Jeong Yim

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Jeong Yim
Born 1824
Xinhui County, Guangdong, China
Died ~1893 exact date unknown
Futshan, China
Style Hung Sing Choy Li Fut
Teacher(s) Chan Heung 陳享
Lei Yau Saan 李友山
Ching Cho 青草僧 (Fong Dai Hung 方大洪)

Jeong Ah Yim (張炎; c. 1814–c. 1893) a.k.a. Jeung Yim, Cheung Yim, Cheung Hung Sing, Jeong Hung Sing, Jeong Hong Sing, Zhang Yan, Zhang Hongsheng; is recognized as an important contributor to the expansion of Choy Li Fut - a Chinese martial arts system, but his role in the development is unclear as exemplified in the variety of stories reported about his life, his involvement with the development of Choy Li Fut, and his anti-Qing revolutionary activities.[1] Few authenticated facts are known about Jeong Yim but his legacy and influence on Choy Li Fut can still be felt today. Like all great martial artists; myths, stories, and legends, which surround them are often mistaken and confused as facts.

The heated controversy surrounding Jeong Yim is in regards with his involvement with the development of Choy Li Fut.[2] There are few written or published records verifying Jeong Yim's existence. Most of his history has been passed down orally and subsequently any materials available on him cannot be authenticated. Various Choy Li Fut branches have differing versions of how Choy Li Fut was founded or even created.

Jeong Yim's 張炎 successor Chan Ngau-Sing 陳吽盛,(1864–1926) stated that the author Nim Fut San Yen created a popular fictional story (Wǔxiá) written during the period to increase the awareness of Choy Li Fut and anti-Qing revolutionary activities. This story was called, Fut San Hung Sing Kwoon. Chan Ngau-Sing 陳吽盛 knew the author Nim Fut San Yen[3] personally. Such stories have no basis in historical fact. Popular Wǔxiá novels like Wan Nian Qing and the mythology of anti-Qing organizations such as the Heaven and Earth Society, were spreading wildly through China since the early 19th century.[4]

Jeong Yim 張炎[edit]

There are few written or published records verifying Jeong Yim's existence. However, according to the myths and legends surrounding Jeong Yim, he was born in 1814 Qing Dynasty in Sun Wui's Dong Ling Village. Popular fictional stories (Wǔxiá) written during the period have also caused confusion surrounding the life of Jeong Yim.

According to myths and legends, Jeong Yim parents were killed when he was very young (most likely due to revolutionary fighting) and was placed under the care of his uncle, Jeong Kwan. When Jeong Yim was 7 or 8 years old he was a student of Li Yau-San. When Jeong Yim was 12 years old, his uncle became unable to care of him, so he asked Li Yau-San's top senior student Chan Heung who had just returned from studying with Choy Fook, to take him in. Chan Heung is internationally recognized as the founder of the Choy Li Fut martial arts system.

Choy Fook 蔡褔 (Cai Fu)[edit]

According to legend, the monk Gee Sin Sim See 至善禪師 is said to have been one of the legendary Five Elders; Ng Mui五梅大師, Fung Doe Duk 馮道德, Miu Hin 苗顯 and Bak Mei 白眉道人; who survived the destruction of the Shaolin Temple during the late Qing Dynasty.
The founders of the five major family styles of Southern Chinese martial arts; Hung Ga, Choy Gar, Mok Gar, Li Gar and Lau Gar, were respectively, Hung Hei-Gun 洪熙官, Choy Gau Yee 蔡九儀, Mok Da Si (Mok Ching-Kiu) 莫清矯, Li Yau-San 李友山, and Lau Sam-Ngan 劉三眼; and all are said to have been students of Gee Sin Sim See 至善禪師.[5][6] Choy Fook 蔡褔 had learned his martial arts from Choy Gau Yee 蔡九儀, the founder of Choy Gar.

Chan Heung was impressed with Jeong Yim's Li Gar skills and wanted to teach him Choy Li Fut, but found himself too busy perfecting and standardizing his newly created Choy Li Fut system to train fighters for the anti-Qing revolutionaries. After a few years of doing maintenance work for Chan Heung, when Jeong Yim was 17, Chan Heung sent him out to locate and study under Choy Fook's successor, Ching Cho 青草 to learn the art of Fut Gar and the philosophical ways of Buddhism.

Ching Cho 青草 (Qingcao)[edit]

According to legend, Ching Cho 青草 (Qingcao) was one of the Ng Jing Wo Seung,(Five Book Monks) who took over the Jiulianshan Shaolin Temple, located in Putian County, Quanzhou, Fujian Province, after Gee Sin Sim See 至善禪師 left and went into hiding. At that time, Qing forces were attacking the Shaolin temple and was trying to burn it down.[7] The temple made sure that head monk Gee Sim safely escaped, and left in charge Ching Cho to continue the battle against the Qing troops. Plans were made to escape if the temple fell.
A traitor monk named Ma Chut (also known as Ma Ning-Yee or Ma Yee Fuk), who was banished from the temple, told the Qing troops about the escape plan and the vulnerability of the temple. With that knowledge the Qing was able to successfully set the temple on fire. Many monks were killed. As the temple burned, 18 monks prayed in the main temple for salvation. When the main temple started burning and collapsing, a large curtain fell upon them. The Qing troops believing that they had successfully destroyed both the temple and the monks left in victory.
The eighteen monks were protected from the fire by the curtain that fell upon them. Ching Cho 青草 kicked a hole in the wall of the temple and 18 monks escaped. Unfortunately, most eventually died from smoke inhalation and burns. Out of the eighteen who escaped only five monks survived and were known as the Ng Jing Wo Seung. They were Wu Dak Dai, Choy Dak Jung, Lei Sik Hoi, Fong Dai Hung*, and Ma Chiu Hing. These are also the Triad Five Elders believed by the Tiandihui/Hongmen.
* It is speculated that Ching Cho's real name was Fong Dai Hung and killed Ma Chut during their escape.
After their escape Ching Cho 青草 went into hiding and lived somewhere near the Zhajian Temple on Mt. Pak Pai (Bapai) in Bapaishan, in Guangxi Province. Ching Cho 青草 is also known as the Green Grass Monk.

Historical controversy[edit]

Upon Jeong Yim's return to Chan Heung in King Mui after studying with Ching Cho for 8 years, increasing battles between anti-Qing government forces resulted in the collapse of the Fut San (Foshan) Hung Sing school in 1848, and the death of Chan Din-Foon. For the next 10 years he trained under Chan Heung's Choy Li Fut system.

This is where the controversy begins. Some say when Jeong Yim returned from studying with Ching Cho, he went back to Chan Heung and combined his knowledge into the Choy Li Fut system. According to some of the varied histories presented by other branches, initially Chan Heung was unable to complete his training with the Shaolin monk Choy Fook, so Jeong Yim was sent to the monk Ching Cho to obtain more martial arts knowledge. Thus some branches believe that Jeong Yim is the founder or co-founder of Choy Li Fut as it is today.

Even the origins of his name, and birth and death dates sparks controversy. Jeong Yim 張炎 is also called Jeong Hung Sing. Some people claim that the monk Ching Cho gave Jeong Yim the name Jeong Hung Sing. Others claim that his name came about due to his work with anti-Qing revolutionaries, while others believed that it came about because of the fame he acquired taking over the Fut San Hung Sing school when Chan Din Foon died in 1848.

Some Hung Sing Choy Li Fut branches say that he was born in 1824 and died in 1893 at the age of 69. Some Buk Sing Choy Li Fut Buk Sing Choy Li Fut branches believe that he was born in 1813 and died in 1846 at the age of 33. If this story is true, then he could not have taken over the Fut San Hung Sing Choy Li Fut school in 1867.

Also Chan Ngau Sing (whose history is well documented) could not have learned from Jeong Hung Sing if he actually died in 1846. That would be 18 years before Chan Ngau Sing 1864-1926 was born, and it is another 18 (1883) when Chan Ngau Sing started learning from Jeung Hung Sing. Because of the discrepancies in dates, more controversy ensues.

According to the Chan Family History Book,[8] the only historically documented fact showing a relationship between Chan Heung 陳享 and Jeong Yim 張炎 is the date of 1867, when Jeong Yim 張炎 was sent to reopen the Fut San school as the successor to Chan Din-Foon 陳典桓.

Because of the lack of written documentation and physical evidence, it is difficult to ascertain the true history of Jeong Yim, and his life and contributions are still debated today.

The Fut San Hung Sing School[edit]

In 1867, Chan Heung 陳享 believed that Jeong Yim 張炎, was the most capable student to be Chan Din-Foon's 陳典桓 successor and was an opportune time to rebuild the Fut San 佛山 (Foshan) Hung Sing branch. Soon rumors and gossip spread quickly that the Fut San Hung Sing branch was going to be reopened by a hero named Jeong Yim 張炎.

The Manchu controlled Qing government quickly sent soldiers to try and shut down the school. Because the survival of the Fut San Hung Sing Choy Li Fut school depended on training fighters quickly and efficiently, initially Jeong Yim 張炎 limited the number of forms he taught to just a handful. Enough to provide the students with all the proper techniques, including a few weapon forms. This ensured the survival of the school. Slight changes were made in the original forms sets which eventually distinguished this branch of Choy Li Fut from other schools. Because Jeong Yim concentrated on teaching combat skills, some of the best Choy Li Fut fighters came from the Fut San Hung Sing branch. As the school became more established, Jeong Yim 張炎 would further educate his students with more advanced forms and techniques. Because of early combat training and the reputation Jeong Yim 張炎 gained for reopening the school, the Fut San Hung Sing Choy Li Fut school soon became commonly known as the Jeong Hung Sing school of Choy Li Fut.

Curriculum of Jeong Hung Sing Choy Li Fut[edit]

Since the orientation of the school was for combat training the Hung Sing has fewer hand sets;eight as their primary core. The Hung Sing branch is known for its aggressive fighting methods such as continuous non-stop combinations and exaggerated side stance techniques, as well as some aggressive weapons forms. This curriculum was designed so anti-Qing rebels could quickly gain practical proficiency in unarmed and weapons combat.

Name Cantonese Mandarin Translation Note
 1   太字拳   Tai Ji Kuen   Tai Zhi Quan   Ultimate Fist   same as original Chan Family form
 2   平字拳  Ping Ji Kuen   Ping Zhi Quan   Level Fist   different from Chan Family form;
same as Buk Sing form
 3   天字拳  Tin Ji Kuen   Tian Zhi Quan   Heaven's Fist   same as original Chan Family form
 4   國字拳  Gok Ji Kuen   Guo Zhi Quan   Nation's Fist   same as original Chan Family form
 5   十字拳  Sup Ji Kuen   Shi Zhi Quan   Cross Pattern Fist   different from Chan Family form;
same as Buk Sing form
 6   鴻勝長拳  Cheung Kuen   Chang Quan   Long Fist  same as original Chan Family form
 7   佛家掌  Fut Ga Jeong   Fo Jia Zhang   Buddhist Family Palm  different from Chan Family form
 8   連環靠打拳   Lin Waan Kaau Da Kuen   Lian Huan Kao Da Quan    Continuous Fighting Fist   different from Chan Family form;
different from Buk Sing form

In addition to the eight, an apparatus training form called Che Kuen (Pulling Fist) is taught. The wooden dummy (Ching Jong) apparatus of the Hung Sing branch is referred to as the "Side Body Balance Dummy" designed to mimic the Hung Sing style side body opening salutation. They have a variety of unique weapon and hand sparring forms to teach the practical use of the system.

Death controversy[edit]

How and when Jeong Yim died is unknown. Some say he died from injuries resulted by fighting at an early age of 33, others say he died of pneumonia in his later years. There is one story about how Jeong Yim died which is impossible if he taught Chan Ngau Sing in 1883, which is proven with established records of the now existing family.

One evening while walking along the pier to catch a ferry, Jeong Yim saw some men engaged in a fight. He stepped in to intervene. He was shocked when both men turned against him, and found that many other men, some with weapons, surrounded him. He had no choice but to fight, using the only weapon he had, an umbrella. He killed three of his assailants, wounded many others, while the others ran away. Seriously wounded, Jeong Yim managed to struggle back to his school, but due to the severity of his wounds, he later died. Jeong Yim was only thirty-three years old at the time of his death which puts his death in 1848 but recorded history says he taught Chan,sing 1883 till 1893 this to is also an impossibility.

There is another story about how Jeong Yim died. After being involved with many anti-Qing revolutionary battles, in 1848 the head of the Fut San school Chan Din-Foon 陳典桓 died. Chan Heung asked Jeong Yim if he would reopen the Fut San school using his own Name and different Characters which were given to him by his teacher Ching Cho, Green Grass Monk (Fong,Dai Hung) his Fut Style teacher and Hung Moon Mentor For revolutioary principles whom he learned from for 8-'10 years. In his later years, he contracted pneumonia and died of a lung infection in 1893 at the age of about 69.

Chan Ngau Sing[edit]

Chan Ngau Sing studied Hung Ga Kuen under Jau Gum Biu From about 14 years of age until he was 19 years old and went to train under Jeong Yim in 1883 for 10 years. Chan Ngau Sing took over Fut San Hung Sing School after Jeong Yim died in 1893. We do know that Chan Ngau Sing lived 1864-1926 birth and family records sustansiate these facts. Hu Yuen Chou (1906–1997) studied with Chan Ngau Sing from age 9 (1915) until leaving for college (estimate 18 yrs - 1924) two years before Chan Ngau-Sing dies.

To help re-establish the school after Jeong Yim died, the author Nim Fut San Yen[9] created a popular fictional story (Wǔxiá) written during the period to increase the awareness to their revolutionary activities. This story was called, Fut San Hung Sing Kwoon. It is the contents of this story that has caused confusion surrounding the history of Jeong Yim.

The legacy of Jeong Yim[edit]

After the deaths of Jeong Yim and Chan Ngau Sing, many of the Hung Sing students dispersed and went their separate ways. Some of their students were Yuen Hai 阮系, Tarm Narp (Nap), Lui Charn, Tong Gun Sing, Sook Gong, and Lay Yun.

Lui Charn, Tong Gun Sing, and Sook Gong, opened a school at Ho-Nam in Canton.

Lay Yun was a student of Jeong Yim 張炎 and taught in Canton. Lau Chung, Wong Lo Lik, Hung Duk Gong, Choy Yee Kiu, Chan Say Yu, Bung Hau Seung, Choy Yut Kiu (Kiew), and Fong Yuk Shi were all students of Lay Yun.

Lau Chung's student Gee Duk Choy died in 1968 in Indonesia. Lai Yun eventually settled there and began teaching.

Tarm Narp was a student of Lay Yun. Tarm Narp's son, Tarm Ngau, taught in China and Tarm Fu was an herbalist in Hong Kong.

Choy Yut Kiu (Kiew) was a student of Lay Yun. Choy Yut Kiu's student, Kwan Man Keng, formed the "Hung Sheng (Sing) Chinese Koontow and Lion Dance Society in Singapore in 1965. Fong Yuk Shi was a student of Lay Yun. Some of Fong Yuk Shi's students were Chan Hon Hung, Lum Siu Larp, and Chan Yiu-Chi 陳耀墀 (Chan Heung's grandson).

One of Chan Yiu-Chi's 陳耀墀 students, Li Iu Ling, established Choy Li Fut in Australia in 1975. In 1977, Li returned to Hong Kong where he received the news that Chan Yiu Chi's 陳耀墀 grandson, Chen Yong-fa, was hoping to leave China. Li helped him to migrate to Australia in and gave his school to him.

Chan Yong Fa arrived in Australia in 1983 with a medical degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, specialising in bone setting. All he brought was one gim (sword), Kung Fu training clothes and Chan Heung’s training manuals. In 1996, Chan Yong Fa started the Chan Family Choy Lee Fut Wing Sing Tong Office in Sydney, Australia and laid the foundation for the Chan Family Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu and Lohan Qigong Systems. Then, in 2001, he organised a visit to Sun Wui for a group of more than 100 people from all over the world. The tour was known as Return to the Origin. The group went on to King Mui (the birthplace of Chan Heung) and trained at the Ancestral Hall, which has been restored.[34]

Yuen Hai 阮系 was a student of Jeong Yim. Yuen Hai 阮系 was Lau Bun 劉彬's teacher. Lau Bun 劉彬 opened the first American Hung Sing Branch in San Francisco, California in 1935. Chan Bing-Tong 陳炳棠, Jew Leong 周亮,E.Y. Lee 李日華 and Doc-Fai Wong 黄德輝 were all students of Lau Bun 劉彬. Doc-Fai Wong 黄德輝 founded the International Plum Blossom Federation in San Francisco, California in 1986.

Students of Doc-Fai Wong 黄德輝 include Jason J. Wong 黄志刚, Jaime Marquez, Vern Miller, Nathan Fisher, Alan Hubbard, David Dong, Pedro Rico, Neil McRitchie, Munzer Dejani, Sebastian Gonzales, Evelina Lengyel, Jo Hardy, Roberto Fasano, Pawel Kijañczyk, Mark Horton and Michael Punschke.

Chan Ngau-Sing founded the Hong Kong Hung Sing school. Chin Wai Fong 錢維方, Tong Sek 湯錫 and Hu Yuen Chou 胡雲綽 were students of Chan Ngau-Sing. Ho Cheung 何祥 was a student of Chin Wai-Fong 錢維方 and Tong Sek 湯錫. Ho, Cheuk Wah 何焯華 is the son of Ho, Cheung and student of Ho Yee 何儀 who was a student of Wong Say. Dino Jew Salvatera was a student of Chan Bing-Tong 陳炳棠, Jew Leong 周亮, and is a student of Fut-San Elder Ho, Cheuk Wah, 何焯華.Hannibal Yusef,Alan Clauson(student of Jew, Leong and Sifu Dino)Bryan Jang, Troy Dunwood, Adeline Louie (Senior to Sefu Dino)Stan Hall,Dan Prom,Bernice(Lau)Lew, Frank McCarthy are some students of Dino Jew Salvatera (who took over San Francisco Hung Sing School in 1987) and Lok Gee Hung 骆志洪 of Fut San is also Frank McCarthy's teacher.

The Bak Sing branch[edit]

Lui Charn, a student of Jeong Yim, had a student named Tam Sam 譚三. Tam Sam started the Buk Sing Branch of Choy Li Fut after being expelled by Lui Charn for excessive fighting within his school. After his expulsion, Tam Sam 譚三 asked some of Lui Charn's students to help him open a new Choy Li Fut branch in the Guangzhuo, Siu Buk 小北 (little north) district and called it Siu Buk Hung Sing Choy Li Fut. Tam Sam's 譚三 students referred to themselves just as the Buk Sing Choy Li Fut school so eventually the name was shortened.

A Northern Shaolin master named Ku Yu Jeong (Gu Ruzhang) befriended and joined Tam Sam 譚三 and added more techniques to the Bak Sing Choy Li Fut style. Thus Bak Sing Choy Li Fut branch evolved differently when compared to the Hung Sing and King Mui branches. This evolution is reflected in differences in both forms and curriculum.

Kong On, Lai Chou, and Lung Tse Cheung, were some of Tam Sam's students. Lai Hung was a student of Lai Chou and Lung Tse Cheung. Dave and Vince Lacey are twin brothers and both were students of Kong Hing and Lai Hung. Shane Lacey is the son and student of his father Vince Lacey (Lay Wing Sang). Jason Lacey is the son and student of Dave Lacey.

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Title:The Dynamic Fighting Art Descended From the Monks of the Shaolin Temple Choy Li Fut Kung Fu, Author:Master Doc-Fai Wong and Jane Hallander, Pub:Unique Publications, 1985. ISBN 0-86568-062-0 ISBN 978-0865680623
  2. ^ Title: On Hung Gar: History and Practice, Author: Wallace Smedley, Paperback: 310 pages, Publisher: CreateSpace (April 13, 2009), Language: English, ISBN 1-4421-3747-9, ISBN 978-1-4421-3747-9, pg. 99
  3. ^ nom de plume
  4. ^ Title: On Hung Gar - History and Practice, Author: Wallace Smedley , Paperback: 310 pages, Publisher: CreateSpace (April 13, 2009), pg.100, Language: English, ISBN 1-4421-3747-9 ISBN 978-1-4421-3747-9
  5. ^ Title:Kung Fu: History, Philosophy, and Technique, Author:David Chow, Pub:Unique Publications (December 1980) ISBN 0-86568-011-6 ISBN 978-0-86568-011-1
  6. ^ Title: The Shaolin Grandmaster's Text - History, Philosophy, and Gung Fu of Shaolin Ch'an, Publisher: Order Of Shaolin Ch'an; 6 edition (January 15, 2005), Language: English, ISBN 0-9755009-0-2, ISBN 978-0-9755009-0-3
  7. ^ , 208 pages, Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts (Bushido--The Way of the Warrior), Author: Donn F. Draeger & Robert W. Smith, Publisher: Kodansha International (January 15, 1981), Language: English, ISBN 0-87011-436-0, ISBN 978-0-87011-436-6, pg.46
  8. ^ Chan Family History Book
  9. ^ nom de plume - Chan Ngau Sing knew the author personally.

Choy Li Fut info from China