Choi Lee Fut Fist, also known as Choy
Li Fut and as Cai Li Fo Quan in Mandarin, is a style with a
long-standing tradition that traces its orgins to the renowned master
Chan Heung and to Shaolin Temple.
Heung learned his craft from three
accomplished masters, Choi Fook, Lee Yausan, and his uncle, Chan Yuen
Woo. All three masters were boxers from the famed Shaolin Temple.
Heung combined what he learned from his three teachers and formed one
system which he called "Choi Lee Fut" in their honour.
At Hong Luck Kung Fu Club, Master Paul
Chan has been studying and teaching Choi Lee Fut for over forty
Today, we pride ourselves on
continuing the legacy of Chan Heung and the Shaolin Temple.
At seven years old, Chan Heung (pictured on the left) began learning
martial arts under his uncle Chan Yuen Woo. Yuen Woo was a famed
master from Shaolin Temple, and taught his nephew the Buddha Style
Fist or Fut Ga Kuen.
After years of study with his uncle,
Chan Heung had become a consummate warrior by the early age of 15. To
further his skills, Chan became a student of Lee Yau San, a Shaolin
practitioner of the Lee Family Fist. Yau San was Yuen Woo's sihing or
elder brother at Shaolin Temple.
Becoming proficient in the Lee Family
style, Chan Heung was then referred to the Shaolin monk Choi Fook to
further his martial arts knowledge. After years of intensive study
with the Buddhist recluse, Chan Heung revised what he had learned and
formed a new system. He combined his knowledge of 3 martial arts
systems and called it "Choi Lee Fut" in honour of his
Three styles that constitute Choi Lee
Fut ( Choy Li Fut ) are as follows.
Chan Yuen Woo and the Buddha Style Fist
Chan Heung learned the Buddha Style Fist, or Fat Ga Kuen, from his
uncle Chan Yuen Woo. Yuen Woo was a famed master of Shaolin Temple.
The Fut Ga Kuen style specializes in
palm techniques. Both the left and right hand are used in attack and
defence. Long and short-range footwork is employed.
Lee Yausan and the Lee Family Fist
Lee Yausan also received his training at Shaolin Temple.
Lee Yausan taught the Lee Family Fist,
or Lee Ga Kuen. It is a style of martial arts that employs wide
stances, relies on strong leg endurance, and uses large strides to
Traditionally, the Lee style used the
left hand for defensive movements, and only the right hand for
In Choi Lee Fut (Choy Li Fut ), both
hands are used in attack and defence. Many of the Lee style's arm
techniques are essential to the Choi Lee Fut system.
Choi Fook and the Choi Family Fist
Choi Fook is a legendary figure who was a monk of the famed Shaolin
Living in solitude on Lau Fu mountain,
Fook was a holy man that spent many years immersed in meditation and
martial arts practice. His abilities were so far along developed that
he is said to have smashed stones with simple kicks and punches.
Choi Fook taught the Choi Family Fist,
or Choi Ga Kuen. It is a style of martial arts that employs long,
medium, and short-range techniques. Emphasis is placed on agile
footwork, and "looseness" in kicking techniques. In this
style, kicks are delivered in combinations, and they are combined
with arm attacks.
One distinct characteristic of this
style is that attacking and defending are done simultaneously. Arm
movements should alternate in continuous combinations to strike an
These fundamental principles are key
to the practice of Choi Lee Fut.
When Chan Heung founded Choi Lee Fut ( Choy Li Fut ), he left behind
a set of governing principles to guide and inspire practitioners of
Listed below is just a portion of the
original Chinese text.
Fundamental principles of Choi Lee Fut ( Choy Li Fut
1) The body is held erect and straight. The shoulders and limbs are
loose. All movements are extended without shortening their range.
Unlike other southern styles that use only short-range techniques,
Choi Lee Fut uses long and far-reaching movements.
2) Footwork, based primarily on the Lee Style, is strong but agile.
Switching from stance to stance is a split second affair. It is said
that, "Slow walking is silent as meditation. Fast stepping is
quick as a wind-cloud turning in the sky."
3) All leg techniques are fast "as a meteor shower," or a
"blink of an eye." The movement of the legs should not be
seen. Kicks are performed in combinations, and are combined with hand
4) All long, medium, and short-range hand techniques are coordinated
with stances. Both right and left-handed techniques are used in
attack and defence. Switching from technique to technique is smooth
so that any combination can be used. The "gyong jee" fist
is Choi Lee Fut's unique hand technique.
5) Power is generated using the whole body in both "hard"
and "soft" techniques. The movements are strong enough to
"level a mountain," but not stiff or tight. Techniques are
"soft" but not weak; the hands move like a wheel using
circular movements to parry an opponent's attack and simultaneously
6) Inhalation saves energy (the yin principle). Exhalation helps the
release of power (the yang principle). Shouting combination with hand
and leg techniques adds power to punches and kicks. Shouts also
startle the mind of your opponent.