2004 was one of my best training visits of Hong Kong and China. I have been living in my Sifu’s house in Shenzhen for couple of months and we have been really busy, training very hard.
Every morning we woke up at 6 o’clock AM and went to the park to practice the precious “Iron Thread Set” (Tit Sin Kyun) – every single day, for more than two hours. After the practice we went to the neighbouring street restaurant for a bowl of rice porridge with eggs or fish and hot tofu milk. Discussing the origins of the “Iron Thread”, one of the “Three Treasures” of Hung Ga Kyun, my Sifu told me an old legend, handed down from the masters of previous generations to Grandmaster Lam Saiwing and his father, Grandmaster Lam Jou.
The story goes like this:
In the Ching dynasty, there was a gungfu master, whose job was an armed exort service bodyguard. He was betrayed and killed by one of his best students. His daughter has run away, and went into the hidding, mourning her father, being depressed and sad, crying all the time.
One night, a white crane ascended from the sky, and turned himself into an old man, Immortal White Crane (Baak Hok Sin Si). He has taught her the secret art of Tit Sin Kyun to the girl. It is said that this set has still a lot of the emotions (sadness, fear and worry).
The girl later met a man, famous fighter, and promised to teach him Tit Sin Kyun, but only on the condition that he will avenge the murder of her father. He has agreed and eventually has killed the treacherous ex-student of her father. Tit Sin Kyun was later on transmitted to Tit Kiu Saam and following generations.
As some of you might have noticed, the story is very similar to the legend of Hung Heigun and “Third Lady” of Wing Cheun/Fong Chat Leung, as well as the legends of Fukgin White Crane and Wing Chun system. Grandmaster Lam Saiwing is said to have a ancestral tablet of Immortal White Crane (Baak Hok Sin Si), as we have seen in the old text written by Jyu Yujai, student of grandmaster Lam, posted on the portal (please see here).
I am very happy to finally find an image of the altar with the same inscription, taken in the temple of Fong Chatleung, founder of the Fukgin White Crane (see the photo on the left).
The question is: Do these systems share a common root?
We will examine the various legends in the future articles. For now, enjoy an excellent Chinese documentary about Fukgin White Crane and judge for yourself. White Crane, Hung Ga Kyun & Wing Chun practioners, let me know what you think and feel free to add your comments to the article.
About the author: Pavel Macek sifu (Practical Hung Kyun), a disciple of Grandmaster Lam Chun Sing, is currently teaching in Central Europe (Prague, Czech republic). His system of teaching puts emphasis on a practical application of the art, reality-based self-defense, strength and conditioning as well as research of various Southern Chinese Martial Arts. Please visit his website at practicalhungkyun.com and facebook.com/practicalhungkyun.