Buck Sing Choy Lay Fut - One Style: Two Legacies

Since the early stages of its conception, two popular versions relating to the history on Choy Lay Fut has emerged. This has led to decades of disputes between generations of faithful followers within the two major branches of Choy Lay Fut - the CHAN FAMILY branch of Chan Heung and the HUNG SING branch of Cheung Hung Sing. The most widely accepted belief amongst followers in the Choy Lay Fut fraternity is that Chan Heung and Cheung Hung Sing were both co-founders of Choy Lay Fut martial arts. However, because the Chan Family branch wanted Chan Heung to get all the credit for Choy Lay Fut's development, they have purposely left Cheung Hung Sing's (Cheung Yim) name out of the history on Choy Lay Fut as they wanted Chan Heung to have the title as the "Founder of the Style".

The Year That Choy Lay Fut
Began To Take Root

It is interesting to note that it was ONLY after Cheung Yim (Cheung Hung Sing) had returned to King Mui village (Chan Village) in 1836 with the martial arts skills he acquired from the fugitive Shaolin monk known by the alias "Ching Cho Wor Seung" (Green Grass Monk) that Choy Lay Fut began to take root. Upon his return to King Mui village, Cheung Yim used the adopted name that his teacher Ching Cho gave him and he was henceforth known as Cheung Hung Sing. As Chan Heung had missed the chance of learning martial arts from the monk Ching Cho, he seized the opportunity to learn the Fut Gar Jeung (Buddhist Palm) martial arts from Cheung Hung Sing whom Chan had formerly taught martial arts to secretly (because of the strict rules of the Chan Clan forbidding "outsiders" to learn martial arts from Chan Heung).

Rather than teaching several different Shaolin martial arts styles, it was more practical to combine them into one complete fighting art, especially during a turbulent period when Cheung Hung Sing was patriotically involved in the secret underground revolutionary movement that was organized to overthrow the Ching (Manchu) government. This effort was materialized and a new dynamic fighting art began to emerge. But before a name was chosen for it, it was simply referred to as "Fut Gar Jing Jung" - meaning authentic "Buddhist style" of Shaolin. Later it became known by the name CHOY LAY FUT as it was a combination of the 3 styles of Choy Gar, Lay Gar and Fut Gar to commemorate the 3 teachers Choy Fook, Lay Yau Sarn (Chan Heung's two teachers) and Ching Cho who taught Cheung Hung Sing the Fut Gar Jeung fighting arts. Together Chan Heung and Cheung Hung Sing jointly taught martial arts in King Mui village and the name "Hung Sing" (that Ching Cho gave Cheung Yim) became synonymous to Choy Lay Fut pugilism.

The Segregation of Choy Lay Fut

In 1839 Cheung Hung Sing founded the first "Hung Sing Gwoon" martial arts school in Futsan. His popularity and martial arts reputation attracted many students and he was known to everyone as "Choy Lay Fut Hung Sing". Hence Chan Heung and Cheung Hung Sing separately propagated Choy Lay Fut - Chan in King Mui village and Cheung in Futsan. In time, both used their martial arts knowledge to develop their own individual forms and methods of training. Thus Choy Lay Fut martial arts gradually segregated into two branches - that of Chan Heung and Cheung Hung Sing. That did not mean the Choy Lay Fut that Chan Heung and Cheung Hung Sing taught were two different Styles - they both came from the same roots!

Because of the propaganda by the Chan Family branch to promote Chan Heung as the sole founder of Choy Lay Fut martial arts, they not only denied Cheung Hung Sing's role in Choy Lay Fut, but also his existence in King Mui Village (Chan village) where Chan Heung taught martial arts to his fellow clansmen (those of the Chan family name). This was seen by the Futsan Hung Sing Gwoon as a deliberate scheme orchestrated by the "CHAN FAMILY" Choy Lay Fut branch in King Mui Village to discredit any revelation by the Hung Sing branch about Cheung Hung Sing's direct involvement in the development of Choy Lay Fut fighting arts and his rightful title as the style's "Chong Pai Jo Si" (Founder). That's why in their story in the founding of CLF based on their "Chan Family Historical Records", they never mentioned Cheung Hung Sing's name and that of his mentor Ching Cho Wor Seung (Green Grass Monk) who taught Cheung Hung Sing the Fut Gar Jeung martial arts at Buck Pai mountain for five or more years because that would then clash with their version on the founding of CLF as propagated by the Chan clan.

The true historical facts surrounding the story on the founding of CLF, its originator, why this fighting art was called "Choy Lay Fut", the logical reason for using the "Hung Sing" name, the existence of the "Green Grass Monk" etc. will be clearly explained in the next update to this web site.