Dragon Wing Chun Kung Fu School ~
    January 23, 2012 Chinese New Year of the Dragon James Fell

 

Wong Wah Bo

There is varied information on Wong Wah Bo, just as it is for all the early generation pre-boat, and Red Boat era practioners. Wong Wah Bo was said to have played the role of Mo Sing or the male martial lead. He was also famous for his role as "General Kwan". It was said he was the Dai Si Hing, of the Opera Troupe.

The oral histories say that the art of Wing Chun was passed first to Leung Lan Kwai, who took over the school in Zhaoqing. Around the year 1815, a martial artist and actor named Wong Wah Bo came to perform in Zhaoqing and began to study with Leung Lan Kwai. Wong taught Leung the staff forms used in the Chinese opera, and Leung taught Wong his Wing Chun Kung Fu. When the opera troupe left Zhaoqing, Wong Wah Bo began to teach other actors on the boat, known as the Red Junk. One of the skilled performers was Leung Yee Tei. As Wong Wah Bo and Leung Yee Tei practiced Wing Chun, they caught the attention of the boat's cook. It turns out that the cook was really the abbot of the ruined Shaolin temple, Chi Shin, who had fled at the same time as Ng Mui and was hiding in disguise.

Yip Man passed down that, his Sifu, Chan Wah Shun believed that Wong Wah Bo learned Wing Chun from Leung Lan Kwai.

All Wing Chun descends from six Opera Boat members who were taught by Leung Bok-Chao from 1845 to 1855: Yik Kam, Hung Gan Biu, Leung Yee-Tai, Wong Wa Bo, Dai Fa Min Kam and Law Man Kung.

Wong Wah Bo was said to have learned his Wing Chun from Cheung Ng also known as Tan Sao Ng where they were both involved within the Hung Suen / Red Boat Opera Troupe.

Leung Yee-Tai used a pole to steer the Red Opera Boat away from rocks and shoals, and was chosen by Shaolin master Jee Shim to learn the six-and-a-half point pole. Through Jee Shim, the six-and-a-half point pole was added to the Wing Chun system.

Leung Yee-Tai and Wong Wa Bo taught Leung Jan, whose students included his son, Leung Bik ; "Wooden Man" Wah and Chan Wah-shun ( nicknamed "Moneychanger Wah" ), from whom the Ip Man, Yiu Kai and Pan Nam lineages descend.

"Dai Fa Min" Kam , who played the role of the martial painted face, is the ancestor of the Way Yan lineage. The Yuen Kay Shan and Pan Nam branches descend from Wong Wah-Bo and "Dai Fa Min" Kam. Hung Gun Biu passed the art to his son-in-law, Yin Lee-Chung, and the Wang family..

In Yip mans written account Leung Yee Tai than taught Wong Wah Bo his pole fighting skill in exchange for the Wing Chun fist-fighting skill. Though Leung was a student of Wong in Wing Chun, Leung was actually Wong's sifu in the Weng Chun pole fighting skill. Wong modified the pole fighting methods using Wing Chun principles. Thus the modified pole skill is now part of Wing Chun System.

Kulo villagetradition states, that the standard three Wing Chun hand forms, were actualy one form originaly, and it was Wong Wah Bo, that broke the single Wing Chun form, (I.E. 3 or 4 section Siu Lien Tao), into the 3 hand forms with the single 4th form becoming the Muk Yan Jong form. This idea is substantiated by Cho Family and Lo Kwai Family, as both preserve a single long form, and preserve the tradition that it was broken down by someone in Foshan.It is believed that Leung Jan contributed, along side Wong Wah Bo, in the breaking down and refining of the Wing Chun system, into what we see today.

 

Wing Chun History   History Of Wing Chun

Origin Wing Chun   Wing Chun Lineage

Wong Wah Bo     Leung Jan    Chan Wah Shun     Leung Bik

Ip Man     Jiu Wan     Bruce Lee     Francis Fong

 

Wong Wah Bo

It would be necessary to re-write the history of Wing Tsun Kuen if Leung Kwai had never made known his skills to anyone. But happily by a lucky chance, he did pass his skills to Wong Wah Bo, an actor who played the role of the "hero" in an opera troupe. At that time, actors in opera troupes were known by the Chinese as "followers of the Red Junk". Wong Wah Bo was one of these Red Junk followers at the time when he encountered Leung Lan Kwai, by whom he was accepted as a disciple. Leung Lan Kwai never intended to take a disciple. It was Wong Wah Bo's upright character and sense of justice that appealed to Leung most deeply and so he was allowed to learn kung-fu from Leung Lan Kwai. It was a common thing that most of the Red Junk followers knew the art of fighting. In their shows, they had to put on a heavy facial make-up, which kept them from being recognized. That was why at that time many of the followers of the former Siu Lam Monastery were disguised as Red Junk followers to keep secret their real identity from the Manchu Government. A good example of this was the Buddhist Master Chi Shin, one of the Five Elders of the Siu Lam Monastery. Master Chi Shin, who escaped from the siege of the Siu Lam Monastery by the Manchu soldiers, was disguised as the cook of the Red Junk to avoid being arrested. But it was difficult to keep a secret. Sooner or later a man would eventually disclose his secret to those he thought reliable. Master Chi Shin was not an exception. His identity was finally revealed to several Red Junk followers who had a sense of justice. They did not inform the government of the existence of this "wanted criminal", on the contrary, they tried, and succeeded, to protect him on several dangerous occasions, because they were among those righteous people who hated the Manchu Government and were working secretly to overthrow it by means of organising secret societies and taking subversive action. So Master Chi Shin then became their hero. He taught them the art of fighting, teaching them the Siu Lam System, to get them prepared for fighting the Manchu soldiers when the time came. Among Master Chi Shin's disciples on the Red Junk, there was one by the name of Leung Yee Tei, who was worthy of mention. Leung Yee Tei was not an actor of the opera troupe, but a sailor of the Red Junk, a poler, to be precise, who used a long pole to guide the junk into a desired position. Of all the techniques demonstrated by Master Chi Shin, the one Leung Yee Tei admired most was the "long pole techniques". It was lucky for Leung Yee Tei, that Master Chi Shin was an expert of the "Six-and-a-half-Point Pole Techniques", and thought that Leung Yee Tei was worthy of being instructed in the techniques. Now to come back to Wong Wah Boh, he was working in the opera troupe on the Red Junk where Leung Yee Tei was the poler. Wong Wah Bo admired the Six-and-a-half Point Long Pole Techniques of Leung Yee Tei, and Leung Yei Tei admired the Wing Tsun Kuen techniques of Wong Wah Bo. So they both had something to learn from the other, as well as something to teach each other. In this way, they exchanged their techniques. As a result, Leung Yee Tei also became a successor of the Wing Tsun System, and the Wing Tsun System had therefore absorbed to itself a set of weapon techniques the Six-and-a-half Point Long Pole Techniques, in addition to its Eight-Cutting Knives (Bart-Cham-Dao) Techniques. As Leung Yee Tei and Wong Wah Bo helped each other in learning the techniques, they realized that they could improve their own techniques, they realised that they could improve their own techniques by adding to it what they had learnt from the other. For example, they found that they could greatly improve the Six-and-a-half Point Long Pole Techniques if they added to it some of the Wing Tsun Kung-fu concepts. They then added to it the Chi-sau (Arm-clinging) training way, and by doing so they gave birth to a new training colled the "Pole-clinging Exercises" (Chi-Kwun). Further more, to improve the practicability of the long pole, they decreased the "portal-width of the hands", and changed the advancing steps of the pole-stance into those of the boxing stance.

 

Wong Wah Bo Wong Wah Bo