Northern Internal Pao Fa Lien Wing Chun

My style of Wing Chun is an internal system which came from the north. During the revolutions against the Manchurians, a monk, nicknamed Dai Dong Fung (Great East Wind), while trying to escape arrest, came to the south. In the area of Qingyuan, Guangdong, he was made a guest by bothers named Tse Gok-Leung & Tse Gok-Jeung. Of the two brothers, one was a literary mandarin while the other was a military mandarin. Even though they were working for the Manchurians, but since they were of the Han tribe, and seeing how their kinsmen were being mistreated, they had a hope that one day the Manchurians would be over thrown by the Hans. After a period of time, when the monk observed that these two brothers were decent people and not corrupted mandarins, and that they also treated him with honor and respect, he taught them Wing Chun. He also disclosed that all disciples of Wing Chun are revolutionists. Since this had been discovered by the Manchurian Court, so in order to hide identity, they broke down the two characters “Wing Chun” into a secret three lined poem. That is: “Wing Yin Chi Ji” (Always speak with determination), “Mo Mong Hong Juk” (Don’t forget the Han Nation), “Dai Day Wu Chun” (Spring will be back again).

The Tse Brothers adopted a son named Lao Dat-Sang and taught him Wing Chun from age 9. Later on Lao Dat-Sang moved to Foshan and worked as a treasurer at an establishment. He never openly taught martial arts, but little by little, his skills became known, and many people sought to be his disciples. He was very straight in choosing students, so he did not have too many disciples. When he was over 70 years of age, there was a young man named Chu Chong entered as his disciple because of Karma. He learned all the essences of Wing Chun from the meticulous instruction of Lao Dat-Sang. Later, Chu Chong along with his wife and kids moved to Sam Shui Po in Hong Kong where they opened an osteopathy clinic. Now it is many decades later, and Chu Chong is 101 years old. He still has great mobility and walks as if he is flying. However his son, Chu Wing-Ji, has taken over his medical practice. His kung-fu “brother”, Kok Gai, who still lives in Foshan, was the last disciple of Lao Dat-Sang. He’s over 80 years old and ceased to practice martial art for many years now.

Sigung Chu Chong spent many years in Hong Kong. Although he followed the way of Wing Chun, which is “only to pass down but don’t teach the art”, still he accepted many disciples. One of them is my deceased teacher Mok Pui-On. He first learned Weng (Always) Chun from Chu Chong-Man, a style passed down from Fung Siu-Ching. But later on he learned Wing (Praise) Chun from Sigung Chu Chong. From 1977 to 1978 I learned Wing Chun separately from Ho Kam-Ming and Yip Chun, which is the Wing Chun style passed down from Yip Man. [Hong Kong has Pao Fa Lin Wing Chun, Yip Man Wing Chun, Pin San (Side Body) Wing Chun, Yuen Kay-San Wing Chun; also known as Guangzhou Wing Chun, and Singapore and Malaysia also have the opera style of Wing Chun.] In 1979, I was fortunate enough to learn from my deceased teacher Mok Pui-On the Pao Fa Lin style of Wing Chun. In these 16 years, I also got a lot of tutors and instructions from my martial art “uncle” Chu Wing-Jee. Started in December of 1994, I began teaching openly for the first time my style at the Hong Kong Ching Wu athletic association. But since 1989, there were several occasions when foreigners had come from England and South Africa for the sole reason of studying the art.

Pao Fa Lien was so called because it was just the nickname of Lao Dat-Sun. When he was young he had a job to do Pao Fa (planing wood). These are plants which they boiled down the shavings to get the sap. This was used as a hair tonic in those days. The character Dat, when written in script form, looks a bit like the character Lien (Translator’s note: this is a feminine name). Therefore, the people at the time always mockingly called him “Little Lien”. After my deceased teacher had obtained permission from Sigung Chu Chong, he added this to the name of our style to distinguish it from other Wing Chun styles.

By Leo Man, Hong Kong Chin Woo Annual. Roughly translated from Chinese.

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