ABOUT CHOY LI FAT
MASTER CHAN HEUNG, FOUNDER
Chan Heung, the founder of Choy Li Fut, was born in the Kwang-Tung
province of China on July 10, 1806. At the age of seven, Chan began
to study Gung Fu from his uncle, who had trained in the Shaolin
temple. Mentally and physically superior for his age, the young
boy made rapid progress in the martial arts. By age 15, Chan was
the leading boxer in his area. When he was 17, he studied under
his uncle's senior classmate, a Shaolin expert named Li Yau Shan.
Within several years, Chan had absorbed all the teachings of Master
Li. One day, Chan's instructor said, "Your uncle and I spent
20 years in the Shaolin temple. It is unbelievable how you could
master all that we know in only half that time. Any further instruction
will need to come directly from a Shaolin priest. But most of these
monks have disappeared from the area. The only one I know of is
a wandering priest named Choy Fok. Unfortunately, he is leading
a life of seclusion and does not like to be bothered." Yearning
for further knowledge, Chan Heung decided to seek out the nomadic
Arriving at Mount Lau Foo, Chan Heung searched
until he was able to locate the Shaolin priest. Reading Chan's
letter of introduction, Choy Fok said, "I gave up practicing
martial arts a long time ago. So if you have come here to acquire
skill and strength in boxing, I'm afraid that I cannot help you.
I am just too old. The remaining years of my life are being devoted
to a thorough research of Buddhism. You may stay and study our
religion together if you wish." Instead of being discouraged,
Chan Heung knelt down and humbly accepted the monk's offer to become
a disciple of Buddha.
Although the study of religion took up most of
Chan's time, he still maintained a high interest in the martial
arts. In his leisure hours, therefore, Chan Heung continued to
practice the Shaolin style of combat he had learned. One early
morning, Chan was performing foot sweeps against bamboo stumps
in a heavily wooded area. He also kicked rocks up into the air,
smashing them to pieces as they fell. Suddenly the monk appears
and asked, "Is that all you can do?" Pointing to a 50-60-lb.
rock nearby, Choy Fok said, "Try your best to kick it up." Summoning
all his power, Chan Heung Swept his foot against the rock and sent
it into the air. Proud of his feat, Chan waited for the monk to
show an expression of praise. Without saying a word, however, Choy
Fok calmly walked over to the boulder and thrust his right foot
beneath the heavy object. He spun around in a quick graceful motion
and sent the rock flying more than 12 feet away. By now, Chan Heung
realized that the priest still possessed some sort of super-normal
power. Chan immediately asked the monk to teach him. Satisfied
with Chan Heung's character and patience, the monk Choy Fok agreed
and for the next eight years, taught his new student everything
that he knew of Gung Fu.
At the age of 29, Chan left the monk and returned
to his native village, analyzing everything that he had learned.
Finally, in the year 1836, Chan Heung founded a new method of fighting.
Chan named the system after his two instructors Choy and Li. The
suffix Fut, which meant Buddha, was then added to pay homage to
the Shaolin temple from which his predecessors had come. Chan Heung's
fame as a boxing expert soon became known, and he was persuaded
by village elders to set up a school in a nearby temple.
ABOUT CHOY LI FUT
Choy Li Fut is one of the most powerful styles
of Wushu. It relies on very powerful hand and arm techniques. Four
main hand techniques are used, including the straight punch, the
back fist, the uppercut and the hook punch. It incorporates oriental
medicine and philosophy. The emphasis is on learning through forms
practice and many hands and weapons forms are taught, most of which
have between one hundred and three hundred moements. Speed, balance
and power are all important elements in this style of Wushu, which
also combines hard and soft techniques. Many full contact fighters
follow this system.
Practitioners can also learn numerous weapons
including the double hook swords and the staff, plus the nine dragon
trident, which is exclusive to this style.