Chan Kowk-wai (Chinese: 陳國偉; pinyin: Chén Guówěi; Cantonese Yale: Chan Gwok-wai) was born on April 3, 1936, at Toisaan in the province of Canton, China. He introduced traditional Shaolin Kung Fu to Brazil through the China-Brazil Kung Fu Academy. His disciples have spread as far as the USA, Canada, Spain, Argentina and the Czech Republic.
In September, 2004, Chan was awarded the 10th degree of the World Organization of Wu Shu & Kung Fu Masters from Vancouver, BC, Canada, in five styles: Northern Shaolin, Yang Taiji, Bagua, Xingyi and Hungsing Choileifat.
Kung Fu Styles
Chan teaches a broad curriculum of old-school kung fu styles. Most of them are external styles (外家, Wàijiā):
- Northern Shaolin Boxing School (Chinese: 北少林拳門; pinyin: Běi Shàolín Quánmén; Cantonese Yale: Bak Siu-làhm Kyun-mun), the core martial arts system from the Buddhist Shaolin Monastery of Henan, in Northern China.
- Deep Legs (Chinese: 潭腿 or 彈腿; pinyin: Tán Tuǐ; Cantonese Yale: Taam-teui), originated from the Islamic Hui people; 12 Roads version (十二路).
- Fist of (Masters) Choi, Lei & Buddha (Chinese: 蔡李佛拳; pinyin: Cài Lǐ Fó Quán; Cantonese Yale: Choi-lei-fat-kyun), styles Exalted Victory (Chinese: 鴻勝; pinyin: Hóngshèng; Cantonese Yale: Hung-sing) and Northern Victory (ś).
- Seven Stars Praying Mantis Fist (Chinese: 七星螳螂拳; pinyin: Qīxīng Tánglángquán; Cantonese Yale: Chat-sing Tong-long-kyun), where Seven Stars refers to the northern asterism called the Big Dipper.
- Tumbling Eagle Claw (Chinese: 翻子鷹爪; pinyin: Fānzi Yīngzhǎo; Cantonese Yale: Faan-ji Ying-jaau).
- Fist of the Arhat (Chinese: 羅漢拳; pinyin: Lúohànquan; Cantonese Yale: Lo-hon-kyun), from the Buddhist concept of Arhat ("worthy of Nirvana" in Sanskrit).
- Fist of (Master) Cha (Chinese: 查拳; pinyin: Zhāquán; Cantonese Yale: Cha-kyun), originated from the Islamic Hui people.
- Fist of the Six Harmonies (Chinese: 六合拳; pinyin: Liùhéquán; Cantonese Yale: Luk-hap-kyun), a Shaolin style based on the concept of the Six Harmonies.
The internal styles (内家, Nèijiā) taught by Chan are such:
- Yang Clan Fist of the Supreme Extremes (Chinese: 楊氏 太極拳; pinyin: Yángshì Taìjíquán; Cantonese Yale: Yeung-si Taai-gik-kyun), from the Taoist concept of the Taiji or Yin and Yang.
- Fist of the Eight Extremities (Chinese: 八極拳; pinyin: Bājíquán; Cantonese Yale: Baat-gik-kyun), from the Chinese concept of Baji, everything within the eight ends (directions or corners) of the world, the Infinity; originated from the Islamic Hui people.
- Palm of the Eight Trigrams (Chinese: 八卦掌; pinyin: Bāguàzhǎng; Cantonese Yale: Baat-gwa-jeung), from the Taoist concept of Bagua, the 8 combinations of three proportions of Yin and Yang.
- Fist of Form and Intent (Chinese: 形意拳; pinyin: Xíngyìquán; Cantonese Yale: Ying-yi-kyun).
- Natural School (Chinese: 自然門; pinyin: Zìránmén; Cantonese Yale: Ji-yin-mun).
Kung Fu Heritage
Chan initiated his kung fu by the age of four with Chan Cheoksing, who taught him Choileifat until he was 14. In 1949, with the constitution of the People's Republic of China, the young Chan moved with his family to Hong Kong, where he trained Shaolin Luohan with his uncle Ma Gimfung (馬劍風). When Yim Seungmou (嚴尚武) too left the PRC, he stayed in Hong Kong with Chan's family and taught him Gu Yujeung's (顾汝章) Northern Shaolin Style, along with many other systems: Gu's martial qigong (氣功), healing massage techniques, Taijiquan, Xingyiquan, Bajiquan and Tantui; and Baksing Choileifat, which Yim learned directly from its founder Taam Saam (譚三), a friend of Gu. Yim Seungmou also introduced the young Chan to teachers of other styles: Wong Honfan (黃漢勳) of Seven Stars Mantis; Jeung Jimman (張占文) of Eagle Claw; Wan Laisheng (萬籟聲) of Ziranmen and Liuhequan; Fu Wingfai (傅永輝), son of Fu Jansung (傅振嵩), of Baguazhang; and Doctor Yan Yiuchiu (甄耀超) of Hungsing Choileifat, with whom he learned everything he could for roughly ten years. Aforementioned masters Gu Yujeung, Fu Jansung and Wan Laisheng, alongside Li Xianwu (李先五) and Wan's cousin Wan Laiping, were sent from Nanjing to teach northern styles to the South, specifically Guangzhou (Canton), around 1929, where their prowess's reputation earned them the nickname "Five Northern Tigers".
In 1960, Chan moved to Brazil, where he co-founded the Chinese Social Center (Portuguese: Centro Social Chinês) through which he taught kung fu classes for twelve years. He also taught classes at the renowned Universidade de São Paulo (USP) for seven years. In 1973, Chan founded the China-Brazil Kung Fu Academy for which he is largely known today.
The heritage tree given below details the main characters of all kung fu styles taught by Chan. Many of these characters are renowned; see section "See Also".
Chan teaches the core Northern Shaolin hand sets in a different order than Gu Yujeung. The core ten sets are preceded by an introductory set and 12 Roads Tantui, as inherited by the Central Guoshu Institute. His methodology is propagated throughout the whole Sinobrasileira family.
Romanized names below are given Pinyin Mandarin first, then Yale Cantonese.
- 練歩拳 [Liànbùquán / Lin-bou-kyun] Stance and Fist Training
The Five Lesser sets:
- 短打 [Duǎndǎ / Dyun-da] Close Combat (Gu's 6th)
- 梅花 [Méihuā / Mui-fa] Plum Blossom (Gu's 7th)
- 穿心 [Chuānxīn / Chyun-sam] Pierce the Heart (Gu's 4th)
- 武藝 [Wǔyì / Mo-ngai] Martial Skill (Gu's 5th)
- 拔歩 [Bábù / Bat-bou] Uprooting Step (Gu's 8th)
The Five Greater sets:
- 坐馬 [Zuòmǎ / Jo-ma] Mount the Horse (Gu's 3rd)
- 領路 [Lǐnglù / Ling-lou] Lead the Way (Gu's 2nd)
- 開門 [Kāimén / Hoi-mun] Open the Door (Gu's 1st)
- 連環 [Liánhuán / Lin-waan] Chain of Rings (Gu's 9th)
- 式法 [Shìfǎ / Sik-faat] Method of the System (Gu's 10th)
On April 11, 2005, the city of São Paulo paid homage to several pioneers of martial arts teaching in Brazil, including Chan, and instituted that date as the city's official Kung Fu Day. Although the date choice refers to the foundation of the São Paulo Kung Fu Federation in 1989, incidentally it also coincides with the date of Chan's first arrival in Brazil in 1960.
- Central Guoshu Institute
- Chan Heung
- Chen Changxing
- Chen Wangting
- Cheng Tinghua
- Chinese Revolution (1949)
- Chin Woo Athletic Association
- Dai Longbang
- Dong Haichuan
- Guo Yunshen
- Jeong Yim
- Ji Jike
- Li Jinglin
- Li Luoneng
- List of Chinese martial arts
- Ma Liang (general)
- Sung Wei-I
- Sun Lu-t'ang
- Wang Zongyue
- Yang Chien-hou
- Yang Luchan
- Yang Pan-hou
- Yue Fei
- Zhang Sanfeng
- (Portuguese: Academia Sino-Brasileira de Kung Fu)
- in Chinese: Third column, top entry
- "(Portuguese: Senda - Fotos Históricas)". Archived from the original on 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
- (Chinese) Eagle Claw Fan Tsi-moon & Lau Fat-mang's History
- "Ziranmen Kung Fu Academy: Wan Laisheng". Archived from the original on 2012-06-13. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
- Fu Style Archived December 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- (Portuguese: Federação Paulista de Kung Fu) Archived May 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine