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Cheung Hung Sing: Founder of Hung Sing Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu

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Cheung Hung Sing


張炎公 佛山鴻勝館 (1824-1893)

FOUNDER OF THE FUT SAN HUNG SING KWOON, AND HUNG SING KUEN aka the Hung Sing method of Choy Lee Fut

Cheung Yim was his original name and he was born in the Sun Wui Dong Ling Village during the Qing Dynasty. His parents were murdered and he was under the care of his uncle Cheong Kwan. Starting at a very young age, Cheung Yim had a passion for learning the martial arts. His first teacher was the Shaolin Monk Lee Yau San-master of the Lee Ga system- and who is said perhaps to have been a disciple of Lee Sik Hoi-one of the 5 ancestors of the Hung Mun secret Society. In one version of the history, the government was after Cheong Yim for as we say “Draft Dodger.” The government was trying to recruit him into the military and he didn’t want to go. And if things weren’t bad enough, his uncle Cheung Kwan had to leave town on business and wouldn’t be able to take his young nephew with him. So, he came up with the idea of paying his old friend in King Mui a visit. His friend was a gung fu master and founder of a new fighting system. Hoping that his old friend could take in the young Cheung Yim, they set out for King Mui’s Chan Village.

Upon their arrival in King Mui, the two were met by Chan Heung, the chief gung fu instructor there. Cheung Kwan explained their situation but was faced with the unfortunate fact that those without the Chan Surname were not allowed to reside in their village much less learn their gung fu. But Cheung Kwan pleaded until Chan Heung devised a plan. He was able to take in the young boy, but only in the capacity of a groundskeeper. However, the young Jeong Yim wasn’t allowed to learn the gung fu from their village. An agreement was made and in 1836, Jeong Kwan left his young nephew with Chan Heung. During his daily chores, the young Cheung Yim watched as the students practiced their gung fu. Since he already was accomplished by the age of 12, he was able to pick up Chan Heung’s Choy Lee Fut rather quickly. At the time, Choy Lee Fut was based off of the styles taught by Monk Choy Fook, and Lee Yau San. He was already familiar with the Lee Ga system, which ironically they shared the same sifu. So at night time while everyone was sleeping, Jeong Yim would practice his stolen gung fu until he was caught in the act by Chan Heung.

It’s obvious that Chan Heung saw the great potential in Cheung Yim because for the next 5 years this late night training continued. Everything went smoothly during this time, but the one time Chan Heung went away, his senior disciples decided to point their attention at the outsider Jeong Yim. Believing Cheung Yim didn’t know gung fu at all, the senior disciples ultimately got him to fight them. Unfortunately for them, he whooped them pretty badly. This forced the parents of the senior students to order Chan Heung to kick out the outsider. Reluctantly, Chan Heung asked Cheung Yim to leave, but not before instructing him to go to the Pak Pai Mountain and locate a Shaolin Monk there to complete his training. So, in 1841, he left for the outskirts of Guangxi and found the Monk Ching Cho Wo Serng (Green Grass Monk) at the Pak Pai Mountain. He was accepted as a student and for the next 8 years (1841-1849) he learned the deadly art of Fut Gar Kuen. Monk Ching Cho or Green Grass Monk was a famous monk from the Shaolin Temple. In fact, at some point he was even the Abbott of the temple. After the destruction of the Southern Temple, Monk Ching Cho helped establish the Hung Mun Secret society. Therefore,the Green Grass Monk not only taught Cheung Yim gung fu, but he also instilled the revolutionary spirit within him.

Once Cheung Yim’s gung fu training was complete, the Green Grass Monk changed his first name of "Yim" to Hung Sing, which translates into Hung Mun Victory. The monk Ching Cho then instructed him to go to Fut San, contact the Hung Mun branch there and offer to help train their revolutionary fighters. For the next two years Cheung Hung Sing intensely trained his students strictly for combat. In 1851, he responded to the launching of the Tai Ping rebellion by organizing all of his Hung Sing Kwoon's throughout southern China and formally established his Fut San Hung Sing Kwoon (Fut San Hung Victory).

The Tai Ping Rebellion ended in 1864 and many of the kung fu masters that were involved with this fled to Hong Kong, this included chan heung and Cheung Hung Sing. After doing my research, it is here that i believe they reunited and spent time with each other improving Chan Heung's Choy Lee Fut. In their meetings, Chan Heung treated Cheung Hung Sing as an equal because of their connection to the Hung brotherhood. In another version of the history, Chan Heung was supposed to train with monk ching cho but didn't get the opportunity. This was a great moment to finally learn some of his material. It was then that he shared what he learned from the Green Grass Monk with Chan Heung. Together, they evolved the Choy Lee Fut system to a new level this way. Since they were members of the Hung Mun, they created a set of techniques that would allow students from the various CLF branches to identify each other. One of the hand signals was the Left Handed Tiger Claw, this is representative of a certain individual within the Hung Mun. And in 1867, Cheung Hung Sing went back to Fut San and Chan Heung returned to King Mui. At the end of this period, chan heung and Cheung Hung Sing agreed to separately develop their respective systems. Choy Lee Fut would be further developed by Chan Heung's lineage in King Mui and the same with Cheung Hung Sing's lineage in Fut San. This is how the birth of the original "Hung Sing Choy Lee Fut" kung fu came into being.

The one major difference between what Chan Heung was teaching and Cheung Hung Sing was teaching is that Chan Heung's system was based on Choy Gar, Lee Gar, and Hung Kuen (The use of FUT GAR within the Chan Heung lineages TODAY as of Nov. 2014 is a modern attempt to blur the lines). Cheung Hung Sing's method is comprised of the Fut Gar Kuen, Lee Gar, Choy Lee Fut styles. The "Fut" in Chan Heung's Choy Lee Fut is NOT based on Fut Gar, it was based on the fact that all of Chan Heung's teachers were buddhist monks of the shaolin temple. Cheung Hung Sing is the person to put the "Fut Gar" or FUT in Choy Lee Fut. Back in Fut San, Cheung Hung Sing was busy rebuilding his school. He changed the old Hung Victory name to Great Victory and his method took on so fast that it eventually eclipsed the other styles in Fut San. He was pretty busy with the fact that he was the founder of a new Choy Lee Fut system, training freedom fighters, defeating all challengers, and running from the law.

Cheung Hung Sing had many, many students. But three of his oldest disciples were Lui Chun (guangzhou), Lee Yan, and Yuen Hai (Hong Kong). Other students included Tham Lup, Jeong Sam Bing, Wong Sei, Chun Mien, Lee So, Wong Fook, and Chan Ngau Sing. Senior disciple Lui Chun went on to produce Tam Sam-who became the founder of the Choy Lee Fut Buk Sing lineage. Through Lee Yan’s line the Singapore Hung Sing Kwoon was established, and Yuen Hai produced Lau Bun who became the founder of the first gung fu school on american soil, as well as the first Hung Sing Kwoon established there. Evidence of Jeong Hung Sing’s involvement with the Hung Mun is found in a number of places. The first is found in the pair of couplets ALL Hung Sing Kwoon’s use. The left side reads, “A strong fist releases out like a tiger raising its head” while the right side reads, “A graceful staff flies above like a dragon whipping its tail.” Now, when you string the first two words of each couplet together, it means “Hero” as in revolutionary hero. Another link is found in the set up of Cheung Yim’s alter and the way it was set up.

Cheung Hung Sing continued to develop his Hung Sing Choy Lee Fut and training freedom fighters for the rest of his life. His successor-Chan Ngau Sing-didn’t come into the picture until 1883 when he (Cheung Hung Sing) was about 60 years old. According to material passed down from the Fut San Hung Sing Kwoon, Yuen Hai was responsible for recruiting Chan Ngau Sing, whom, at first was extremely skeptical of Jeong Hung Sing. He felt that he was actually better than this old gung fu master. However, the old Jeong Hung Sing matched up with Chan Ngau Sing and advised him to pay attention, because he’s going to fall first the to the east, then to the west, and finally down the center. At the end of three quick rounds, Cheung Hung Sing honored his word, and Chan Ngau Sing landed exactly where Jeong Hung Sing, this old dying relic, predicted he would. Chan Ngau Sing learned the hard way that this old master really was one of southern China’s greatest fighters and requested to be taken as a disciple.

In 1893, Cheung Hung Sing fell ill and Chan Ngau Sing tried to take him to see his own personal doctor. However, Cheung Hung Sing, founder of the Fut San Hung Sing Kwoon passed away due to this illness. As it’s passed down within the Fut San Hung Sing Kwoon, Cheung Hung Sing left behind his wife (Chan Kay) and his two sons who died pretty young themselves. Chan Ngau Sing from that point on became the next inheritor of the Fut San Hung Sing Kwoon.[/CENTER][/B]
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