HISTORY --- A long history of Shaolin Weng Chun Style
Shaolin Weng Chun Style kungfu got its name from the Weng Chun (Forever Spring)
Hall. In those years, the Shaolin Monastery had in its curriculum a great number
of different styles taught by various instructors and assistant instructors, forming
the modern date Shaolin Style. The training was conducted in various chambers e.g.
Lo Hon Hall, Boon Yeuk Room, Weng Chun Hall, Buddilharma Hall, etc. The story goes
that the SiDai (younger kungfu brother) of Fong Sai Yuk had his training of Fa Kuen
(the Floral Fist) in the Weng Chun Hall.
Abbot Chi Sin after the burn down of the Shaolin Monastery by the Qing Administration,
went into hiding from the hunt of the Qing soldiers in Fut Shan and Qing Yuen cities
in GuangDong province. Then he settled down in King Fa Association Club, and traveled
with the opera actors in the ‘Red Boats’ (Remarks :1) from place to place for their
performances. During that time, he taught the Shaolin kungfu techniques to Tin Nung
and subsequently Dao Wah Bo. So the descendents later addressed the two as Master
Tin and Dao. When living on the Red Boats, the space was quite tight and not suitable
for practicing long and wide movements and so the Shaolin kungfu techniques were
somehow amended and improved to fit the environment to close range combat techniques.
The essence of such were later developed into a form called ‘Jong Kuen’ and the
Wooden Dummy techniques into 3 sets, called the ‘Heaven Set’, the ‘Earth Set’ and
the ‘Human Set’ and a long pole form called the ‘Six and Half Points’ Long Pole
techniques, to suit the practicing environment. Then Dao Wah Bo taught his techniques
to an opera actor ‘Dai Fa Min Kam’ (Sun Kam)(* Remarks : 2), and taught the long
pole techniques to Kan Ming, Sun Kam. Then it was transcended to Fung Siu Ching,
and then to Dong Jik as the 4th generation, and to Chu Chong Man, as the 5th generation
According to GM Chu Chong Man, other than learning from Dong Jik as his Sifu, he
also had a very superior master called Wong Jit Shing, who was an expert in Shaolin
Weng Chun. It was said that during his hiding from the hunt of the Qing administration,
Abbot Chi Sin stayed in the house of a certain Wong family who was a Martial ‘Gui
Yan’ (the 3rd place winner in the open martial arts tournament operated by the government).
At that time, Wong was like over 50, and had already gained high recognition as
a martial arts ‘Gui Yan’. But he was privileged to meet the grand master (Abbot
Chi Sin) and he served as a disciple to the grand master. Abbot Chi Sin, observing
that Wong was not so young anymore, resolved that what he had learned in the past
in long and wide movements (external kungfu) was not really fit for his age, taught
Wong another series of kungfu called “Fa Kuen” (The Floral Fists – which included
3 different forms : ‘Ping Kuen’, ‘Fut Kuen’ and ‘Mui Fa Baat Kwa’). Upon getting
the essence of kungfu in its high level, Wong taught the new series to his son and
grandson, Wong Jit Shing. So in a sense, Wong Jit Shing was the 3rd generation disciple
of Abbot Chi Sin. GM Chu Chong Man on some occasions, chuckled and mentioned that
by learning from Wong Jit Shing, he in a way overrode the lineage of generation
grading (from the 5th generation to the 4th). But the fact was he was very much
influenced by GGM Wong Jit Shing in his kungfu training.
With the consent of GGM Wong Jit Shing, GM Chu pursued his training in Shaolin Weng
Chun and got accepted by GGM Dong Jik as a student and learned from Dong the ‘Jong
Kuen’ (*Remarks :4), and was reminded that the ‘Jong Kuen’ and the ‘Fa Kuen’ series
were both in the curriculum taught in the Weng Chun Hall in Shaolin Monastery. Also,
it should be noted that GM Chu learned the ‘Six and Half Points’ long pole techniques
from Kan Cheong, the nephew of Kan Ming. The story goes that after becoming a student
of GGM Dong Jik, GM Chu later went to Macau and started a studio and invited GGM
Dong Jik from Fut Shan to Macau to stay with him when he supported his Sifu’s for
his livelihood for 8, 9 years. Meantime he had a sworn brother, Tsui Kwok Leung
who took up the kungfu training in Shaolin Weng Chun from GGM Dong Jik, with GM
Chu together. It only ended when the Japanese invasion on China started and GGM
Dong Jik went back home to Fut Shan.
After the war (2nd World War), Chu Chong Man operated a clinic in Macau at No. 7
Fung Loy Sun Street. Other than teaching Shaolin Weng Chun kungfu to his son, Chi
Wai, he also took some students on the side, but rarely open to the public. Not
long after that in 1953, he came to settle down in Hong Kong, and was appointed
as the chief physician in The Chamber of Floral Association, also as a medical consultant
in a few other chambers of commerce. Incidentally, his clinic ( The Hong Kong Floral
Association Headquarters) was not far from Dai Tak Lan (*Remarks : 3) and therefore
he got together with other Weng Chun Kuen masters for training. During that period,
there were 4 different masters teaching Weng Chun Kuen in Dai Tak Lan and they were
Tang Yik, Lo Chiu Woon, Tam Kwong and Wai Yan, and GM Chu Chong Man was appointed
as a consultant. So during the Dai Tak Lan Era, there were quite a number of kungfu
practitioners who had the privilege of learning Weng Chun Kuen and some of them
became quite good. Anyway, the family tree’s history traces back to the earlier
stage and it should be noted that Tang Suen (father of Tang Yik) and Lo Yum Nam
(father of Lo Chiu Woon) both were students of Fung Shiu Ching.
In the 60’s, after GM Chu left Dai Tak Lan, he was invited by a friend, a certain
Mr. Siu, who offered a space for training (on the upper floor of See Kwong Electric
Supplies on Shanghai Street near Mongkok Road) and GM Chu then officially started
his teaching of Shaolin Weng Chun in Hong Kong and began to accept students. Some
years later, his son Chi Wai also came from Macau to settle down in Hong Kong for
good. So GM Chu shifted his teaching of Shaolin Weng Chun from Shanghai Street to
No. 50 Reclamation Street (the top floor of Kam Shan Restaurant). In the course
of almost 2 decades from the early 60’s to late 70’s, Gm Chu was busy with his medical
profession, and on the other hand was very selective in accepting students. Nevertheless,
he treated his students like his own sons and taught them the best he had to offer.
In Hong Kong, inheritors for his Shaolin Weng Chun kungfu included his son Chu Chi
Wai and his grandsons, his disciples such as Chan Wing Yu, Siu Shui Ming, Ng Hing
Lam, Leung Kwai Wo, Leung Lai Chung, Mok Chung Wai, etc.
Time passed by and for many years, GM Chu’s reputation in martial arts was well
spread and highly respected by others in the martial arts’ world. In an interview
over 20 years ago with New Martial Heros, he was honored as the “Chairman of Weng
Chun Style. Scholar, doctor Chu Chong Man”. Other than the students of GM Chu to
continue teaching Shaolin Weng Chun, the other masters like Tang Yik, Lo Chiu Woon,
Tam Kwong, Wai Yan all had their disciples to carry on training and teaching the
art. Regretfully most of them did it indoors in private, and very rarely open to
the public. As a result, it is now rather low profile and not so many people know
about our style.
Red Boat – in the old days the opera performers traveled in big boats which carried
the different opera characters, assistants and cooks. Such big boats hosted colorful
flags so as to attract audiences. So they were called Red Boats.
Sun Kam – was a famous opera actor in martial arts and in those days, different
characters had different paints (make-ups) on the face. That is why he was also
called ‘Dai Fa Min Kam’ (Painted Face Kam)
Dai Tak Lan – a poultry wholesale shop in Yau Ma Tei district in Kowloon. At that
time, wholesale shops for fruit and poultry was centered in Yau Ma Tei. In the 50’s
and 60’s, the workers or the wholesale operators very often had conflicts for one
reason or another and hence resulted in fights. So a lot of them hired instructors
to teach them kungfu for self defense purposes.
Jong Kuen – one of the forms of Shaolin Weng Chun Kuen. It is a form that must be
practiced before the training on the ‘jong’ (wooden dummy) whereby the practitioners
will get a good fundamental in the agile footwork and solid stance to coordinate
with the techniques and power in the training of the ‘jong’.