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The Yongquan Tai Chi Chuan and Choy Lee Fut lineages


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The Yongquan lineage tree - click for Master Lam's full liniage
NB: This chart does not show the I-Chuan (Da Cheng Chuan) lineage passed down through Professor Yu Yong-Nian, to which Master Lam is also entitled, as Sifu Rand did not study under this part of Master Lam's lineage, the I-Chuan/Zhan Zhong component taught in YMAA classes was learned by Master Lam before he began studying with Professor Yu Yong-Nian.
For a full lineage chart of Master Lam click on the above image.

Individuals in the Yongquan Tai Chi Chuan and Choy Lee Fut lineage

Great Grand Master Yang Lu-ChanTai Chi Chuan originates in the Chen village (Chenjiagou) in Henan province in China but it was an outsider to the village, Yang Lu-Chan (1799-1872), who first made it famous. Yang Lu-Chan, who became known as 'Yang the invincible', brought the art from rural obscurity into the public-eye in the 19th Century.

Yang Lu-Chan had trained in the Chen village for a good number of years (estimates vary wildly from 9 to 40 years) before returning to his home in Yongnian and later moving to Beijing. In Beijing he came to the attention of the Emperor. He was reputed to have trained the Emperor's bodyguards and members of the royal household, which indicates the respect with which his art was held, and he defeated all challengers, earning his ‘invincible’ nickname. At this time Tai Chi Chuan, (then known as 'Long Boxing' or 'Cotton Fist'), was known first and foremost as an effective fighting art. By all accounts the martial aspects were retained by Yang Lu-Chan's two sons who followed in their father's footsteps and taught Tai Chi Chuan (Yang Ban-Hou and Yang Chien-Hou) after his death.

Grand Master Yang Chien-Hou The third son of Yang Lu-Chan, Yang Chien-Hou (1839-1917) was credited with creating and practicing the 'middle frame' of the Yang style. His elder brother Yang Ban-Hou practiced 'small frame' and had a much more aggressive temperament, thus keeping few students. Yang Chien-Hou was more popular, since he wasn't as harsh in his training methods as his brother, but compared to his son Yang Cheng-Fu, who popularised Tai Chi Chuan throughout China when he standardised the movement into the 'large frame' Form, he still had very few students.

One of Yang Chien-Hou's students was General Li Jing-Lin. Li Jing-Lin was a renowned warrior and almost without equal when it came to fighting with sword or spear. Li Jing-Lin was introduced to Yang Chien-Hou and they had a friendly contest using the Chinese straight sword, which Yang Chien-Hou won easily. As Yang Chien-Hou was the only person able to defeat General Li Jing-Lin with a sword, General Li immediately asked to become his student.

Great Grand Master Sun Lu-Tang Sun Lu-Tang 1861 - 1933 was an innovative martial artist and learned his arts from a variety of renowned sources. He began his martial arts training by learning Shaolin Hung boxing and then began to study Hsing-I, first from Li Kui-Yuan and later from the famous Gou Yun-Shen. He learned Pa Qua from Cheng Ting-Hua, a direct student of the founder Dong Hai-Chuan and later began studying Wu style Tai Chi Chuan with Hao Wei-Chen, founder of little Wu or Hao style, before creating his renowned Sun style Tai Chi Chuan which, understandably, incorporates elements of the different influences on his martial arts.

To Some extent Sun Lu-Tang's style brings together the three main schools of Internal boxing - Hsing-I, Tai Chi Chuan and Pa Qua Chuan. Sun Lu-Tang was a teacher of Ku Yue-Chang.

General Li Jing-Lin General Li Jing-Lin (1885 - 1931) was a very high ranking government official. Along with General Chang Chih-Chiang, he decided that the two most important styles of Chinese Martial Arts were Shaolin and Wu Tang and thus these were the styles to be taught in the government schools by the Five Tigers. He was renowned for his swordsmanship. He studied martial arts with Sun Lu-Tang, was a contemporary of Yang Cheng-Fu but learned his Tai Chi Chuan from Cheng-Fu's father Yang Chien-Hou. It is often speculated that his straight sword form was the one that was incorporated into the Yang family tradition, rather than it being of Chen family origin. His 'Wu Tang sword' style is very rare these days, probably due to its reputed complexity. General Li Jing-Lin was a teacher of Ku Yue-Chang.

Grand Master Ku Yue-Chang demonstrating Iron Palm The picture shows Ku Yue-Chang demonstrating his famous Iron Palm by breaking a stack of bricks with a single palm strike. Notice that there are no spacers between the bricks. This is tremendous feat, which probably hasn’t been replicated since. (CLick the picture to see a larger image.)

Ku Yue-Chang was a very famous Chinese martial artist who's first teachers were Yim Kai-Wun and his father Ku Lei-Chi. He gained the nickname “King of Iron Palm” for his famous iron palm skills, and was placed as one of the winners in the 1928 First National Wushu Contest, held in Nanjing. (There seems to be no common agreement about who won this particular competition, since it was stopped before the closing matches were played out due to excessive injuries. In short, it was just too dangerous. Therefore the last contestants remaining were all declared winners.) Though best known as a Northern Shaolin stylist (and for his amazing Iron Palm) Ku Yue-Chang was expert in the internal arts as well and it is from him that our Tai Chi Chuan descends.

After the competition Ku Yue-Chang was appointed as one of 'the Five Tigers of the North', he, with the other four masters - Won Lai-Shen (Pa Qua), Fu Chan-Song (Li Far Spear), Wong Shao-Chu and Li Shan-Wu (Tan Tui), were to open National Martial Art Schools and teach Chinese Martial Arts to the masses. One of the main objectives of the government, during the 1920's, was to unify China. They developed a motto: "A Strong Mind in a Strong Body builds a Strong Country". Part of their plan was to use martial arts to strengthen the populace. When Ku Yue-Chang's moved to the republican capital of Nanjing it is interesting to note that he left his provincial school in Guangzhou (Kwangchou) to Lau Kam-Tang (Liu Ching-Tang), a famous Choy Lee-Fut master.

It was in a highly charged political environment, that Ku Yue-Chang developed his knowledge and skills. This must have been a very exciting time for this young teacher with exceptional skill. At this time, Ku Yue-Chang would have been 34 years old. Young indeed for a martial arts master at that time, younger still to be named a National Instructor. Ku Yue-Chang studied other styles during this period. These include the internal styles of Hsing-I, Pa Qua and Tai Chi Chuan with Sun Lu-Tang. He also had important exchanges with Tan Sam, founder of Bak Hsing Choy Lee Fut and one of the five southern tigers. In fact, they reportedly had a match in which no one is certain of the true victor. What is certain, though, is that the Choy Lee Fut lineage of Tan Sam incorporated Northern Shaolin sets in its curriculum and Ku Yue-Chang's school taught Choy Lee Fut. Indeed, Ku Yue-Chang and Tan Sam exchanged students and Lung Tse-Cheung was sent to Tan Sam's school to learn the art. Lung Tse-Cheung spent several years learning from Tan Sam before returning to Ku Yue-Chang.

Ku Yue-Chang also learned Wutang sword style from Li Jing-Lin, and more Cha quan with Yu Zhensheng. He also reportedly shared teaching responsibilities at the Zhongyang Association with a famous Muslim boxer called Wang Ziping (1881-1973), who was an expert in Tan Tui and Cha quan.

Finally it is also interesting to note that the Northern Shaolin sets that are preserved in the Choy Lee Fut branches of Tan Sam are preformed with a horizontal fist as in Cha quan, but that the forms, taught to Kim Sheung-Mo, a disciple of Ku Yue-Chang, are preformed with a standing fist much like Beng quan (wood) of Hsing-I quan, but not as bent at the elbow.

Ku Yue-Chang trained in seven different martial arts including: Beishaolin taught to him by Yin Kai-Wun, Cha quan, taught to him by his father and Zhensheng, Hsing-I and Pa Qua Chang, taught to him by Sun Lu-Tang, as well as Tai Chi Chuan (taught to him by Li Jing-Lin and Sun Lu-Tang), Baji and Wu Tang Sword taught to him by Li Jing-Lin."

Early in 1952 Ku Yue-Chang advised Kim Sheung-Mo and Lung Tse-Chung to flee the Chinese mainland and set up a school in Hong Kong, which they did. It is thought that Ku Yue-Chang himself was executed as a counter revolutionary by the communist authorities later in 1952, probably because of his martial arts status and his strong nationalist beliefs. Many martial arts figures met the same fate during this period of China's history.

Great Grand Master Tam Sam, founder of Bak Hsing Choy Lee Fut Choy Lee Fut originated from the Shaolin system and was created as an individual style by Chan Heung, who learned his art from three masters: Chan Yuen-Wu, Lee Yau-Shan and the monk Choy Fook. Chan Heung called his art Choy Lee Fut to commemorate his teachers and the Buddhist origin of the art (Fut means Buddha in Cantonese) and it is commonly known as Hung Hsing Choy Lee Fut.

The particular style of Choy Lee Fut practiced in Yongquan classes is known as Bak Hsing, or Northern style, Choy Lee Fut. Although primarily thought of as a Southern art, Tan San, the Bak Hsing founder, taught out of Siu Bak in the Northern province of Guangzhou.

Tan San was an accomplished boxer before he came to study Choy Lee Fut but after a 'friendly' match with a Hung Hsing Choy Lee Fut practitioner, in which Tan San was clearly beaten, he decided to study under the victor's master, Liu Chan. Tan San trained for many years but he was something of an innovator and went on to modify the teachings of his master to the point where he had created a radically different approach to the application of Choy Lee Fut technique.

Master Kim Sheung-Mo Kim Sheung-Mo was, by all accounts, a quiet man. He was a disciple of the famous Ku Yue-Chang, but never bragged about being the student of such a famous teacher.

Of the two famous disciples of Ku Yue-Chang who taught Lam Kam-Chuen, Kim Sheung-Mo and Lung Tse-Chung, Kim Sheung-Mo was the older, being closer to the age of Ku Yue-Chang, and a good 20 years older than Lung Tse-Chung. It is said that Kim Sheung-Mo's style remained closer to that of Ku Yue-Chang, while Lung Tse-Chung's differed slightly because he was swapped as an exchange student with Tan Sam.

Kim Sheung-Mo is seen in the picture to the left performing the Northern Shaolin two man Form that we still practice today. (Click on the picture to see a larger image.)

What can be said for certain is that the 'old Yang' Form we practice in the YMAA is the one taught by Kim Sheung-Mo. As luck would have it another student of Kim Sheung-Mo (Chan Kwok-Kai) moved to South America and set up a Kung Fu school there. As you would expect he's known mainly for his Northern Shaolin, but pictures of him doing Tai Chi Chuan and a short video clip of some of his students demonstrating the Form (downloaded from a site linked to their Web site) reveal that they practice the same Long Form that we do, with only minor differences. Their Form still has the same characteristic diagonal NE and NW angles for the opening moves, instead of the more common N, then E then W directions of the Yang Cheng-Fu Form.

Master Leung Tse-Cheung Lung Tse-Cheung was a student of Ku Yue-Chang who was sent by master Ku to learn Bak Hsing Choy Lee Fut from master Tan Sam. Lung Tse-Cheung was a fellow student of Kim Sheung-Mo, though he was some twenty years his junior, and was joint teacher, along with Kim Sheung-Mo, of Lam Kam-Chuen, specifically teaching Choy Lee Fut to the young master Lam but also sharing the teaching of Tai Chi Chuan and other arts, including Iron Palm and Iron shirt (Golden Bell) Chi Kung.

Master Lam Kam-Chuen Lam Kam-Chuen was born in Hong Kong just after the second world war and began training at the age of 11, in Hsing-I, with Master Fung who was 80 at that time. he then went on to study Northern Shaolin, Choy Lee Fut and Tai Chi Chuan with Kim Sheung-Mo and Lung Tse-Cheung. His teachers also included the venerable Yun Hang, Chueh Wan (Tung Bei boxing) and Lau Sau-Hong, who first introduced him to I-Chuan and Zhan Zhong.

Later master Lam was able to meet and study with the famous I-Chuan (Da Cheng Chuan) master Professor Yu Yong-Nian, who studied directly under the founder of the style - Grand Master Wang Xiang-Zhai. Master Lam is now the European representative of the Da Cheng Chuan tradition.

The picture shows Master Lam performing the Tai Chi Chuan posture known as Golden Cock Stands on One Leg.

Master Lam studied old style combat Tai Chi Chuan, Iron Palm, I Chuan, Choy Lee Fut, Northern Shao Lin, Nei Kung, traditional Chinese weapons and much more. Master Lam was a martial arts instructor to the Royal Hong Kong Police and is qualified in Traditional Chinese Medicine, specialising in bone setting, herbalism and the use of Chi and Chi Kung to cure ailments. Master Lam came to England in 1975 and began teaching both privately and for the ILEA (thanks to the help of a Yoga teacher named Beryl Heed who became one of his first students). In 1977 he opened his first clinic in this country and began to practice as a Chinese doctor. In the late seventies master Lam developed his own 'short Form' which cuts the number of movents from 128 to 60 and balances the postures on the right and left sides, his Form, however, manages to retain the flavour and martial characteristics of the original long Form.

Gradually a small group of private students developed and in 1982 Master Lam founded the Lam Tai Chi Association to help spread Tai Chi Chuan and related arts. Master Lam is an expert in Zhan Zhong (Jam Jong- to stand like a tree) Chi Kung and in 1995 made a 5 part documentary for Channel Four TV called Stand Still be Fit. Master Lam has published books on Zhan Zhong Chi Kung, his own Short Form and Feng Shui, on which he is also a leading authority.

Sifu Raymond Rand Raymond Rand began training in the Chinese Martial Arts, primarily: Tai Chi Chuan, Nei Kung and Choy Lee Fut (Bak Hsing) in January 1976, with Lam Kam-Chuen. Prior to this he had three years experience in Ten Shin Shinyo Ryu (Ju Jitsu) and some six months in Wing Chung.

Sifu Rand started the first class at Middlesex University in June 1983 at the request of his teacher, Master Lam, and was a founder member, and first chairman, of the Lam Tai Chi Association which started in 1982.

In 1994 Sifu Rand founded the Middlesex University Students Tai Chi Chuan Association, in recognition of the growing number of students at Middlesex University and the need for his own senior students to have a recognised platform from which to grow.

Also in 1994 links were forged with Sifu Yeung Loon Fong (Sifu Peter Young) through the yearly Internal Arts Competitions and Masters Demonstrations he held in Newcastle, UK. A team from Middlesex University demonstrated at the Masters event on two occasions and Sifu Rand and his seniors were invited to judge at the Competition yearly from 1994 until it ceased to be held.

In the year 2000 the Middlesex Tai Chi Chuan Association became the Yongquan Tai Chi Chuan Association, to reflect the fact that most of our classes now take place off Middlesex University campus (though we still retain strong links with Middlesex University) and has since become the Yongquan Martial Arts Association reflecting the martial emphasis of both our Tai Chi Chuan and the other arts studied, such as Choy Lee Fut.

In 2005 the YMAA joined forces with a Hsing-I school and and a further exchange of ideas and principles took place under the YMAA banner.





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