Ten Tigers of Canton

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Ten Tigers of Canton
Traditional Chinese 廣東十虎
Simplified Chinese 广东十虎

The Ten Tigers of Canton or Ten Tigers of Guangdong[1] refer to a group of ten Chinese martial artists from Guangdong (Canton), China who lived in the late Qing Dynasty (1644–1912). They were said to be the best fighters in southern China at the time. Much of their existence has been embellished by folk legends and stories passed down from generation to generation.

Ten Tigers' martial arts[edit]

The Ten Tigers of Canton traced their martial arts lineage to the Southern Shaolin Monastery in the Jiulian Mountains in Fujian. Southern Shaolin is a branch of the better known Shaolin Monastery on Mount Song, Henan. As such, the Ten Tigers' martial arts styles resemble those of Shaolin Kung Fu.


The Ten Tigers are:

Name Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Jyutping Nickname / Other names Martial arts specialties
Wong Yan-lam 王隱林 王隐林 Wáng Yǐnlín Wong4 Jan2-lam4 Lama Style (喇嘛派)[2]
Wong Ching-hoh 黃澄可 黄澄可 Huáng Chéngkě Wong4 Cing4-ho2 [2]
So Hak-fu 蘇黑虎 苏黑虎 Sū Hēihǔ Sou1 Hak1-fu2
Wong Kei-ying 黃麒英 黄麒英 Huáng Qíyīng Wong4 Kei4-jing1
Lai Yan-chiu 黎仁超 黎仁超 Lí Rénchāo Lai4 Jan4-ciu1 Hakka Fist (客家拳)[2]
So Chan 蘇燦 苏灿 Sū Càn Sou1 Can3 "So Hat-yee" (simplified Chinese: 苏乞儿; traditional Chinese: 蘇乞兒; pinyin: Sū Qǐ'er; Jyutping: Sou1 Hat1-ji4; literally: "Beggar So")
Leung Kwan 梁坤 梁坤 Liáng Kūn Loeng4 Kwan1 "Tit Kiu Sam" (simplified Chinese: 铁桥三; traditional Chinese: 鐵橋三; pinyin: Tiě Qiáo Sān; Jyutping: Tit3 Kiu4 Saam1; literally: "Iron Bridge Three") Iron Wire Fist (鐵線拳)[2]
Chan Cheung-tai 陳長泰 陈长泰 Chén Chángtài Can4 Coeng4-taai3 "Tit Ji Chan" (simplified Chinese: 铁指陈; traditional Chinese: 鐵指陳; pinyin: Tiě Zhǐ Chén; Jyutping: Tit3 Zi2 Can2; literally: "Iron Finger Chan") [2]
Taam Chai-kwan 譚濟筠 谭济筠 Tán Jìjūn Taam4 Zai3-gwan1 Tam Ga (譚家)[2]
Chow Tai 鄒泰 邹泰 Zōu Tài Zau1 Taai3

Wong Yan-Lam[edit]

Wong Yan-Lam (sometimes spelt Wong Yein-Lam) was a student of the Tibetan monk Sing Lung, a master of “Lion’s Roar” Gung-Fu. This style later splintered into Hop Gar Gung-Fu (Hap family style or Chivalrous boxing), Lama Pai (Tibetian Lama Buddhist style) and Baak hok kyun (White crane style).

Wong Ching-Ho[edit]

Wong Ching-Ho (sometimes spelt Wong Cheng-Ho) He was a student of a Luk Ah Choi a master of the Nine Dragon Fist style of Gung Fu.

So Chi Er / So Hark Fu[edit]

So Chi Er was more commonly known as So Hark Fu (sometimes spelt Sou Hak Fu) and was a student of the Shaolin monk Zhao De studying at the Shaolin temple, who later created his own style called Hak Fu Mun (Gate of the Black Tiger style).

Wong Kei-Ying[edit]

Wong Kei-Ying (sometimes spelt Wong Khei-Yin) was a disciple of Luk Ah-Choi, who was a student of the Fukein Shaolin abbot Jee Sin Sim See, and was a Hung Gar practitioner.

Lai Yan-Chiu[edit]

Lai Yan-Chiu was a practitioner of the Hakka Kuen (Fist) also known as Southern Praying Mantis. He was renowned for his skill at the Seven Star Fist routine (Qi Xing Quan / Chuk Sing Kuen).

So Chan[edit]

So Chan was more commonly known by his nickname of So Huk Yee (sometimes spelt So Hut Yee) which means Beggar So. He was originally trained in a Hung Kuen style but was famous for his “Drunken” style of Gung Fu and was a master of the Shaolin pole.

Leung Kwan[edit]

Leung Kwan’s nickname was Tit kiu Saam (sometimes spelt Tit Kew Sam or Tie Qiao San) which literally means “Iron Bridge Three” and he was a Hung Gar practitioner, but would spend most of his life continuing to learn and study off other masters.

Chan Cheung-Tai[edit]

Chan Cheung-Tai was more commonly known by his nickname Tit Chee Chan (sometimes spelt Tit Ji or Chi Chan / Chen Zhi Tie) which means Iron Finger Chen. Naturally he was expert at the Iron Finger Art.

Tam Chai-Kwan[edit]

Tam Chai-Kwan (sometimes spelt Tam Chai Hok or Tam Chai Wen) was a Huadu style Hung Kuen practitioner who was known by the nickname of Sam Kuk Tam, which means Three Leg Tam due to three types of kicks he would use when fighting.

Chow Tai[edit]

Chow Tai (sometimes spelt Jau Taai or Chow Thye) was also known by the nickname of Iron Head Chow and was a Zhanjiang style Hung Kuen practitioner. He was famed for his skillful staff techniques.

Wong Fei-hung and the Ten Tigers[edit]

Wong Fei-hung, son of Wong Kei-ying, is also sometimes called the "Tiger after the Ten Tigers". In Chinese folk legend, Wong Fei-hung is best remembered for his heroic efforts in upholding the Chinese people's pride and dignity during a period when national morale was low, in the face of strong competition and oppression from foreigners.

Cultural references[edit]


The Ten Tigers appeared in the 1980 Hong Kong film Ten Tigers from Kwangtung[3] produced by the Shaw Brothers Studio. It featured a star-studded cast of Shaw Studio actors, including the Venom Mob, Ti Lung and Alexander Fu.

Apart from appearances in Chinese films, the Ten Tigers were also featured in the 2004 film Around the World in 80 Days, with Sammo Hung making a special appearance as Wong Fei-hung. Wong and the Ten Tigers assisted the protagonists in fighting the aggressive Black Scorpion gang.

The Ten Tigers were also featured in the 2006 underground cult film Mad Cowgirl.


In 1999, Hong Kong's ATV produced a 40-episodes TV drama series titled Ten Tigers of Guangdong (英雄之廣東十虎).


In The Eleventh Tiger, a BBC Books original novel by David A. McIntee, the Ten Tigers are featured, with Wong Kei-ying and Wong Fei-hung as major characters in the story.


  1. ^ Kim, Sun-Jin. Tuttle Dictionary of the Martial Arts of Korea, China & Japan. [1996] (1996). Tuttle publishing. Korea. ISBN 0-8048-2016-3.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g 王春芙, 王春英, 陳朝華, Southern Metropolitan daily Guangzhou publications (南方都市報廣州專刊副). Guangdong's past & present. (廣東的前世今生). Using for name verifications. Originally in simplified characters. Published by 花城出版社. Digitized Aug 7, 2007 University of Michigan.
  3. ^ shi hu xing yi wu xi