SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
JULY 2010 PART 2
Was Fong Sai Yok often challenged in combat? Because I read that he died young, I don't know if he had time to fight a lot.
— Nicolas, France
There was no doubt that Fong Sai York was a great fighter though he died young. He had four great teachers, the best of their time.
His first teacher was his mother, Miu Chooi Fa. When he was a baby his mother daily soaked him in a concoction of medicinal herbs and beat him with a stick to train him in an art known as "Toong Pei Tik Kut", or "Bronze Skin Iron Bones".
His mother held him by his head and groin as she soaked him in the medicinal concoction. These became his weak points, which later proved to be fatal.
His second teacher was Miu Hean, one of the Five Shaolin Elders, the others being Ng Mooi, Pak Mei, Chee Seen and Foong Tou Tuck.
Fong Sai Yoke became famous over-night when he killed Loi Tai Pang, who was nick-named "Loi Lou Fu" or "Tiger Loi". Fong Sai Yoke was only fifteen at that time.
Loi Lou Fu set up a loi-toi (lei-tai in Mandarin), which was a stage for public challenges, and hanged a poetic couplet to humuliate the martial artists of South China which read:
- Koon ta Kwang Tung yeit shang
- Kheuk theik Soo Hong leong chow
The poetic couplet means:
- One fist strikes the whole of Kwangtung Province
- One kick defeats the two districts of Soo Chow and Hong Chow
Many local kungfu masters were maimed or killed by Loi Lou Fu. Fong Sai Yoke's father, Fong Tuck, who was a rich merchant, knew that his son would accept the challenge. So he locked his son in a room. But Fong Sai Yoke broke out and met Loi Lou Fu.
By then Loi Luo Fu had changed from a normal stage to a plum flower formation, which was made up of poles driven into the ground in a pattern like the petals of many plum flowers. This made the fighting more difficult and more dangerous. Nevertheless, Fong Sai Yoke killed Loi Lou Fu with one fist, "Black Tiger Steals Heart", making an irony of Loi Luo Fu's boastful poetic couplet.
Loi Lu Fu's wife, Li Siu Wan, was furious and wanted to avenge her husband's death. So he challenged Fong Sai Yoke to another public fight. Fong Sai Yoke's mother, Miu Chooi Fa, knew that his son would be no match against Li Siu Wan, She advised his son not to accept the challenge.
But Fong Sai Yoke insisted on taking up the challenge. His mother agreed on one condition. Knowing the specailty of Li Siu Wan, which was "chuin sam thui", or "through-heart kick", she insisted that Fong Sai Yoke wore a protection shield on his chest under his clothing.
True enough Li Siu Wan executed her ultimate technique, the "through-heart kick". Even with the protection shield Fong Sai Yoke was seriously injured, but was not killed. The protection shield saved his life.
In turn Miu Chooi Fa issued a challenge to Li Siu Wan who accepted it. Miu Chooi Fa defeated Li Siu Wan but mercifully did not kill her,
Then Li Siu Wan's father, Li Pa San, challenged Miu Chooi Fa to a publci fight. Li Pa San, who was much older than Miu Chooi Fa, was a disciple of Pa Mei and the First Patriarch of Li Ka Kungfu (Li Family Kungfu). Miu Chooi Fa knew that she would be no match against Li Pa San, and did not know what to do.
Just then Ng Mooi, who was known as the best fighter of the time, intervened. She advised Li Pa San to call off the challenge, otherwise she would take the challenge herself. Li Pa San knew very well that fighting against Ng Mooi, who was even much older than him, would be futile. So he graciously withdrew with the face-saving assurance that Ng Mooi would take Fong Sai Yoke away for a retreat so that he could reflect on his wrong deed.
This series of challenges and counter challenges manifest two interesting points.
Firstly it manifests the following kungfu saying popular amongst kungfu circles:
- Yiet san wan yow yiet san ko
- Keong choong ji yow keong chong sau
- When you see a high mountain, rest assured that there is another higher mountain
- If you think you are a great fighter, rest assured that there is another greater fighter
The second interesting point is that the better fighter is not limited by age, size or gender. This is possible because of internal force.
Loi Lou Fu was a great fighter. He was massive and ferocious but killed with a single punch by Fong Sai Yoke, a young boy of fifteen. The young boy was defeated by a young elegant lady, Li Siu Wan, who in turn was defeated by an older lady, Miu Chooi Fa. Miu Chooi Fa knew she was no match against an elderly man, Li Pa San, who in turn knew he was no match against an even older lady, Ng Mooi.
Ng Mooi did take Fong Sai Yoke away for a retreat, but it turned out to be good for him. Ng Mooi taught him her favorite kungfu set, the Shaolin Flower Set.
Later Fong Sai Yoke went up the Nine-Lotus Mountain to learn from the Venerable Chee Seen, at the secretive southern Shaolin Temple, and became one of Chee Seen's best 10 disciples. Chee Seen taught him the "no-shadow kick".
Ironically Fong Sai Yoke's no-shadow kick turned out to be his fatal fault during a fight with Pak Mei. Earlier Pak Mei led the Qing Army to burn the southern Shaolin Temple at Nine-Lotus Mountain. Chee Seen was killed by Pak Mei in a duel. Miu Chooi Fa was killed by a rain of arrows from the Qing Army. Foog Sai Yoke sought out Pak Mei to avenge their deaths. He applied his ultimate-technique, the no-shadow kick, at Pak Mei's groin. Most other opponents would be killed or maimed, but not a kungfu genius like Pak Mei. Pak Mei responded with the nemesis of the groin-seeking kick, which was the embracing-dragon kick, and killed Fong Sai Yoke.
How many challengers Luk Ah Choy defeated in his life? Do you think he defeated more than one hundred fighters in his life?
I know for sure Luk Ah Choy was a great fighter and had defeated many kungfu experts, but I don't know how many he defeated.
Luk Ah Choy was one of the few Shaolin disciples who escaped from the burning of the southern Shaolin Temple on Nine-Lotus Mountain. Escaping from a planned ambush where one had to fight through layers and layers of armed attackers as well as rains of arrows was very different from fighting against an opponent in a challenge match.
Luk Ah Choy's favourite kungfu set was "Tiger-Crane". He later retired from the public and taught Wong Kai Yin, who in turn taught his son, Wong Fei Hoong, the patriarch of many Hoong-Ka lineages today.
Were Loong Poh, Chen Choy and Soong Siew Por terrific fighters and did they fight a lot in their life?
Yes, they were terrific fighters, yet they were and are peace-loving. They migrated from China and spent the greater part of their lives in Malaysia. I know Sifu Chen Choy personally, though I haven't seen him for a long time. But I am sure even at his ripe old age, he is fit and healthy.
They did not fight a lot because their enviroment in Malaysia in the 20th and the present 21st century is different from that of past masters in China in the 19th century.
Sifu Loong Poh is the patriarch of Ngok Ka Kungfu and is an expert in Iron Shirt. Once he broke the legs of a Taekwondo master who executed a double flying kick at him by merely taking the kick in a challenge.
Sifu Chen Choy is the patriarch of Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu. He introduced Northern Lion Dance arobetic techniques into Southern Lion Dance, and brought it to an heitherto unknown level.
Sifu Soong Siew Por was a disciple of Wong Fei Hoong. I am grateful to him because the "Ng Long Pat Kua Khuen", or "Fifth Brother Octagonal Staff", a famous staff set in Hoong Ka Kungfu that I practice was from him. He taught it to Sifu Chow Kok Chee, who in turn taught it to me in exchange for some weapon sets.
Sifu Chow Kok Chee, who was my child-hood friend, is a disciple and god-son of all these three patriarchs. It was no co-incident. Sifu Choy Kok Chee was a great kungfu lover in his young days. (He still is.) He went around in search of the best masters he could find. He treated his masters so well that they adopted him as a god-son. Sifu Choy Kok Chee is a terrific fighter. He has fought over 200 fights, many of which were of life-death consequences.
I have wanted to learn Shaolin Kung Fu for a very long time now. I have read loads of books and watched loads of dvds but where do I start?
— Sean, Ireland
There are many ways to start learning Shaolin Kungfu.
One way is to learn from the books or videos you have. Another way is to learn from whoever is willing to teach you. A third way is to enrole in a kungfu school that is most convenient to you.
Although many people start learning kungfu in one of these three ways, they are unlikely to bring you good results, and may sometimes by harmful.
A wise way that will bring good results is as follows. Define your aims and objectives of learning kungfu. Spend some time finding out schools and teachers that can help you fulfill your aims and objectives. Learn from the best school or teacher that you can afford.
I was wondering if Yiquan practice can effect Cosmos Palm naturally, as one moves towards the higher level postures. Or, could one try to add anything to the Yiquan practice to expedite Cosmos Palm, like adding "Pushing Mountains" to a session, or otherwise try to do an occasional (full) Cosmos Palm exercise session in some alternate days?
— Dr Pitkanen, UK
Yiquan practice will affect Cosmos Palm. Needless to say, the effect is favorable when Yiquan and Cosmos Palm are practiced correctly, and negative effects if any one or both are practiced incorrectly.
Nevertheless, it is best not to mix the two arts. In other words, when you practice Yiquan zhan zhuang, employ Yiquan zhan zhaung techniques and skills, and when you practice Cosmos Palm, employ Cosmos Palm techniques and skills. Don't add Yiquan zhan zhuang techniques or skills to Cosmos Palm practice, or vice versa.
Please take note that Yiquan zhan zhuang and Cosmos Palm are internal arts, not just physical exercise. You should learn internal arts from a competent teacher. Incorrect practice can cause serious harm, and if you train on your own without the supervision of a competent teacher, it is easy to practice wrongly without your being aware of it.
I have a relative who has just been diagnosed with a terminal cancer (pancreas, also already spread to liver and perhaps beyond). He is 71, and has been very healthy thus far, and has been playing golf a lot for example, but has never done any chi kung. Doctors have estimated that he is likely to have about one year left. I was wondering if there are any chi kung exercises that could help alleviate his condition.
I am sorry to hear of your relative having cancer. From the chi kung perspective, cancer can be overcome. In fact I was awarded "Qigong Master of the Year" at the Second World Qigong Congress at San Francisco in 1997 because of my work in helping many people overcome cancer.
It is not what type of chi kung exercises he does, but how he performs the chi kung exercises. If he learns the exercises from an e-mail, a book or another student, he may know the techniques but he will lack the skills to perform the exercises at a high level. Practicing these exercises learnt in this way may help to alleviate some pain and bring him some temporary relief, but it is unlikely for him to overcome his cancer.
I would recommend him to attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course. Of course I cannot guarantee that he will definite recover, but I can say he has a good chance.
Might "Lifting the Sky" be useful, and if so, could he start doing it straight away, or should he first build some internal power some other way before attempting it? I practice "Lifting the Sky" from time to time and find it very helpful myself.
Yes, "Lifting the Sky" is an excellent exercise for him, and he can start practicing it right away.
It is not necessary for him to build internal force some other ways first. In fact he should not focus on building internal force, which may be detrimental to him now. He should focus on cleansing, i.e. clearing away his tumour and cancerous cells. "Lifting the Sky" can provide him with sufficient energy for this task as well as to enable him to survive.
Why is building internal force detrimental to him now when he is weak? The concept of yin-yang harmony will make this clear. In this case, yin represents his physical body, and yang his energy level. Not only his energy level is low, his physical body is weak. If he increases his energy level substantially by building internal force, he will increase his yang without increasing yin, which aggravates his yin-yang disharmony. In other words, his body systems are too weak to sustain the huge increase of energy level. This may kill him.
On the other hand, if he undergoes drastic chemotherapy or radiotherapy, it will kill a lot of his living cells. This will substantially reduce his yin, aggravating his yin-yang disharmony. This may also kill him.
What he needs is not increasing yang or reducing yin, but gradually increasing yin so that his improved body systems will generate sufficient energy to clear his tumour as well as for him to survive.
Can I also ask if you have experience about Yi quan zhan zhuang and if that might be useful for him at this time at all? I have fairly recently started practicing it myself and find it very useful and enjoyable but cannot tell based on my experience if it might help him in this situation.
Yes, I have much experience about Yiquan zhan zhuang, but it is not suitable for your relative at the moment. It is too powerful for him.
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