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Master Kwok Kai (Guo Jia)

 

 

Master Guo with Derek Frearson

 Pao Fa Lein Wing Chun Masters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Master Chu

 

 

 

Master Chu Wing Chun Dummy

 

 

Master Leo Man Wing Chun Knives

 

 

 

 

Master Mok Poi On Wing Chun Knives 

 

 

 

 

 

Master Mok Poi On and Master Leo Man  

Wing Chun Knives

 

Wing Chun Masters Lun Gai Yeung Yun Choi Sum Nang  

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FOSHAN

THE ANCESTRAL HOME OF WING CHUN

Foshan is a small city, 17 miles south-west of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province. Foshan was formerly a religious centre (Foshan means Buddha Hill) and is also famous for its pottery.

But for thousands of martial artists throughout the world it's the ancestral home of Wing Chun.

I was fortunate to spend a short time in Foshan in 1988 and also on several trips to Hong Kong to spend time with practitioners of the Pao Fa Lein Wing Chun System.

This article will not imply that one style is better than another. What I give to the reader is information passed on to me in Hong Kong.

The history of the Ng Mui system as passed down to Yip Man has been well documented so I won't go into the history of this style. During my stay in Foshan I was fortunate to meet Pung Nan the oldest living descendant of the NG Mui style and to observe him teaching a class.

The boxing forms are much longer than those of the Yip Man style and there are great differences in the positions and angles in the forms.

Pung Nan's wooden dummy is fixed in the floor and the form contains many finger strikes and double punches. The finger strikes range from single fingers to all fingers being used.

Before I left Master Pung Nan whose nickname is Black Face (because of a large birthmark on his right cheek) gave me four books containing his complete system.

Other Wing Chun styles.

It's not widely known that there are 13 distinctly different styles of Wing Chun being practised in Foshan today. These styles include Leung Jan, Pao Fa Lein, Wan Qi Shang, Guo Bao Chuang and Zhu Zhong Weng.

Pao Fa Lein

This style is said to have its roots in the Shaolin Monastery in Henan Province and was taught by a Buddhist monk whose nickname was Big East Wind. On leaving the Shaolin Monastery Big East Wind travelled south to Ching Yuen village. The Buddhist monk was a member of a secret society whose aims were to overthrow the Ching Government.

He made friends with two brothers Tse Kwok Cheung and Tse Kwok Leung. One of the brothers was a magistrate.

Big East Wind taught the two brothers his complete system before returning to the north. Soon the two brothers became fed up with their jobs and returned to their home in Foshan.

The two brothers adopted a son whose name was Liu Da Sheng. At the age of nine Liu began to learn the Wing Chun system which he mastered in ten years.

Many stories are told about Liu's fighting prowess. While still young a Kung Fu master by the name of Peng challenged him to a fight with the Millstone Broadswords. Liu killed the master and fled Foshan for fear of prosecution.

He returned around 30 years later and hoped to keep a low profile but his reputation was to great.

Hearing his skill a magistrate challenged him to a duel again with the Millstone Broadswords. Not wanting to make the same mistake Liu suggested that they use one wooden sword and one metal one, the magistrate agreed.

After the fight the magistrate's clothes were left in tatters by the wooden broadsword.

When he grew older he worked in a cosmetics shop making hair gel from sap. This process was called Pao Fa Lein so this became Liu's nickname.

The present day Grandmaster is Chu Chung who now lives in Hong Kong. Grandmaster Chu began his studies at the age of 14 and had learned the complete system before leaving for Hong Kong.

In Foshan the style was always known as Wing Chun but on his arrival in Hong Kong he found other styles of Wing Chun being taught so to differentiate his style from the others he named it after his teacher Pao Fa Lein.

Grandmaster Chu has never wanted to promote his style and has only taken a few disciples, namely his two sons Chu Wing Chi, Chu Ping and Mok Poi On.

The style has many forms for both fist and weapons (the first three have the same names as the Yip Man system) and ten weapons forms, these are Millstone Broadsword, Staff, Sword, Tiger Fork, A broadsword with a long wooden handle, Kwan Dao, Thirteen Section Whip, Millstone Broadsword versus Staff, Broadsword versus Broadsword and Staff versus Staff.

The style also has four wooden dummy forms. These are known as the Internal Dummy, External Dummy, Hard Dummy and Soft Dummy. The Dummy also has a sandbag mounted on each side.

There are also many more methods of sticking hands training. In 1988 I had the pleasure of touring China with Mok Poi On and his student Leo Man, Leo and I became firm friends and spent many happy hours practising Chi Sao.

'If you don't know where to put them, put them at the end'.

As was mentioned before Big East Wind was a member of a secret society whose aims was to overthrow the Ching Government the members of this society had a password to recognise each other. Some members of the government infiltrated the group and learned the password taking the first and last letters of their old password, which gave them Wing Chun.

Liu Da Shen claims to have taught Leung Jan the first four forms of Pao Fa Lein Wing Chun.

Back to Foshan.

The time I spent in Foshan was very enjoyable all the masters I met were most helpful and willing to demonstrate their art. My thanks and gratitude go to Master Ou Yuen Ji, a sprightly 70 year practitioner of Taiji, Seven Star Praying Mantis, Eagle Claw, etc., Master Ou introduced me to his friend Guo Jia, a practitioner of Pao Fa Lein Wing Chun (78) and many other Wing Chun people.

What I didn't see in Foshan was inter-style rivalry. All the masters spoke well of each other. When I asked why practitioners of the same style do the forms differently the answer was quite simple 'different teacher, different forms.

 


Master Leo Man