Who's this man next to Bruce Lee?

Hiro
Hiro

April 27th, 2017, 3:49 pm #1


Looks like Master Siu Hon San. Any idea?

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Joined: March 7th, 2006, 9:20 pm

April 27th, 2017, 8:54 pm #2

Bingo ! (nt)
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Hiro
Hiro

April 28th, 2017, 4:08 am #3

I'm right?? Haha... any prize?
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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

April 29th, 2017, 7:09 am #4

Looks like Master Siu Hon San. Any idea?

[/IMG]
Actually, this man wasn’t Grandmaster Siu Hon San. He was Grandmaster Kwan Mun Keng, the founder of Choy Li Fut’s Hong Sheng (aka Hung Sing) Koon in Singapore (Note: Choy Li Fut aka Choy Lee Fut’s various lineages include King Mui / Chan Family, Fut San/ Hung Sing, Jiangmen or Kong Chow, Buk Sing/ HK and Hong Sheng/ Singapore). All branches are under the same umbrella of Choy Li Fut). Grandmaster Kwan Mun Keng was a highly skilled Choy Li Fut master and a well-known martial arts figure in Southeast Asia back in the 60s and 70s. He used to travel to Southeast Asia, Taiwan and HK frequently and encouraged the martial arts schools there to form a unifying body for promotion of Chinese martial arts. He knew many martial arts leaders in HK and one of them was Grandmaster Siu Hon San, Bruce’s Jing Mo Kung Fu teacher. Both GM Siu and GM Kwan did strike a bit of resemblance to each other but GM Kwan was thinner than GM Siu.

When Bruce was filming FOF in GH studio in November 1971, coincidentally Grandmaster Kwan was in HK and through some connections with Grandmaster Siu and the GH’s top executives, he managed to get to the studio to meet Bruce during the break. Bruce was pleased to meet GM Kwan and exchanged Kung Fu ideas with him. GM Kwan was surprised that Bruce had studied Choy Li Fut (aka Choy Li Fut) before and was very familiar with the style and techniques. Bruce agreed to GM Kwan’s idea of unifying all martial arts school as one unified body in order to promote Chinese martial arts cohesively as Bruce shared similar idea too. Grandmaster Kwan then invited Bruce to go to Singapore as there was a bloom of many Chinese martial arts schools due to the HK martial arts films’ influence and the strong encouragement from the local government to promote martial arts. Bruce agreed to Grandmaster Kwan’s suggestion to travel to Singapore if he had the time and opportunity in the near future. Both took pictures before GM Kwan departed the studio.

Grandmaster Kwan was also a key member of the National Pugilistic Federation of Singapore (NPFS). After meeting Bruce, he later got his old friend, Grandmaster Siu Hon San to officially invite Bruce to attend the 2nd S.E. Asia Martial Arts Competition (as Guest of Honor) that took place in Singapore in late 1971. However, Bruce received the invitation letter too late as the competition had just ended. Furthermore, he was also tied up with his FOF’s filming at that time, thus, was not able to attend the grand martial arts competition. But Bruce promised he would go to Singapore next time in his letter to Grandmaster Siu in January 1972. Unfortunately, Bruce died a year later without realizing his promise and GM Kwan passed away in 1976, 3 years after Bruce’s death. He was succeeded by his student, Sifu Chia Yan Soon.

Photos of Bruce Lee & GM Kwan Mun Keng: https://s18.postimg.org/bzy3wv261/bl-kmkx1a.jpg


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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

April 29th, 2017, 7:11 am #5

KWAN MUN KENG:
FOUNDER OF SINGAPORE HONG SHENG KOON
========================================

Born and educated in Guangdong China, the late Grandmaster Kwan Mun Keng started his martial arts training at a very young age. His first teacher was one of China’s prime pugilist, Master Tham Lup of the gongfu Choy Lee Fut School. Grandmaster Kwan furthered his training under another renowned Choy Lee Fut master, Choy Yat Kew. It was also from the latter that he acquired a vast knowledge in the field of Chinese herbal medicine and osteopathy.

Twelve years later, Grandmaster Kwan traveled to Shanghai where he met a leading boxer from the Shantung Northern Praying Mantis School, Master Hong Tak Mo. Master Hong taught him all that he knew in this northern art. When war broke out in China, Grandmaster Kwan was forced to leave for Penang where he practiced the Chou style of martial arts with Sifu Lee Kwun.

In the year 1936, Grandmaster Kwan arrived in Singapore and took up journalism with the now defunct Kwong Wah Daily News. He was a versatile man with varied interests ranging from martial arts to Chinese brush painting, Cantonese opera, calligraphy to poetry writing. His knowledge of martial arts was soon put to good use at an encounter with a gang of thugs. The dozen odd members of the gang, many of whom were armed, were given a good thrashing and some were badly wounded. They had underestimated this scholarly looking journalist. News of this incident spread like wild fire and soon Grandmaster Kwan was a much sought after man by many guilds and associations to impart gongfu to their clansmen.

In 1965 many of his supporters and students encouraged him to start a martial arts school. The Singapore Hong Sheng Koon Chinese Koontow and Lion Dance Society was thus formed in that year and officially registered in 1966. (The word “koontow” is a colloquial for gongfu and had been adopted because the former was more widely used in the early 1960s.) In the early days, Grandmaster Kwan did receive a number of uninvited guests at the Hong Sheng Koon premises as some martial arts exponents who were skeptical about the effectiveness of Choy Lee Fut fighting system came explicitly for a few rounds of “friendly exchange of skill”. They inevitably left convinced and many became friends of the late grandmaster, although a few of them had to be carried out after the “friendly exchange”. Hong Sheng Koon continued to grow in status and fame.

Besides teaching Choy Lee Fut pugilism and lion dancing at the Hong Sheng Koon, Grandmaster Kwan also put into practice his knowledge of herbal medicine and osteopathy. (He was a certified Chinese physician) A benevolent man, he often gave the needy free medical treatment while those who could afford were charged a nominal fee. Many of the rich who came to him as a last resort were astonished at what this Chinese sensei could do to their ailments where their costly consultations at modern clinics and hospitals had failed.

In 1968 Grandmaster Kwan led a delegation from the National Pugilistic Federation of Singapore to Taiwan and Hong Kong. While in Hong Kong he encouraged the martial arts schools there to likewise form a unifying body for the promotion of Chinese martial arts.

Grandmaster Kwan also played a pivotal role in spearheading the call to settle a long-standing feud between 2 major martial arts schools in Hong Kong – the Choy Lee Fut and the White Crane School. The reconciliation brought much joy to both schools It was at the First Southeast Asia Pugilistic Meet in 1969 that the “chup kuen” or the leopard punch – hallmark of the Choy Lee Fut pugilism made its’ official debut. It was to many locals at that time, an eye-opening experience and many of the uninitiated called it the “leper’s punch” for when clenched, the leopard punch resembles the deformed hand of a leper. And not a few participants at that pugilistic meet realised soon that like the leper’s hand, the Choy Lee Fut’s devastating leopard punch was to be avoided at all cost.

Grandmaster Kwan was a very progressive-minded teacher who did not believe in withholding his knowledge of martial arts to his students. His philosophy was that “Only when the students excel the teacher can there be progress”. However, he did caution that it takes time to attain a high level of skill in martial arts. And even in attaining the skill is only half the success. “Without good morals a skilled martial arts exponent is like a tree with decaying roots, it cannot flourish for long.”

It was unfortunate that the grandmaster’s generosity in imparting his knowledge was not always reciprocated with kindness or even gratitude. In 1971, two brothers who had been his trusted lay-students for about five years, broke away to form their own martial arts school, teaching a potpourri of martial arts with Choy Lee Fut pugilism. They had the audacity to further break the cardinal rule of martial arts practitioner is not acknowledging the grandmaster, but declared in public that they had acquired their gongfu knowledge from their father, when it was known to all who knew their family that their father who operated a factory manufacturing carton boxes was a non-practitioner of martial arts.

If at all there was any consolation in this unfortunate case, it was that both brothers only managed to acquire some very superficial skill from the grandmaster in their relatively short period with him. However, by such act of the otherwise colourful and brilliant tapestry of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon’s history. This had been a painful experience to our late grandmaster who still recounted it during his last days and had requested his disciples to place this on records that future generation may have knowledge of it.

Grandmaster Kwan had written memoirs on Chinese herbal medicines & osteopathy, the Chinese martial arts and the Origin and Art of Lion Dancing. The Origin and Art of Lion Dancing was serialized and broadcasted on the Singapore Rediffusion network in the early 1970s. His frequent contributions to the Chinese press on these subjects played a great part in educating the public on the historical and cultural aspect of this art and had in no small way elevated the status of Chinese martial arts.

The grandmaster passed away on May 16, 1976. He was survived by his wife, three sons and four daughters. His children were taught in Choy Lee Fut pugilism since young. In accordance to the late grandmaster’s will, the mantle of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon was passed on to his most senior disciple, Sifu Chia Yan Soon who is the current master-in-charge (Jeong Moon Yan) of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon.

(Source: Choy Lee Fut Masters of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon)
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Joined: May 6th, 2016, 3:35 am

April 29th, 2017, 9:03 am #6

NT
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Hiro
Hiro

April 29th, 2017, 11:34 am #7

Actually, this man wasn’t Grandmaster Siu Hon San. He was Grandmaster Kwan Mun Keng, the founder of Choy Li Fut’s Hong Sheng (aka Hung Sing) Koon in Singapore (Note: Choy Li Fut aka Choy Lee Fut’s various lineages include King Mui / Chan Family, Fut San/ Hung Sing, Jiangmen or Kong Chow, Buk Sing/ HK and Hong Sheng/ Singapore). All branches are under the same umbrella of Choy Li Fut). Grandmaster Kwan Mun Keng was a highly skilled Choy Li Fut master and a well-known martial arts figure in Southeast Asia back in the 60s and 70s. He used to travel to Southeast Asia, Taiwan and HK frequently and encouraged the martial arts schools there to form a unifying body for promotion of Chinese martial arts. He knew many martial arts leaders in HK and one of them was Grandmaster Siu Hon San, Bruce’s Jing Mo Kung Fu teacher. Both GM Siu and GM Kwan did strike a bit of resemblance to each other but GM Kwan was thinner than GM Siu.

When Bruce was filming FOF in GH studio in November 1971, coincidentally Grandmaster Kwan was in HK and through some connections with Grandmaster Siu and the GH’s top executives, he managed to get to the studio to meet Bruce during the break. Bruce was pleased to meet GM Kwan and exchanged Kung Fu ideas with him. GM Kwan was surprised that Bruce had studied Choy Li Fut (aka Choy Li Fut) before and was very familiar with the style and techniques. Bruce agreed to GM Kwan’s idea of unifying all martial arts school as one unified body in order to promote Chinese martial arts cohesively as Bruce shared similar idea too. Grandmaster Kwan then invited Bruce to go to Singapore as there was a bloom of many Chinese martial arts schools due to the HK martial arts films’ influence and the strong encouragement from the local government to promote martial arts. Bruce agreed to Grandmaster Kwan’s suggestion to travel to Singapore if he had the time and opportunity in the near future. Both took pictures before GM Kwan departed the studio.

Grandmaster Kwan was also a key member of the National Pugilistic Federation of Singapore (NPFS). After meeting Bruce, he later got his old friend, Grandmaster Siu Hon San to officially invite Bruce to attend the 2nd S.E. Asia Martial Arts Competition (as Guest of Honor) that took place in Singapore in late 1971. However, Bruce received the invitation letter too late as the competition had just ended. Furthermore, he was also tied up with his FOF’s filming at that time, thus, was not able to attend the grand martial arts competition. But Bruce promised he would go to Singapore next time in his letter to Grandmaster Siu in January 1972. Unfortunately, Bruce died a year later without realizing his promise and GM Kwan passed away in 1976, 3 years after Bruce’s death. He was succeeded by his student, Sifu Chia Yan Soon.

Photos of Bruce Lee & GM Kwan Mun Keng: https://s18.postimg.org/bzy3wv261/bl-kmkx1a.jpg

I see. Thanks for the correction, LJF. NT
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DK
DK

April 29th, 2017, 2:34 pm #8

KWAN MUN KENG:
FOUNDER OF SINGAPORE HONG SHENG KOON
========================================

Born and educated in Guangdong China, the late Grandmaster Kwan Mun Keng started his martial arts training at a very young age. His first teacher was one of China’s prime pugilist, Master Tham Lup of the gongfu Choy Lee Fut School. Grandmaster Kwan furthered his training under another renowned Choy Lee Fut master, Choy Yat Kew. It was also from the latter that he acquired a vast knowledge in the field of Chinese herbal medicine and osteopathy.

Twelve years later, Grandmaster Kwan traveled to Shanghai where he met a leading boxer from the Shantung Northern Praying Mantis School, Master Hong Tak Mo. Master Hong taught him all that he knew in this northern art. When war broke out in China, Grandmaster Kwan was forced to leave for Penang where he practiced the Chou style of martial arts with Sifu Lee Kwun.

In the year 1936, Grandmaster Kwan arrived in Singapore and took up journalism with the now defunct Kwong Wah Daily News. He was a versatile man with varied interests ranging from martial arts to Chinese brush painting, Cantonese opera, calligraphy to poetry writing. His knowledge of martial arts was soon put to good use at an encounter with a gang of thugs. The dozen odd members of the gang, many of whom were armed, were given a good thrashing and some were badly wounded. They had underestimated this scholarly looking journalist. News of this incident spread like wild fire and soon Grandmaster Kwan was a much sought after man by many guilds and associations to impart gongfu to their clansmen.

In 1965 many of his supporters and students encouraged him to start a martial arts school. The Singapore Hong Sheng Koon Chinese Koontow and Lion Dance Society was thus formed in that year and officially registered in 1966. (The word “koontow” is a colloquial for gongfu and had been adopted because the former was more widely used in the early 1960s.) In the early days, Grandmaster Kwan did receive a number of uninvited guests at the Hong Sheng Koon premises as some martial arts exponents who were skeptical about the effectiveness of Choy Lee Fut fighting system came explicitly for a few rounds of “friendly exchange of skill”. They inevitably left convinced and many became friends of the late grandmaster, although a few of them had to be carried out after the “friendly exchange”. Hong Sheng Koon continued to grow in status and fame.

Besides teaching Choy Lee Fut pugilism and lion dancing at the Hong Sheng Koon, Grandmaster Kwan also put into practice his knowledge of herbal medicine and osteopathy. (He was a certified Chinese physician) A benevolent man, he often gave the needy free medical treatment while those who could afford were charged a nominal fee. Many of the rich who came to him as a last resort were astonished at what this Chinese sensei could do to their ailments where their costly consultations at modern clinics and hospitals had failed.

In 1968 Grandmaster Kwan led a delegation from the National Pugilistic Federation of Singapore to Taiwan and Hong Kong. While in Hong Kong he encouraged the martial arts schools there to likewise form a unifying body for the promotion of Chinese martial arts.

Grandmaster Kwan also played a pivotal role in spearheading the call to settle a long-standing feud between 2 major martial arts schools in Hong Kong – the Choy Lee Fut and the White Crane School. The reconciliation brought much joy to both schools It was at the First Southeast Asia Pugilistic Meet in 1969 that the “chup kuen” or the leopard punch – hallmark of the Choy Lee Fut pugilism made its’ official debut. It was to many locals at that time, an eye-opening experience and many of the uninitiated called it the “leper’s punch” for when clenched, the leopard punch resembles the deformed hand of a leper. And not a few participants at that pugilistic meet realised soon that like the leper’s hand, the Choy Lee Fut’s devastating leopard punch was to be avoided at all cost.

Grandmaster Kwan was a very progressive-minded teacher who did not believe in withholding his knowledge of martial arts to his students. His philosophy was that “Only when the students excel the teacher can there be progress”. However, he did caution that it takes time to attain a high level of skill in martial arts. And even in attaining the skill is only half the success. “Without good morals a skilled martial arts exponent is like a tree with decaying roots, it cannot flourish for long.”

It was unfortunate that the grandmaster’s generosity in imparting his knowledge was not always reciprocated with kindness or even gratitude. In 1971, two brothers who had been his trusted lay-students for about five years, broke away to form their own martial arts school, teaching a potpourri of martial arts with Choy Lee Fut pugilism. They had the audacity to further break the cardinal rule of martial arts practitioner is not acknowledging the grandmaster, but declared in public that they had acquired their gongfu knowledge from their father, when it was known to all who knew their family that their father who operated a factory manufacturing carton boxes was a non-practitioner of martial arts.

If at all there was any consolation in this unfortunate case, it was that both brothers only managed to acquire some very superficial skill from the grandmaster in their relatively short period with him. However, by such act of the otherwise colourful and brilliant tapestry of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon’s history. This had been a painful experience to our late grandmaster who still recounted it during his last days and had requested his disciples to place this on records that future generation may have knowledge of it.

Grandmaster Kwan had written memoirs on Chinese herbal medicines & osteopathy, the Chinese martial arts and the Origin and Art of Lion Dancing. The Origin and Art of Lion Dancing was serialized and broadcasted on the Singapore Rediffusion network in the early 1970s. His frequent contributions to the Chinese press on these subjects played a great part in educating the public on the historical and cultural aspect of this art and had in no small way elevated the status of Chinese martial arts.

The grandmaster passed away on May 16, 1976. He was survived by his wife, three sons and four daughters. His children were taught in Choy Lee Fut pugilism since young. In accordance to the late grandmaster’s will, the mantle of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon was passed on to his most senior disciple, Sifu Chia Yan Soon who is the current master-in-charge (Jeong Moon Yan) of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon.

(Source: Choy Lee Fut Masters of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon)
Another rare anecdote of Lee and Choy Li Fut. Thanks nt.
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Joined: September 25th, 2015, 5:34 am

April 29th, 2017, 4:35 pm #9

KWAN MUN KENG:
FOUNDER OF SINGAPORE HONG SHENG KOON
========================================

Born and educated in Guangdong China, the late Grandmaster Kwan Mun Keng started his martial arts training at a very young age. His first teacher was one of China’s prime pugilist, Master Tham Lup of the gongfu Choy Lee Fut School. Grandmaster Kwan furthered his training under another renowned Choy Lee Fut master, Choy Yat Kew. It was also from the latter that he acquired a vast knowledge in the field of Chinese herbal medicine and osteopathy.

Twelve years later, Grandmaster Kwan traveled to Shanghai where he met a leading boxer from the Shantung Northern Praying Mantis School, Master Hong Tak Mo. Master Hong taught him all that he knew in this northern art. When war broke out in China, Grandmaster Kwan was forced to leave for Penang where he practiced the Chou style of martial arts with Sifu Lee Kwun.

In the year 1936, Grandmaster Kwan arrived in Singapore and took up journalism with the now defunct Kwong Wah Daily News. He was a versatile man with varied interests ranging from martial arts to Chinese brush painting, Cantonese opera, calligraphy to poetry writing. His knowledge of martial arts was soon put to good use at an encounter with a gang of thugs. The dozen odd members of the gang, many of whom were armed, were given a good thrashing and some were badly wounded. They had underestimated this scholarly looking journalist. News of this incident spread like wild fire and soon Grandmaster Kwan was a much sought after man by many guilds and associations to impart gongfu to their clansmen.

In 1965 many of his supporters and students encouraged him to start a martial arts school. The Singapore Hong Sheng Koon Chinese Koontow and Lion Dance Society was thus formed in that year and officially registered in 1966. (The word “koontow” is a colloquial for gongfu and had been adopted because the former was more widely used in the early 1960s.) In the early days, Grandmaster Kwan did receive a number of uninvited guests at the Hong Sheng Koon premises as some martial arts exponents who were skeptical about the effectiveness of Choy Lee Fut fighting system came explicitly for a few rounds of “friendly exchange of skill”. They inevitably left convinced and many became friends of the late grandmaster, although a few of them had to be carried out after the “friendly exchange”. Hong Sheng Koon continued to grow in status and fame.

Besides teaching Choy Lee Fut pugilism and lion dancing at the Hong Sheng Koon, Grandmaster Kwan also put into practice his knowledge of herbal medicine and osteopathy. (He was a certified Chinese physician) A benevolent man, he often gave the needy free medical treatment while those who could afford were charged a nominal fee. Many of the rich who came to him as a last resort were astonished at what this Chinese sensei could do to their ailments where their costly consultations at modern clinics and hospitals had failed.

In 1968 Grandmaster Kwan led a delegation from the National Pugilistic Federation of Singapore to Taiwan and Hong Kong. While in Hong Kong he encouraged the martial arts schools there to likewise form a unifying body for the promotion of Chinese martial arts.

Grandmaster Kwan also played a pivotal role in spearheading the call to settle a long-standing feud between 2 major martial arts schools in Hong Kong – the Choy Lee Fut and the White Crane School. The reconciliation brought much joy to both schools It was at the First Southeast Asia Pugilistic Meet in 1969 that the “chup kuen” or the leopard punch – hallmark of the Choy Lee Fut pugilism made its’ official debut. It was to many locals at that time, an eye-opening experience and many of the uninitiated called it the “leper’s punch” for when clenched, the leopard punch resembles the deformed hand of a leper. And not a few participants at that pugilistic meet realised soon that like the leper’s hand, the Choy Lee Fut’s devastating leopard punch was to be avoided at all cost.

Grandmaster Kwan was a very progressive-minded teacher who did not believe in withholding his knowledge of martial arts to his students. His philosophy was that “Only when the students excel the teacher can there be progress”. However, he did caution that it takes time to attain a high level of skill in martial arts. And even in attaining the skill is only half the success. “Without good morals a skilled martial arts exponent is like a tree with decaying roots, it cannot flourish for long.”

It was unfortunate that the grandmaster’s generosity in imparting his knowledge was not always reciprocated with kindness or even gratitude. In 1971, two brothers who had been his trusted lay-students for about five years, broke away to form their own martial arts school, teaching a potpourri of martial arts with Choy Lee Fut pugilism. They had the audacity to further break the cardinal rule of martial arts practitioner is not acknowledging the grandmaster, but declared in public that they had acquired their gongfu knowledge from their father, when it was known to all who knew their family that their father who operated a factory manufacturing carton boxes was a non-practitioner of martial arts.

If at all there was any consolation in this unfortunate case, it was that both brothers only managed to acquire some very superficial skill from the grandmaster in their relatively short period with him. However, by such act of the otherwise colourful and brilliant tapestry of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon’s history. This had been a painful experience to our late grandmaster who still recounted it during his last days and had requested his disciples to place this on records that future generation may have knowledge of it.

Grandmaster Kwan had written memoirs on Chinese herbal medicines & osteopathy, the Chinese martial arts and the Origin and Art of Lion Dancing. The Origin and Art of Lion Dancing was serialized and broadcasted on the Singapore Rediffusion network in the early 1970s. His frequent contributions to the Chinese press on these subjects played a great part in educating the public on the historical and cultural aspect of this art and had in no small way elevated the status of Chinese martial arts.

The grandmaster passed away on May 16, 1976. He was survived by his wife, three sons and four daughters. His children were taught in Choy Lee Fut pugilism since young. In accordance to the late grandmaster’s will, the mantle of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon was passed on to his most senior disciple, Sifu Chia Yan Soon who is the current master-in-charge (Jeong Moon Yan) of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon.

(Source: Choy Lee Fut Masters of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon)
Nice read. Another chapter since the Bruce Lee and Choy Li Fut's Connection posted previously.

More Bruce Lee's martial arts related articles please.
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Joined: January 26th, 2018, 6:04 pm

January 26th, 2018, 7:05 pm #10

KWAN MUN KENG:
FOUNDER OF SINGAPORE HONG SHENG KOON
========================================

Born and educated in Guangdong China, the late Grandmaster Kwan Mun Keng started his martial arts training at a very young age. His first teacher was one of China’s prime pugilist, Master Tham Lup of the gongfu Choy Lee Fut School. Grandmaster Kwan furthered his training under another renowned Choy Lee Fut master, Choy Yat Kew. It was also from the latter that he acquired a vast knowledge in the field of Chinese herbal medicine and osteopathy.

Twelve years later, Grandmaster Kwan traveled to Shanghai where he met a leading boxer from the Shantung Northern Praying Mantis School, Master Hong Tak Mo. Master Hong taught him all that he knew in this northern art. When war broke out in China, Grandmaster Kwan was forced to leave for Penang where he practiced the Chou style of martial arts with Sifu Lee Kwun.

In the year 1936, Grandmaster Kwan arrived in Singapore and took up journalism with the now defunct Kwong Wah Daily News. He was a versatile man with varied interests ranging from martial arts to Chinese brush painting, Cantonese opera, calligraphy to poetry writing. His knowledge of martial arts was soon put to good use at an encounter with a gang of thugs. The dozen odd members of the gang, many of whom were armed, were given a good thrashing and some were badly wounded. They had underestimated this scholarly looking journalist. News of this incident spread like wild fire and soon Grandmaster Kwan was a much sought after man by many guilds and associations to impart gongfu to their clansmen.

In 1965 many of his supporters and students encouraged him to start a martial arts school. The Singapore Hong Sheng Koon Chinese Koontow and Lion Dance Society was thus formed in that year and officially registered in 1966. (The word “koontow” is a colloquial for gongfu and had been adopted because the former was more widely used in the early 1960s.) In the early days, Grandmaster Kwan did receive a number of uninvited guests at the Hong Sheng Koon premises as some martial arts exponents who were skeptical about the effectiveness of Choy Lee Fut fighting system came explicitly for a few rounds of “friendly exchange of skill”. They inevitably left convinced and many became friends of the late grandmaster, although a few of them had to be carried out after the “friendly exchange”. Hong Sheng Koon continued to grow in status and fame.

Besides teaching Choy Lee Fut pugilism and lion dancing at the Hong Sheng Koon, Grandmaster Kwan also put into practice his knowledge of herbal medicine and osteopathy. (He was a certified Chinese physician) A benevolent man, he often gave the needy free medical treatment while those who could afford were charged a nominal fee. Many of the rich who came to him as a last resort were astonished at what this Chinese sensei could do to their ailments where their costly consultations at modern clinics and hospitals had failed.

In 1968 Grandmaster Kwan led a delegation from the National Pugilistic Federation of Singapore to Taiwan and Hong Kong. While in Hong Kong he encouraged the martial arts schools there to likewise form a unifying body for the promotion of Chinese martial arts.

Grandmaster Kwan also played a pivotal role in spearheading the call to settle a long-standing feud between 2 major martial arts schools in Hong Kong – the Choy Lee Fut and the White Crane School. The reconciliation brought much joy to both schools It was at the First Southeast Asia Pugilistic Meet in 1969 that the “chup kuen” or the leopard punch – hallmark of the Choy Lee Fut pugilism made its’ official debut. It was to many locals at that time, an eye-opening experience and many of the uninitiated called it the “leper’s punch” for when clenched, the leopard punch resembles the deformed hand of a leper. And not a few participants at that pugilistic meet realised soon that like the leper’s hand, the Choy Lee Fut’s devastating leopard punch was to be avoided at all cost.

Grandmaster Kwan was a very progressive-minded teacher who did not believe in withholding his knowledge of martial arts to his students. His philosophy was that “Only when the students excel the teacher can there be progress”. However, he did caution that it takes time to attain a high level of skill in martial arts. And even in attaining the skill is only half the success. “Without good morals a skilled martial arts exponent is like a tree with decaying roots, it cannot flourish for long.”

It was unfortunate that the grandmaster’s generosity in imparting his knowledge was not always reciprocated with kindness or even gratitude. In 1971, two brothers who had been his trusted lay-students for about five years, broke away to form their own martial arts school, teaching a potpourri of martial arts with Choy Lee Fut pugilism. They had the audacity to further break the cardinal rule of martial arts practitioner is not acknowledging the grandmaster, but declared in public that they had acquired their gongfu knowledge from their father, when it was known to all who knew their family that their father who operated a factory manufacturing carton boxes was a non-practitioner of martial arts.

If at all there was any consolation in this unfortunate case, it was that both brothers only managed to acquire some very superficial skill from the grandmaster in their relatively short period with him. However, by such act of the otherwise colourful and brilliant tapestry of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon’s history. This had been a painful experience to our late grandmaster who still recounted it during his last days and had requested his disciples to place this on records that future generation may have knowledge of it.

Grandmaster Kwan had written memoirs on Chinese herbal medicines & osteopathy, the Chinese martial arts and the Origin and Art of Lion Dancing. The Origin and Art of Lion Dancing was serialized and broadcasted on the Singapore Rediffusion network in the early 1970s. His frequent contributions to the Chinese press on these subjects played a great part in educating the public on the historical and cultural aspect of this art and had in no small way elevated the status of Chinese martial arts.

The grandmaster passed away on May 16, 1976. He was survived by his wife, three sons and four daughters. His children were taught in Choy Lee Fut pugilism since young. In accordance to the late grandmaster’s will, the mantle of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon was passed on to his most senior disciple, Sifu Chia Yan Soon who is the current master-in-charge (Jeong Moon Yan) of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon.

(Source: Choy Lee Fut Masters of Singapore Hong Sheng Koon)
Listed below is the photo album of My Sigung GM Kwan Mun Keng

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 6a72cdcf3e

Photos are taken from Singapore Hong Sheng Koon Chinese Koontow and Lion Dance Society's Archives,books and online sources.
Kindly ask permission first before circulating/distributing them.
All RIGHTS RESERVED
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