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Fu Chen Sung with Bagua Dao

 

Fu Chen Sung Bagua

 

Fu Chen Sung and Yang Cheng Fu

 


The Great Master Fu Chen Sung

 

 

Fu Chen Sung Bagua Palm

 

Grandmaster Fu Wing Fay

 

Master Bow Sim Mark

 

 

 

Master Bow Sim Mark and Derek Frearson in UK

 

 

Master Bow Sim Mark and Derek in Hong Kong

 

 

 Master Bow Sim Mark and students with Master Li Tan-ji and Derek (left back row) Wuhan China 1984

 

 

 

Yang Style Taiji Broadsword

 

 

 

Yang Style Taiji Broadsword with Master Bow Sim Mark





Wuhan China 1984

 

 

Boston USA 1978

 

Fu Chen Sung the Northern Tiger

By Master Derek Frearson

 

Fu Chen Sung was born in 1881 in Ma Po village in the Sun Yan County of Honan Province. Ma Po village was close to the village of Chen Gar Kow, where Tai Chi was originally developed.

 

 

HIRED TEACHERS

The people of Ma Po village established a martial arts academy and hired two well known masters to teach there. Chen Yuen Shee of Chen style Tai Chi was one of them and Ga Fung Ming who taught Pakua was the other. The Young Fu Chen Sung trained hard under these two teachers. Later he had the opportunity to learn Pakua from the great master, Chen Ting-Hua. He was taught without reservation by these men and made rapid progress over the years. He then travelled across China seeking other teachers and eventually became a body guard-cum-security man; a common undertaking by Kung Fu men of the time.

 

 

LEE BROTHERS

In 1916, Fu was hired by General Lee King Lin (Lee the “God Sword”). Lee was master of the Wudang School. A martial arts contest was held in the army barracks and after many fierce contests Fu was declared champion and promoted to platoon commander. General Lee’s brother was a famous fighter named “Lee the God Spear”; he was said to be able to pin a fly to a pane of glass with his spear, without breaking it. Fu was challenged to a friendly bout by the spearman Lee and after a fierce encounter a draw was declared. Afterwards both the Lee brothers and Fu became close friends, exchanging technical information.

 

WUSHU INSTITUTE

The central Wushu institute was founded in Nanking in 1928 and Fu was hired as head instructor. A National Wushu tournament was organised. Wong Tak Yuan represented the Sichuan province; he had defeated over 20 opponents. Fu now aged fifty was asked to fight him. Wong's nickname was “Charging Fists” which was his speciality; he could smash rocks and mark iron with his hands. After ninety rounds Fu defeated Wong. Later Master Fu took part in an exhibition of martial arts at the National Academy of Peking (Beijiing).

 

 

FIVE NORTHERN TIGERS

In the later part of 1928 five renowned northern masters were invited south. They were popularly known as the Five Northern Tigers. Master Fu went to Canton and took up a post at the Army Command HQ, University Security Dept. When the Japanese captured Canton in 1938 Master Fu left the area and travelled around teaching the Chinese troops. After the war he returned to Canton and taught at the YMCA.

 

 

THE LEGACY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          At this time Master Fu began to combine all his knowledge and developed the Fu style of Tai Chi, Fu style Tai Chi Sword, Leung-Yi [Harmonised opposites boxing], Pakua dragon palm, Weapons and many other forms.

On April 26th 1953, in the evening, the Stadium of Canton Cultural Park was packed and all roads leading to it were filled with people, streaming to see the famous Master Fu Chen Sung demonstrate the Pakua dragon palm. Master Fu was called back for encore after encore by the cheering audience. Perhaps the strain of this experience and the prolonged efforts were too much for the old master, because five days later he passed away with inflammation of the brain.

 

 

THE LEGEND

Many amazing stories have been told about Master Fu’s fighting prowess. I would like to recall a few of them. On returning to his village one time Master Fu found that a Kung Fu master known as Tiger Yim was bullying the locals.

After trying to sort out Master Fu, Tiger Yim fled. He returned though with his four sons, armed with weapons. The first son attacked with a pole but Master Fu disarmed him and he punished the other four attackers by injuring their feet.

On another occasion bandits surrounded the village. Master Fu charged out at them with his spear and killed dozens before the rest fled in terror. Went more bandits took the village Master Fu asked the leader to bring out his best twenty men; if he could defeat them then the rest of the bandits should withdraw. The bandit leader agreed; Fu trounced the lot of them and the village was saved. Fu used his famous” Hurricane Palm” technique.

 

 

THE SUCCESSORS

Master Fu Chen Sung had four children: two sons Fu Wing Fay and Fu Wing Che, and daughters Fu Qown Sou and Fu Mun Sou. His wife, madam Ho, was also learned in Kung Fu. Master Fu Wing Fay became a worthy successor to his father. Because of his father's relationship with the brothers he was able to inherit the Wudang system; he also mastered Yang style Tai Chi and many other styles. He divided the Fu style into three stages and the Wudang sword techniques into five stages. He also improved the Tai Chi and Pakua systems of his father. He has held many prestigious posts in China and has the unique status of owning his own gymnasium. His best known student in the west is Master [Madam] Bow Sim Mark, now residing in the U.S.A

 

 

 

 

MASTER BOW SIM MARK – first published by Derek Frearson in 1981

Sifu Mark began her martial arts studies at an early age in grade school on the Chinese mainland. Later, at high school level she specialised in Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) and completed the standard college courses of Wushu.

These forms were devised in the 1950s by the Physical Culture and Sports Commission of China.

They now make up the compulsory requirement at all official Wushu competitions, with contestants selecting any of the traditional forms in the free-style portion.

On completion of the above course Sifu mark became an instructor, she later studied with some of the foremost exponents on the mainland, her mastery covers several styles of Taijiquan, Bagua (Pa which had been founded by his father, Master Fu Chen Shun. Fu Chen Shun passed away in 1953, shortly after an exhausting demonstration in Guangzhou (Canton) at the age of 81.

 

 PRAISE INDEED

Finally, Master Fu Wing Fay said of Sifu Mark “this is a follower who has mastered all I can teach; I have finally gotten a follower who can truly be my successor”

In 1973 Sifu mark moved to Hong Kong, and became the chief instructor to the Women’s Wushu Association. She also taught traditional dance at the Miramar hotel and gave many demonstrations. It was there also that she wrote her first book on Combined Taijiquan.

 

In 1975 she visited the USA and settled in Boston in September of that year. On July 10th 1976 Sifu Mark founded the Chinese Wushu Research Institute.

The arts which I studied represent the collective efforts of the most renowned Taijiquan masters in China; simplified Taiji is composed of 24 movements in 8 sections. It was developed for the general public, and though short it is well balanced. It is helpful to the weak and elderly, and has been widely used in hospitals and sanatoriums on the mainland for therapeutic purposes.

MORE ADVANCED

 

Combined Taijiquan is for the more advanced student. It contains 67 movements in 7 sections. Sifu mark explains” this is now the highest form in China and contains the characteristics mixture of hard and soft in the Chen style, the open elegance of the peaceful Yang style, the compactness of the Wu style and the total balance of Fu style”

 

THE WUDANG DRUNKEN SWORD-Reprinted by permission of Master Bow Sim Mark

One of the highlights of the All China Wushu Tournament held in Fuzhou in October 1981, was the participation of American Wushu masters in the demonstration segment of the programme.

Among the most popular performers was Master Bow Sim Mark of Boston, Massachusetts, who performed Combined Taijiquan and the Taiji Sword, to the thunderous applause of an appreciative audience.

Master Mark should not be a total stranger to the readers of these pages. Born in Canton (Guangzhou), China, she immigrated to the United States in 1975 and established the Chinese Wushu Research Institute in Boston in 1976. She was the first person to openly teach modern Chinese Wushu in the US, and she was also the first person in the US to publish a series of books expounding on various aspects of modern Chinese Wushu. Her pioneering efforts have contributed to the spread and popularisation of Wushu in America.

A disciple of the famous master, Fu Wing Fay she specialised in the study of the internal systems (i.e. Taiji, Pa-Kua, Hsing-I) and the associated weapons, especially the Wu Dang Sword. Currently she is the only instructor of the traditional Fu style Wushu in the US.

The purpose of her China trip was to attend the national tournament, to observe and learn from the participants, exchange experience and compare practice, (especially for Combined Taijiquan', to which she has devoted more than ten years of her life on research and refinement), with that of the leading authorities of the internal systems in China today.

At the conclusion of the tournament, the organisers summarised their findings and their comments on Master Mark's performance of Combined Tai-Chi Chuan are as follows:

"Her movements were tranquil and steady, with a good balance of hardness and softness, yet they were soft but not loose, hard but not stiff". 

·         "They were continuous and natural without breaking. These movements achieved a complete sense of smoothness. She was in deep concentration, exhibiting calmness in motion.

·         "Her movements were precise and correct. Her focusing appropriate. This reflected on her solid foundation in basic training".

·         "The combination of the movements with the music and the choice of her uniform achieved a high degree of harmony. Her performance conveyed a sense of great pleasure and a feeling of relaxation".

Immediately after the tournament, she was invited to go to the Peking Physical Culture Institute (PPCI) to exchange her experience with the professors and lecturers there and with the officials at the National Chinese Wushu Association (NCWA) in Peking.

During her three-month stay at the PPCI, she had a fruitful collaboration in the research of the Wu Dang Sword with Master Li Tian-ji, one of the leading authorities of that system. Out of that experience, she adapted the drunken sword routine she learned at the PPCI into the Wu Dang Drunken Sword form, which is now part of her performance repertoire.

There are many different styles of swords. In this article, the sword we refer to is the straight or double-edged sword (in Chinese Jin), which is not to be confused with the Broadsword (in Chinese Dao), which is an entirely different weapon.

Basically they can be grouped into four main categories: the single sword, the double sword, the tasselled sword, and the two-person sword. Each of these categories has their own unique characteristics. The basic techniques of the sword are chop, thrust, flick, upward cut, deflect, and jab. The drunken sword form is the result of the practitioner imitating the antics of a drunkard, combining the body and the sword techniques with the falling and tumbling movements.

The Wu Dang Drunken Sword of Master Mark combines the special characteristics of many different sword systems, using the Wu Dang Sword as the foundation. Unfortunately an exposition of the Wu Dang Sword System is beyond the scope of this article! It has the continuous and tranquil movements characteristic of the tai-chi sword, the rippling step, the turning and pivoting of the Pa-Kua sword, the artistic, the artistic formations of the grade A standardised sword form, the ferocity and thrusting of the double-hand sword, and it makes special use of the tassel to emphasise the state of inebriation, combined with the appropriate use of the falling and tumbling movements of the drunken system.

Master Mark's Wu Dang Drunken Sword managed to exhibit a great deal of internal control within the framework of the traditional drunken system. It blazes a new path in Wushu, as the emphasis of the traditional drunken system is more on acrobatics and physical agility.

At the end of her stay at the PPCI, Master Mark performed the Wu Dang Drunken Sword for the leaders of Wushu in China. They were all astounded that a woman could perform such a physically demanding form with such grace and fitness. Cheng Chuan Rui, a lecturer at the PPCI, himself a former national champion of the sword in the Chinese national tournaments in the fifties, remarked that it was the first time that he had seen a woman perform the drunken sword in public, let alone the Wu Dang Drunken Sword.

Now that she is back in America, Master Mark is working harder than ever to devote herself to the spreading of Wushu. Through her efforts, the Wu Dang Sword System will undoubtedly develop a large following.

Modern Day Representatives of the Wu Dang Sword System

Two of the most respected masters of the internal systems in China today are Master Fu Wing Fay of Canton and Master Li Tian-ji of Peking.

Both Master Fu and Master Li learned the Wu Dang Sword from General Li Jin Lin, one of the most famous swordsmen in the modern era. General Li was the head of a group of seven masters, renowned for their skill in the sword, known as the Seven Swordsmen of Wu Dang.

For many years, General Li improved his skill by inviting all the leading swordsmen from far and wide to his home for sword contests and he honed his skills to such a degree that he was known as Miracle Sword Li. From his experience, he developed the Wu Dang Sword System.

Master Fu Wing Fay is the eldest son of Master Fu Jen Sung, probably the most famous master of Pa-Kua in recent Chinese history. In addition to the traditional Fu style Wushu, (Fu style and Sun style tai-chi, Pa-Kua and Hsing-I), he learned from his father, he also learned the Wu Dang Sword from General Li when his father, Master Fu Jen Sung, was an instructor of Wushu in General Li's army.

A colleague of Master Fu Jen Sung in General Li's army was Master Li Su Man, nicknamed Li the Miracle Spear. Master Li's skill with the spear was so great that he could pin a fly on to the windowpane without breaking the glass. Master Fu Wing Fay studied from all these masters and he is now one of the most knowledgeable authorities in the internal systems in China today.

One of his accomplishments was the refinement of the Wu Dang Sword techniques he learned from General Li and his compilation of them into 5 groups of 25 techniques of the sword. For more information, the interested reader is referred to Master Bow Sim Mark's book Advanced Sword.

He established the six basic requirements of tai-chi (i.e. the six crucial requirements which must be satisfied by all practitioners of tai-chi, regardless of the style. For more detail, Master Mark's book Combined Taijiquan would be helpful). He followed his father's footsteps and completed the development of Leung Yi Chuan (soon to be published as a separate book) and Sze Shang Chuan.

Master Li Tian-ji is the son of Master Li Yu Lin, who served as a Wushu instructor in General Li's army. He is now the secretary general of the National Chinese Wushu Association and is one of the highest-ranking authorities of Wushu in China today. He was selected as the coach of the first Chinese National Wushu Team in 1954.

Since then he has devoted his life to the research and compilation of Wushu, the training and coaching of Wushu performers and the development of the rules for Wushu competitions.

Many of the most famous coaches of the professional Wushu teams, professors and lecturers in the physical culture institutes and judges of national Wushu competitions number among his pupils, e.g. Tsai Lung Yun of the Shanghai PCI, Liu Man Fu of the Tianjin PCI, Cheng Chuan Rui of the Peking PCI, and Shao Shan Kang, coach of the Shanghai Wushu Team.

In addition to teaching he has been the moving force behind the publication of all the standardised Wushu forms, serving as editor-in-chief. He was the leader of the two groups of masters who compiled the very popular Simplified Tai-Chi Chuan form, and the Combined Taijiquan form.

Master Li's other works include Taijiquan, Taiji Sword, Taiji Pushing Hands, and the recently published Hsing-Yi Chuan System. He is currently involved in the compilation of a work on the Wu Dang Sword System.

 

Derek in Guangzhou at the International Wudang meeting with Fu Wing Fays sisters and his son

 

 

  

Derek Frearson- Grandmaster Fu Wing Fei- Master Bow Sim Mark

Wuhan China 1984

Master Bow Sim Mark Double Straight Swords