Free Class Registration

Free Class Registration

One Week Free

Wong Wah Bo and Leung Yee Tei

It would be necessary to re-write the history of Wing Tsun Kuen if Leung Kwai had never made known his skills to anyone. But happily by a lucky chance, he did pass his skills to Wong Wah Bo, an actor who played the role of the “hero” in an opera troupe. At that time, actors in opera troupes were known by the Chinese as “followers of the Red Junk”. Wong Wah Bo was one of these Red Junk followers at the time when he encountered Leung Lan Kwai, by whom he was accepted as a disciple. Leung Lan Kwai never intended to take a disciple. It was Wong Wah Bo’s upright character and sense of justice that appealed to Leung most deeply and so he was allowed to learn kung-fu from Leung Lan Kwai.

It was a common thing that most of the Red Junk followers knew the art of fighting. In their shows, they had to put on a heavy facial make-up, which kept them from being recognized. That was why at that time many of the followers of the former Siu Lam Monastery were disguised as Red Junk followers to keep secret their real identity from the Manchu Government. A good example of this was the Buddhist Master Chi Shin, one of the Five Elders of the Siu Lam Monastery.

Master Chi Shin, who escaped from the siege of the Siu Lam Monastery by the Manchu soldiers, was disguised as the cook of the Red Junk to avoid being arrested. But it was difficult to keep a secret. Sooner or later a man would eventually disclose his secret to those he thought reliable. Master Chi Shin was not an exception. His identity was finally revealed to several Red Junk followers who had a sense of justice. They did not inform the government of the existence of this “wanted criminal”, on the contrary, they tried, and succeeded, to protect him on several dangerous occasions, because they were among those righteous people who hated the Manchu Government and were working secretly to overthrow it by means of organising secret societies and taking subversive action. So Master Chi Shin then became their hero. He taught them the art of fighting, teaching them the Siu Lam System, to get them prepared for fighting the Manchu soldiers when the time came.

Among Master Chi Shin’s disciples on the Red Junk, there was one by the name of Leung Yee Tei, who was worthy of mention. Leung Yee Tei was not an actor of the opera troupe, but a sailor of the Red Junk, a poler, to be precise, who used a long pole to guide the junk into a desired position.

Of all the techniques demonstrated by Master Chi Shin, the one Leung Yee Tei admired most was the “long pole techniques”. It was lucky for Leung Yee Tei, that Master Chi Shin was an expert of the “Six-and-a-half-Point Pole Techniques”, and thought that Leung Yee Tei was worthy of being instructed in the techniques. Now to come back to Wong Wah Boh, he was working in the opera troupe on the Red Junk where Leung Yee Tei was the poler. Wong Wah Bo admired the Six-and-a-half Point Long Pole Techniques of Leung Yee Tei, and Leung Yei Tei admired the Wing Tsun Kuen techniques of Wong Wah Bo. So they both had something to learn from the other, as well as something to teach each other. In this way, they exchanged their techniques. As a result, Leung Yee Tei also became a successor of the Wing Tsun System, and the Wing Tsun System had therefore absorbed to itself a set of weapon techniques – the Six-and-a-half Point Long Pole Techniques, in addition to its Eight-Cutting Knives (Bart-Cham-Dao) Techniques. As Leung Yee Tei and Wong Wah Bo helped each other in learning the techniques, they realized that they could improve their own techniques, they realised that they could improve their own techniques by adding to it what they had learnt from the other. For example, they found that they could greatly improve the Six-and-a-half Point Long Pole Techniques if they added to it some of the Wing Tsun Kung-fu concepts. They then added to it the Chi-sau (Arm-clinging) training way, and by doing so they gave birth to a new training colled the “Pole-clinging Exercises” (Chi-Kwun). Further more, to improve the practicability of the long pole, they decreased the “portal-width of the hands”, and changed the advancing steps of the pole-stance into those of the boxing stance.