The History of Wing Chun According to Lo Kwai - By Chao Tseng-Ming and Brian Scanlon
“We make no claims to be the first, best or original wing chun. There are many families of wing chun, we are but one. I have been appointed the public speaker for the family. All information comes from Chao Tseng-Ming”
This article is the first in a series, detailing a rare system of Wing Chun, that descends from Leung Jan’s Foshan Student, Lo Kwai. Kwai the Pork Seller’s Family left China with the Nationalists, moving to Taiwan, living to this day, preserving Leung Jan’s Foshan System. The study of this system sheads new light on Wing Chun history, for the first time substantiating Oral traditions passed down by Cho Gar, Kulo Village, and Yuen Kay Shan Wing Chun Clans. This article is a brief introduction to a system that has never been taught publicaly, and has only been passed down to one non family member.
Wing Chuns Ancestral History is shrouded in the Mists of time. Lo Kwai Oral Tradition picks up at the time of the Opera Boats. QiongHua Guild anchorage, in Foshan, was where the Wing Chun system was known to have began. The 2 main methods that went into forming wing chun were White Crane and a snake boxing style, plus parts of 3 other sub styles, as well, to a lesser degree. This was the place where the different opera troupes would meet and exchange information. The guild was burned down in the xiang fong period of the Qing Dynasty by the government. This was due to the rebellion led by Lee Man Mou and other members of the Opera Troupes.
After this and the end of the rebellion members spread to different towns and took up various occupations.
Our Wing Chun tradition begins with Leung Jan. Leung Jan had 2 Sifu, Leung Yee Tai and Wong Wah Bo. Leung Jan learned 2 different interpretations of wing chun. The small frame from LYT and large frame from WWB. WWB was considered the best fighter of the wing chun group of Opera members. WWB taught 1 form and LYT taught short forms or San Sik.
Leung Jan wanted to combine everything he learned from his 2 Sifu into one complete method. WWB worked with LJ to combine everything into a teachable progressive system. LJ was very educated and wanted to have an organized method for remembering and teaching. The 1 form had 4 parts to it. This was divided into 3+1 forms . This allowed moving of some sections from the begining to the end and allowed the insertion of the material of LYT.
After this the 3 forms of SLT, CK, BJ became more or less set. The Muk Yan Jong, Yee Gee Dao and Look Dim Boon Gwun were not fully set at this point. As they became more set the 4th form was felt to be uneeded as much of what it contained was put into the Jong and Dao. Several san sik came from the 4th form or as some might say the 4th section of the 1 form.
Chan Kwai began learning from Leung Jan . He taught his son and 2 nephews Chao Cheng Lei and Chao Chong Lin. Chao Chong Lin survived and taught his son Chao Jian Yu he taught a few others. His successor was his son Chao Qiang Kwai ( 1904–2003). He had several students including Chao Feng his successor and my father Chao Gang and his last student and only westerner to be taught Hunter von Unschuld. My father and grandfather taught me Chao Tseng-Ming.
- Oral Tradition Hunter Von Unschuld
- Oral and Written Tradition Chao Family
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