Pak Mei History

Pak Mei existed in the late 1600's during the Ching Dynasty. It was within the walls of Siu Lum Jee (Shaolin Temple) where an anonymous Monk trained and mastered his Kung Fu skills. He was selected with three others - a nun Ng Mui, Jee Shin Shim See and Fung Doe Duk - to learn from a Tibetan Lama who was visiting the Temple at the time. The Manchurians, ruler of China during the Ching Dynasty, suspected a gathering of revolutionaries who wanted to overthrow the Ching government and rebuild the Ming Dynasty.

The Manchurian Emperor sent an army to destroy the rebellions. At that time Ma Lin Yee, a monk who was dismissed from the temple for breaking a precious lamp given by an emperor, became a traitor and gave information to the Manchurians. The attack came as a surprise. Many monks died trying to protect themselves and the burning Temple. 18 monks escaped from the destruction.

But once the Manchurian commander learned about the 18 survivors, he ordered his army to hunt them down, stopping them from spreading their knowledge and their cowardly attack. 13 monks were found and killed, while the 5 survivors travelled to Ngor Mei Mountain. A 3099m high mountain with about 70 monasteries and temples at that time,is the best place to hide from the Manchurians. They took refuge at a Taoist Kwong Wai Temple. When the five masters requested to stay at the temple, the Abbot Taoist priest asked for their names. They all responded, except for the anonymous Monk. He hesitated to tell the priest, knowing he was one of the wanted men. The Taoist Priest understood his reasons, accepted him and gave him the name Pak Mei, because of the anonymous Monk's distinctive
white eyebrows.

The five Masters needed to create a new system. The Old Shaolin system took 15 to 20 years to master - too long to take revenge - and the Manchurians who may attack at any time if their hideout was given away.

• Pak Mei led the life of a hermit studying Taoism and Taoist Kung Fu. It was here that Pak Mei refined his Kung Fu by combining Shaolin and Taoist training with his study of the fighting animals of the Ngor Mei region. His style was known as Ngor Mei Siu Lum, an external and internal system. The other four masters also developed their own system.
• Ng Mui the nun: Mui Fa Kuen (Plum Blossom Fist)
• Jee Shin Shim Shee: Kept the traditional Shaolin System, But was later responsible for a lot of the new Southern styles.
• Fung Dao Duk: Pack Fu Pai (White Tiger Style)
• Mew Hin the unshaved monk: Ng Ying Kung Keun (5 animal style) and 18 Taoist palms

They were all so very content with their new fighting styles that they started to test and challenge each other. This was also for them to decide who was the best person to spy on the royal palace and gain information to plan for their revenge. After many tests and fights they came to the conclusion that Pak Mei and Fung Dao Duk were the best. The two styles looked quite similar and are often confused. But Pak Mei was finally chosen to take on this dangerous task while the others would travel and start rebellions and secret societies.

Jee Shin Shim See travelled back to the Shaolin Temple after it was rebuilt and became the abbot. He taught numerous students, such as Hung Hei Gung (Hung Gar), Lau Soan Ngan (Lau Gar), Lee Yao San (Lee Gar), Choy Gau Yee (Choy Gar), and Mok Ching Gui (Mok Gar). And also Fong Sai Yuke the son of Mew Choi Fa (the daughter of Mew Hin). Ng Mui went to a nearby village near the Shaolin Temple where she taught her Kung Fu to Mew Choi Fa, and later became the master of Yin Wing Chun (the founder of the Wing Chun style). The Taoist priest Fung Dao Duk travelled from village to village helping, healing and teaching people while Mew Hin went around the country side. Pak Mei stayed at the Ngor Mei Mountain. He became the Abbot of the whole Ngor Mei Mountain and gained the name Pak Mei Do Yun (White eyebrow Taoist Priest).

The secret societies established by the five Masters was called the Anti Ching Triads. Like Hung Mun the famous society that's responsible for a lot of today's modern triads. They use the phrase FAN CHING FUK MING (overthrow the Ching, restore the Ming). These four Characters were also represented by four fingers and a fist - these were the code of their societies. Each master had their own hand respect and this can still been seen at the start and end of a Kung Fu form or pattern. Pak Mei's hand respect is different from the rest. The vertical right palm on top of the left fist. If ever the Manchurians asked them what these hand respect meant, they would say a different phrase: SEY HOI YUT GAR (All men are brothers within the four seas).

Pak Mei and his students went on their task but failed to the emperor's trap. He joined the forces of the Manchurians to save his students from torture and death, helping them to locate the rebellions and teaching his deadly kung fu system to the army and the emperor's bodyguards. While gaining followers in Northern China, the Southerners turned against him for betraying his fellow revolutionaries and Pak Mei's martial art was called "the forbidden style". The Emperor ordered him to take soldiers to the Shaolin temple and capture the rest of the rebellions. Pak Mei was confronted by Jee Shin Shim See at the front of the temple. This was to distract Pak Mei while the rebellions try to escape, but in the end Jee Shim lost his life to Pak Mei. The ones who escaped later took vengeance on Pak Mei.

One of them were Fong Sai Yuke, the best fighter among the other students. Since childhood his mother Mew Choi Fa was taught by her master Ng Mui to bath him in Tid Da Jowl (Chinese Medicine) then condition his whole body by hitting him with a stick. His body was Tune Pey Tid Gruck (copper skin, iron bones). Pak Mei had known the boy since young and knew the lower spine of Fong Sai Yuke wasn't conditioned. Pak Mei struck his lower spine with fatal results and the rest all hesitated to take revenge again.

Pak Mei retired from the Manchurians and spent the rest of his life back in Kwong Wai Temple. It was there he taught his whole system to monk Kwong Wai. It is written in a Taoist book that Pak Mei lived for over 100 years. In respect to his Sifu, Kwong Wai named the Kung Fu system Pak Mei. Knowing how deadly this Martial Art is, it was taught only to a selected Monk within Ngor Mei Mountain. Kwong Wai passed this system to Chuk Fat Wan who later accepted a second disciple called Cheung Lai Chun.

History of Great Grand Master Cheung Lai Chun

Great grand master Cheung Lai Chun was born in 1880 during the Ching Dynasty. He was a student of many great Kung Fu Masters and completed the Gypsy/Wanders style, Lee Gar Style and the Dragon Style. He thought he was a excellent fighter and went to try his luck in Canton with one of his Dragon Sifuís son Lam Yiu Quai.

He met a young Monk in a Tea House and thought the Monk unusual because no Manchurians Officers dared sit next to him. Cheung invited the young Monk to his house to celebrate a Buddhist god's festival. The young Monk got a bit drunk and Cheung started talking about Kung Fu. The young Monk did not respond so Master Cheung decided to perform a Kung Fu form. Straight after he finished Cheung asked the young Monk if it was useful for fighting. The Monk just replied, "It depends". Master Cheung asked the Monk to demonstrate his Kung Fu. The Monk stood up and performed three techniques: a spear hand, a Phoenix eye punch and one "Monk-Take-Off-Robe".

Great Master Cheung criticised him, saying it wasn't useful because he just stood there, and challenged the Monk for a contest. The Monk didn't answer. When he asked the Monk to put himself on guard the Monk just shook his head. Cheung rushed forward and attacked the Monk using all the styles he knew but he could not touch the Monk. Unfortunately for Cheung the young Monk used the techniques he performed earlier - "Monk-Take-Off-Robe". He turned at the waist, blocked and pushed. Master Cheung flew off like a plane and broke the goldfish tank upon landing.

Master Cheung was stunned by what had happened. He asked the young Monk to teach him but he refused because his Sifu would punish him for showing people his Kung Fu. Master Cheung asked the Monk to take him to his Sifu. The Monk still refused, adding that his Sifu will half-kill him. After several weeks Master Cheung gleaned that the Sifu of the young Monk was a 92 year old Monk call Chuk Fat Wan. Chuk was a disciple at a Taoist Kwong Wai Temple where Pak Mei, the Taoist priest, taught Kung Fu. Chuk Fat Wan loved eggs, so one day Master Cheung brought two baskets of eggs and followed a young Monk to the Temple.

Master Cheung said he is looking for a true martial art and sincerely wanted to become his disciple. Old Master Chuk Fat Wan was angry. He refused and said he would leave the Temple. But Master Cheung said he would sell his property and follow him wherever he went. Chuk Fat Wan, seeing Cheung's determination, finally accepted and taught him the Pak Mei Kung Fu. Master Cheung was never been beaten after mastering Pak Mei Kung Fu. He passed away in the Autumn of 1964 at the age of 84.

Highlights of Great Grand Master Cheung Lai Chun:

  • The first person to introduce Pak Mei Kung Fu.

  • Fought in the famous Battle called "March 29" during the rebellion to overthrow the Ching dynasty.

  • Helped Detective Captain Lui to capture salt smugglers. Fought the highly proficient kung fu leader, broke his arm and arrested him.

  • In the third Republic of China, he defeated a general kung fu instructor of the Black Flag Army.

  • Defeated two Sifu's of a famous Iron Arm Master.

  • Fifth year of republic he defeated an Iron Head Monk.

  • Surrounded by 50 hooligans. Knocked down several attackers and killed one with his phoenix eye fist. To avoid trouble, he was forced to leave Jiang Men Town for Guangzhou.

  • Beat a muscle man boxer.

  • Earned the title "Seven Southern State Champion".

  • Challenged by a kung fu master called Tsang Wai Pok (who had close several kung fu schools in Guangzhou). Master Cheung defeated him and gained his prestige in Guangzhou. Tsang Wai Pok knelt down and asked to be his disciple. He was accepted. Tsang Wai Pok went back to Vietnam and became the founder of the Pak Mei Vietnam lineage.

  • While walking along a street with his baby son, Master Cheung was attacked by eight assassins holding knives and guns. Master Cheung knocked down several and took one as shield. Fortunately police was around and arrested the wounded. Honored the title "The Fierce Tiger of Tung Kong" by newspapers.

  • Instructor at the Yin Tong College of the Guanzhou Police Training School and Whampoa Military Academy. Within his employment in the Whampoa Military Academy, he established a set of technique for fighting by using the bayonet (stabbing weapon fixed to rifle). Many military officers also personally became his disciples and followed him to Hong Kong.

  • During the war against the Japanese in the Nanking battle, Master Cheung was commissioned as the martial arts instructor of the guerilla troop of Leung Kwai Ping in Dong Jiang. After the war, he instructed the department of the Secret Agent in the Guangdong Province.

  • Opened 18 Kung Fu clubs in Guangdong.

  • Master Cheung retired in 1949 and migrated to Hong Kong with his three sons - Cheung Bing Sum, Cheung Bing Lam and Cheung Bing Fatt. Along with him came his most loyaled and faithful disciples.

  • During Master Cheung's time in Hong Kong, he accepted only a few disciples whom are mostly Sifus from other kung fu styles.

  • At the age of 80 he gave a performance at a charity, and all the masters from other style came to watched. They were all astonished that Master Cheung kept his kung fu standards at a superb level.

    Great Grand Master Cheung Lai Chun performing at a charity event