as the association grew internationally it was renamed the International Taijiquan and Shaolin Wushu Association which joined the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts in its own right. Derek held various posts over the years including Vice Chairman, Head of the Technical committee and committee member. Derek went to Boston USA to study Taiji with Master Bow Sim Mark in 1980 and also studied Wah Lum Mantis Style from Sifu Yao Li and the Grandmaster of the style Chan Poi. He became a teacher of this style and taught it in several countries around the world. Derek made his first visit to China with his Taiji Teacher Master Bow Sim Mark Boston USA in 1984 and attended the first International Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) meeting in Wuhan the group also visited Beijing and Guangzhou it was in Guangzhou that the group visited Master Fu Wing Fay the son of the Great Grandmaster Fu Chen Sung. In 1988 Derek made his first visit to the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province. And that year Derek was an invited guest at the grand opening of the Shaolin Wushu Training Centre in Dengfeng China it was after this opening that Derek made his first visit to Foshan (Fat Shan) to research the various branches of Wing Chun. In 1989 Derek was elected as the Vice Chairman for British Council for Chinese Martial Arts and held many other posts including Membership Secretary and Technical Committee chairman until 1999 when he stood down. In 1990 Derek had his first lesson directly with Master Lee Kam Wing in Hong Kong and has followed his master in the Seven Star Mantis style ever since eventually becoming a closed door disciple and graded to Master 10th level by Grandmaster Lee Kam Wing. Derek has worked closely with Master Lee and has had the opportunely to travel to Hong Kong, China and throughout Europe assisting him with his travels and teaching. August 02.08.2009 Derek was an international judge at a competition organised by Master Lee for the Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Founding of the Peoples Republic of China and to Welcome 2009 East Asian Game in Hong Kong. Derek is Graded by Grandmaster Lee Kam Wing Master level 10
My Teacher Grandmaster Lun Gai 06.11.1927 to 05.01.2014 By Derek Frearson. In 1928 Joseph Stalin (18.12.1878--05.03.1953) was the supreme leader of Russia and Chiang Kai- Shek (31.10.1887 – 05.04. 1975) led the Northern Expedition to unify the country becoming China's overall leader. Mao was fighting for control and had been expelled from his party post on the 14th of November the previous year. By April 1928 his luck began to change when the remnants of the Nanchang Mutineers under brigadier Zhu De sought refuge at Mao’s base. The Zhu-Mao red Army was formed, and Mao sought to re-establish himself and by November 1928 Mao’s demands were met and he was told he was in charge of the Zhu-Mao army. It was into this pivotal point in Chinese history that a young boy by the name of Lun Gai was born on 06.11.1928. Lun Sifu is number 3 in the family. He had one older brother, one older sister and one younger. He also had a younger brother, but he was given away or sold at very early age as the family was too poor to keep him. He has no idea where he is now or what has happened to him. The family home was in Shiwan in Foshan, which was famous for its ceramic figurines, I think Shiwan was only included in the Foshan City by the New Government in recent years. Much is written about the life of Grandmaster Ip Man (Cantonese) (Ye Wen Mandarin) and his students in Hong Kong, his teachings and followers have received wide publicity. Thanks to their hard work the late Grandmasters art has now spread to every corner of the globe. Generally, little has been published about his teaching in Foshan (Fatshan) and his students from those early days. Lun Gai’s variously spelt as (Lun Kai) (Lun Jie) (Lun Jia) father died when he was 9 years old, so he started work at the age of twelve as a boy servant at the Luen Cheong Embroidery Factory on Wing On Road which was owned by a relative. The factory stood around 800 meters north of Grandmaster Yip's residence at Mulberry Gardens. The owner of the factory was a good friend of Grandmaster Yip and so he invited him to teach Wing Chun (Yong Chun) (Ving Tsun) to his children in the warehouse at the back of his factory. Lun Gai began to study under the Grandmaster at the age of fourteen; Grandmaster Yip was around forty years old at this time and in his prime. The group would meet every evening and consisted of eight students and the Grandmaster taught for free, he asked his students to address him as ' Man Sok ', Uncle Man. This was during the occupation by Japanese forces so the class would meet in secret. Great emphasis was placed on the study of the Siu- Nim-Tau form and on Horse Stance practise. When they practised Chi Sao Grandmaster Yip would cover his eyes and Chi Sao with all the students and he could tell by the feel which of the students he was training with. The teaching method at this time was to teach the complete system in one year as lessons were held every night, which included Siu-Nim-Tau, Chum-Kiu, Biu-Tze, Butterfly Knives, Long Pole and Wooded Dummy. There was no instruction in any other form of sticking hand training apart from the two-handed Chi Sao. Master Lun recalls that Ip Mans friend and neighbour whose family home was also in Mulberry Gardens, Yuen Kay San 1898 to 1956 used to stop by some evenings to sit and watch the class. STORIES FROM THE OLD DAYS Kwok Fu told this story in an interview with a Chinese television company: “Yuen Kay San was really famous he was as well-known as Yip Man. He was really amazing, his Kung Fu skills were very, very good. Every night Yip Man would sit here, and he would sit beside him, watching us learn. Eventually, Yip Man said "Hey, you, go take care of him. Don't let him just sit there and smoke don't let him watch me teach." I said, "Hey, Uncle Jo, come and teach me! You're quite good, please teach me". I saw that he was older than me, he was older than me by ten or twenty years and I was in my twenties. So, I attacked [but I thought] "Ah, his age is so much older, it's just not right. I shouldn't use all my power to attack." When Yuen Kay San attacked, he was quite ruthless and fast, when I attacked him. I didn't hit. I just stopped. Just at the point. His attack was quite unrelenting when he tried to hit me, but nonetheless he couldn't hit me” And Lun Gai recalled to me: “Yip Mans friend Yuen Kay San used to come and watch our training Master Yip told us not to practise the Wooden Dummy if Yuen Kay San was watching” So it seemed that the Old Hero’s still liked to keep some secrets. I asked Lun Gai Sifu if he had ever had to use his Wing Chun in a real-life situation, he said Grandmaster Yip did not want his students to fight. There was one occasion however just after the Cultural Revolution when he went on his bicycled out into the countryside at night. He was travelling along a dark road when two men jumped out in front of him, as he stopped the light, which was driven by a dynamo, went out. He quickly put the bicycle down; one man threw a powerful punch towards Lun sifu. Lun applied the Kuo Sao movement from Wing Chuns Second form Chum-Kiu. He heard the breaking of bone and the man screamed with pain, turning to the side the other man had already launched a kick, which glanced against Lun's thigh. The man didn't follow up the attack hearing his accomplice's screams both men fled. YIP MANS CLASS IN FOSHAN During the training at the Luen Cheong Embroidery factory the students were Chow Kwong Yiu, Lun Gai, Kwok Fu (Guo Fu), Chan Gee Sun, Lui Pak Ying, Chow Sai Keung, Chan Sum, Tsang So. Lun Gai and Kwok Fu were good friends, being six years older Lun Gai looked upon him as being an elder brother, in Kung Fu terms Lun Gai was the elder (Sihing) Kung Fu brother since he joined the class before Kwok Fu. The class ran for three years and after the break up some of the class members stayed in touch with Uncle Yip, Grandmaster Yip visited Kwok Fu several times in his family village home around 10 miles from Foshan during this period to give him some books to copy, these were passed onto Lun Gai, thereafter Lun Gai gave them to his close students. Kwok Fu moved to Guangzhou in 1948. During his time in Guangzhou Kwok Fu met and exchanged with Sum Nung (Yuen Kay San / Guangzhou Wing Chun) and others. Lun Gai, Kwok Fu and Sum Nung were boyhood friends in Foshan. When Master Lun was talking to me about these days he said that Kwok Fu was the best at this time. He was a man and Sifu Lun was a boy. Because of the 6 years’ difference in their ages Kwok Fu was much stronger so could use the techniques better with more power. My thoughts are they were both the best at some time in their career. Later when Kwok Fu got older and his health deteriorated Lun Gai was the best and he had a much longer training and teaching career than Kwok Fu. In the Ip Man Ving Tsun Genealogy book Kwok Fu lists 1 student as a disciple his son Guo Wei Zhan, Lun Gai lists 25 disciples (students no formal Basi). In Foshan I have never heard people talk of things like who was the best of Yip Mans students. But I have read speculations from around the world from outsiders. The two brothers always discussed and shared with each other, and the two families are linked by not only friendship, Yip Mans Wing Chun teaching but also marriage. Master Lun recalls a story of when Yip Man was out walking with a relative. The relative got involved in an argument with a detective. As the argument became more heated the detective pulled out his gun to shoot, Yip Man grabbed the gun and disarmed it. Grandmaster Yip left Foshan around 1949 after the Communist takeover as an Undercover Police Captain he feared possible reprisals from the new regime. Before leaving China, Grandmaster Yip instructed his few remaining students to use the Phoenix Eye punching method which Lun Gai Sifu favoured in his training. During the early years of the Communist takeover the two classmates lost contact and went their different ways. Lun Gai made an effort to try and contact Kwok Fu but to no avail, at the same time Kwok Fu was also trying to find Lun Gai. Knowing his old classmate was an electrician by trade Kwok Fu would always ask any electricians he met if they knew Lun Gai. One time in Guangzhou Kwok Fu met an electrician who said he knew Lun Gai and that he had returned to Foshan and was working at a pump factory there. Kwok Fu wrote a letter to the pump factory which Lun Gai received, the old classmates were reunited in 1958 and have been close friends ever since. CULTURAL REVOLUTION During the Cultural Revolution 1966 to 1976 the practise of martial arts was frowned upon by the Red Guards many martial arts masters were persecuted this included torture, imprisonment and death. Kwok Fu suffered at the hands of the Red Guards and his health became very poor because of their treatment. Lun Gai continued to practise throughout this period mostly at home; sometimes he would go to the park or the Ancestral Temple. Often the practise at the Temple would be watched by a Policeman who was also a martial arts practitioner, so he never reported him. Lun Gai Sifu has taught for many years in Foshan and has passed on Grandmaster Yips legacy to numerous students. IP MANS FOSHAN WING CHUN / HONG KONG WING CHUN On the development of Wing Chun in Hong Kong and the differences between Foshan and Hong Kong Wing Chun as taught today. Sifu Lun doesn’t know why the teaching of Yip Man was different in Hong Kong, he can only assume that Yip Man might have added or dropped some movements, he also might have allowed his students more freedom interpreting the movements, this would account for the differences of his followers. He does, however, know that Yip Man only taught the Bagua steps in Foshan. Sifu Lun’s method is very direct, the amount of power he generates over such a short distance is phenomenal. I was on the receiving end of many “Jerk Hands” techniques and his “Slap Block” made my whole-body shake. POOR HEALTH Sadly, Sifu Lun has suffered from health problems for many years. After his wife passed away on 30th June 1998 his mental state became very poor and confused. Sifu has also suffered from painful knees as he has taken medications for high blood pressure for a long period and it appears that this has caused these side effects. Since early 2000 he has found it difficult to walk and since 2006 when outside the house has moved around mainly in a wheelchair. Since my first visit to Foshan in 1989 I have taken many students and friends to Foshan to train and meet with Master Lun. His teaching method was mainly to teach the forms, Chi Sao and applications. Master Lun’s method of teaching never altered it has been the same from the first day I studied with him and throughout all my training and the groups I have taken until his retirement. Sifu has said that he taught me in the same way that Grandmaster Yip Man taught to him and I also preserve the same method in my teaching. Sifu Lun teaches in a traditional way and doesn’t offer grades or certificates. Even at 70 his hands were still very fast and powerful; on one occasion we were discussing how to apply force with the Phoenix Eye punch. Our training area was on a rooftop and Master Lun proceeded to demonstrate the punch on a large metal water tank, his right hand flicked into the tank with a thud as he continued to explain the point. The point was lost for a while as the centre of attention was the dent that had appeared in the water tank, “Sifu you’ve dented the tank”. He laughed loudly then continued the explanation. Since that day I have seen him train by punching trees and brick walls.
THE TAKING OF DISCIPLES AND THE TEA CEREMONY
After completing the system with Master Lun I asked him about doing the Baisi ceremony.
He said Master Ip Man did not follow this custom and he in turn follows Ip Mans way.
He has never offered Certificates, grades or ranks. I spoke with Lun Gai’s son about this and he agreed that his father did not take disciples, even his son is not a disciple.
I HAVE TAUGHT YOU EVERYTHING I completed the system in the early nineties and ventured to ask Master Lun some years later “Sifu is there anymore for me to learn, any secrets?” “No, I have taught you everything it’s up to you what you do with it now” he replied. In February 2004 Master Lun gave me permission to form the Lun Gai Foshan Wing Chun Association this has grown into the International Lun Gai Foshan Wing Chun Association we now have branches in 13 countries Hungary, South Africa, Spain, France, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, USA, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, China and throughout the United Kingdom Sadly, Master Lun passed away peacefully in his bed on 05.01.2014 he was the last student of Grandmaster Yip Mans Foshan legacy to pass away.
LUN GAI THE MAN I KNEW- PERSONAL INSIGHT Master Lun was an electrician by trade working inside a pump factory, to subsidise the family income he also offered electrical repairs to appliances and homes of friends, neighbours and acquaintances. Master Lun has 5 children 4 girls and 1 boy. Master Lun is a very kind humble man, during training he apologized for any deficiencies in his teaching. He said that he is not an educated man since he only had one year’s schooling. The fact is he was a very intelligent man and liked by all who knew him. A deeply honest man who never wanted to draw attention to himself or stand out in a crowd. In company he was a man of few words and seemed more interested to listen to others chatter. Often with a grin on his face he would chuckle at others banter. Not only just for training we passed many hours together just relaxing, eating in his home or outside. Also travelling outside of Foshan city for sightseeing visiting Temples and beauty spots. We spent a lovely day at his sons landscaping business with another student, eating fresh vegetables and fish straight from the pond. One morning we were in the park training he didn’t seem his normal self, after training we always went for Dim Sum. I would put my arm in his and walk the short distance to the restaurant. I was shocked to feel his body trembling. I asked “Sifu what’s wrong” I immediately called my little (kung fu) sister. She said Sifu feels a little tired and will go directly home and not take Dim Sum this morning. I suggested we walk out of the park and get Sifu a taxi. He refused us and said he is fine. Around 30 minutes later word came back that he had collapsed at the park gates and had been put into a taxi and sent to hospital. We set off to the hospital and eventually walked into a room with several other patients inside receiving treatment. Sifu saw us and gave that smile that said I’m pleased to see you and a little embarrassed to cause you problems. Sifu was on a drip it transpired that he had been neglecting himself since his wife’s passing skipping meals. I was in the park next morning and Sifu did not come, I was able to give an introduction of Lun Gai’s Wing Chun to a new Chinese student who came to enquire about training. He came back and continued training with Master Lun. Hong Kong. In 2002 I was to attend an event in Hong Kong a Bai Si with Master Lee Kam Wing, some years earlier Sifu Lee had travelled to Foshan with me and met both my teachers there Lun Gai and Ou Rong Ju. I was in Foshan before the event and asked Sifu Lun to travel to Hong Kong with me. I said I would take care of him financially and from a safety point and that I have also invited one of his other students who will take him back to Foshan. He said he is not sure, and he will talk to his son. After taking to his son he said he doesn’t want to be a burden to me and shouldn’t go. This is really the mark of the man never wanting to put others out or be a problem but would always go out of his way to help others. In 2008 I attended the second Foshan Festival and Chi Sao competition and spent 2 happy days watching the event with Master Lun. With Sifu quietly calling out the moves and counter moves in animated conversation. The Barbers As is normal before I leave England for Hong Kong, I’m working long hours. Run to the airport, Hong Kong and arrive in Foshan China.
Its hot and sticky and I have an overgrown beard that is not helping me to keep cool.
After a Wing Chun session with Master Lun on leaving the park I asked if there was somewhere to get my beard cut. Quickly the Master had a plan. Soon he was pointing me at a door and yes it was a barbershop.
In we went Lun Sifu explains the problem, so they sit me in a chair and the barber goes to work.
Now I’m not sure what the joke was but the barber and Master Lun chuckled throughout my ordeal.
The barber refused to take my money so Sifu and I had some money to go Yum Cha (drink tea)
The Sandals. On one occasion we were out walking and the strap on my sandals broke.
I was lucky because I had my training shoes in my backpack. I put them on and waived my sandals around with gestures of throwing them away.
Sifu took them off me and carried them we said good bye for the day and I assumed that he would bin them for me.
On my visit the following year I go to Sifu’s house and there are my sandals repaired by master Lun and waiting for me.
The Operation. I was suffering with a hernia although I was in pain, I still made my annual visit to Foshan. I explained the problem to Sifu he chuckled and said he also had a hernia which is now repaired.
I told him I plan to go to a private hospital in England to have it repaired. Sifu asked “how much will it cost” I said around £2500.00. Sifu said “so expensive its only £800.00 in Foshan”.
He said he will call the hospital that day and arrange for me to have the operation in China.
I explained that shortly after the operation I need to fly back to the UK. He said “no cancel the flight stay in my home as long as you want, maybe go back after Chinese New Year (some 3 months away). What a wonderful offer from a warm generous and kind man.
Precious training, precious memories and precious friendship.
Master Ou Rongju 1919 to 2012
Master Ou Rongju was born into a well-to-do family there were 10 children in the family. Master Ou was frail and sick since childhood. The words of his father’s friend changed his life: “Learning martial arts can strengthen one's health.” the year of his birth is 1919 and he was born in Foshan the Martial Arts City of South China. He was one of the heroes in the reorganization of the Jingwu Society after the victory in the Anti-Japanese War (from 7 July 1937 to 2 September 1945).
At the age of 11 he joined the Foshan Chin Woo Athletic Association in 1930 and learned the basic 10 Chin Woo routines, Eagle Claw and Mantis Boxing, weapons, empty hand and two men sets from Master Cai Li Qiu (early instructor of Foshan Chin Woo Athletic Association and deputy head of the National Athletic Department in 1923) and Master Liu Fameng.
After 10 years of learning external martial arts, he accidentally came across a book introducing Tai Chi Chuan. He was immediately thrilled by the theories and profound connotation of Tai Chi Chuan that he decided to study it.
In 1946 he started to learn Yang’s Taijiquan in Guangzhou the traditional routines of boxing, sword, broadsword, spear and pushing hand from Master Yang Shou Zhong (Yang Zhenming) the eldest son of Yang Cheng Fu.
Yang Shouzhong was teaching Taijiquan in Guangzhou's Kai Wu Museum. His students numbered dozens. At that time, learning Taijiquan was awfully expensive. Tuition fees were to be paid in gold. Master Ou wanted to invite Yang Shouzhong to teach in Foshan. Yang Shouzhong proposed that Foshan students must reach 10 or more to start classes in there. In the end only 3 people in Foshan were able to come up with this tuition fee so he had to go to Guangzhou alone to learn Tai Chi.
In 1947, he started to learned Liu He Ba Fa from Master Huang Bai Xiang. In 1952, he learned Wu style Taiji, pushing hand including Da Lu and other techniques from Master Wu Gong Zao. And he keeps up his training in all these years. In 1958 after 28 years of learning he began to teach students and he has taught well over fifteen thousand students up to his death.
Master Ou was active in martial arts for more than 70 years. He participated in the 1957 Foshan City Martial Arts Competition and won the first prize in Taijiquan and Taiji sword. He was the runner up in the Martial Arts competition of Guangdong Provence, and in the same year he was selected to represent Guangdong Province to compete in the National competition of which he won third prize. He participated in the provincial competition in 1958, 1960 and 1974 as the chief referee. He is now the chairman of the supervising committee and honorary life president of the Foshan Chin Woo Athletic Association.
A Diligent Master
Qu Rongju has 3 sons and 4 daughters, Ou Qijin, Ou Qikang, Ou Qile, Ou Cuiwei, Ou Cuiyun, Ou Cuimei, Ou Meijian and he asked them to learn boxing since childhood. According to his daughter Qu Cuiwei, every child had to practice martial arts. It was still in the 1950s. The children were called by their father to get up at around five o'clock every day. After washing and eating, they walked for ten minutes to Zhongshan Park to practice. They also had to practise at home in the evenings after dinner.
The sisters were lazy, and when their father turned around, the posture would become loose. Ou Sifu often carried a long bamboo stick and used it to adjust all the student’s postures. In addition, the children were not allowed to be late to practice boxing. Anyone who is late will not have 2 cents for breakfast and can only watch other people eat.
"He said he wants us to practice martial arts since we were young, so that we can at least maintain our health." His daughter Ou Cuiwei said, "but he never forces people to practice, saying that you must like it." Therefore, among his children, his sons Qijin and Qikang have become good boxers, and they can open a gym to teach people. His son Qi Le and four daughters are just hobbies, and they are not at the level of teaching people.
Master Ou has travelled to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Shanghai, and Beijing to demonstrate and exchange experiences with other master’s including Fu Zhongwen and Dong Yingjie. He has met many challenges and always proved his superiority.
An Interview For A Chinese Magazine
Q. Have you sought advice from a doctor recently?
A. "I have not been looking for a doctor for decades. Instead, the doctors asked me." The master told reporters with pride. "I am now 87 years old. My eyesight is good I do not wear glasses also my hearing and teeth are good. I often ride my bike to travel around”.
In his view, Tai Chi is not only a high-level athletic art, but also the best fitness remedy, but insisted. “Tai Chi is good, but practitioners must dedicate themselves. Others cannot help you. You can only rely on your own persistence and will power to have a good harvest.” The Master told the reporter that his students have numbered more than 15,000 people, some have suffered from constipation. Stomach problems, hypertension, insomnia, and so on, and some followed him to study Tai Chi for half a year and get a good effect. Some doctors also follow Master Ou.
Q. What memories can you share with us?
A. My deepest impression is that during the three years of natural disaster, when food was scarce, the government demanded that all heavy exercise activities be stopped. At this point, people think of Tai Chi. Then I taught Taijiquan to people everywhere, enabling people to achieve fitness goals while maintaining low physical activity.
Q. What do you consider to be your teaching highlights?
A. In 1988 a well-studied English man Derek Frearson came to Foshan to earn his Master ship, the 1.90-meter Englishman saw me at 1.60 meters tall. He was a bit sceptical about whether I had such a great ability. He decided to try my skill. We touched hands and the Englishman was pushed back so he was eager to learn the arts. After some careful consideration I agreed and gave him a Chinese name: "Huo Hengxin." After his visit Huo Hengxin returned to England and began to teach the Foshan martial arts there. In April and November each year Derek Frearson returned to Foshan with his foreign disciples to learn Chinese kung fu from me.
It made me immensely proud to have taught many foreign grand students who came with Derek Frearson from Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Hungary, USA, and South Africa. I also taught Liu he Pa Fa to a student from Singapore.
I was in Hong Kong performing Tai Chi Push Hands many youngsters tried and “Lost Their Hands”. As a result, many good warriors from Macau came to Foshan to follow me.
Q. Can you give us a brief history of the Foshan Jingwu Association.
A. The Foshan Jingwu Association was established on July 6, 1921. At that time, there were a total of nine departments including national exercises, literature, recreation, editorials, communication, picketing, administration, accounting, and medical services.
After the July 7th Lugouqiao Incident, Japanese troops invaded the south. In 1938, the fall of Foshan. The Jingwu meeting site was occupied by Japanese as a granary, and the Jingwu meeting was completely stopped. The members scattered. All paperwork was destroyed. After the victory of the Anti-Japanese War, the Jingwu Board of Directors was reorganized by me, Chen Junxi, Yuan Bojun, Qiu Gongshi, Li Peixian, He Xinping, Lin Junxuan, Mai Dahua.
The masters talked about reorganization. They were extremely impressed: After the national revolution and the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, the Jingwu Association still stood up. It was the privilege of the Association and the country’s blessing. Chinese people must have a strong physique to overcome all difficulties and hardships. Those who are strong in physical fitness and promote the strengthening of sports careers are committed to the purpose of realizing the Jingwu Society's "specialty and uniqueness; Nowadays, I have brought up a Tai Chi charity training at the Foshan Stadium and have attracted hundreds of martial arts enthusiasts.
The "Jingwuhui is for martial artists but a fist does not hit the Chinese people. I am here to carry out charity training, which is to carry forward Chinese martial arts. Martial arts do not advocate military force."
Master Ou Qikang
Ou Qikang has been immersed in Chinese Martial Arts since childhood, he has studied hard and inherited the arts from his father.
His special skills are in Taijiquan, Liu He Pa Fa, Chin Woo forms and Mantis boxing. His father taught very meticulously and precisely to all his students; he was an extremely hard taskmaster.
Since the passing of his father and to honour his father’s work the former students have formed the Ou Rongju Zhirou Taijiquan Association Foshan China Master Ou Qikang is the President.
Master Ou Qikang is currently the Chairman of the Wushu Association Foshan City and one of the judges for the Chinese Duan assessment in the city.
Qigong for health and wellbeing has been practised since ancient times in China it is now practiced by millions of people thorough out the word as a health maintenance exercise. Qigong has its roots in both Buddhist and Taoist traditions along with Chinese Martial Arts and Traditional Chinese Medicine. These four cornerstones have been responsible for the development of qigong over many centuries. In the past these arts have been a closely guarded secret kept inside Martial Arts schools and monasteries. In our modern times it’s more widely available for the general public both for individuals and from health professionals, in treatments such as stress related disorders, fibromyalgia, headaches, dizziness Qigong has been very successful. Qigong can be practised in a seated position, standing and moving depending on the condition of the practitioner. Western medicine has also seen the benefits that can be attained by the practise of Qigong so much so that you can now get referrals from your doctor (Europe) for qigong lessons paid by your medical insurance.
Down through the ages, martial artists in China lay stress on a combination of internal and external work, mental training in particular. They hold that the training, nourishment and concentration of qi (vital energy) as well as the application of qi in combat are of great importance to martial devotees. There are various methods of directing qi to a certain part of the body in Wushu training. Among other thing's the training of qi as internal work and strengthening of muscles, bones, and skin as external one, the flow of qi down to the dantian (elixir field) and summoning strength through the direction of qi are basic skills to be mastered by Wushu practitioners and command great attention in all schools of martial arts. Of eight training methods in Chang Quan (long-range boxing), for example, Jing (essence of life), Shen (spirit), qi (vital energy), li (power), and gong (skill) refers to the training of the mind, awareness, respiration and innate strength, the application of qi included, while external work involves the use of the hands, the eyes, the trunk and the feet. Another instance is Nan Quan (southern-style boxing) which emphasises the training of the mind, spirit, qi and willpower in "internal work" and the exercise of the hands, the eyes, the trunk, the waist and the feat in "external work". Those energy-consuming movements should be completed in co-ordination with exhalation and utterance. Shaolin martial artists also pay attention to the training of the qi and a man who has just started Wushu practise should do standing exercises before he goes ahead with other exercises. A book on Shaolin Wushu has this to say about the relationship between standing exercises and training of qi, "In comparison with other standing exercises such as standing on the ground or on stakes, horse- riding stance is the most important". When you do it well, you can direct your qi down to the dantian and became as firm as a rack." It adds, “Qi appears in the lungs and controls strength during respiration. When you fail to concentrate on training for some time, your qi will get stagnated and flatulence will develop”. Other barehanded exercises also pay ample attention to the training of qi. Taijiquan, for one, requires that a practitioner should move his body with will and in co-ordination with breath. Will can be used to adjust your breath and direct your qi. And the methods include mental concentration, following your breaths, hearing your breaths and sinking qi into the dantian. The training of qi in Taijiquan is similar to that of Qigong (breathing exercise) and conducted by means of opening, closing, ascending and descending. If you are a regular Taijiquan practitioner, you must be familiar with such proverbs as “the circulation of qi with will". "The inducement of qi with the mind" and "the flow of qi dawn to the dantian". "Such is also the case with Xingyi Quan (form-and-will boxing). When you practise it, you should try to attain a perfect combination of mind and will, will and qi and qi and strength. As a composite organism in Wushu training, internal and external work helps to make a martial artist strong outwardly and sturdy inwardly. This may be proved by many well-known Wushu masters who never fail to pay attention to the training of qi while improving their physical skills.
The Lion dance is a traditional folk art, which has been practised for centuries, its wide spread popularity, has extended far beyond the borders of China to all parts of the world. There are many stories about its origin, one of the most popular states that many centuries ago the land was plagued by famine. One night the emperor dreamt of a strange beast that had the power to bring good luck and chase away evil from the land. Next morning he ordered the servants to make replicas of the beast and go out into the country to rid the land of evil spirits, this they did and order and prosperity was returned. Another story states that in a certain part of China, a beast would appear at the same time each year and rob the farmers of their crops. While the beast never harmed the farmers physically the taking of food was a very serious matter. One year the village elder had an idea on how they could scare the beast away, everyone in the village set about making replicas of the beast and at the appointed time everyone went out into the fields with the replicas and pots, pans and musical instruments. When the beast arrived they danced with the replicas and beat the pots and pans making much noise scaring the beast away. So every year since around the time of the spring festival the lion dancers can still be seen bringing good luck and scaring away evil influences. Its performance can add much colour and festivity to any important occasion. This is most vividly seen around the Chinese New Year, when the lion is used to drive away evil spirits and bring good luck for the coming year. Those who practise the lion dance are mostly kung fu practitioners, the reason being that in performing the dance a high degree of agility, strength and stamina is required. The footwork and various movements such as leaps and jumps are also found in kung fu styles. Great emphasis is placed on depicting the strength, vigour and forcefulness of the lion.
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