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|Kwan Tak Hing|
The Real Wong Fei-Hung:
Legendary Hero & Martial Arts Master
Lived: 1850 - 1933
Gwan Dong, Lam Hoi Province, Sai Chu County, Luk Huern Yan village, China
Born in 1850 in Gwan Dong, Lam Hoi Province, Sai Chu County, Luk Huern Yan village in China, Wong Fei-Hung was and still is one of the most reverred, renowned and charismatic figures in Chinese history, martial arts and specifically Kung-Fu. He has been portrayed in books and more than 100 movies. Fei-Hung died in 1933 of natural causes, but his contribution to modern day martial arts and "Hung-Ga" are unsurpassed. He can truly be considered one of the forefathers of modern day martial arts. The Shaolin Hung Ga style is one of the oldest arts of fighting in China. The style revolves around five animals; Tiger, Crane, Leopard, Snake and Dragon.
Each animal has it's own characterisation, based upon it's qualities and importance;
Tiger = Power, Strength and courage
Crane = Agility and watchfulness
Leopard = Speed
Dragon = Spiritual control and skill
Snake = Internal strength and power
His father Wong Kay-Ying was originally a student and disciple of South Sil Lum master Luk Ah-Choy and was also one of the earlier "Ten Canton Tigers" of the late Ching dynasty. While Wong Fei-Hung was one of the later "Tigers" it is important to note that both Wong Kay-Ying and Wong Fei-Hung were inducted into the "Ten Tigers" while still in their early twenties. The other eight Tigers were all at an advanced age and of a higher kung-fu generation. You should also note that the positions of the "tigers" were chosen according to Chinese tradition. The oldest, or most senior, holds the highest position. This placement was given out of respect and had nothing to do with level of skill. It was also apparent that the induction showed a great honour to the Wongs in stating that their skills were comparable with the Sifus (Kung-Fu masters) of a higher generation. Wong Fei-Hung's father ran the famous medical clinic "Lam Chi Bo", and Fei-Hung grew up there, assisting his father and learning traditional Chinese medicine. Wong Kay-Ying was a generous and compassionate man who always treated a patient regardless of social standing and even if they couldn't afford any treatment, which was a valuable lesson the young Wong Fei-Hung learnt well.
Wong Fei-Hung began his martial arts training at the age of five. But due to his father's initial reluctance to teach him the kung-fu style of Hung-Ga, Wong Fei-Hung began his martial arts training with his father's teacher, Luk Ah-Choy. Ah-Choy taught Fei-Hung the basics of Hung Ga. Later, Kay-Ying took over his son's training. By the age of thirteen he was already an accomplished martial artist and often went out with his father to demonstrate Kung-Fu and sell medicine in different villages. On one occasion a famous teacher of another style, named Sifu Gwan Dai Hung, was demonstrating on the same day. He became jealous because the Wongs had a much larger crowd watching their performance. Every time he demonstrated his famous left handed fishing pole techniques the size of the crowd would be unmatched. Sifu Gwan felt that these two were invading his territory, so, with pole in hand he approached Wong Kay-Ying and issued a challenge fight. Kay-Ying smiled and told his 13 year old son, Fei-Hung to take up a pole and match skills with the sifu using the "Ng Long Ba Gwan Gwun" (8 diagram pole techniques). Fei-Hung eliminated the challenger and word soon spread far and wide. Despite still being a child Wong Fei-Hung, was a great fighter and this incident initiated master Wong's fame.
Fei-Hung was a true martial arts hero. In addition to becoming a master of Hung-Ga, he also formalised the orthodox Hung system, creating the "Tiger / Crane" Double Pattern fist form (Fu Hok Cern Ying Kuen), 18 methods of Hung Ga locking hand (Sup Baht Faht Cum Na Sao) and the 10 killing hands (Sup Juet Sao), which was only ever taught to certain disciples. Fei-Hung was also famous for his "tiger tail" and "Shadowless" kicks and mastered the "Iron Wire", "Five Forms" and "Vanquishing" Fist, and was skilled with many weapons, especially the "Bo" or long wooden staff and the southern "Tiger fork". It is documented that on one occasion he used his prowess with the staff to defeat a thirty strong gang on the Canton docks. At the end of the Ching dynasty and the founding of the republic in 1912, Fei-Hung became the head instuctor of martial arts for the special forces elite military unit under the direction of General Lau Wing Fuk in Canton. In October 1924 there was strike against the government by all the businesses. Canton city fell foul to rioting and Fei-Hung's son, Wong Hawn-Sum followed in his father's footsteps and defended the weak and oppressed by means of his martial arts prowess. Unfortunately, he was gunned down by the drug gang "Dai Fin Yee". After this tragedy, Wong Fei-Hung vowed never to teach his 9 remaining sons martial arts in order to protect them from challengers seeking fame and notoriety. Later on his son
There has been some over ambitious storytelling by some films of this character in the past, little was really known about this celebrated Kung-Fu master, philosopher, physician and people's hero. But he has left an indelible mark upon Hong Kong cinema and the martial arts world.