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Choi Wingsum, One of the Successors of Pak Mei Quan in Canada PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 04 June 2007
    Choi Wingsum, One of the Successors of Pak Mei Quan in Canada
    Mr. Zhang Liquan was a master representing a historic generation of Pak Mei Quan. In the period of 1930s and 1940s, employed as a drillmaster in Huangpu (Whampoa) Military Academy, Guangzhou, Zhang began to teach disciples among folk people and to exchange some experiences and skills in practicing the Quan with other masters. He went to Hong Kong and continued teaching the Quan later. No matter in Guangzhou or in Hong Kong, many wonderful legends and folktales about Zhang and his Kung-fu have been coming down. Due to his hard work, non-stop goal pursuing and continuous practice in playing Chinese traditional Kung-fu, Zhang finally had been a famous master of the Quan. It is easy to be acknowledged that Zhang had been practicing his Kung-fu hard enough in owning that fame in those years. It is really worth fro all of us to study the legacy of the theory and technique about his Quan and Kung-fu skills.
There are many contents of Pak Mei Quan coming down including both the Quan and weapons in practicing. The most representative practice of the Quan is Zhi Bu (straight stepping), Shi Zi (cross), San Men (three doors), Jiu Bu Tui (nine step pushes), Si Men Ba Gua (four doors and the Eight Diagrams), Shi Ba Mo Qiao (eighteen touching bridge) and Meng Hu Chu Lin(fierce tiger jumping out of woods). According to the introduction issued by some disciples of Pak Mei Quan in Hong Kong, Meng Hu Chu Lin might be the highest among the all.
     Recently, I met Choi in Hong Kong while he was to visit his relatives, and talked with him frequently. He told me his experience and achievement in learning and practicing Pak Mei Quan for such ages.
    Choi Wingsum, one of the disciples of Pak Mei Quan in Canada, left Hong Kong for Canada to develop his business in 1979. Several years later, overcoming various obstacles, he established Pak Mei Chinese Kung-fu Association and Chengde Hall Hospital. Now he is the chief supervisor of Bai Mei Cai Yongshen Quan School in Ontario State, Canada and Hong Kong.
    Choi had learned Pak Mei Quan from Zhang Bingfa, the third son of Zhang Liquan, when he was young. He has been practicing the Quan for over 30 years and began to teach in Hong Kong since 1970. While he moved to Canada in 1979, he did not intend to open any school to teach the Quan. By way of an avocation, he simply taught several disciples who really wanted to learn Chinese Kung-fu. In 1991, Mr. Zhang Bingfa, the teacher of Choi, died of illness. This matter aroused Choi's determination to teach Pak Mei Quan in Canada in order to memorize his teacher. Later, he set up Chengde Hall in Toronto to publicize Pak Mei Quan and Chinese traditional culture.
     As one of the main disciples of Chinese Kung-fu with a lot of traditional Chinese culture borne in his mind, Choi really cares about the continuality of Chinese traditional culture. He named his school Chengde Hall since Cheng means honesty and De, ethics. He wrote a two-line poem for the Hall that "honesty, the way we get along with people, ethics, is prior to all values in our life." He believes that the ethical education is an important part of Chinese traditional Kung-fu in teaching and learning within the period of thousands years. He hopes that his students could possess good nature and abide by the ethics code of Chinese traditional culture when they have been learning Kung-fu. His desire issued to his students totally fits the general standard in
Chinaese traditional Kung-fu field, while the standard also emphasizes that ethics is prior to skill and never teaching issued to those without ethics. His insistence is noticeably valuable.
    Having contacted lots of Kung-fu practicing people in different styles, I think the real practice of Kung-fu, no matter belonging to which style, must have something in common. Many characteristics of the exercises and usages of Pak Mei Quan are expressed in its sets of movements. Therefore, the topic of our conversation had to be including his understanding of the commonness of Kung-fu. He also made a presentation of applying his Kung-fu then for me.
   Pak Mei Quan emphasizes taking possession of the unique characteristics of south style Kung-fu, Liu Jin(six strength), Tun Tu(breathing out and in), Fa Jin(outburst of strength) and Hua Jin (discharge of attacking). Practicing or playing Ma Bu(standing as a horse) of Pak Mei Quan, one should keep his feet relative position with his knees bent Bu Ding Bu Ba (neither vertical nor posed as a Chinese character, eight…)then what will be the correct relationship between the requirements both in practicing and in real fighting? Is the Kai Zhuan Shi (opening movement)a normative starting of the Quan? Is it pragmatic? What should be practiced? How to Fa Jin, how to Chou Suo (pull back), how to use them in real fighting? What is the relationship between these innumerable questions and other different styles of the Quan and various kinds of Chinese Kung-fu?
    Recently, I had talked with Mr.Choi Wingsum for dozens of hours. When I saw his presentation in practicing his Kung-fu, I was deeply impressed. I think Choi is a man working really hard and his Kung-fu is developed on a high level. His Jing Jin(shocking strength) and Chou La Jin(the power in taking out and pulling) making me taken by storm are strong ones in Kung-fu field. I judge it so according to the common requirements and standard of Chinese Kung-fu.
Choi believes that Pak Mei Quan belongs to Nei Jia Quan (the Quan focusing on one's inner breathing and strength). Practicing Pak Mei Quan, we emphasis inner practices of Jin Gu Qi(muscle, bones and breathing). The Quan cannot be used without Jin Gu Qi. The practice focusing in Jin Gu Qi will be an important part in our later exercising courses taught by our masters.
"Practicing one's inner breathing inside and muscle, bones and skin outside", said by the Quan exercisers in north China for ages, has been coming down as a famous proverb in Chinese Kung-fu field. Conclusively, they take trek breathing practices as inner ones and the muscle, bones and skin practices as the external. This idea certainly differs to the one issued by South Shao Lin Kung-fu which takes the practice of muscle and bones still as inner practices. In the south part of China, the masters and exercisers of Kung-fu have already known to practice their Jin Gu in an inner way already being popular in Fujian and Guangdong Provinces. The practicing ways of muscle and bones are various, yet they have shared the common goals: by practicing their muscle and bones, they could stretch and shrink their Jin Gu making them strengthened to be available to gamer their powers and to attack their opponents in sending out Jing Bao Jin (shocking force in burst). Besides, by the inner moving of your muscle and bones, you can discharge and melt the coming strength made by your opponent to let him scratch his head over the parts of his body or the directions you are attacking. That's the target the South style Kung-fu requires the learners to practice their inner strength and their muscle and bones as well.
     Indeed, Zhang Liquan was a wonderful master of Chinese Kung-fu. The Pak Mei Quan taught by Zhang Liquan has really got the main characteristic of the Kung-fu schools in middle and south China. Paying attention to the contents of Pak Mei Quan circulated at present, we can totally see the necessary elements and characters strength and power, discharging outside forces attacked by his opponent by practicing and running his own inner power, teaching and training how to advance, back-off, how to move and use the upper, middle and lower parts of his body respectively and cooperatively when he is attacking and defending himself in real fighting:.
     Choi has studied Kung-fu for over thirty years getting his own understanding. As he said, he has been overcoming a lot of obstacles and difficulties and coming through repeated practices having his own understanding and conclusion.
(To be continued. In our next issue, we will have an introduction of Mr. Choi's further explanation for his Kung-fu and understanding of Pak Mei Quan.)


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