Wong Fei Hong

Wong Fei Hung or Huang Fei Hong (traditional Chinese: 黃飛鴻; simplified Chinese: 黄飞鸿; pinyin: Huáng Fēihóng; Cantonese Yale: Wòhng Fēihùhng) (1847–1924) was a martial artist, a medical doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, and revolutionary who became a Chinese folk hero and the subject of numerous television series and films.

As a healer and medical doctor, Wong practiced and taught acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine at 'Po Chi Lam' (寶芝林), his private practice medical clinic in Foshan, Guangdong Province, China, where he was known for his compassion and policy of treating any patient. A museum dedicated to him was built in Foshan.

Amongst Wong's most famous disciples were Lam Sai Wing, Leung Foon, Tang Fung, and Ling Wan Gai. He was also associated with Chi Su Hua, aka Beggar So.

Wong Fei Hung (Cantonese) or Huang Fei Hong (Mandarin), was a real life person and Kung Fu Grand Master who lived in Foshan City. He was a renowned Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and a Kung Fu Grand Master. He was supreme in the Hung Ga form of Kung Fu. There is a school and museum dedicated to him in Foshan city today, located near Xi Qiao Shan. China Expats knows this well - we can see it from our office.

Spelling and pronunciation:
This is basically a nightmare! We will use the official Mainland Cantonese, which is Wong Fei Hong. Wong Fei Hung is Hong Kong Cantonese. Huang Fei Hong is Mandarin. Now lets try 'Hung Ga' ... well, there are around 20 different spellings of this worldwide, of which frequent alternatives are 'Hun Gar', 'Hung Gar', and 'Hung Ga'. As this is a Cantonese name, and Cantonese cannot pronounce the letter 'r' and also drop last letter 'g' to a silent component - so you can see why we end up in a muddle. We will use the official Mainland Cantonese 'Hung Ga'

Then of course, Chinese people love to play tricks with language, and you may consider this name to also mean yellow (wong, huang) vs (fei) red (hong). Hung in HK Cantonese can mean 'red' or other things. And of course, the Characters are not correct - but the implied meaning is, and is presented as a joke or test - depending upon your personal perspective. Here is China!
Image: Wong Fei Hong

Legend has it that Wong Fei Hung was born in Foshan on the ninth day of the seventh month of the twenty-seventh year of the reign of Emperor Daoguang (1847). When Wong was five, he began his study of martial arts under his father Wong Kei Ying, one of the Ten Tigers of Canton.

To supplement his poor family's income, he followed his father to Foshan, Guangzhou and throughout the rest of Guangdong Province to do martial arts performances and to sell medicines.

Well within his youth, Wong began showing great potential as a martial artist. At the age of thirteen, while giving a martial arts demonstration at Douzhixiang, Foshan, Wong Fei Hung met Lam Fuk Sing,
Lam was First Apprentice of Tit Kiu Saam, who later taught him the "tour de force" of Iron Wire Fist and Sling, which helped him become a master of Hung Ga

Let's try and clean up a point of contention:
Hung Ga is often known as Hung Gar in USA and Western Kung Fu schools = this is simply a different spelling in English of Chinese characters and sounds ... plus whether these are the Mandarin characters and sounds, or the correct versions in Cantonese? Our simple answer to this is 'hung ga' is correct, if only because Cantonese cannot generally pronounce the letter 'r'. But then this would also make you a practitioner of 'gong fu' and not 'kung fu!

When he was sixteen, Wong set up martial arts schools at Shuijiao, Diqipu, Xiguan, Guangdong Province, and then opened his clinic 'Po Chi Lam' (寶芝林) on Renan Street in Foshan. By his early 20s, he was fast making his mark as a highly-respected physician and martial artist.
Later years
As a famous martial arts master, he had many apprentices. He was successfully engaged by Jiming Provincial Commander-in-Chief Wu Quanmei and Liu Yongfu as the military medical officer, martial art general drillmaster, and Guangdong local military general drillmaster. He later followed Liu Yongfu to fight against the Japanese army in Taiwan. His life was full of frustration, and in his later years he experienced the loss of his son and the burning of Po Chi Lam, an academy that went unsurpassed in martial arts competitions. On lunar year, the twenty-fifth day of the third month in 1924, Wong Fei Hung died of illness in Guangdong Chengxi Fangbian Hospital. His wife and two of his prominent students, Lam Sai-Wing and Tang Sai-King, moved to Hong Kong, where they continued teaching Wong's martial art. Wong became a legendary hero whose real-life story was mixed freely with fictional exploits on the printed page and onscreen.
Martial Artist

Wong was a master of the Chinese martial art Hung Fist. He systematized the predominant style of Hung Fist and choreographed its version of the famous Tiger Crane Paired Form Fist, which incorporates his "Ten Special Fist" techniques. Wong was famous for his skill with the technique known as the "Shadowless Kick". He was known to state the names of the techniques he used while fighting.

Wong Fei Hung also became adept at using weapons such as the wooden long staff and the southern tiger fork. Soon after, stories began circulating about his mastery of these weapons. One story recounts how he defeated a 30-man gang on the docks of Canton using the staff.

Wong is sometimes incorrectly identified as one of the Ten Tigers of Canton (a group of ten of the top martial arts masters in Guangdong near the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912). His father Wong Kei Ying was one of the Ten Tigers, but Wong Fei-Hung was not. Due to his heroic efforts in defending China's pride during a period when Chinese morale was at an all time low, Wong Fei-Hung is sometimes known as the "Tiger after the Ten Tigers."

For those new to Chinese Kung Fu and Martial Arts in China, please accept that fighting skills are always only one aspect of the Art. They are always complimented by Philosophy, Mental agility, Medicine, use of weapons, and other skills such as true Lion Dance and especially Chinese Calligraphy.

It is said that a Chinese Grand Master of Kung Fu uses identical movements when wielding a Calligraphy brush and a sword. A fine example of this can be demonstrated in the excellent movie 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' which stars Jet Li as a bonus! One subplot centres around a Grand Master being requested to find the 20th way of writing the character for 'Sword' Eventually he solves the conundrum, and writes the new character in a large sand box using continuous and unbroken strokes of a sword.

Please note we live in Foshan, and Candy (Jonno's PA) lives about half a mile from the Wong Fei Hong school and museum based in Xiqiao. We know this area very well, and though never claiming to be 'travel agents', we can get you a great deal at local prices. We can also make enjoyable excursions for partners who are not into Kung Fu studies, but travel with you. Simply tell us what you want and we will make it so. That Simple!
Edited, added to, and reproduced under Collective Commons licence from Wikipedia

Sorry but there aren't any decent links to media, but we'll try and provide something suitable soon. Please refer to our page: Jet Li, as he has played Wong Fei Hung in more than 2-dozen films to date.

In the meantime, if you have links worthy of inclusion - which can include your own club or association - simply send it through to us for inclusion. You may also include this as a topic in our Forum. Thank you