Wong Fei Hung and Drunken Boxing

Wong Fei Hung and Drunken BoxingQuestion: Is there any evidence of Wong Fei Hung practicing „Drunken style“?

Martin F.

Answer: “Drunken Boxing” (Jeui Kyun) or “Eight Drunken Immortals” (Jeui Baat Sin) belongs to the most spectacular Gung Fu styles or better say sets, as it is actually a single set, not complete style.

First mentions about Wong Fei Hung practicing “Drunken Boxing” emerged in popular Southern Chinese martial arts pulp magazines and radio shows in 1930’s. Wong Fei Hung supposedly learned “Drunken Boxing” from legendary “Beggar” Sou (Sou “Hat Yi”), one of the “Ten Tigers of Gwong Dung” (Gwong Dung Sap Fu).

Wong Fei Hung, “Beggar” Sou and Drunken Boxing were later popularised in 1950’s/1960’s by Hong Kong TV series starring Kwang Tak-Hing and of course later in Jackie Chan’s movies Drunken Master/The Legend of Drunken Master. One of the latest movies about Beggar Sou was Yuen Woo-Ping’s True Legend.

What do we know about Beggar Sou? Ng Ho writes:

Drunken Master Beggar SouHe was born in Hunan, and was originaly known as Sou Chan. He is better known as „Beggar Sou“. For a time, he made living by performing martial arts in the street with his sister, and they eventually arrived in Gwong Dung. He a tone point opened a martial arts school at the building of the Saam Sing Se, a club in Gwong Jaau.

He was an expert in Siu Lam pole technique, and delighted im leading the life of wanderer.

“Beggar” Sou was actually a Hung Kyun master and there is no evidence that Wong Fei Hung has learned from him “Drunken Boxing” or anything else.

Hung Ga Eight Drunken Immortals“Tiger and Crane Double Form” (Fu Hok Seung Ying) contains a technique called “Drunken Eight Immortals” (Jeui Jau Baat Sin) and some practitioners actually perform it with drunken style type of footwork, but the technique actually comes “Long Bridges” of Lo Hon Fat Ga, ie. of Hap Ga. It has nothing to do with “Drunken Boxing” –  drunken “flavour” of some of the lineages is more a performance thing and showmanship than practical usage.

One of the few Masters teaching “Drunken Eight Immortals” (from Taoist tradition) today is Wong Kiew Kit Sifu – not only the set, but also fighting application. You can see the complete set below.

 Pavel Macek Sifu, Practical Hung Kyun

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