Buk Sing Choy Lee Fut
Buk Sing Choy Lee Fut
The history of the Buk Sing 北勝 (buck sing, bok sing, bak sing, Pek Sing) branch of Choy Li Fut 蔡李佛 can be traced back to Jeong Yim 張炎 in Fut San. Jeong Yim's 張炎 primary students were Chan Ngau Sing, Yuan Hai, Tam Lup, Lee Yan and Lui Charn (Chaun) 雷粲. Lui Charn had a student named Tam Sam 譚三 (Tarm Sarm).
Tam Sam 譚三 was originally a Hung Gar master and wanted to further his martial arts skill by learning Choy Li Fut. He became a student of Lui Charn. Due to an unfortunate incident between Tam Sam and other students, Lui Charn expelled Tam Sam from the Choy Li Fut school before he completed his training. Thus in the Buk Sing lineage, there are only 3 primary core Choy Li Fut hand forms: Sup Jee Kuen (十字拳), Ping Kuen (平拳), Kau Da (扣打), a staff form: Seung Gaap Daan Gwun 雙夾單棍, and in later years, an original Buk Sing Choy Li Fut form, which he created.
After his expulsion, Tam Sam 譚三 asked some of Lui Charn's student to help him open a new Choy Li Fut branch in Guangzhuo, Siu Buk 小北 (little north) district and called it Siu Buk Hung Sing Choy Li Fut. Eventually it was shortened to Buk Sing Choy Li Fut. Tam Sam's 譚三 students referred to themselves as the Buk Sing branch of Choy Li Fut. A Northern Shaolin master named Ku Yu Jeng (Gu Ruzhang) befriended and joined Tam Sam 譚三and thus added more techniques to the Buk Sing Choy Li Fut curriculum.
What makes Buk Sing Choy Li Fut a unique branch is that it concentrates on the application of Choy Li Fut techniques rather than the practice of forms. Because the emphasis is on combat applications, the Buk Sing style in the tradition of the Jeong Hung Sing, has produced many excellent Choy Li Fut fighters. From the Buk Sing Choy Li Fut branch - Tam Fei Pang, Lun Ji, Chan Nien Pak, Kong On, Kong Heng, Lee Chow, Mah Yan, Lau Kuru Tong, Lung Tse Cheung, Chang Choy, and Nip Chi Fei, were all students of Tam Sam. Nip Chi Fei, established a Bak Sing Choy Li Fut school in Ipoh, Malaysia, and Chang Choy established a Buk Sing Choy Li Fut school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Kong On also learned from Chow Loong, the founder of Chow Gar, and Ku Yu Jeung (Gu Ruzhang). Kong Hing learned from his father Kong On. Li Hung was a student of Lai Chou and Lung Tse Cheung.
Wrestling systems came into being and bare-hand fighting was also developed. During the Republic of China, (1912-1949), many organizations appeared in forms of pugilistic societies such as the Martial Artists’ Society and Physical Culture Society. The Jingwu Sports Society was set up in Shanghai in 1910, and the Chinese Martial Artists’ Society and Zhirou Pugilistic Society were successively set up. These wushu parties played an important role in spreading and developing wushu. In 1928 the Central Wushu Institute was established in Nanjing by the Republic Government. After its establishment, local wushu institutes were established in provinces, cities and counties.
Two National Wushu Meets were held by the Central Wushu Institute in 1928 and 1933 in Nanjing. In 1936 the Chinese Wushu Delegation was organized to visit Southeast Asia. In the same year the Chinese Wushu Team gave a demonstration in Berlin at the XI Olympic Games. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, wushu has become a component of the socialist culture and the people’s physical education and sports, and has developed spectacularly. In 1953 the Nation-wide Traditional Sports Demonstration and Competition was held in Tianjin, at which wushu was the major content. Wushu was listed as a formal course in local sports institutes and their physical education departments. In 1956 the Chinese Wushu Association was set up in Beijing, and wushu thus became an official competition event. The first draft ofWushu Competition Rules was compiled by the State Physical Culture and Sports Commission in 1958.
Chan Koon Pak had many other students besides his son, Chan Yiu Chi. There are only a few students of his, Ngan Yiu Ting 颜耀庭, Fong Yuk Shu 方玉书, Wong Fook Wing 黄福荣 and Leong Gwei 梁贵, whose teaching legacy is still around today.
Though their initial training in Choy Li Fut was in the Fut San kwoon, Wong Fook Wing 黄福荣 and Leong Gwei 梁贵were later students of Chan Koon-Pak. Poon Dik 潘狄 studied under Wong Fook Wing 黄福荣 and Leong Gwei 梁贵. Poon Sing 潘城 was Poon Dik's son and studied directly under him. Lee Koon .
Hung 李冠雄 studied under Poon Sing, as well as Yun Yim Cho, Chow Bing, Leung Sai, and So Kam Fook. Tai Lam was a student of Chow Bing and Lee Koon Hung. Mak Hin Fai, Tat Mau Wong, John Wai,Li Siu Ming and Li Siu Hung (brother), were all students of Lee Koon Hung 李冠雄. After Lee Koon Hung´s passing, Tat Mau Wong became godson of Poon Sing learning directly from him.
Few authenticated facts are known about Jeong Yim (張炎), but his legacy and influence on the development of Choy Li Fut can still be felt today. Jeong Yim's actual birth and death dates are not confirmed, but it is rumored that he lived between 33 to 69 years of age. Like all great martial artists, the myths, stories, and legends which surround them are often mistaken and confused as facts. Jeong Yim's 張炎 successor Chan Ngau-Sing 陳吽盛, stated that the author Nim Fut San Yen created a popular fictional story (Wǔxiá) written during the period to increase the awareness of Choy Li Fut and revolutionary activities. This story was called, "Fut San Hung Sing Kwoon". Chan Ngau-Sing 陳吽盛 knew the author, pen name Nim Fut San Yen, personally. Such stories have no basis in historical fact. Popular Wǔxiá novels, like Wan Nian Qing and the mythology of anti-Qing organizations such as the Heaven and Earth Society, were spreading wildly through China since the early 19th century.
All of this is not officially documented. No written historic records can be found about Jeong Yim. According to the Chan Family History Book (the "Big Book"), the only historically documented fact showing a relationship between Chan Heung 陳享 and Jeong Yim 張炎 is the date of 1867, when Jeong Yim was sent to reopen the Fut San school as the successor to Chan Din-Foon 陳典桓.
The heated controversy surrounding Jeong Yim is in regards with the history and development of Choy Li Fut. Various Choy Li Fut branches have differing versions of how Choy Li Fut was founded and/or created. The various versions of history regarding Jeong Yim, and his influence on the development of Choy Li Fut, can be found in the text about Jeong Yim.
Death of the founder
Buk Sing Choy Lee Fut
When the government fell in 1864, Chan Heung 陳享 left China for a few years, some speculate South East Asian locations such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, or Singapore. At age fifty-nine, he became the martial arts teacher for the Chan Family Association overseas. In 1867, Chan Heung 陳享 returned home to King Mui, where he was able to see his own kung fu system gain tremendous popularity throughout Southern China. On the lunar calendar 8th moon 20, in 1875, at the age of sixty-nine, Chan Heung 陳享 died. He was buried in the village of King Mui.
After Chan Heung's 陳享 death, his Choy Li Fut 蔡李佛 legacy passed on to his two sons, Chan On Pak 陳安伯 and Chan Koon-Pak 陳官伯. Chan On-Pak 陳安伯 the oldest brother, was born in 1839. His specialty was the spear. Chan On-Pak's 陳安伯 control of the spear was so advanced that he gained the nickname "Yut Cheung Ng Mui Fa" 一槍五梅花 or "Five Blossoms with One Lance.
In 1894, two of Chan On-Pak's 陳安伯 students, Cheng Si-Leung 鄭士良 and Chan Siu-Bak 陳少白, helped the Tongmenghui 中國同盟會, the revolutionary forces of Sun Yat Sen 孫逸仙 to fight against the Qing government and lay the foundation of the Republic of China. The younger son, Chan Koon-Pak 陳官伯, left King Mui to become a merchant in Kong Moon 江門市 (Jiangmen) City, where his fame as a martial artist spread quickly. He soon had no time to spend as a merchant and devoted all of his efforts teaching Choy Li Fut. In later years, Chan Koon-Pak 陳官伯 established another large Choy Li Fut training center in Guangzhou 廣州
Hystory Of Tam Sam Grand Master
Like in the best Chinese martial tradition worth its name, the CLF KF system also has its own baggage of history and traditions, its people and its adventures; stories of men often different from each other, often with different lives, but with a common goal. All those who have been part of the CLF system actually have in common the pure ability for combat, as well as the inclination to the socio-political resvolt of their time.
Its history can be written in different ways. One mode is the notional transmission, precise and literal, of the martial and technical history of others, often empty and anachronistic. This is what happens today in the Chinese Martial Arts, that is, the study of hundreds of forms (Tou Lu) and fighting with methods and techniques identical to any other modern combat system (see Full Contact, Jiu Jitsu, Sanda or San Shou).
The other way is to follow the path traced by previous generations and immerse into their concrete, real and direct experience, with awareness of the evolution of our own experience and system.
This is the difference between the “Master” who brings questions and answers, cognition, logic and experience in the wake of the experience of a system, and the “Master Instructor” who simply performs and bears the experience of others, in whom answers are born and dead without asking, and where the system dogmas are the only visible path!
Among the various characters who have traced the history of this ancient Chinese Martial Art, there is one who was given the nickname of “The legendary Fist of the North” whose real name was Tam Sam (ideogrammi cinesi). The history of Chinese Kung Fu is full of legends and popular folklore, which are often historically inaccurate. Tam Sam, however, was also recognized in life as a martial arts legend. A name and a story that was built on the field and on real and personal enterprises. Unlike other famous Chinese masters on which novels and movies have been made telling stories and legends often too distant from reality, Tam Sam (ideogrammi cinesi) can be considered a modern fighter who gave a huge contribution to the real Chinese Kung Fu, although his system Pak Choy Lay Fut Sing was and is kept jealously hidden in an old logic of “family and clan”. Practice and experience, reality and consciousness, like in a Zen koan, this is the keystone of the Tam Sam’s (ideogrammi) martial practice. Tam Sam (ideogrammi) was born in the Hoi Ping suburb in 1873 and grew up in Toi Ting, a village of Canton. With a strong character and endowed with remarkable intelligence, young Tam showed an innate will to learn Martial Arts since he was a boy. It was his father who introduced him to the study of Kung Fu under the guidance of a famous Hung Gar master named Chow Gum Biu. Tam Sam had a combative spirit. During his course of studies in Hung Kuen Kung Fu, he heard about the fame that the practitioners of the Hung Sing Gwoon of Fushan were gradually spreading around the Guanzhou area. Willing to test his skills, in particular those of the Hung Sing Choy Lay Fut system, he decided to pass by the Hung Sing Gwoon to meet Master Lui Tsan (ideogrammi ). Tam Sam entered the school and haughtily invited Master Tsan (ideogrammi) and his students to train and fight with him. A senior student of Master Lui’s named Wong Sum stepped forward and accepted the challenge. The fight started and Tam Sam succeeded to hit Wong Sum in the ribs; but the latter, thanks to the combination technique “Jo But Kwa Sow”, managed to end the match pretty quickly. Despite being wounded in his body and his pride and unable to continue the match, Tam Sam, wanted stubbornly to fight Master Lui Tsan. Considering the advanced age of the Master, Tam Sam was convinced that it wouldn’t be difficult for him to defeat old Lui. Thus, at least his wounded pride would be partially redeemed. But one again, young Tam sinned of excessive arrogance and poor training. In fact, the encounter with Master Lui lasted a few seconds and the young challenger found himself again on the carpet. This time, however, something in him had changed. Aware of the effectiveness of the Choy Lay Fut system, he humbly asked master Lui to accept him as a student in his school. Lui Tsan, a senior disciple of Master Jeong Yim (ideogramma) (or Cheung Hung Sing, 1824-1839) accepted young Tam Sam as his student.
Under the guidance of Lui Tsan, Tam Sam successfully continued his training until Master Lui Tsan personally promoted him to the rank of instructor at the Hung Sing Gwoon. His instruction course at the School was fast and intense; in a few years he earned the respect not only from his classmates (who called him “Sam Sook”), but also from practitioners of other systems present in Fushan. Tam Sam, however, retained his character and temperament along his instruction period. He never lowered his head, and even in front of strong positions, he would continue to be rather “direct”. A major turning point in his life path was a famous episode known as “Kuen Da Sam Ngan, “ that is, “the punch that defeated the three Ngan.” During an argument with Si-Sook Ngan Yiu Ting (his Kung Fu uncle) and some members of his family, Tam Sam came to fight and defeat his own Hing Dai (Kung Fu brothers) in a not too friendly match, and most importantly, not authorized by Master Lui Tsan. Fighting against another brother, and even more so against an older relative, meant breaking the code of ethics and morality of the Choy Lay Fut. Master Lui Tsan, who learnt of the incident, although with a heavy heart, couldn’t help to fire him from the school. Codes and rules had to be respected, even if Tam had been right in the incident. Tam Sam had to leave the school even though his training under the guidance of the teacher he had not yet been completed. For a certain period of time he continued to learn and train in secret with some of his Kung Fu brothers of the Hung Sing Gwoon. But for him the only way to get a personal evolution and improve his Martial Arts technical baggage was to fight. Thus it was that he began a long series of bloody battles with fighters of other systems that forged his reputation as solid fighter. His experience grew along with his fame. His fights were held behind closed doors or outdoors, but in any case they were real battles, the exploits of which could be heard throughout the region. Anyway, Tam Sam remained still friendly and respectful toward his former master and his Hung Sing Gwoon companions, and so, when he realized that his reputation was beginning to cast shadow on Master Him Tsan and the School, he decided to go away from Fushan. He founded his own school in a temple in the North called Di Mew and named it Siu Hung Sing Kwoon Buk. Thanks to his fighting skills and experience, Tam continued to create new techniques and redefine old ones, surpassing the original system and making a personal contribution to the system, especially in the area of combat. In Siu Buk, Tam Sam earned the nickname “the unbeatable fist of the North” , because of his invulnerability in combat. Over time, his students persuaded Tam Sam to shorten the name of the school and modify it in Buck Sing Choy Lee Fut for being too long, but especially as a distinguishing mark with respect to other two branches of the same system. It was then that in addition to the Choy Lay Fut branch of King Mui and Fushan was born the Buck Sing branch. In the course of his studies, Tam Sam gave life to a real system within the system. His research was particularly developed in the technical field and in the principles that were applicable in combat. Few Tou Lu (forms) many Kuen (techniques and principles): this was and still is the basis of the Choy Lay Fut Pak Sing system. Some of his techniques that made him famous in the martial world for their effectiveness in combat are, for example, the Kwa-Sow-Chop and the Lin Wan Chop Choy (cyclic attack with Leopard fists). Tam Sam loved so much fighting that he hired a biographer to record his meetings. The book should have been called “the record of 100 victorious fights”, but the author died in Hong Kong during the early drafting stages and it was never completed. In 1912 was formed the republic of China and in the following decades, under the promotional push of the new government, various associations for the Chinese Martial Art in both North and South of China were created. The new government recognized the Chinese Martial Arts as a national treasure and it promoted publicly their spreading. It was a period of flourishing technical interchange among various systems and associations of traditional Martial Arts. The government itself gave rise to these transactions, particularly between the styles of the North and the South. One of the most famous “exchanges” between North and South systems was held in the city of Canton. Ku Yu Jeong, famous master of the Buk Siu Lam style and known for his body techniques and his iron palm, was appointed head of the delegation of the North , while in the South was also known to Master Ku Yu Jeong, who considered him like a national hero and at the same time a Martial Art brother. Ku Yu Jeong wanted to meet Tam Sam and train with him, but Tam thought differently and wanted to face Ku Yu Jeong in combat. After a famous meeting between the two “behind closed doors” of which nobody knows the final outcome, both masters reached an agreement of respect and mutual exchange between their groups of students. The two schools could freely exchange directly and indirectly their experiences. Tam Sam was an honest and direct man, but with a strong personality, and although he gave his students freedom to exchange experience with the School of Master Ku Yu Jeong, he never wanted to personally share his system with him because he would never accept in his heart to learn Kung Fu from the North. He was also a member of the Canton Martial Arts national Council. During the Second World War and the Japanese invasion, Tam Sam was elected head of the training camp “Di Dao (Bog Saber)”. He died in 1942 at age 69, from an incurable disease. Among Tam Sam’s favorite disciples were Mah Yan, Kong On, Leong Ji, Chan Nien Pak and Lee Chow. His son Tam Fei Pang had a large following of disciples in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Tam Sam (ideogrammi) was not only a great fighter, but also an educated man and an excellent calligrapher. He spent most of his life working as a clerk and a man of lows in various districts of Guangzhou. However his reputation as an undefeated fighter marked his path and his lifestyle in a substantial way. He didn’t like schemes and dogmas, and he always supported individual experience as the only true road in the development of one’s skills and technical background. He used to encourage his students to confront their technical level with other practitioners. His life experience and his thoughts created an effective and direct system in the true martial practice.