After Jeong Yim 張炎, two very relevant figures in the field of Choy Li Fut 蔡李佛 in southern China were the Masters Chan Ngau Sing 陳吽盛 and Wu Wan Choek 胡雲綽 (Hú Yún Chuò).
Chan Ngau Sing 陳吽盛
Grand Master Chan Ngau Sing
Professionally, Ngau Sing was dedicated to the copper industry as blacksmith and forger. A native of Futsan 佛山, he had studied Hung Kuen 洪拳 in his youth and had the physical strength of a bull. When his Hung Kuen master abandoned Futsan, he sent Ngau sing to the Hung Sing 鴻勝 school to learn Choy Li Fut. It is said that Chan Ngau Sing was not very convinced of the efficacy of Choy Li Fut and decided to test it by challenging Jeong Yim to a fight. Jeong Yim was victorious in the three rounds that lasted the bout and Chan Ngau Sing was very impressed. Under Jeong Yim's guidance he learned quickly and eventually became a school instructor.
After the death of Jeong Yim 張炎, Ngau Sing succeeded him in charge of the Hung Sing school of Futsan; he opened new schools all over the city and taught Kung Fu to several workers' organizations, increasing the fame of the Hung Sing branch throughout the region. He was one of the so-called "Three Kings of Lion Dance of Canton".
One of his most outstanding students was Grand Master Wu Wan Choek.
Grandmaster Wu Wan Choek
Master Wu Wan Choek 胡雲綽, better known out of Canton by his Mandarin name Hú Yún Chuò, was a great martial artist and teacher of Choy Li Fut 蔡李佛 and Tài Jí Quán 太極拳. Born in Futsan 佛山 in 1906, at the age of nine he began his training in Chinese Martial Arts with Grand Master Chan Ngau Sing 陳吽盛, who taught the Choy Li Fut style in the Hung Sing Gwoon 鴻勝舘 in Futsan.
At sixteen he moved to Guǎngzhōu 廣州 to continue his studies, and years later he graduated in Western Medicine. There he met Grand Master Chan Yiu Chi 陳耀墀, grandson of the founder of the style and one of the greatest masters of all time. With him he spent twenty years studying Choy Li Fut until he became one of his most advanced students, nicknamed the "twelve virtuous disciples" (四賢八俊人 sì xián bā jùn rén, literally, "the four virtuous and the eight gifted").
In addition to being an expert in Choy Li Fut, Hú Yún Chuò also studied many other Kung Fu systems: Hung Kuen 洪拳, Praying Mantis 螳螂拳, Xíng Yì Quán 形意拳, Bā Guà Zhǎng 八卦掌... In 1929 he began studying Tài Jí Quán with Chén Wēi Míng 陈微明, a student of Grand Master Yáng Chéngfǔ 杨澄甫, and from 1932 to 1934 he studied directly from the latter.
In 1929, he met General Lǐ Jǐnglín 李景林, a great expert in the Wǔdāng 武當 straight sword, who after finishing his military career was dedicated to the teaching of martial arts. Lǐ Jǐnglín was an expert and renowned swordsman who was known as "the First Sword of China". Studying with him, Hú Yún Chuò acquired great skill with the straight sword.
General Lǐ Jǐnglín 李景林, "the First Sword of China"
At that time, Hú Yún Chuò was one of the best-known martial artists of his time. In 1945 he accepted the challenge to a great fight in Fut-San by a Belorussian boxer who had already defeated several Chinese masters of Kung Fu. The Kung Fu masters did not usually fight with boxing gloves and their techniques were limited. In that combat not only the reputation of the style was at stake, but the very reputation of Chinese martial arts. Hú Yún Chuò endured the first round without being able to defeat his opponent, the impact of his blows being absorbed in part by the gloves. In the second, Hú Yún Chuò hitted his opponent with a Kap-Chui 級捶 with the base of the wrist, causing him KO instantly and winning the fight. His fame increased and he was hailed as a hero by restoring the fame of Chinese Martial Arts.
Grand Master Wu Wan Choek
Hú Yún Chuò dedicated his life to Chinese Martial Arts. Before the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, he moved with his wife to Taiwan, where he died on August 26, 1997 at the age of 91.
In Hú Yún Chuò our lineages of Choy Li Fut and Tài Jí Quán converge; since him, in the schools of the branch of Master Wong Doc-Fai 黄德輝 both styles are taught.
We also owe him the straight sword form of Choy Li Fut known as Wan Choek Dan Gim 雲綽单劍 ("Wu Wan Choek's Straight Sword"), sometimes also called "Starry Sky Straight Sword", "Wǔdāng Sword" or "General Lǐ's Sword", since it was General Lǐ Jǐnglín from whom Hú Yún Chuò learned his handling. The form, although adapted to the positions of Choy Li Fut, contains movements more typical of the arts of Wǔdāng.
Grandmaster Jie-Gao Pedro Rico, who was our teacher, was lucky to meet Hú Yún Chuò, and used to tell us that, in addition to a great martial artist, he was a wonderful person.
We are grateful to his teachings and those of all teachers of our lineage; thanks to them the Choy Li Fut is still alive and has survived to this day. We greet the Masters Ancestors!