Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Lineages.

"When you drink the water, don't forget the well."
- Chinese Proverb

When I first went to Chicago, to study with Grand Master Wai Lun Choi he
brought me over to a photograph, prominently displayed in his school. The
photograph was of 7 people, four seated and three standing. Master Choi
said, "This photograph shows all the different martial arts and teachers which
come down to me." He said that four of the masters were his own teacher's
direct masters. The photo showed the Grandmaster or lineage holder of Liu Ho Pa Fa,
Wu Yik-fai, and his successor, which was Master Choi’s teacher, Grand Master Chan Yik-yan. At the end of that first lesson, Master Choi gave me a copy of that photo.

Master Choi pointed to the person sitting on the far right. His name was Chu
Kwei-ting. Master Chu was one of the four famous Chu Brothers who had all
studied with Master Li Chun-Yi , All four Chu Brothers learned Hsing Yi and
Pa-Kua from Master Li. Chu’s oldest brother was a national full contact
champion during the 1920’s. Chu also learned Wu Dang Sword from General
Li Ch'ing-lin and appeared in the very first public book on Wu Dang Sword.
Chu also learned Tai Chi from Yang Cheng-fu after challenging Yang and
being defeated. Grand Master Chan Yik Yan learned Hsing Yi and Wu Dang
Sword from Chu and had the great experience of having Chu as his sparring


The person sitting to the far left is Master Chiang Jung-Chiao. Master Chiang
learned Hsing Yi and Pa-Kua from the famous master Chang Chao-Tung, as
well as Hsing Yi from Master Li Chun-Yi. Chiang leaned Wu Dang Sword
from General Li Ch'ing-lin and Yang Style Tai Chi from Yao Fu-chun,a student of Yang
Cheng Fu. Grand Master Chan Yik Yan learned Tai-Chi, Pa-Kua, Hsing Yi, and Wu Dang Sword from Chiang.

The person standing in the middle of the back row is Master Han Sing-kiu. He was a student of the
famous Master Wang Hsiang-Chi, the founder of Yi-Chuan. Master Han was not only a student of Master Wang but also his Godson and one of his top four students known as "The Four Diamond Warriors" of Yi-Chuan,. Han was known for his fighting skills. At one point Grand Master Chan and Master Han were room mates as well as training partners. Grand Master Chan learned the complete system of Yi-Chuan from Han and was given hand written notes from Wang Hsiang Chi, which Master Choi now has in his possession. 

The person sitting in the front row second from the right is General Chang Chih-chiang . General Chang was chancellor of the Nanking Central Kuo Shu Martial Arts College. General Chang was a student of Grand Master Wu Yik-fai. Wu held the office of  dean of the college and was in charge of curriculum. General Chang was also a friend and training partner of Chan Yik-yan, standing back row left. One day Wu remarked to the General, that Chan was a serious and dedicated student, a disciplined practitioner, and an accomplished martial artist. Wu said “Of course I cannot ask him to be my student”. The General quickly found Chan and informed him of the conversation with Grand Master Wu. Chan immediately went to Master Wu and asked for instruction.

 The person sitting second from the left, Grandmaster Wu Yik-fai, learned Liu Ho Pa Fa from three different masters and was the 8 generation grandmaster of that style. Known as the hidden "fourth internal style," Liu Ho Pa Fa was taught at the Central Kuo Shu College in Nanjing. Master Wu also added the famous Loi Hung Bat Sai ( Loi Hung's/ Li Hung's 8 Techniques ) also known as the “Mother and Sons Linking Palms" into the style . The person standing on the far right, Yin T'ien-hsiung, learned Loi Hung Bat Sai from Wu.

The person standing in the back row, far left, is Grandmaster Chan Yik-yan. Master Chan was a business man and industrialist who learned martial arts from a young age. Chan started with Shao-Lin but then moved on to the internal styles. Chan learned Pa-Kua, Hsing-Yi, Tai-Chi, and Wu Dang sword from Chiang Jung-Ch'iao. Chan learned Hsing-Yi, Wu Dang Sword, and free-fighting with Chu Kuei-t'ing. He learned Yi-Ch'uan from Han Sing-kiu and he practiced with General Chang Chih-chiang

After being accepted as a student of Grandmaster Wu Yik-fai, Chan Yik-yan studied privately with Master Wu until he completed the training and was designated Wu's successor and 9th generation lineage holder and grandmaster. Chan Yik-yan studied the complete system of Liu Ho Ba Fa including meditation, internal development, and weapons. Chan continued to spar with Chu Kuei-ting, yet after studying with Wu, he found he could more easily control Chu when sparring. Chan studied with Wu Yik-fai until he fled to Singapore to escape the fall of the Bamboo Curtain. Before Chan left, Wu arranged for the photograph to be taken and designated Chan as his successor and the 10th Grand Master in the Liu Ho Ba Fa lineage. Chan continued to correspond with Master Wu and sent much needed supplies and food until Wu’s death.


 Grandmaster Wai-lun Choi studied with Grandmaster Chan Yik-yan and was designated his successor and the 10th generation grandmaster and lineage holder of Liu Ho Pa Fa. Master Choi learned that complete system as well as Tai-Chi, Hsing-Yi, Pa-Kua,and Wu Dang Sword from Chan. Indeed, Choi is the refinement of all those teachers, lineages, and styles. With much gratitude and praise, I submit this article. All mistakes are mine, all the treasures are from Grandmaster Wai-lun Choi and the teachers and lineages whose shoulders he stands upon today.

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