Yuan Kay-shan - Wing Chun Studies

Wing Chun Studies

Yuan's family ancestral estate home was named Song Yuen (Mulberry Gardens), and located in Foshan, China. Initially, Kay San's father paid for him and his older brother Yuen Chai-Wan to become students of Fok Bo-Chuen (霍保全; pinyin: Huò Bǎoquán; Yale Cantonese: Fok3 Bou2 Chyun4; also transliterated "Kwok Bo-Chuen").

Yuen Kay San and his older brother had developed an interest in the martial arts. Yuen Kay San's older brother Yuen Chai Wan was known as "Pock Skin Chai" and later became the founder of Yiu Choi and Vietnamese Branches of Wing Chun. Their father Yuen Chong Ming housed and paid a large sum of money imperial constable Fok Bo Chuen to teach both of the Yuen brothers Wing Chun. From Fok Bo Chuen, Yuen Kay San learned the 3 open hand forms, Siu Lien Tau, Chum Kiu and the Biu Jee. In addition he mastered the knives, 6 and a half point pole and the flying darts. He had also been taught the Wooden Dummy, Bamboo Dummy and several different jong variations, as well as Red Sand Palm.

Later, Ma Bok-Leung, Jiu Gan-Heung, Lo Hao-Po, Ng Ngau Si, Leung Yan as well as Yuan Kay-san and his brother, invited Fung Siu-Ching to come and teach. Fung stayed at the Yuan ancestral home, where the two brothers combined the teachings of their past and present teacher. From Fung Siu Ching they learned his skills in close body applications which included the kum Na, Fa Kum Na, body wrapping, sweeping, breaking and throwing skills. Fung Siu Chiong was a disciple of red boat master Dai Fai Min Kam. The Yuens cared for Fung Siu Ching until his death in 1936. 1936 also marked the year when Yuen Kay San and Yuen Chai Wan had gone their separate ways. Yuan Kay-Shan's brother eventually was invited to teach in Vietnam, where he founded the Nguyễn Tế-Công branch (Vietnam WingChun 永春) branch of the art. Yuan Kay-Shan remained in Foshan, where he became friends with other Wing Chun notables like Yip Man, Yiu Choi, Yip Chung Hong, Lai Hip Chi, Tong Gai and others. Yuan Kay-Shan became close enough with Yip Man that he taught Yip's son, Yip Chun, the first form of the art. In some accounts, Yuen Chai Wan had to leave Foshan due to duel where he had slain his opponent with his skills in Fok Bo Chuen/Fung Siu Ching Wing Chun. He left for Vietnam while Yuen Kay San remained in Foshan.

In addition to having a high caliber skill in Wing Chun, Yuen Kay San had also been an educated man who had worked as a part-time lawyer. By being an educated individual he was also one of the first Wing Chun masters to document the theories, concepts, philosophies and strategies of the system. He is also considered a major contributor to luk dim boon gwun and had at one point was even challenged by a monk from Jianxi Province. Death waivers had been signed and the duel had taken place in the Palace of 1000 years longevity. Both fighters were armed with iron poles. Yuen Kay San disarmed the monk and spared his life in the duel not only demonstrating his skills in kung fu but also demonstrating his nobility as a martial artist. Yuen Kay Shan never looked for fights, but when challenges could not be avoided, Yuen Kay San took them as learning opportunities. Of hundreds of death duels Yuen Kay San fought in he was never defeated.

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