Wong Wah Bo


There is varied information on Wong Wah Bo, just as it is for all the early generation pre-boat, and Red Boat era practioners.

Wong Wah Bo was said to have played the role of Mo Sing or the male martial lead. He was Also famous for his role as "General Kwan".It was said he was the Dai Si Hing, of the Opera Troupe.

Yip Man passed down that, his Sifu, Chan Wah Shun believed that Wong Wah Bo learned Wing Chun from Leung Lan Kwai. Some accounts state Leung Lan Kwai was actually on the Red Boats, other accounts state, he was never involved in the Opera, but was in hiding amongest the actors. And even further variations on the story state Lan Kwai was never on the boats, but taught several of the Opera Performers, when he witnessed one of their performaces. In most oral traditions, such as (Yuen Kay Shan, Cho Family and Kulo Village), Leung Bok Lao taught the first 4 of the Opera Boat himself. These 4 Include Wong Wah Bo, Leung Yee Tai, Dai Fa Min Kam and usually Gulo Chung or Yik Kam.

According to Yip man written account and Lo Chi Wan? written account, Chi Sim passed down his Weng Chun Pole Method, called Look Dim Boon Gwun? to Leung Yee Tai. Chi Sim was hiding, on the Opera boats, from political persecution, as a cook.

In Yip mans written account Leung Yee Tai than taught Wong Wah Bo his pole fighting skill in exchange for the Wing Chun fist-fighting skill. Though Leung was a student of Wong in Wing Chun, Leung was actually Wong's sifu in the Weng Chun pole fighting skill. Wong modified the pole fighting methods using Wing Chun principles. Thus the modified pole skill is now part of Wing Chun System.

Modern day research suggests that there was only one system of Wing Chun on the Red Boats. And that the Pole was Incorporated in from External sources and further refined. Some branchs simply put more focus on the pole and wooden dummy methods, while others put more focus on the knives and hand forms.

Kulo villagetradition states, that the standard three Wing Chun hand forms, were actualy one form originaly, and it was Wong Wah Bo, that broke the single Wing Chun form, (I.E.3 or 4 section Siu Lien Tao), into the 3 hand forms with the single 4th form becoming the Muk Yan Jong form. This idea is substantiated by Cho Family and Lo Kwai Family, as both preserve a single long form, and preserve the tradition that it was broken down by someone in Foshan.It is believed that Leung Jan contributed, along side Wong Wah Bo, in the breaking down and refining of the Wing Chun system, into what we see today. Fok Bo Chuen?, Yuen Kay Shan's first Sifu, learned the three hand forms, because he learned from Wong Wah Bo,later in Wong's teaching carreer, after he had already evolved the method of transmision. Dai Fa Min Kam was to have passed down teachings more focused on the Lien San Sik, Muk Yan Jong, and Look Dim Boon Gwun?, which was passed down through Fung Siu Ching, Yuen Kay Shan's second Sifu. If we examine Kulo, we see that Leung Jan Passed down a method of San Sik very similar to Fung Siu Ching's Method, so its easy to see a more likly than not senario, that the early generation Wing Chun masters, off the Red Boats, had San Sik and hand forms, of transmiting the system, as well as several differant Jong forms.


Sources:

  • Foshan Museum
  • Foshan Committee
  • Complete Wing Chun by Ritchie, Chu, and Wu
  • Leungs Publishing
  • Oral and written traditions Yuen Kay Shan
  • Oral and written traditions Sum Num
  • Oral and written traditions Cho Family
  • Oral and written traditions Lo Kwai Family
  • Oral accounts Kulo Village Fung Family
  • AWCKRI