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Gee Sin Sim See.

 

A legendary figure of Chinese Martial Arts and history, Gee Sin Sim See was a Buddhist monk at the Northern Shaolin Temple of Honan province.He lived during a time of oppression, civil unrest and rebel activities against the Ching-Manchurian government.The Manchurians brutal control of China and cruel treatment of the Chinese people led to violent Chinese popular resistance, rebel activities and the formation of many underground and secret societies who wanted to reinstate the popular Ming dynasty.It is said that the Manchurian government became aware of the Shaolin Temple’s accommodation and support for the rebels and they attacked it, killing most of the monks and destroying the Temple.

                                                            Legend has it that Gee Sin Sim Lee and some others escaped.He was one of the Five Elders of the Shaolin Temple and as such was much sought after by the Government.He travelled to Southern China and took refuge in a Temple in Fukien province.This Temple became known as the famous Southern Shaolin Temple.Gee Sin Sim See became the head monk and continued teaching the art of Shaolin Kung Fu openly as well as aiding the rebels.He trained many students here including Hung Hei Goon who is credited as the founder of Hung Gar Kung Fu.Hung Hei Goon is said to have been Gee Sin Sim See’s top student and the best of the Shaolin Ten Tigers, students who followed Gee Sin Sim See for years and were acknowledged for their prowess.Beside Hung Hei Goon, Shaolin Ten Tigers included another legendary figure of Hung Gar named Luk Ah Choy.

                                                            Gee Sin Sim See’s time in the Southern Shaolin Temple ended with another attack by the Manchurian army and complete destruction of the Temple.He and many others escaped yet again and he travelled through Southern China and ended up at what has become known as the famous Red Boat Troupe (Hung Syuhn Hei Baan).Here he continued teaching Kung Fu and supporting the rebels.According to some legends, Hung Gar was created on these boats and this is where the low stances developed from, to offset the rocking of the boats.Gee Sin Sim See is also associated with the creation of Wing Chun Kung Fu.

                                            

Hong Xiguan / Hung Hei Gwoon

Born in Huaxian in Guangdong (=Kwantung). He was believed to be of distant royal ancestry, one of his forefathers being Prince Liang (personal name: Zhu Wenzhong), the fifteenth son of the Ming Emperor Chong Zhen. (After the fall of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu changed his name to 'Hong' as a tribute to the Qing Emperor Hong Wu - to avoid persecution from the new Qing authorities.)
Hong Xiguan was one of the few who survived the burning of the Shaolin Monastery in Fujian*. According to one story, he survived the catastrophe by going into hiding in the Red Junks, and there continued his revolutionary activities. His constant flight from the Qing authorities eventually brought him to Hauxian, where he married a woman named Liu Yingchun and had one son, Hong Wenting. Apart from instructing his own son in martial arts, he also took Luo Xiaojuan, Zhou Renjie and Hu Zhibiao (the son of Hu Huiqian) as his students. When his wife died, he remarried; his second wife was Fang Yongchun**, the niece of Fang Shiyu. Hong founded his own fighting style, known as the Hong Fist (Hongjia Quan or Cant. Hung Gar Kuen), which included the celebrated Tiger-Crane Fist manoeuvres.

Legend has it that Hong lived to the age of 93, into the early years of Emperor Dao Guang (who acceded to the throne in 1821). He died when taken unaware in a fight by a young girl, who used the Phoenix Eye Fist (Fengyan Quan) manoeuvre against him. Apart from being a master of various fist styles, Hong was also expert in the Shaolin Pole techniques.

* He studied under the Shaolin monk Zhi Shan (Cant. Ji Sin).
** Fang Yongchun was born in Zhaoxing in Guangdong. She is not identical with the nun Yongchun, referred to as 'The Third Lady of Yongchun' (Cant. Wing Chun), nor identical with Fang Qiniang, who founded the White Crane Fist. Crane techniques were already part of the Shaolin Five Animal Fist that Hong Xiguan learned in the Shaolin Monastery in Fujian.


 Lu Acai / Luk Ah Choi

He was a Manchu, whose father was stationed in Guangdong. He was orphaned at an early age, and raised by an uncle, who mistreated him so frequently that he ran away to work as a servant at the age of 12. His live was lonely and hard until a chance meeting with a monk (believed to be the Shaolin disciple Li Baifu) at a Cantonese opera performance that marked a religious festival. He became the monk's disciple, and studied martial arts under him for seven years. With his sifu's recommendation, he went on to study at the Julianshan Shaolin Monastery (in Fujian)* under Zhi Shan. After de destruction of the monastery, he fled to Guangzhou (=Canton), where he adopted Huang Qijing (Huang Fei-Hong's father) as his pupil. He soon withdraw from the martial arts and from society as a whole to study medicine. He died at the age of 68 in his home, known as Leshan Lodge. Huang Qijing was his only student. He was especially adept at the Hua Quan (Flower Fist), and was sometimes referred to as Hua Quan Lu Acai.

*Actually this must have been the Linquanyuan or the South Shaolin Monastery, 18 km. north of Putian, Putian County in Fujian (=Fukien). This temple was build 627 - 649 during the reign of Emperor Zhen Guan. It was destroyed in the 58th year of the Emperor Kang Xi (1662 - 1722), thus in 1720. In the eighties relics have been found there associated with the Hong Men (Cant. Hung Moon) Society, a secret Anti Qing (Cant. Ching) organization, closely associated with the Shaolin Monastery (Martial Arts of China, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1990, page 32).

This monastery should then be located in the Hsiang Mountains, with his highest peak Lo Han Shan (969 m.) on the river Chin-Lu. Linquanyuan translates: Garden Overlooking the River.

It is known that in Putian County the Buddhist Monasteries outnumbered the Taoist Temples with 14 against 3 in the early 16th century. By 1647 the resistance against Qing Dynatie and the authorities had spread widely in Fujian. The uprising in Putian County even lasted longer (E.B. Vermeer, Development and decline of Fukien Province in the 17th and 18th Centuries, Sinica Leidensia, Vol. XXII, Leiden/New York 1990)
 


Tieqiao San / Tit Kiu Sam*
(ca. 1815 - ca. 1887)

His real name was Liang Kun, and he was later known as 'the great master of the Hong Fist'. In his youth he studied martial arts under the famous Shaolin master Li Huzi ('Bearded Li', also known ass 'Golden Hook'). He loved studying martial techniques, and travelled around in search of friends and great masters, frequently seeking out the company of Buddhist monks. Dedicated training in Shaolin techniques helped him to develop a rock-solid stance. He went on to teach martial arts at the Guangzhi dye-works at Rainbow Bridge in Guangzhou; he became an extremely well-known figure.

He was born during the reign of the Emperor Jia Jing (1796 - 1821), lived through the reigns of Emperors Xian Feng and Tong Zhi, and died in the 12th or 13th year of the reign of Emperor Guang Xu (1887 or 1888). His death was caused by over-zealous training in the '36 Point Copper Ring Pole' technique, under the monk Yuan Guang at Haichuang Monastery. He had long been an opium smoker; the monk advised him to break the habit and train in the pole technique instead. But he pushed himself to hard for his age, fell ill and died around the age of 70. His familiar name translates literally as 'Iron Stance Three'.

* He is best known for his 'Iron Bridges' and the fistform Tiesi Quan (Cant. Tit Sin Kuen = 'Iron Wire Fist'). He also was one of the 'Ten Tigers of Guangdong', which means one of the best martial artists in this part of Southern China.


Huang Qijing / Wong Kai Ying*

He was born in Xiqiao in the county of Nanhai in Guangdong. When young, he earned a living performing acrobatics in the street. One day, while performing outside the residence of the general of Guangdong, he was noticed by Lu Acai, who appreciated his talent and took him on as a pupil. During ten years of training under Lu, he mastered the best of his sifu's skills.
He later became the martial arts instructor of the general of Guangdong's infantry regiment. His wages in the post were so meagre that he was forced to establish a herbal medicine dispensary on Jingyuan Street to support his family.
He passed his skills on to his son Huang Fei-Hong.

* He was one of the 'Ten Tigers of Guangdong'

 

      Huang Fei-Hong / Wong Fei Hung 
                             (1847 - 1924)

Born in 1847 in Xiqiao village, Nanhai county in Guangdong province, Huang Fei-Hong was a famous and respected martial artist of Southern China; he died in 1924 at the age of 77 years.
Although Huang was popularly believed to have been one of the 'Ten Tigers of Guangdong', research has revealed that it was actually his father, Huang Qijing (Cant. Wong Kai Ying), who bore that title.


In his youth, Huang made his living from performing martial arts in the street with his father; he was later engaged as martial arts instructor of the 5th Regiment of the Guangdong army and the Guangzhou Civilian Militia. His last years were devoted to the running of his fathers's martial school (Cant. Kwoon) the Bao Zhi Lin (Cant. Bo Chi Lam)
Huang, who was one of the province's best lion dancers, was known around Guangzhou as the 'King of the Lions'; he was a disciple of the Hong School of Shaolin martial arts (Cant. Siu Lam Hung Gar Kuen) and an expert in the 'Iron Wire Fist' (Cant. Tit Sin Kuen), 'Five Forms Fist' (Cant. Ng Ying Kuen), ' Tiger Vanquishing Fist' (Cant. Fok Fu Kuen), and the 'Shadowless Kick', as well as being skilled in the use of his favourite weapon, the flying plummet.Very little information about Huang's actual deeds has survived and, unfortunately, Mo Guilan (Cant. Mok Kwei Lan, his last wife) has proved to be of little help in this area since she was only a teenager when she married the already elderly Hang. What we know of Huang's exploits has been aptly summed up by Woshi Shanren, author of the Huang Fei-Hong martial arts novels: 'Huang was much revered in his lifetime, but little is actually known of him'.
At their peak of popularity, Huang Fei-Hong novels were serialised simultaneously in as many as seven newspapers. However, many of these publications were fictional accounts, coloured and exaggerated through their author's imagination but unsupported by facts. According to scriptwriter and director Wang Feng, these novels formed only part of the basis for the films which, like the television series, relied largely on specially written material.

Huang Fei-Hong taught several disciples including Lin Shirong (Cant. Lam Sai Wing), Gui Jiaoqi and Liang Kuan.

The above biographies are from the article 'When the Legends die', by Ng Ho in 'A Study of the Hong Kong Martial Arts Film' / Hong Kong 1980.

In a lot of articles that appeared in the magazine 'Inside Kung Fu' you see that Wong  Fei Hung was born in 1850 and died in 1933. These dates are wrong.

Lin Shirong / Lam Sai Wing
(1861 - 1942)
Martial artist praised by Sun Yat Sen.

Sifu Lam Sai Wing came from the village of Pingzhou, Nanhai district, in Guangdong province. He was born into a family of martial artists. Lam when young was very strong, healthy, clever and eager to learn. As a youth he learned martial skills from his grandfather. By working hard and diligently he made good progress. When he grew older he had mastered the family system of martial arts completely. Later on he also got instructions from famous teachers as Ng Cheun and Wong Fei Hung. At the age of twenty he was quite skilled and famous. Later he started his own school in Guangzhou en many students enrolled, more than 10.000!
In the last years of the Qing Dynasty there was a tournament in which Lam Sai Wing took first place, so his fame in the city of Guangzhou grew.
Lam was also a very modest and kind person. He was very civilized and not selfish. When money was needed for good purposes he gave performances to collect money.
In 1921 there was a collection for the Guangzhou Orphanage.
Lam Sai Wing demonstrated his skills and got the attention of president Sun Yat Sen, who praised his martial prowess. Sun Yat Sen handed Lam a medal for his good work for the society / community.


Lam Sai Wing was a simple man who had not the ambition to work for the government. When he was 50 - 60 years old he moved to Hong Kong, Tzok Su Bo, Tzui Ngoon Lee Nr. 8, and started giving instructions in martial arts. He was a fine teacher who precisely and with great care instructed his students. He was respected by all his students as well as the community.

This article was written by Shek Jia Kuen, published in the Wushu Magazine 'Wu Lin', Vol. 3, 1982
 

One of the most important developments in the spread of Hung Gar, which is mostly overseen by other authors, is the fact that Lam Sai Wing was a member of the Southern Kuoshu Institute in Guangzhou (Canton) and also was associated, maybe loosely, with the Jingwu Tiji Hui (Jingwu Martial Arts Guild).
 

The Southern Kuoshu Institute of Guang Dong was established in Guangzhou in the early thirties. It was founded by the government to revitalise and reorganise Kung Fu. The first director was Chang Chih Chiang. This Institute had several divisions: Mok Gar Kuen, Choy Lee Fut, Leung Pai, Pack Mee Pai and Hung Gar. The last division was run by Lam Sai Wing.
 

The Jingwu Tiji Hui was formed much earlier, with branches in Guangzhou and in Hong Kong (1918). It was founded in March 1909 in Shanghai by Huo Yuen-Jar. Teachers of Jingwu also held regular classes at the wellknown Lignan University. The Southern Kuoshu Institute and the Jingwu closed their doors in 1937 when the Japanese invaded China. Today there are many Hung Gar Sifu that are member of the new established Jingwu (Chin Woo) Association.

Hung Gar also became an established martial art because in this same period three books were printed with the forms Gung Ji Fuk Foo Kuen, Foo Hok Seung Ying Kuen and Tit Sin Kuen. These books form the theoretical foundation and a practical framework for the practise of Hung Gar.
 

Sources:
" Chinese Wushu History, Lin Bo-Yuan, Wuzhou Publications, Taipei, Taiwan (Chinese).
" Shaolin Long Fist Kung Fu, Yang Jwing-Ming and Jefferey A. Bolt, Hollywood / California 1981, page 8.
" Modern Education in Guangdong and Lignan University, Guangdong Archives, Li Zhi-ye and others, Hong Kong 1995.
" Gung Ji Fuk Foo Kuen, Foo Hok Seung Ying Kuen and Tit Sin Kuen of Lam Sai Wing. Modern English production by Don Hamby, Los Angeles, 2001.

Most names of the first biographies are in Pinyin, sometimes with their Cantonese pronounciation.


 

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