少林永春攤膀偏正柔心法紅船至善忠義仁信留有餘                          


 Sifu Peter Yuen


When and where did you first get in contact with Kung Fu?

“It was back in the early 1970s, when I was still working for the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company (known as HACO) in Hong Kong. I was interested in practicing internal Kung Fu because of my body type and personality, and I had my mind set on 永春 Weng Chun, or 詠春 Wing Chun. I knew very well that these two branches are closely related and originated from the same Siu Lam Temple. At that time, 詠春 Wing Chun Kung Fu schools had already started to blossom. Many young people of all walks of lives would sign up and join the classes. I hesitated because I knew that the 永春 Weng Chun style has a more direct lineage from Abbot Chi Sin and that their masters preserved the most original forms and methodology. They also screened their students very carefully. However, it was very difficult to find one, even though I looked all over Hong Kong and Kowloon. Luckily for me, I met a co-worker in HACO, whose job it was to paint the airplanes. His name was Chan Kwok-Bun. Later on I learned from him that he has a Kung Fu brother who was a 永春 Weng Chun master and was teaching a small class made up of close friends. I met another co-worker who worked in the office named Chiu But-Hin. This gentleman was a master of Seven Star Mantis but was not openly teaching. Through these two gentlemen, I got to know many of the Kung Fu people in the company, and I joined them at their Kung Fu classes as an observer. This is how I first came into contact with 少林永春功夫 Siu Lam Weng Chun Kung Fu.”  

 

Who was your Kung Fu Sifu / or Sifus?

“As I got to know Chan Kwok-Bun more and more, he got to know and understand me more and more too. On his recommendation, I was introduced to my late Sifu, Master Lau Chi-Loong. He accepted me into his school, and I served tea to him as my Sifu. Late Sifu Chan Kwok-Bun became my SiSuk. I was extremely happy and thought to myself, “Finally!” I have also trained with my SiSukGung Fung Kam-Fai for a while on the Heaven Set. He should be my half-Sifu. He was one of the disciples of Late Master Tang Yik, in the same class as Master Michael Tang, Master Sunny So, and the others. He even gave me his legendary wooden dummy assembly so that I could keep practicing. Meanwhile, another half-Sifu of mine is Master Chiu, as I mentioned earlier in answer to your first question. Learning some of the basics of his Seven Star Mantis definitely has enriched my Kung Fu knowledge and performance.”

 

Please tell us something about him / or them

“A direct disciple of late GM Wai Yan, Master Lau was about 35 years old, 5 feet 9 or 10 inches tall, weighed about 190 lbs, and was married with a wife and five young children. He worked as a driving instructor and taught 少林永春功夫 Siu Lam Weng Chun Kung Fu during the evenings, twice a week. He was an easy-going, straight-forward man with a good sense of humor. He had his kung fu brother Sifu Chan Kwok-Bun assist him with the class. While my late SiSuk Chan Kwok-Bun, also a disciple of late GM Wai Yan, would teach us the form, Sifu Lau would teach us how to practice Chi Sao, etc. He liked Jong Kuen very much because he was strong and well built. SiSuk Chan Kwok-Bun had a smaller build, so he preferred Weng Chun Kuen.  My SiSuk Gung must be at his late 60s or early 70s, but he was still in good shape with powerful bridges and strong stances. He implemented many grapples in his routine and was experienced in many other styles of Kung Fu. Master Chiu But-Hin was in his mid 70s when I trained with him. The Seven Star Mantis is somewhat similar to our 少林永春 Siu Lam Weng Chun style in that you can play it very gently or quite aggressively, depending on the situation.”

 

What (Forms, Qi Sao, Kiu Sao etc.) and how did you practice?

Everybody started on the Weng Chun Kuen, and I was no exception. Weng Chun Kuen is perfect for me because I am not a heavy man, and my personality is a bit laid back and conservative. At the beginning, I could only watch the SiHings practicing Chi Sao with each other because I had yet to finish my Weng Chun Kuen form. When they were doing Chi Sao, Sifu Lau would explain the principle of such moves, or any critical part of one Kiu Sao. We had to take our own notes on the principles, methodology and explanation of certain moves. Because video cameras were not popular, we could only take pictures or memorize them. We had to do the form in every session in front of everybody from the beginning up to the part we completed. I was very nervous at first, but as time went by, it was not that bad anymore. Then, I started to learn the Two Man Set (different then the Tang family Set), Single Sticky Hands, and Double Sticky Hands. In essence, Two man Set is a prescribed routine that was designed to make use of the moves in Part One of Weng Chun Kuen. It trains the basic principles of our style: redirect the incoming force; absorb the force and spit it out. It emphasizes the relaxation of arms, as well as the co-ordination of stance, hip, body, hands and eyes. Single Sticky Hands is a prescribed routine designed to train the sensitivity and flexibility of both hands. At the same time, it also trains the reaction and co-ordination of the hands (bridges) with hips. Because the training is stationed on a small 4-parallel, you don’t get to step forward or back, and it is crucial to use your hips in coordination with your bridges. The Double Sticky Hands is a dynamic exercise that uses everything we have learned and incorporates it into the exercise. It can be interpreted as Free Style Sparing because there is no restriction on what you can use and how much power you can deliver. This is the time when you can apply “a fake strike from a real one, and a real strike from a fake”. You quickly learn how critical your center line is. We also learned the Heaven Set and Earth Set in the studio because there was a wooden dummy set up. When learning the 6.5 long staff, we had to go to the rooftop of my late SiSuk Chan's building since that is where he kept all his long staffs. I did not have time to learn the 6.5 staff, but I finished the Jong Kwan with him, the one form we learn before the actual 6.5 staff. This form implemented the basics of the 6.5 staff with some necessary footwork. It emphasizes power development and the principles of it.”

 

How would you describe the so called “Dai Duk Lan era”?

“Dai Duk Lan era is an important milestone of our style. It reunited the four dragons of our style, and the credit was definitely late Master Wai Yan’s. Thru DDL, Wai Yan, together with the four dragons, standardized our curriculum into three bare handed forms (Weng Chun Kuen, Saam Bai Fut, Jong Kuen) two wooden dummy forms (Tin Pung Jong, Dei Pung Jong) and one long staff form (Luk Dim Bung Gwan). It is the perfect material to introduce to anyone who is interested in the 少林永春 Siu Lam Weng Chun style, from the very basic, low-profile, conservative and self-defense oriented, to the aggressive, long-range and resulted oriented, and up to the most advanced, all-round style.

 

What makes our SLWC Kung Fu branch special?

I don’t think “special” is the correct word to describe our 少林永春 Siu Lam Weng Chun branch. We are rather different in the way that we focus not only on the principles and methodology of the style, but we also emphasize ethical behavior. We have inherited the student-screening process from our ancestors, and we carry on the tradition so that whatever we teach to our students is the same as what we were taught. I believe that for every strike we deliver, there must be a way to counter or neutralize it. The biggest difference in comparison with other similar lineages is that I suggest keeping a low profile, not to rush into your training, and to be humble because there is always another higher mountain somewhere out there. 

 

What are your hopes for our Siu Lam Weng Chun Kung Fu?

It was the wish of my late Sifu Master Lau Chi-Loong that an association be set up to unify the practitioners of 少林永春功夫 Siu Lam Weng Chun Kung Fu. I worked on that idea for several years with minimal success. I realize now that I should have started doing that much earlier. However, there are many younger practitioners in our lineage who are enthusiastic and energized. I just wish that this younger generation will carry the torch with passion and carry on with our tradition, spreading the art of 少林永春功夫 Siu Lam Weng Chun Kung Fu so that more people can have a chance to become a better person.”

 

Sifu, what about the Saam Bai Fut? 

In my most recent interview by Sifu Dirk Moll, I briefly touched on Weng Chun Kuen and Jong Kuen, but not the Saam Bai Fut form. That is not because Saam Bai Fut is not significant in our family. On a contrary, it is the second bare handed form in our standardized curriculum. I forgot to mention it because the Saam Bai Fut is somewhat different from Weng Chun Kuen. Saam Bai Fut is the family treasure of GM Lo Chiu-Woon, and was the contribution from the Lo family to Dai Tak Lan, and included in the standardized curriculum. He passed down the art to GM Wai Yan. Lo’s children were still too young at that time, he specifically asked Wai Yan to teach them the form when they grow up. He said the Saam Bai Fut is a good form. Saam Bai Fut is a more open, mid range and high impact exercise. To practice this form, one must first warm up, because this form demands all your strength and power right from the beginning. Some lineage of our big family starts their younger students with this form, to help further develop their body structure, muscle, tendon and joints. Although the form is relatively more open, with mid to long range reach, it apply all the principles and methodology in our style. With Weng Chun Kuen as a solid foundation, Saam Bai Fut neutralizes incoming offense and counter strike with one move while keeping a tight defensive zone. Foot works are generous, large 4-parallel, bow stance, kirin steps and side kicks, just to mention a few. Many moves in the form has the elbows deliberately raised as versus to tugged in, bridges in a bow form.  It is these characteristics that make the Saam Bai Fut a more aggressive and a more determined form. The entire form is divided into eleven parts, with a total number of 190 moves. Some are repetitive, but most appeared only once in the form. Supplemental exercise includes punch bag, heel kicks, hip exercise and Da Saam Sing power training. This is a form for the outgoing, determined and result oriented person.”  

       

03 / 2017 Q: Sifu Dirk Moll A: Sifu Peter Yuen