Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu is one of the most efficient and popular styles of Kung Fu. The history of Choy Lay Fut reached back for more than a century to the 1800’s.
The founder of Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu was a devoted martial artist named Chan-Heung. His first teacher was the Shaolin Monk name Choy-Fok. With a foundation firmly in place, Choy-Fok then brought his young student to learn from the famed Master Lay Yau-Shan. From him, Chan-Heung further developed the ferocious fighting techniques and fast movements of the Lay-Kar Kung Fu system.
After both his teacher were satisfied with his progress, they sent him to learn the advanced “Buddhist Palm Style” from the teacher ‘Green Grass Monk’. Combining the best of these three styles with his own knowledge and experience, Chan-Heung developed the Choy Lay Fut style of Kung Fu.
Choy and Lay are the surnames of his first two teachers. Fut, which means Buddha, represents his third teacher, the Green Grass Monk.
Lay Fut has four major divisions. Three divisions are called ‘Hung Sing’ and one is called ‘Buk Sing’. The three different ‘Hung Sing’ divisions are represented by different sets of Chinese Characters. Within these three sets, the character for ‘Sing’ (meaning “Victory”) is the same. However, the ‘Hung’ division uses a different character.
The characters for the 1st division on ‘Hung Sing’ mean “Big and Bright Victory”. This is the style of Hung Sing Choy Lay Fut that we teach and is from the original branch of Choy Lay Fut.
The 2nd division of Hung Sing uses a different character for ‘Hung’ meaning “Big” which makes this ‘Hung Sing’ mean “Big Victory”. (very similar to the first)
The 3rd division of Hung Sing uses yet another character for ‘Hung’ which means “Heroic Victory”. (The ‘Hung’ character literally means “masculine power” but this was the character used to represent a “hero”)
The first Hung Sing, described as “Big and Bright Future”, is from the original branch that was developed by Chan Heung’s top student, Cheung Hung Sing. (This Master’s surname is “Cheung”, pronounced “jeung”). His first name means “Big and Bright Future” (Hung) and “Victory” (Sing).
‘Sing’ is a popular name because it has a good meaning, therefore, you will also see it as a part of the names of many Kung Fu schools and associations. The same character for ‘Sing’ is used throughout all the four divisions of Choy Lay Fut.
The ‘Buk Sing’ division was established by a Choy Lay Fut master named Tam Sam (pronounced Tahm Sahm) in a village called ‘Siu Buk’. Many people misinterpret ‘Buk Sing Choy Lay Fut’ to mean ‘Northern Choy Lay Fut’. Although ‘Buk’ does mean ‘north’, in this case, ‘Buk’ represents the name of the village. The village of ‘Siu Buk’, which literally translates to ‘Little North’ is actually a village in Southern China and therefore has nothing to do with Northern China or Northern kung fu.
We have the different divisions because as the style was passed along, the earlier masters established some modifications and their own schools. The divisions only vary slightly in emphasis or techniques. Regardless of the division, all are considered the same family of Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu. To this day, Choy Lay Fut thrives as one of the most practical and powerful styles of kung fu, and its practitioners continue to carry on the underlying philosophy and traditions of respect.
Master Tomizaki is 7th generation from the founder, Chan Heung.