One of the best students of Luk A Choi was Wong Taai. Master Luk allegedly taught also Wong Taai´s son Wong Kei Ying, and his grandson, the most famous Wong – the legendary Wong Fei Hung. Master Luk thus taught three generations of the Wong family.
However, as often, legends differ. Wong Kiew Kit Sifu writes: „…. Wong Kei Ying studied under Luk A Choi. Wong Taai was not necessarily Wong Kei Ying´s father – their true relationship is unknown. Luk A Choi might have taught Wong Taai, the teacher of Wong Kei Ying; Wong Kei Ying later directly studied under Luk A Choi.“
It is also a historical unknown whether Luk A Choi truly trained Wong Fei Hung – we cannot view cinematographic fiction as factual – for example the Challenge of the Masters from 1976 (Luk A Choi and Wong Fei Hung).
„Wong Fei Hung studied under his father Wong Kei Ying, and not from Luk A Choi – I am not even sure whether Luk A Choi was still alive.“ This notion could be supported also by Anthony´s article, which references a story of Luk A Choi teaching Wong Keiying on his death bed the secrets of „Ng Long´s Eight Diagram Long Pole“ (Ng Long Baat Gwa Gwan) with the help of chopsticks (see the first part of our Legendary Grand Masters of Hung Kyun).
Arnaldo Ty Nuńez has a different opinion: „Kei Ying originally didn´t want his son to become a boxer. Fei Hung was from early age fascinated with Gung Fu, but when he asked his father to teach him, he was always refused. This led Fei Hung to the aging Luk A Choi, who introduced young Fei Hung into the basics of Hung Ga, but when he was no longer able to continue training him, he approached Wong Kei Ying and told him that he has to pass the art of Hung Ga further down the generations, especially to his son. After some uncertainty, Wong Kei Ying took over Fei Hung´s training.”
Wong Kei Ying
Wong Kei Ying traveled the entire Southern China with his son Fei Hung, made a living by showing his martial art skills in the streets, selling herb medicine and comparing his strength against master´s of various other styles.
Apart from Luk A Choi he very likely studied under other student´s of „the founder“ Hung Hei Gun. His martial prowess was so famous that he became one of the “Ten Tigers of Gwong Dung“ (Gwong Dung Sap Fu),
Wong Fei Hung
Wong Fei Hung, the legendary hero of South China, is probably the most famous hero of southern Chinese Gung Fu. He was born in 1847 in the Gwong Dung province, Naam Hoi district in the Sai Chiu villagey. He studied martial arts from the age of 5; even as a child he was a prodigious fighter, which is proven by a popular story:
Wong Kei Ying and Wong Fei Hung were exhibiting their Gung Fu with the famous Sifu Jeng Daai Hung. In spite of Jeng´s mastery of the single-ended long pole, the Wong´s were much more popular with the crowd. Jeng felt offended and challenged Wong Kei Ying to a fight. The older Wong just smiled and told his son, at that time thirteen year old Wong Fei Hung, to take the long pole and use the techniques of „Ng Long´s Eight Diagram Long Pole“ (Ng Long Baat Gwa Gwan); Wong junior defeated the challenger without breaking a sweat. The story of his victory reached far and wide.
Wong Fei Hung studied under the tutorage of a number of teachers – maybe the aging Luk A Choi (see disputations above); his grandfather (?) Wong Taai and his father Wong Kei Ying, as well as Lam Fuk Sing – disicple of the famous „Tit Kiu“ Saam. According to David Ross he also studied under another of the Gwong Dung Tigers, Wong Yan Lam, who enriched Hung Kyun with long-reach fist techniques in the „Tiger and Crane Double Form“ (Fu Hok Seung Ying Kyun) and the „Five Elements“ techniques (Ng Hang Kyun) in the „Ten Forms“ (Sap Ying Kyun).
Wong Fei Hung can rightfully be called the father of „Modern Hung Kyun“ (San Hung Kyun).Based on Hung Hei Gun´s tiger and crane techniques, the long-reach techniques from Lo Hon Fat Ga Kyun (ie. Hap Ga), the „Ten Unique Techniques“ (Sap Duk Sau) and „Tit Kiu“ Saam´s „Twelve Bridge Arms“ (Sap Yi Ji Kiu Sau Faat) he composed the „Tiger and Crane Double Form Set”; he also incorporated „Tit Kiu“ Saam´s „Iron wire“ (Tit Sin Kyun), which he learned from Lam Fuk Sing, in his curriculum. These sets, together with the original Siu Lam „Taming of the Tiger in Gung Pattern” (Gung Ji Fuk Fu Kyun) and „Five Animals/Five Elements“ set (Ng Ying Ng Hang Kyun) constitute the foundations of modern Hung Ga Kyun.
We also cannot overlook Wong´s long military career – first, he taught martial arts in Lau Wing Fuk´s Gwong Jau army – he was also a high-ranking military officer. Later, Wong left Gwong Jau and became the right hand of general Tong Ging Song´s – one of the organizers of the Fuk Gin uprising. After the rebellion failed, Wong and Tong fled to Gwong Jau, where Wong founded a medical center and martial arts school, famous Bou Ji Lam.
Wong Fei Hung was married 4 times and had 4 children. His first wife died less than 3 months after the wedding, the second one gave Wong two sons – Wong Hon Sam and Wong Hon Lam. However she also died shortly afterwards. Wong´s third wife gave him two more sons – Wong Hon Hei and Wong Hon Syu, although she soon died as well.
A popular, albeit probably fictional story relates Wong´s first meeting with his fourth wife during Buddhist celebrations in Fat Saan, Wong´s school was showing the lion dance – Fe Hhung´s lion dance was considered the best in the province – he was known in Gwong Jau and surrounding cities as the „Lion King“.
At the end of the exhibition, Wong Fei Hung himself performed a set with the royal weapon of southern Gung Fu, “Big Trident” (Daai Pa) trident used to hunt tigers. During his performance, however, one of his shoes slipped and hit a young woman in the audience. The woman, then 19-year-old Mok Gwai Laan, rushed the stage, slapped Wong Fei Hung and started chiding him.
Wong couldn´t stop thinking about this courageous and energetic woman – in the end, he sought her out and asked for her hand. Since she had good knowledge of Mok Ga Kyun, Wong started tutoring her in the ways of the Hung style.
The „Tigress“ Mok Gwai Laan later led the female section of Wong´s school. She outlived her husband by many years and died in 1986 at the age of 96. (You will find more information about Madame Mok and Wong Fei Hung in the third part of our Legendary Grand Masters of Hung Kyun series).
Wong Fei Hung died in 1924 at the age of 77. Many people claim to have been his students, which is illustrated quite well by the story related to the author of this study by Raymond H. Wong, son of Y.C. Wong sifu: one of his friends wanted to visit grandmaster Lam Jou in Hong Kong and didn´t have the address – he hailed a cab and said: „Take me to the Gung Ffu school of grandmaster Lam Jou, nephew of Wong Fei Hung´s student Lam Sai Wing.“
The cab driver laughed and said: „Sir, everyone in Hong Kong claims to be the student of Wong Fei Hung.“
According to old Chinese books and articles, among Wong Fei Hung´s most famous students were Lam Sai Wing, Leung Fun, Ling Wan Gaai, Si Lou Yin, Si Lou Yuk, Chan Din Biu, Taap Geng Jau, Luk Jing Gong and Mok Gwai Laan.
Shortly after his death, Wong Fei Hung´s life and feats became a favorite topic for dozens and hundreds of Chinese „pulp“ fictions, radio plays, television series and „easterns“ – Hong Kong action movies depicting traditional martial arts. Wong Fei Hung´s legend was among others propagated by his grand student, Lam Sai Wing´s nephew and successor Grand Master Lam Jou, who co-wrote a number of screenplays to the first Wong Fei Hung movies and whose students depicted many of the famous characters.
The most famous portrayal of the Gung Fu legend is the series of almost 100 from the 50s and 60s with Kwan Tak Hing – this series even put Wong Fei Hung in the Guinness Book of World Records; other famous variations were the Drunken Master and its loose sequel Drunken Master II with Jackie Chan as well as Gordon Liu’s Wong Fei Hung in Martial Club and Challenge of the Masters.
In the early 90s, Once Upon a Time in China (´Wong Fei Hung´ in original) set off a new wave of Wong Fei Hung craziness. To this day, the movie had six more sequels, with the movie star Jet Li in the main role in the first three. In the last episode Once Upon a Time in China & America, Wong Fei Hung even visits the Wild West! It is therefore not surprising that most Chinese people today recognize Wong Fei Hung only as a movie character and forget the real one or think him fictional.
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