History - Snake Crane Wing Chun Mun


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History - Snake Crane Wing Chun Mun

  1. 1. Author: Wayne K. W. Yung [ccwayne@yahoo.com] President of Snake Crane Wing Chun Martial Arts Association, Hong Kong 10th April 2009 (蛇鶴詠春門) Snake Crane Wing Chun Mun(蛇鶴詠春門) 永行忠義堪歌詠 言出九鼎志更春 “A promise cannot be broken and Loyalty should always be borne in mind”One branch of Wing Chun (‘Snake Crane Wing Chun 蛇鶴詠春’) has been hidden forover a century. Compared to the other branches, it has a very low profile and islargely unknown. There are different rules governing the followers of this branch;no demonstrations; no fighting with others; and no relations with the rest of themartial art community. This is a strictly family-oriented branch. 1
  2. 2. HistoryAccordingly, ‘Snake Crane Wing Chun 蛇鶴詠春’ was developed in the Wing ChunHouse 永春殿, one of the houses in the Shaolin Temple. It was used to train theguardian monks the Shaolin martial art. In the house, there is a couplet :『永行忠義堪歌詠 言出九鼎志更春』. The name ‘Wing Chun’ (詠春) is derived from the lastword of each statement.Wing Chun was developed by the monk "Grandmaster Chi Sin 至善禪師" and the nun"Grandmaster Ng Mui 伍梅師太", as well as numerous experienced guardian monksof the Shaolin Temple. Grandmaster Chi Sin 至善禪師 was good at the "Snakeform" and Grandmaster r Ng Mui 伍梅師太 was good at the “Crane form”, and theyobserved the daily activities of the life of the snake and the crane. Because a lot ofthe Snakes hands and the Cranes hands can be found in Wing Chun Kuen 詠春拳, itis called ‘Snake Crane Wing Chun Kuen 蛇鶴詠春拳’. Later, these two statementsbecame the discipline of Snake Crane Wing Chun Mun 蛇鶴詠春門 and havegoverned the followers of this branch.During the Qing dynasty, in order to reduce the influence of the Shaolin temple in themartial arts community and among the anti-Manchurian collaborators, the Qinggovernment encouraged one of the Shaolin traitors, Ma Ling Yee 馬寧兒, to rebelagainst Shaolin. He was very familiar with the Shaolin martial art, and a lot ofShaolin monks and related people were killed. Grandmaster Chi Sin 至善禪師 andGrandmaster Ng Mui 伍梅師太 then gave up the traditional big motion style of theShaolin martial art and evolved a new concept of the fighting technique that Ma LingYee 馬寧兒 did not know; it was characterized by reflex and quick attacks within ashort distance to cope with this traitor.Qing dynasty Red Boat 紅船 drawing Qing dynasty Red Boat 紅船 Model 2
  3. 3. After the fire of the Shaolin Temple, Grandmaster Chi Sin 至善禪師 escaped to theSouthern part of the China from the persecutions of the Qing government anddeveloped Snake Crane Wing Chun 蛇鶴詠春 very quickly in the area. The SnakeCrane Wing Chun Mun 蛇鶴詠春門 branch is descended from Grandmaster Chi Sin至善禪師. After the fire of the King Fa Wui Goon 瓊花會館, the Red Boat 紅船,related to the Tai Ping Heavenly Kingdom 太平天國, in order to avoid thepersecutions of the Qing government, Snake Crane Wing Chun Mun 蛇鶴詠春門 wasconcealed in the GuongDong 廣東 area.There are two interrelated names in Snake Crane Wing Chun Kuen 蛇鶴詠春拳: oneis called ‘Blind Kuen 盲拳’. Eyes can be covered during practice to develop quickreflexes. The other is called ‘Home Kuen 歸家拳’ because training is always done athome, never in the open.Governing Rules 愛國聆師訓 扶傾濟弱貧 技不傳夷狄 不作江湖人 虛谷懷至善 武德自芬芳 離訓神人滅 斯人非我群The mastery of Snake Crane Wing Chun 蛇鶴詠春 was bequeathed to GrandmasterSun Kam 申錦, a member of Red Boat Opera 紅船戲班. In his late age,Grandmaster Law Tiu Wen 羅悌雲 was one of his students. The governing rules ofthe Snake Crane Wing Chun Mun 蛇鶴詠春門 had already become very strict; opendemonstrates were forbidden to avoid persecution from the Qing government; theteaching of foreigners was prohibited, as in the late Qing dynasty, Chinese were oftenbullied by foreigners; and no relationship with other martial art organizations wasallowed. In order to continue the skills and not practise openly, it has kept a verylow profile until today.Successors’ ChartThe grandmaster, Law Tiu Wen 羅悌雲, was a qualified student during the late Qingdynasty, and loved Chinese martial arts. During the Revolution of 1911, the Chinesedemocratic revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen 孫逸仙, who overthrew the QingDynasty., Law Tiu Wen 羅悌雲 worked as the secretary of General Mr. Li Fok Lam李褔林. In the beginning of the Republic of China, he quit his government officialjob and returned to his birth place, Fu Shan Sai Chiu 佛山西樵, as a practitioner ofChinese medicine. Afterwards, he taught his son, Grandmaster Law Ting Chau 羅定周, the skill. Grandmaster Law Ting Chau 羅定周 came to Hong Kong in the 1940s, 3
  4. 4. before liberation, when the People’s Republic of China formed. He worked as apolice officer and then worked in cultural-related jobs. He passed the skill to his son,Master Law Chiu Wing 羅昭榮. All successors since Grandmaster Sun Kam 申錦are in the lineage of the same family. They have kept the Snake Crane Wing Chun蛇鶴詠春 in a very low profile during each generation.Grandmaster Law Tai Wen The picture on wall shows Grandmaster Law Tai羅悌雲 Wen 羅悌雲 the 3rd generation of Snake Crane Wing Chun 蛇鶴詠春三傳The relationship with the other branches of Wing Chun is very difficult to examinebecause, in the past, verbal teaching was usual and there was no formaldocumentation. After the Tai Ping Heavenly Kingdom (太平天國 1851-1864) and thefire of King Fa Wui Goon(瓊花會館), Snake Crane Wing Chun 蛇鶴詠春 hid itselfto avoid trouble from the Qing government, and Grandmaster Sun Kam 申錦, theancestor, in the Red Boat Opera did not mention much about the ancestor chart to theGrandmaster Law Tiu Wen 羅悌雲, again to avoid any trouble from the Qinggovernment. The only thing Law knew about the source of this lineage is fromGrandmaster Chi Sin 至善禪師. Also, it is not been allowed to teach, join anymartial arts organizations, or have relations with the other branches. That is whysome parts of its history are missing during this period. Admittance to this branch is 4
  5. 5. attained via a very old traditional ceremony. Perspective members must kneel down,displaying red and yellow papers 紅黃紙 in front of the master, offer a cup of tea andname all the ancestors’ ‘woods’神主牌. In addition to the woods 神主牌, a glassedpicture of the Chinese word "佛", the Buddha, should be related to the ShaolinTemple. Chart of successors Source Grandmaster Chi Sin(1st Generation) (至善禪師) (一傳) | Ancestor Grandmaster Sun Kam(2nd generation) (申錦) (二傳) | Ancestor Grandmaster Law Tai Wen(3rd generation) (羅悌雲) (三傳) | Ancestor Grandmaster Law Ting Chau(4th generation) (羅定周) (四傳) | Master Law Chiu Wing(5th generation) (羅昭榮) (五傳)The written notes from Grandmaster Law Tai Wen 羅悌雲 in Qing Dynasty Guandxu16 years 清光緒十六年(1890). 5
  6. 6. Hong KongSnake Crane Wing Chun 蛇鶴詠春 appeared in Hong Kong in the 1940s, afterGrandaster Law Ting Chau 羅定周 and his family moved to Hong Kong. Hisdescendant is his son, Masterr Law Chiu Wing 羅昭榮. Up to now, there are only ahandful of students in this branch. (Front right the first) Grandmaster Law Ting Chau 羅定周 was in police in 1941 6
  7. 7. Colleagues Chan Wing Chan 陳榮錚 and Li Yuen 李遠 practiced Long pole, twinknives and chopstick skills in 1960s.The content of Snake Crane Wing Chun 蛇鶴詠春 includes "SiuLimTau 小念頭","ChumKiu 尋橋", “BiuJee 標指”, “Luk hands 轆手”, “Sticky hands 黐手”,“Wooden dummy techniques 木人樁法”, “Long pole 六點半棍”, “Twin knives 二字拑羊奪命刀, “Rattan ring 籐圈法” and “Chopstick skills 筷子法”. Thereare also many associated training poems 口訣 complied with the practices.The 21st CenturyIn the late Qing Dynasty, as the Snake Crane Wing Chun 蛇鶴詠春 came fromShaolin, it was one of the targets to be removed by the Qing government. After theTai Ping Heavenly Kingdom 太平天國 and the fire of King Fa Wui Goon 瓊花會館,it kept a very low profile in order to survive. The governing rules of this branchwere defined very strictly in order to retain the skill over succeeding generations.Today, in the 21st century, long after the passing away of the Qing dynasty, after the 7
  8. 8. Republic of China moved to Taiwan, and after the People’s the Republic of Chinabecame the governing party in the mainland, the situation of Snake Crane Wing Chun蛇鶴詠春 has totally changed since its beginning 150 years ago. The Qing dynastydisappeared a century ago and now a Chinese satellite is orbiting the moon. Inaddition, the daughters of Master Law Chiu Wing 羅昭榮 are not interested ininheriting this skill. In order to retain the skill, Master Law 羅昭榮 has modified therules of this branch, and made it public. Now, Snake Crane Wing Chun 蛇鶴詠春 isopen to all. We hope that our descendants will maintain it and pass it on to futuregenerations.Snake Crane Wing Chun 蛇鶴詠春 demonstrates to the foreign MBA students at theHong Kong University of Science & Technology every year.Noam Elharar, Israeli, demonstrated Good results in the New Martial Hero -SiuLimTau 小念頭 at Victoria Harbour World Kung Fu Event in 2010, threein Hong Kong International Kung Fu golden medals.Festival 2009. 8