Grandmaster Dang Fong (1879 – 1955), was born in the Saam Seui of Gwong Dung Province in China. Dang followed his father’s example learning martial arts and Dit Da during his youth.
After he grew up, he went to Canton and learnt martial arts under Master Wong Yau in a school located in Cheung Sau Lane ‘s/Dak Sing Lane. Later, he became a student of monk Sim Ling of the Wa Lam Temple.
Lam Sai Wing was the disciple of the famous Wong Fei Hung. He opened a school in Gwong Jaau Chan Tong District. Dang Fong was origionally his student. With Si Lou Yuk’s referral, Dang Fong became the close disciple of Wong Fei Hung and learnt in-depth knowledge of Hung Ga Kyun and Dit Da from Wong Fei Hung.
Afterward, with Wong Fei Hung’s permission, Dang Fong opened his school, Yi Yung Tong, in the Daai Ho Road of Sai Gwaan district in Canton. Dang Fong was later known as “Tiger of Sai Gwaan” District.
Dang Fong’s Road in Martial Arts
Grandmaster Dang Fong’s father, Dang Biu, was a famous of Dit Da in Saam Seui. He had in-depth knowledge in Maau Saan (a Chinese Witchcraft). As Dang Biu had killed people during combat during his youth, he refused to teach Dang Fong all he knew. Although Dang Fong asked to be taught earnestly, Dang Biu only taught him a little bit of martial arts for self-defense.
After Dang Fong grew up, he went to Canton and learnt martial arts with the guidance of Master Wong Yau. Master Wong Yau taught “Long Bridges, Wide Stances” style of martial arts. The basic training also required one year’s time. Dang Fong thought that he had some elementary skills and didn‘t need to wait for a year. However, he could learn a little in two years.
Later, Dang Fong heard that there was a monk called Sim Ling in the Wa Lam Temple and Sim Ling was willing to teach students in a more efficient way. Dang Fong then followed monk Sim Ling. The “Left hand Plum Flower Spear” (Jo Sau Mui Fa Cheung) was learnt from monk Sin Ling.
At that time, martial arts were popular and Dang Fong met many friends. Si Lou Yuk and Si Lou Yin were students of Grandmaster Wong Fei Hung. They always shared their knowledge and skills. Dang Fong started learning Hung Ga. Si Lou Yuk then introduced Dang Fong to follow Wong Fei Hung.
Wong Fei Hung’s teaching style was trying to teach students in accordance with their aptitude. For example, he taught Ling Wan Gaai mainly the skills of long pole, Lam Sai Wing mainly studied the skills of hand forms. Wong Fei Hung asked Dang’s experience and Dang performed the “Left Handed Plum Flower Spear”. Wong found that Tang had good potential in martial arts but he preferred to teach Dang Fong the Dit Da as Dang Fong had very good training in Dit Da.
Dang Fong still wanted to learn more about Hung Ga. Therefore, he asked Wong Fei Hung’s other students to teach him Hung Ga Kyun. For example, he learnt the “Ng Long’s Eight Diagram Long Pole” from Ling Wan Gaai, learnt skills of broadsword from Lam Sai Wing and Gwaan Dou from Chan Din Biu.
Various Hung Ga Techniques Performed by Grand Master Dang Fong (special thanks to Frank Bolte Sifu for the photos)
Once, Dang Fong gave a performance on Gwaan dou. Wong Fei Hung was very surprised as he never taught Dang the set before. He recognised Dang Fong’s ambitions concerning martial arts and thus started to teach Dang Fong all Hung Ga Kyun and Dit Da knowledge.
Afterward, with Wong Fei Hung’s permission, Dang Fong opened his school, Yi Yung Tong, in the Daai Ho Road of Sai Gwaan district in Canton. He invited Wong Fei Hung’s wife, Mok Gwai Laan, to be the martial art and lion dancing trainer for female students. Therefore, the male and female lion dancing of Yi Yung Tong were famous at that time. When Dang Fong had beaten Yun Hoi in “God of Wealth Temple”, people started called him ”Tiger of Sai Gwaan” District.
Later, in the incident of Lok Sin Threatre, Dang Fong was one of the participants. Since there were many people who were injured, Dang had to leave Canton and went to Southeast Asia.
Grand Master Dang Fong’s Altar – school of his disciple Jau Wing Dak Sifu (source)
Dang Fong returned to China after the Ching dynasty was over. After the start of Sino-Japanese war, Dang Fong moved to Hong Kong. In 1948, Kowloon Jewelry Association and Hong Kong Fisher Market of Eastern District invited Tang Fong to be the martial art and lion dance teacher for their members.
His students such as Jau Wing Dak, Lau Kai Dung, Ho Lap Tin, Yun Ling opened their own schools. Dang Fong’s lineage became famous in Hung Ga gradually. The disciples of Dang Fong have expanded overseas and to some European countries.
- Guest article written by: Andy Leung Sifu (website)
- Edited by: Pavel Macek Sifu and Neil Ware Sifu (website)
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