Conservation - Snake Crane Wing Chun Mun
Date : 07/07/2008 Wah Wah
Recently, we have introduced the hidden Snake Crane Wing Chun Mun, one of the
Wing Chun branches, and its history in the last publishing. What is the religion of
this branch? Nowadays, how to describe itself open to the public in this century? Are
there any special techniques in this branch? Today we are happy inviting two disciples
of Mr. Law Chiu Wing, Master of this branch, to talk about their techniques and give
us a picture of their branch.
Mr. Wayne K.W. Yung, a follower since 1978, experienced in Judo, Taekwondo and
some Chinese martial arts.
Mr. Sammy T.C. Ho, a follower since 1986
Editor: We know that there is only small number of followers in your branch. Is it
Sammy: Yes, my master is a very traditional Chinese, and he is a careful and serious
person to choose the disciple(s). In the past, he had refused a lot of people who would
like to be his disciples.
Wayne: It is almost the same now. According to my knowledge, in the last 60s , there
are Chan Wing Jin and Li Yuen, 70s, there are Mr. Yuen Chi Choy, Chan Kwok
Keung and 80s, there are Sammy Ho,90s there are Mr. Yeung Chi Cheong and David
Yuen Man Kong. In this century, there are Mr. Mok Wei Keung and Mr. Lam Kwok
Ming and make totally around 16 followers. General speaking, every few years, he
would accept one or two persons as disciples for training. He didn’t teach openly and
that’s why he only accepts people as disciples, not students.
Editor: There are only few followers getting this skill, do you regret that?
Sammy : Whether regret or not, it can be viewed from two different directions; one
is the rules of this branch governing us “to keep this skill and does not open it up to
the public”. The other is that my master choosing a disciples carefully, not for the
money to live. He always teaches the skill and trains us personally. In this way, he can
keep practicing with himself and we can also achieve the spirit of this technique in a
very short period. The most important point is my master emphasizing teaching the
skill rather than selling the skill. Without any consideration, he teaches us everything
all he knows. In our practices, we emphasize a lot with two sparring people rather
than a wooden dummy, because the dummy is dead and the people can react.
Wayne: Yes, my master emphasizes a lot on teaching the skill, and not selling the
skill. As I recalled the day of the accepting me as disciple ceremony, at that moment,
because I was still a student and with no money for the lucky money to my master.
That moment, my master took HK$3.60 from his wallet and put it to a red-pocket and
passed it to me as lucky money for him. Afterwards, I never pay any more cents to
him and he still paid effort on teaching me.
Sammy: I got the similar case, but the money in the red-pocket was mime, and I
forgot how much money it was and was small amount. I think it was jut few hundred
dollars. Therefore, we respect him very much.
Wayne: In the past, he chose us as disciples individually, and most of us very
seldom to deal with other, or even we don’t know each other.
Sammy: Yes, we only have the chance to sit on the same table in the last few years
as we are open. In the past, we only knew who the senior is, but never met once.
Today, some of them are getting retired, aged over 60.
Editor: You have mentioned that you emphasize on practice with two sparring
partners. How about the practice of forms and with the wooden dummy? Are they
Sammy: Generally speaking, the forms and wooden dummy are important practices,
but the two sparring partners practice on the sticky hands practice are more important.
They are not only to promote us the reflex actions, but also on improving the grabbing
and throwing techniques, and also increase the strength of attacking with little power.
Wayne: Yes, the wooden dummy is a dead wood and cannot response to any attack,
but the people, who are live and can be reacting, are totally different. With the two
sparring people, one is attacking and the other responses to any non-preset attacks by
reflex, and it is the real fighting situation practice. Actually, the forms and the
wooden dummy are used to train the basics of skill. If there is no sparring partner to
practice, they can be a good way. Most people say that practicing with the dummy
will improve the hardness of your front arms and make them stronger. Developing the
two hard front arms is easy. However, the style of our branch is “Inner style”, and we
do not recommend to oppose the enemy hardly. That’s why we strongly encourage to
practice with two sparring partners. For example, the 3-star punches practice is more
effective than with the dummy. With the dummy, you can get the correct form of the
technique and the hardness of your front arm, but you cannot get any feeling from
your opponent. Training on the punches with the sparring partners, we can block and
attack simultaneously to your opponent. By means of these actions, after a certain
period, your front arms would also become harder. At the same time, you can also get
the feeling on how your opponent’s punch is and, by reflex, to take the blocking and
attacking actions. This is also the philosophy of our style. As recalled in the 70s, I
started to play with the dummy. One time, my master was not coming yet, I learnt
from a film, describing the “Shoaling 36 houses”by the Chinese martial arts star,
Master Lau Ka Fai, hitting the dummy very hard and tried to break it. As my master
came and saw that, and blamed me that I abandoned the philosophy of our style. If
the dummy was broken, I would be deported from this branch.
In additions, there are a lot rhymed formulae for us in our practice. They can also help
us in our mental training, for example, the sparring formula.
Editor: I had known your branch in the 70s and 80s in the last century, and your
skill is cruel. However, I never see that. Is it really cruel?
Sammy: Cruelly or not? Because we have a lot of consecutive motions, based on the
feeling of the front arms. Also, with the grabbing techniques, attack is consecutively
and mainly on the weakness points such as joints, and we have also paid a lot of
attention on defencing followed with attacking. Our training is mainly on speed, and
motion must be soft and fast. Attack is mainly by reflex, simple and direct. Once the
target is reached, the power is enriched explosively. The target is hit heavily.
Wayne: Right. In the past, most people recognize us cruelly, just like Sammy said.
There is another reason that we are hiding and governing by our rules, and without
any communication with the martial arts society. Therefore, most people feel that we
are enigmatic branch; no one really understand us. Cruelly or not, it does not depend
on the styles of the martial art, and depends on the people who can attain the
philosophy and the religion of the style thay is learning. It is a philosophy question.
For example, the learner resembles computer hardware, and the styles resemble the
computer software. It is not true that any computer software can put to any computer
hardware to run efficiently. Just like a person, his personality is suitable for the hard
style and long motions. If you put him to learn the soft style and short motion, it will
take a long time for him to get and adapt to the style. Even he can learn that, but it
wastes a long time to get. Is it worth? I believe all styles of martial arts are good. If
not, there would not be so many styles, families coming out. Good or not, it depends
on the person who learns the style suitable for him or not.
Editor: You mentioned you have training rhymed formulae. Do you have any more
rhymed formulae? Can you introduce some of them to my readers?
Wayne: The rhymed formulae are recorded by our Grandmaster, Law Tiu Wen, as he
was learning this skill, in 19 century in his recorded learning diary. Most of them are
4 characters, 5 characters and 7 characters poems, tidy and easy to remember. Also,
he recorded a lot of the Chinese medical treatment methods and a lot of Chinese herb
prescriptions for being wound.
Editor: Can you show us the training rhymed formula and introduce them to my
Wayne: This is the photocopy of the written diary by my Grandmaster, Law Tiu
Wen. Here, I can let you read it, and however, to your readers, I think I can only post
some of them. For examples, there are 26 statements for the Sticky-hand training and
16 statements for the Skill-learning attitude. Here, let me show the first 4 statements
to your readers...
Coming Retaining Going Sending
As hand-quitting, plunge straightly
As enemy moves
The stand is unstable …..
For learning of martial art
Should understand how to use
For the application of the forces
Can be found from the dummy or mirror …..
No commitment is in the war
Practice should be treated as real situation
As enemy holds my upper arms
Stand will be floated and body would get hurt
Sitting stand is afraid of direct impact
Walking stand is afraid of the side impact….
Editor: I know that your basic form, Siu Lim Tau, also comes with a poem, which
describes the forms. Is it? Why do only you have it?
Wayne: For this, I don’t know and maybe, in some other branches, they have it, but
they never show it off. Also, this poem is also appeared in the Grandmaster, Law Tiu
Wen, hand-written learning diary.
Editor: How do you think, Mok Wai Keung, a disciple of your master, teaches the
Snake Crane Wing Chun openly?
Sammy: Glad to seeing that! Before, I never talked to any people that I know Wing
Chun. Now, there is no need to hide, and Mr. Mok, he promotes this skill
aggressively, after we open ourselves. I can see that we will have a good future.
Wayne: Mr. Mok has promotes this skill enthusiastically. Just like the “Southern Sea
Number One” sunk into the deep sea over several centuries and today, it is refloated to
the water. There are a lot of treasures for the people to discover.
Editor: Mr. Mok teaches with the money. Does it mean he sells the technique?
Sammy : This is a very interesting question. Nowadays, teaching martial arts with the
fee is very common. I don’t think this is selling the technique. I have a lot of friends
they teaches martial arts, and they told me that most of their students they paid the fee
and they would pay more attention to learn. Also, a master pays effort to teach and
gets money as the reasonable rewards. We are emphasizing promoting the skill and
not selling the skill, without any contradiction and I pass this question to let Wayne to
Wayne: This is a very difficult question to answer, and it is easy to get angry with
other people. To my understanding, selling the technique means selling the fist-form
or weapon-form to other people, not the followers, exchange with the money. This
may not a good thing. Learning skill is needed to go through a process, stage by stage
to learn. As the fist-form foundation is setup, and then starts to learn the weapon.
Without the basic foundation, and selling the advanced technique to get money is not a
good thing. The key of the technique may not be achieved, and maybe, it is easy to
Moreover, the master also needs to maintain his/her life of living. That’s why, taking a
small amount of fee is OK, just like a private tutor to earn money. Among the
students, they can choose the good students and make them as the followers. As a
follower, like the father-son relationship, they don’t need to pay any more. Recently,
Mr. Mok accepted two students as his disciples, and now, they don’t pay any more fees
to him. This is also the thinking of my master, Mr. Law Chiu Wing to promote our
Editor: Do you have any other weapons and training tools?
Wayne: Rattan ring: It is an 11-inches-elastic-ring made with rattan. The ring is
mainly to train the individual techniques and activities in the central line within a
small area. It also trains the softness, the direction and the lightness of your hands.
Playing with the ring is based on a word “Softness”, and cannot use much power, not
recommended to break it. As recalled, in the 70s of the last century, the only few
rattan rings of master were broken by my hands. Afterwards, my master ordered some
stainless steel made rings for me. Every time, I used power to play them, my hands
always got stasis. Eventually, I understand why I got stasis and started to play the ring
softly till today.
Bamboo chopstick: Training the centre line and the finger power.
Long staff: 7 feet more long Single-head staff, and weight more than 10 catty.
Training is to take the staff head to overcome the hanging weight of it. In the
beginning, it is very difficult to take. After a period, the two hands become stronger
and can hold it effectively.
Twin-knife: Short weapon, two-inch wide and 10 inch-long. In Qing-dynasty, the
knives are hid in the long sleeves and not easy to be discovered. In the last edition, it
has been introduced in this magazine and the New Marital Hero website
Wooden Dummy: Our wooden dummy is erected on the steel frame foundation. As
the wooden dummy is hit, the foundation will move slightly according to the direction
of the force. Basically it is used to practice the skill of the technique. Slightly
movement avoids hurting the body internally by the bouncing force produced by
Editor: How do you see your future?
Sammy: Change is our future. Chinese martial arts are also changing with time.
That’s why we need to pay more attention to train the new learners. We encourage
Mr. Mok to train his students and let them join the Chinese Martial Art open
competition. Also, to understand the merit of the others and to improve ourselves and
this is the blessed event of us and the marital art society.
Wayne: Now, our branch is open. The changes are not limited to us, and also, our
master is in changes. As recalled, one time in a dinner, we had discussed how the
powerful of twin-knives and our master broke our discussion and said that single knife
is more powerful than the twin-knives. In the beginning, we expected he would like to
encourage us and that night he hadn’t mentioned clearly. Afterwards, we understand
what he means. Nowadays, in Hong Kong, you cannot take the knives with you. As
you come across danger situation, it is difficult for you to take the two same things as
knives rather than taking a thing as single knife. Using the single knife is more
efficient. That’s why single knife is more powerful than the twin-knives. Of course,
only you took the real knives, otherwise, taking the easy thing as the weapon is easier
to win. That’s why our master has this comment.
Editor: Finally, can you show us your form of Siu Lim Tau and the associated poem.
Let our reader to understand you more.
Wayne: The following is the poem of our Siu Lim Tau. It is written in 7-characters
statements and describes the form. Now, it is sunset and let us have the other time,
take a place and show it to your readers and explain how the poem describing the
Lim Tau Poem
White crane plays water and the snake goes back hole
The palm like the flying snake moving in nine ways.
Snake and white crane demonstrate and express the “Chu” power
White crane toes step three times and the wings swing four times
White crane is stretching the wings and flying to the sky
Snake and White crane can overcome the Shaolin traitors
Editor: Up to here, we have understood more about Snake Crane Wing Chun, and let
see the Siu Lim Tau! See you next time.