Wong Fei-Hung, A True Hero of Martial Arts

Claimed to be the only known photograph in existence of Master Wong Fei-Hung.  Some dispute this

The statue sitting in the Wong Fei Hung Museum in the Fu Shan district of China.

Jet Li playing the role of Wong Fei-Hung in Tsui Hark’s “Once Upon a Time in China II

Wong Fei-Hung was born in 1847 in the Fushan district of China. He died in 1924 of natural causes. His contributions to modern day Hung-Gar are unmatched, and can be considered one of the forefathers of modern day martial arts. He was renowned for protecting the weak and helping the poor. Wong Kay-Ying was his father, who was a physician and great martial arts master also..

Wong Fei-Hung’s father ran a famous medical clinic called Po Chi Lam, and Wong Fei-Hung grew up there, assisting his father. He learned traditional Chinese medicine, and also learned many important values such as generosity and compassion. Wong Kay-Ying always treated a patient, even if he or she couldn’t afford any treatment.

The Ch’ing Dynasty consisted of Manchu emperors, who had conquered China from there home in Manchuria. They were foreign invaders to the southern Chinese. The southern Shaolin Temple in Fukien was a place where the resistance would go to train to fight against the Ch’ing. The temple was first  burned down in 1734, but the few monks and students who survived traveled across China teaching  their skills to others worthy enough along the way. Variations on the Southern Shaolin styles soon emerged such as Wing Chun (Bruce Lee’s original style) and Hung Gar Kung Fu (Wong Fei-Hung’s style). The father of  modern day Hung-Gar was Hung Hei-Kwun (another martial arts master that was portrayed by Jet Li in New Legend of Shaolin).

At first Wong Fei-Hung’s father was reluctant to teach him Hung-Gar, but his martial arts training soon began by  his father’s teacher, Luk Ah Choi. Luk Ah Choi taught Wong Fei-Hung the basics of Hung Gar. After, Wong Kay-Ying took over his son’s training. By his early 20’s, Wong Fei-Hung had made a name for himself as a dedicated physician and a martial arts prodigy. In addition to becoming a master of Hung-Gar, he created the tiger-crane style and added fighting combinations now known as the “Ten Forms Fist / Sup Ying Kuen”, which consisted of the set of 10 individual fighting stances of:  Dragon, Tiger, Crane, Snake, Leopard, Wood, Metal, Earth, Fire, and Water. Wong Fei-Hung was also skilled with many weapons, especially the long wooden staff and the southern tiger fork. On one occasion where he utilized his skill with the staff was when he defeated a thirty-man gang on the docks of Canton (Similar scene is Once Upon A Time in China I). He also protected the weak and poor from both criminal gangs and government forces.  Wong Fei-Hung, like his father before him was know as one of the TEN TIGERS of CANTON.  A title bestowed on the best of the best martial artists of the time.

Wong Fei-Hung’s son, Wong Hawn-Sum, followed his father’s ways of defending the weak. Unfortunately, he was killed in the 1890’s after being gunned down by the gang Dai Fin Yee. After this tragedy, Wong Fei-Hung vowed never to teach his remaining 9 sons martial arts to protect them from challengers seeking fame.

If ever there really existed a true hero of martial arts, a person worthy of that title would definitely be Wong Fei-Hung.




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