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Choy Lay Fut

By 1836, Chen Xiang formally established choy lay fut (Mandarin: tsai lee fuo) while at the Shaolin Temple by combining the skills he learned from monk Choy Fook (Tsai Fu) and Lay Yau-san (Li You-shan). Then, in homage to his first teacher and uncle Chan Yue-wu, who was a monk at the Jiu Lian Shan Shaolin Temple, he added on Fut (Fuo; i.e., Buddha). Although considered a southern style, choy lay fut combines northern kung fu’s quick, agile footwork and circular twisting body movement from Choy Fook and the powerful south’s long arm and hand techniques from Lay Yau-san’s Shaolin animal forms. Chen Xiang taught choy lee fut to his two sons—Guan-bo and An-bo—who passed the art on to Chang Hong-sheng, according to some historians. The style’s name then became known as hong-sheng choy lay fut.

Although choy lay fut stances are similar to hung gar kung fu, one of the major differences between the styles is that choy lay fut practitioners twistingly whip their upper torsos in order to generate more power in their arm and fist techniques. Of note, Bruce Lee studied choy lay fut before wing chun.

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