Introduction

This was written so that a complete history and explanation of the Tibetan martial arts, which now has several well established lineages which are practiced by many people in both North America and Asia, could be available to both students and those in the general public interested in this unique tradition. We hope that this book will help all those who are truly interested to understand this tradition and perhaps even motivate a few to pursue authentic instruction.

In general, there is still very little detailed information in English even on the more common Chinese martial arts traditions, particularly in the areas of history and inner workings. It should therefore come as no surprise that where the Tibetan martial arts are concerned there have only been a few small attempts. This is therefore the first work in English to attempt to completely address this tradition. It was a very difficult task because we had to overcome both the obstacles that stand in the way of works on every Chinese martial art and those specifically associated with the Tibetan martial arts.

Since martial artists were seldom the intellectual elite in China and many regional and government records are either lost or unavailable, the only record of any system's origin is often the oral legend told from Sifu to student over the years. Unfortunately, there are generally several versions of each legend and accounts vary from individual to individual.

When attempting to document the history of Tibetan martial arts (i.e. those who developed from the system which was known as Lion's Roar) there are even more problems. First and foremost is the Chinese disregard for anything not Chinese. Despite the fact that the tradition existed for ten generations in Tibet prior to Sing Lung's arrival in Guangdong province in 1865, almost nothing is said about the style of Lion's Roar prior to this date. It must also be remembered that the Chinese often regard the three systems we know today as Maht Jong Lama Pai (Esoteric Principle Lama Style), Haap Ga Kyuhn/Hop Gar Kuen (Knight Family Style) and Baahk Hok Pai/Pak Hok Pai (White Crane Style) as a foreign tradition and remember when they were the official methods of the foreign imperial court (the Manchurians).

Another problem we faced when writing this book was the general uncooperativeness of the Chinese teachers involved in the styles in question. All three of the current systems are, on the surface, very close in composition and appearance. Few of the teachers we know were willing to define each style or discuss the breaks in Lion's Roar that caused the three styles in the first place. We personally became to believe these problems are rooted in the recent involvement of certain associations and societies with the Tibetan tradition.

Perhaps all these problems are the very reason why these systems have remained so mysterious to even the Chinese. Despite the fact the names Lama Pai, Hop Gar and Pak hok are well known and respected, very few people know anything concrete about them. They are perhaps unique because there is little detailed information concerning the system, even in Chinese! While many styles are unknown to Westerners, one can generally find books written in Chinese concerning them. Most, if not all, of the books about the Tibetan martial arts are no longer in print and difficult to acquire.

Because these systems are so rare and have been so closely guarded by those who practice it there have been many misunderstandings and abuses. In recent years there have been a number of individuals, none of them authorized representatives, who have taken it upon themselves to chronicle the history and represent the tradion. Unfortunately, these individuals' histories have been inaccurate or simply incorrect and many misconceptions have been spread to the general public.

A vast majority of this is based upon and contains translations of a document known as the Lama Ching (Classic of Tibetan Martial Arts) which was written by Sing Lung Lo Jung during his stay at the Green Cloud Monastery in Guangdong province. The Lama Ching discusses the history of the tradition, its advanced theories, and the composition of the style at the time. Today, there a few fragmentary versions of this book know to exist outside the Green Cloud Monastery. One copy was in the possession of Master Chan Tai-San.

Discussions concerning the development of the Lion's Roar tradition after this period, particularly the founding of the many differnet lineages, utilized several resources. First and foremost were the opinions presented by Master Chan Tai-San. Secondly, the authors considered other written sources including articles and books written by both the Hong Kong White Crane Athletic Association and the International White Crane Federation. Finally, the authors came to their own personal conclusions based upon their own observations.

Please note, some of the information and opinions contained in this book may be considered highly controversial. However, the authors stands by their research and the information contained in this book.

Tibetan or Chinese martial arts?

There has been a debate among martial art historians for some time as to whether or not Lion's Roar and its offspring, are in fact "Tibetan" martial arts. This argument is based primarily on two logical observations. First and foremost, the martial arts that exist in what is modern Tibet in most respects do not resemble the school as preserved in China. Some of the long swinging motions are present but in general Tibetan martial arts are much closer to Indian traditions. While some of this apparent disparity is due to Chinese influences in the last hundred years, it is indeed a valid point.

The second consideration, directly related to the first, is the fact that they in many ways resemble systems that are associated with northern China. The long range swinging motions (but not those small circle techniques which are very much a specialization of the "Tibetan" tradition) of Lama Pai can be found in systems such as Pek Gwa Myuhn. Many of the kicking techniques also resemble northern systems.

Fortunately, this debate can be put to rest quite quickly if one examines more closely the history of Lion's Roar. Ah Dat-Ta, the founder of Lion's Roar, is described as both ethnically Chinese (i.e. Han) and as living in what is now the province of Qinghai, situated in north western China, next to modern day Tibet. There is also reason to believe Sing Lung Lo Jung, the Buddhist monk who brought Lion's Roar to Guangdong, was raised and trained in Qinghai. To understand the significance of this one has to know a little about the history of the region.

Qinghai has only recently been considered "Chinese". For many generations, the province has been inhabited by Tibetans, Mongolians, Manchurians and a wide variety of minorities. Thus, Lion's Roar represented the vast tradition of Western Chinese martial arts. It represented the martial arts practiced in Tibet but also the martial arts practiced in Qinghai, Outer Mongolia, inner Mongolia, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Xinjiang provinces. It represented the martial arts of Tibetans, Mongolians, Manchurians, Ethnic Han Chinese and a wide variety of minorities.

Furthermore, attempts to determine the impact of strictly Tibetan martial arts upon the Lion's Roar system thus far have suffered from a lack of detailed information on the Tibetan tradition. A country that has remained remote and isolated for centuries and with a similarly long tradition of secrecy, Tibetan martial arts were never as visible or available as those of other countries. Of course, the situation has been further complicated by the invasions by both Nationalist and Communist China and the programs to eradicate all Tibetan culture. Understandably, the political turmoil and need to survive have put the study of martial arts low on the list of priorities.

Among most Tibetan people, the martial arts have all but disappeared. The blade, in a variety of forms, remains a popular weapon but is no longer approached with the technical methodology associated with other Asian martial arts or even Western fencing. This is probably due in no small part to the number of Tibetan warriors summarily executed by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) during the early fifties. What knowledge they possessed had no chance to be passed on.

However, it should come as no surprise that the same community that was able to preserve Buddhist teachings long lost in both India and China was also able to preserve its nation's martial arts. There is considerable evidence that the practice of martial arts continues among the Tibetan Buddhist monks. Unfortunately, they have been less than cooperative with sharing information with the rest of the world.

The vast majority of Tibetan Buddhist monks flatly deny the existence of any martial art within the monastic community. Fortunately for us, they are betrayed by a select few who not only acknowledge their existence but have provided a few details as well. While most of those who do discuss martial arts claim they themselves have not practiced them, they reveal that these arts are strongly influenced by the vast yogic and meditative tradition. In this respect, they share much in common with the Chinese "internal arts" such as Taiji, Hsing-I and Bagua.

The most substantive piece of information the author has concerning the Tibetan martial arts was provided by an acquaintance. This person, because of unique and peculiar circumstances, had a rare opportunity to view the techniques practiced by the bodyguards of the Dalai Lama. The demonstration was short and without explanation but the person had an extensive background and formulated an opinion. They told the author that it appeared very much like the martial arts still practiced in India, not a surprising revelation considering the influence India has had over Tibet.

The Indian martial arts tradition has a long and proud history dating back well before the birth of the Buddha. Its great classical epics, Rig Veda, Ramayana and Mahabharata, describe boxing, wrestling and virtually all forms of combat with weapons. The warrior caste had its own well developed martial art form which was sometimes referred to as Vajramukti, literally "thunderbolt fist". It consisted of grappling, boxing, gymnastics, weaponry and the study of vital point striking. It is known that the Buddha received similar instruction beginning at age seven. Among the rest of the population, two forms of combat flourished.

Wrestling remains the national sport of both India and Pakistan. In the past, wrestling took on many forms, including forms in which striking was employed, and was embraced by all ethnicities and religions. It enjoyed a particular popularity in the 13th and 14th century and during this period Muslim wrestlers introduced more extensive and complex ground work. The two principle exercises used by Indian wrestlers, the squat and the cat stretch, are both fundamental exercises in the Lion's Roar tradition as well.

The second form of martial arts practiced among the people is perhaps even more directly related to the Lion's Roar tradition. Still relatively unknown outside of southern India, Kalaripayit embraces unarmed combat, stick fighting, combat with a variety of bladed weapons and a surprisingly complex system of vital point striking known as "marma adi". Its unarmed combat is most relevant to the Lion's Roar tradition.

Kalaripayit uses a relatively high but stable stance and employs strikes and blocks in which the arms are fully extended from the body. The movements are circular, often using sweeping motions to deflect and create openings. Great emphasis is also placed upon evading and footwork is an essential part of the system. On the inside, the system embraces joint locks, throws and pins. As we shall see, it has much in common with the Lion's Roar tradition.

Chapter One: The origin of Lion's Roar

While we know very little about the history of Lion's Roar while it was in Tibet and Qinghai, the legend about the creation of the system and its first generation has remained intact. According to this legend, Lion's Roar was created by a martial artist and Buddhist Lama named Ah Dat-Ta. Ah Dat-Ta is also sometimes known as the "Dai Dat Lama".

Ah Dat-Ta was born in 1426 and was a member of a nomadic tribe that traveled throughout Tibet and Qinghai. He was an active young man who practiced horsemanship, wrestling (Shuai-Jiao) and a special type of Kahm-Na (seizing and controlling skill). After being ordained as a monk in Tibet, he also learned a martial art that was apparently Indian in origin.

For several years Ah Dat-Ta retreated to the mountains to live in seclusion, studying Buddhist texts and practicing meditation. He also hoped to improve his martial art skill. One day Ah Dat-Ta's meditation was disturbed by a loud sound. He left the cave he had been meditating in to investigate and found an ape trying to capture a crane. He was astonished. Despite the ape's great size and strength, the crane eluded the great swings and pecked at soft, vital points. Ah Dat-Ta was inspired to create a new martial art.

Ah Dat-Ta created a system that mimicked the deft evasion and vital point striking of the white crane and the ape's powerful swings and grabbing techniques. It was based upon the number eight, an important number in Chinese cosmology and numerology. The fundamental fighting theory was known as the "eight character true essence". The "eight character true essence" can be roughly translated as "strike the place that has a pulse, never a place that has no pulse, and stretch the arms out while keeping the body away".

The system consisted of 8 fist strikes, 8 palm strikes, 8 elbow strikes, 8 finger strikes, 8 kicking techniques, 8 seizing (clawing) techniques, 8 stances and 8 stepping patterns. It included techniques derived from a wide variety of influences including Mongolian wrestling (Shuai Jiao), Northern and Western Chinese long arm and kicking techniques, and Tibetan and Indian close range hand techniques and evasive footwork.

These eight divisions were then used to create three distinct "forms", sometimes thought of as different levels or fighting theories. The three forms were "flying crane hands" (Fei Hok Sau), "Maitreya hands" (Neih Lahk Sau), and "gauze wrapping hands" (Dou Lo Sau). Thus, the system was actually quite complex.

"Flying crane hands" (Fei Hok Sau) was devoted to all of the fundamental level fighting techniques of the system and was composed of both fist strikes and open hand techniques aimed at vital points, kicking and sweeping techniques, evasive footwork, and continuous circular striking combinations.

"Maitreya hands" (Neih Lahk Sau) was devoted to the advanced fighting techniques and was composed of seizing, holding and twisting techniques and two very specialized skills, "vein seizing hand" and "vein dissolving hand".

The third and final division was known as "Dou Lo Sau" and was named for a plant indigenous to India, whose seeds have a hard outer shell but a soft, cotton like, substance within it. "Dou Lo Sau" was devoted to internal aspects of the system. The needle in cotton hand set is derived from techniques of the "Dou Lo Sau" division.

Based on a line found in the sutra known as "The Lantern Passing Record", this new system was called Lion's Roar. According to this sutra, upon the birth of the Buddha, he stood up, pointed the finger of one hand to the sky, the finger of the other hand to the earth and roared like a lion to announce he had arrived. Lion's Roar was considered the Tibetan Lamas' special gift, directly from Buddha.

Ah Dat-Ta eventually taught Lion's Roar to another Tibetan Lama who expanded the system further by creating another form, the "shooting star fists" (Lau Sing Kyuhn). It was felt that many of the techniques within the "flying crane hands" were too advanced for beginners and thus the "shooting star fists" division was created to contain the most basic techniques. This "form" included all the long arm techniques, the three most basic footwork patterns (the meridian footwork, plum blossom footwork and Baat Gwa footwork) and most of the kicking. "Shooting star fists" closely corresponded to Ah Dat- Ta's vision of the great ape.

After several more generations, teachers of Lion's Roar kung-fu reorganized the system and created a number of additional hand sets. The first group of hand sets were named after the Lo Han, Boddhisattva or Buddhist Saints. The second group was named after the Gam Gong, literally meaning "diamond" but referring to the Buddhist Guardians.

In addition, these teachers identified nine principles within the Lion's Roar system. The first eight of these principles were the "Grand Ultimate" (Tai Geuk), "Twin Principles" (Leung Yi), "Three Conflicts" (Sam Chai), "Four Primary Trigrams" (Sae Jeuhng), "Five Elements" (Nhg Haahng), "Six Harmony" (Luk Hop), "Seven Star" (Chat Sing), and "Eight Trigram" (Baat Gwa). The ninth principle has been referred to as either the "Nine Palaces" (Gow Gong) or "Nine Sons" (Gow Jih). It represents the culmination of the principles into a complete fighting theory. Since these theories are all common within the Chinese martial tradition, we can assume that by this point Chinese martial arts had already influenced Lion's Roar.

Chapter two: The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and the arrival of Sing Lung

The Manchurians were followers of Tibetan Buddhism and so, upon invading China, brought Tibetan monks along with them. Among these Tibetan monks was Sing Lung Lo Jung ("Sage Dragon Venerable Monk"), the eleventh generation inheritor of the Lion's Roar system. Sing Lung is also known by other names, including "Hing Duk" ("Rising Virtue") and by the Chinese name Gam Ngau "Golden Hook" Leih Wu-Ji (Li Hu Ji).

Sing Lung first arrived in China at O Mei Shan in Szechuan province. During his time there he became quite famous for his skill. Upon arrival on the Pearl River, Sing Lung was challenged by a pirate known as Cheung Po-Jai. Cheung was famous for robbing corrupt Qing Dynasty officials. After having defeated Cheung, Sing Lung accepted him as a student. Sing Lung and Cheung also became close friends and started to share the opinion that the Qing Dynasty was so corrupt that it was a time for a change. For a time, Sing Lung also taught Leung Kwan, known as "Tit Kiu Sam" or "Iron Bridge #3". "Tit Kiu Sam" is best known for his influences on the Southern Shaolin Hung Ga system and was also involved in rvolutionary activities.

Subsequently, Cheung Po-Jai disappointed Sing Lung by surrendering to Qing authorities. Cheung was looking to get a deal so he could retire safely with the money he had stolen. Out of anger, Sing Lung renounced Cheung and in 1860 went to retire at a Buddhist monastery in Guangdong province known as the Green Cloud Monastery (it is also sometimes referred to as the Joyous or Blessed Cloud monastery).

Sing Luhng, still more interested in martial arts and Buddhist studies than politics, quickly made friends with the Chinese monks. In exchange for them teaching him their Shaolin based arts, Sing Luhng taught a select few the Lion's Roar system. It is here that the system's name changed. The Chinese monks began to refer to the art they were learning as "Lama Pai" which simply meant the art practiced by Lamas (i.e. Tibetan monks).

清代末叶,游方僧人金钩禅师,从四州省至广东肇庆鼎湖山庆云寺,将此拳传王隱林为了纪年其师, 以金钩禅师有大侠李胡子之称,遂将他传留拳技命名侠拳. 王隱林当初技成下山,曾远赴陕西省一带,隱身镖局,广结四方英豪,为的是恢复大明江山,但始终未能如愿.晚年本落叶归根计,便返回广东. 其後在广州设馆教拳术,兼悬壶济也. 王隱林祖师武技高强,独树一帜於岭南,因而声名远播,成为广东武坛拾虎"之一.

Sing Luhng accepts laymen disciples


Sifu Wong Yan-Lam and Sifu Wong Lam-Hoi

In his old age Sing Luhng also took laymen as students. Among the first to be accepted were, Chan Yam, Chou Heung-Yuen, and Chu Chi-Yu. Chan Yam and Chou Heung-Yuen both died relatively young and apparently had few if any students worth noting. Chu Chi- Yu accepted only a few disciples and kept what he had learned concealed from the general public. Among his students were Chu Cheung, Lei Seung-Dong, and Chiu Dihk. These students continued to guard what they had learned very closely and only accept a few disciples.

The last two laymen disciples accepted were Wong Yan-Lam and Wong Lam-Hoi. Wong Yan Lam was the son of a Shaolin Kung-Fu master known as Wong Ping. Wong Ping was something of a local legend, known as "the bronze foot", and was fond of demonstrating his kung-fu in public. Because of this he came to the attention of Sing Luhng.

One day Sing Luhng came down from the mountain and had an opportunity to observe Wong Ping's kung-fu. He was impressed by Wong Ping's skill and tried to tell him so but because Sing Luhng's Chinese was not very good there was a misunderstanding. Wong Ping attacked Sing Luhng with a powerful leg sweep but the Tibetan monk utilized a technique known as "GAM GONG HONG LUHNG". He leapt up into the air and landed on the leg, breaking Wong Ping's knee.

When the misunderstanding was corrected Sing Luhng offered to heal the leg using special Tibetan medical techniques and the two became friends. Wong Ping was so impressed by Sing Luhng that he asked the old monk to teach his son.

Both Wong Yan-Lam and Wong Lam-Hoi studied for many years and achieved considerable skill under the direction of Sing Lung. In addition to Lama Pai, they also learned the Lo Han Myuhn (Boddhisattva division) and Gam Gong Myuhn (Diamond division) internal methods and the Tibetan medical techniques. However, it must be remembered that in traditional China each student was always taught by his teacher individually and based upon his body type and abilities. Neither of the two learned the entire system but rather what best suited them.

Ten years after the two young men arrived in the Green Cloud Monastery, their teacher, the Tibetan monk Sing Luhng, died and left the responsibility of spreading the Lama Pai to Wong Yan-Lam and Wong Lam-Hoi.

Chapter three: Wong Yan-Lam and Wong Lam-Hoi spread Lama Pai

After the death of Sing Lung, Wong Lam-Hoi remained in Guangdong and became a well respected fighter and a member of the ten tigers of Guangdong. As a teacher, Wong Lam-Hoi's abilities were well respected by all and many students flocked to his school to learn his methods. In fact,Wong Lam-Hoi was already well established by the time Wong Yan-Lam returned to Guangdong. Despite this, he is still primarily known for his senior student, Nhg Siu-Chung. Nhg Siu-Chung founded the White Crane style (Baahk Hok Pai) which stressed the "flying crane hands" and "continuous kicking" of the Lama Pai curriculum.

Wong Yan-Lam would achieve even greater fame. Upon the death of his teacher, Wong Yan-Lam left Guangdong and worked for many years as an armed escort in Shan Xi province. During this period Wong Yan-Lam met and exchanged techniques with a great number of martial artists. Wong Yan-Lam also became involved in the revolutionary movement pledged to overthrow the Manchurians. Because of the numerous goods deeds attributed to him during his lifetime, Wong Yan-Lam earned the nickname of "Haap" (Knight or Hero).

After many years, Wong Yan-Lam grew homesick and decided to return to Guangdong. He also decided that he finally wanted to accept students and teach Lama Pai. Upon arriving in Guangdong City, he erected a large wooden stage and announced that he would accept any challenger to prove the effectiveness of Lama Pai. At the time, the city was southern China's foremost center for martial artists and fighters and such challenges were not taken lightly. Matches such as these had no rules and no restrictions and permanent injury and even death were common.

For the next two weeks, 150 of the area's best fighters were punched, kicked, thrown or strangled into submission. Many were beaten in a matter of seconds. It was an unprecedented display of fighting ability and as a result Wong Yan-Lam was subsequently ranked number one among the Ten Tigers of Guangdong and considered the best fighter in southern China.

Wong Yan-Lam's victory also had an immediate impact upon both teachers' schools. Martial artists of all systems tried to learn the Lion's Roar system's secrets and many sought out Wong Yan-Lam and Wong Lam-Hoi for instruction. Even the famous Wong Fei-Hung of the Hung Ga style studied briefly with Wong Yan-Lam. In fact, the long arm techniques found in both the Tiger and Crane Set (Fu Hok Seung Yihng) and the Five Element fist techniques found in the Ten Shape Form (Sahp Yihng Kyuhn) are a direct result of this. In exchange, Wong Yan-Lam learned Wong Fei-Hung's five animal techniques and created the Lama Pai Lesser Five Animal Hand Set (Siu Nhg Yihng Kyuhn).

Pak Hok Pai: White Crane Kung-Fu

Luk Chi-Fu demonstrates flying crane legs

Wong Lam-Hoi accepted many disciples during his years in Guangdong including Nhg Siu-Chan, Nhg Shi-Kai, Nhg Keng-Wen, Lei Shing-Kon, Dong Di-Wen, Nhg Gam-Tin, Cheng Tit-Wu, Leung Chi-Hoi, Lo Chiu-Kit, Chung Chan-Yung and Dang Ho. However, his most famous disciple was his senior student Nhg Siu-Chung. Nhg Siu-Chung was an extremely skilled fighter and is often remembered for defeating Wong Siu-Jou, the foremost member of the northern five tigers group. Nhg Siu-Chung is the founder of the White Crane style (Baahk Hok Pai).

For many years, both Wong Yan-Lam and Wong Lam-Hoi used the Lama Pai name and taught essentially the same system. However, the rapid increase in the size of the system inevitably led to divisions. The system also suffered because it was a foreign method. The Republic period was a time of extreme nationalism and few instructors wanted to claim to be teaching a foreign system, especially one the Qing royal guard had practiced.

For this reason, Wong Yan-Lam's number one disciple, Wong Hon-Wing, adopted the name Haap Ga (Knight Family Style) based upon his teacher's nickname and the recommendation of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. However, most of Wong Lam-Hoi's students did not accept this new name. They simply refused to give more credit to their Si-Baahk (elder uncle) than to their own teacher. In response, Nhg Siu-Chung established the White Crane style (Baahk Hok Pai).

Nhg Siu-Chung sought to make the system more accessible to the general public. The White Crane style attempted to standardize the practice of basics and both modified and created hand sets to make them logical and systematic. Nhg Siu-Chung's efforts were quickly rewarded. He taught many students and made the White Crane style the most famous of all of the Tibetan martial arts. In 1954 the White Crane style gained even greater popularity when a public fight between Chan Hak-Fu, one of Nhg Siu-Chung's disciples, and Nhg Gung-Yee, a master of Wu Style Taiji, was arranged. Other famous disciples of Nhg Siu-Chung are Kwong Boon-Fu, Luk Chi Fu, and Ngai Yuk Tong.

However, soon after Nhg Siu-Chung's death the style split into several branches and no longer remains unified. The Hong Kong White Crane Athletic Association attempted to standardize the teaching of White Crane but each disciple had already begun developing their own methods. Some disciples were content to remain within the Hong Kong White Crane Athletic Association while others, most notably Chan Hak-Fu, were not. Chan Hak- Fu decided to establish his own organization, the International White Crane Federation, in Australia in 1972. Chan Hak-Fu's White Crane is considered significantly different from the White Crane of his classmates. Things were further complicated in 1977 when Ngai Yuk Tong and several members of the Hong Kong White Crane Athletic Association decided to change the hand sets, making them "more economical" and removing repeated movements.

Today, there remains only a few hand sets that all the different factions still have in common. Among these are Luk Lik Kyuhn (achieving power), Chut Yip Bouh (exit and enter step), Tit Lin Kyuhn (chain set), Siu Nhg Yihng Kyuhn (lesser five animals), Tin Gong Kyuhn (heaven set), Lo Han Kyuhn (Boddhisattva), and Min Loi Jam Kyuhn (needle in cotton). Unfortunately, these hand sets are often quite different in composition and performed differently, especially where footwork is concerned.

There are also a number of hand sets that are particular to only certain branches of the style. Among these are Siu Gam Gong Kyuhn (lesser diamond), Dai Gam Gong Kyuhn (greater diamond), Dai Nhg Yihng Kyuhn (greater five animal), Kahn Na Sau Kyuhn (seizing hand), Jui Baat Sin Kyuhn (eight drunken immortals), Jui Lo Han Kyuhn (drunken Bodhisattva), Lo Han Chut Dong Kyuhn (Bodhisattva exits the cave), Guaai Jih Kyuhn (bandit form), Lo Han Yi Sahp Sae Jaang Kyuhn (Bodhisattva twenty four elbows) and Jui Gam Gong Kyuhn (drunken diamond).

Chapter five: Haap Ga Kyuhn and branches of Lama Pai

Wong Yan-Lam, during his later years in Guangdong, also taught a number of students which each went on to head their own variation of the Lion's Roar tradition. Among these students were Wong Hon-Wing, Nhg Yim-Ming, Lei Ying-Chuen, Choi Yit-Gung and Ma Yi-Po.

Wong Hon-Wing was for a very long time considered Master Wong Yan-Lam's number one student and was his sole official representative. It was Wong Hon-Wing who began using the name Haap Ga Kyuhn based upon his teacher's nickname and the recommendation of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. As Wong Yan-Lam grew older, he also gave Wong Hon-Wing more and more responsibility for running the schools. Eventually, Wong Yan-Lam announced that he had retired and returned to his native village.

In the period immediately following, Wong Hon-Wing opened several more schools exclusively under his own name and developed quite a reputation among the southern martial arts community. Haap Ga Kyuhn became generally associated with Wong Hon-Wing's own version of the style.

However, Wong Yan-Lam's retirement was short lived and soon other students, many of them former students of Wong Hon-Wing, were accepted as disciples. There are numerous stories concerning the reasons for this shift and Wong Hon-Wing's subsequent loss of position. In Hong Kong, it is said there was a dispute over the royalties Wong Han-Wing was supposed to pay his teacher. In Malaysia, it is said that many of Wong Hon-Wing's students had complained to Wong Yan-Lam that their teacher was not passing on his skills. In San Francisco, more than a few teachers from several traditions told the author that the old teacher had simply refused to step aside and let his student make a name for himself. There is probably some truth to all these stories. What is important to realize is that for whatever reason other students were accepted by Wong Yan-Lam and taught the advanced skills.

Nhg Yim-Ming (also known in the United States as Harry Ng) also used the Haap Ga name adopted by Wong Hon-Wong and spread the art by teaching it to the Air Force. However, in 1950 Nhg Yim-Ming visited his family in San Francisco and decided to stay. There he taught a number of students including Chin Dai-Wei (David Chin), Jack Hoey and Tony Galvin. Of all the later disciples of Wong Yan-Lam, Nhg Yim-Ming is the most respected and his skills were beyond question. In fact, Nhg Yim-Ming's skills may very well have surpassed those of Wong Hon-Wing.

Lei Ying-Chuen was originally one of Wong Hon-Wing's most senior disciples and helped him administer many of his schools. It was for this very reason that he had direct access to Wong Yan-Lam. Lei Ying-Chuen was the first disciple of Wong Hon-Wing to be accepted as a disciple by Wong Yan-Lam and he opened his own school, using the Haap Ga name, in Si-Gwan, Guangdong almost immediately upon his acceptance. While Lei Ying-Chuen's skills were not in question, many are critical of his fickleness and lack of loyalty.

At the age of eleven years, Choi Yit-Gung arranged an introduction to Wong Yan-Lam and became his last official student. By this time, Wong Yan-Lam was close to ninety years old and had lost his eyesight so Choi Yit-Gung, who was from a wealthy family, took him into his own home and had his servants take care of him. Choi Yit-Gung devoted himself for approximately eight years and became a very well known fighter in southern China. Unlike Nhg Yim-Ming and Lei Ying-Chuen, Choi Yit-Gung continued to use the Lama Pai name. He taught a number of respected students in Hong Kong.

Lama Pai in modern times

Today, there is very few men qualified to teach Lama Pai. This is because Lama Pai has for the most part remained in the Green Cloud monastery and in a select few organizations with restricted membership. It is also because those who are qualified seldom seek recognition or fear commercializing their art. There are however at least a few teachers willing to share their knowledge with the world.

In modern times Lama Pai has been passed down through two distinct lineages. The first begins with the well known instructor and fighter Choi Yit-Gung. In the later years of his life, Choi Yit-Gung moved to Hong Kong and taught quite a number of individuals who helped popularize the Lama Pai style. Among these Hong Kong disciples were Chan Kuen-Nhg, Gung Yit-Gae, and Lo Wai-Keung. Today, a number students of Gung Yit- Gae teach in the Tibetan Lama Pai Association of Vancouver, Canada. Lo Wai-Keung operated a large school in Hong Kong. Lo Wai-Keung has also written the only two books on Lama Pai (one has been translated into English).

The second lineage includes all of Jyu Chyuhn's students.

Chapter six: Sifu Jyu Chyuhn and Sifu Chan Tai-San

Jyu Chyuhn was born in the Toi-San district of Guangdong province and began his training in martial arts at an early age. He studied a wide variety of martial arts including the Choi Lei Faht style under the direction of Master Chan Goon-Bahk, the son of the style's founder, Chan Heung. This prepared him for what he would learn under both Wong Lam-Hoi and Wong Yan-Lam.

Jyu Chyuhn first learned Lama Pai under the direction of Wong Lam-Hoi and then sought out Wong Yan-Lam when he returned to Guangdong. Eventually, Jyu Chyuhn learned the entire Lama Pai system and became one of the most accomplished martial artists in the area. He was given permission by both Wong Lam-Hoi and Wong Yan-Lam to pass on the Lama Pai system.

However, Jyu Chyuhn became interested in Buddhism later in life and, inspired by the stories his teachers told him about their youth, retired to become a Buddhist monk in the Green Cloud Monastery. He would not teach for many years.

Sifu Chan Tai-San

Chan Tai-San was born into a wealthy and influential family in the Toi San district of Guangdong province. His grandfather had been good friends with the Abbot of the Green Cloud monastery and had contributed a large sum of money to pay for the monastery's restoration. Because of this, Chan Tai-San was adopted by the monk when his father died. Chan Tai-San was about twelve at the time.

At first Chan Tai-San did not learn Lama Pai. Instead he learned basic kung-fu skills and Choi Lei Faht and general monastic practices. He practiced everyday, three times a day for close to seven years before he even heard about Lama Pai. Sifu Chan relates that he had a terrible temper and had gotten into fights with local gangsters. Despite repeated warnings from the monks, Sifu Chan engaged in many duels, including several with western boxers, and was always victorious. For this reason the monks suspended his training and refused to allow him to study their most valued system, Lama Pai.

One day, out of frustration, Chan Tai-San decided to challenge his teacher, the very same monk who taught Lama Pai. The monk easily defeated Chan Tai-San but saw a spark of hope in the young student. After Chan Tai-San swore to change his ways he was finally allowed to learn Lama Pai. That monk was Jyu Chyuhn.

After seven years of intense study, Chan Tai-San completed the Lama Pai system under Jyu Chyuhn's direction. Chan Tai-San had devoted himself to Jyu Chyuhn's version of Lama Pai and had never realized that there were numerous versions of the Lion's Roar tradition in southern China. It wasn't until Chan Tai-San left the monastery and had met teachers of White Crane and Haap Ga that he had an opportunity to see just how complete Jyu Chyuhn's version had been. To further his knowledge of Lama Pai, Chan Tai-San studied with Dang Ho, a student of Wong Lam-Hoi, and with Ma Yi-Po, a student of Wong Yan-Lam. Ma Yi-Po was particularly valuable in helping Chan Tai-San uncover the truth because he had studied another version of Lama Pai in Manchuria. Sifu Chan Tai San brought Lama Pai kung fu to the United States in the 1980's.