Do Pi, or the Style of the Way, was
founded by the late legendary boxer Grandmaster Chan Dau.
The Yu family and the Hung
Chan Dau began training in martial arts at the age of nine. He
was a native of the Yung Kay district of Canton, and early in his
life, he was kidnapped and sold to the powerful Yu family in the
nearby town of Toishan.
Encouraged by the Yu family's
grandfather, Chan Dau began learning Hung Kuen, or the Hung Style
Fist, under Yu Mui. At that time, Master Yu Mui had just
returned from the US, and brought with him Western boxing techniques.
Chan Dau immersed himself in martial
arts and rapidly excelled in Hung Kuen.
Retreat into the monastery
Somewhat of a naughty child, Chan Dau was one day practising martial
arts and happened to hit his grandfather with an accidental blow.
His grandfather became enraged, and drove him out of the Yu
With no place to turn, Chan Dau sought
refuge in a nearby Buddhist monastery. The place was already
familiar to Chan Dau. He had been taking additional lessons
from a monk at the monastery on account of his step-grandfather's
encouragement. Homeless and without money, the monastery become
Chan Dau's new home and the monk his new teacher.
For two years, Chan Dau lived at the
monastery and learned Hop Gar, or the Fighting System of Gallant
Knights, from the monk.
The return home
After two years at the temple, Chan Dau returned to Canton with help
from his new mentor.
Unable to find his family in Canton,
Chan Dau was forced to become a peanut-peddler to earn a
living. One day, Chan Dau participated in a martial arts
exhibition in the streets of Canton, and impressed the students of
Charn the Fish-Monger. Chan Dau became a student of the
Fish-Monger, and quickly gained a name for himself as one of Canton's
"Four Mad Fighters."
Chan Dau would later make contact with
his family, and also furthered his studies under Leung Kwai and Chow
Creating the Style of the Way
Encouraged by Wong Fay Hung's adopted son, Kwan Kwun Kau, Chan Dau
set up a gymnasium in Canton. It is at his time that he
combined what he had learned from his teachers and formed his own
style of martial arts called Do Pi.
Years later, he would establish
himself in the Sham Shui Po district of Kowloon, Hong Kong. His
lineage is succeeded by a number of students most notably his son
Chan Ching, his protégé Lok So, and Master Paul Chan.
Do Pi Training Principles
Do Pi has a coherent set of training principles and techniques.
With roots in many different styles
such as Hung Kuen, Choi Lee Fut, and Hop Gar, Do Pi is a
very unique southern style. The foundation of the system is
based on the following nine techniques: chuen, pow, kup, tong, pin,
sek, ten, chik, and got. You can see the Chinese Characters for
these techniques on the left.
In the execution of its techniques, Do
Pi employs body movements. Most of the foot and hand techniques
are economical in nature. Master Paul Chan recalls that
Grandmaster Chan Dau always stressed that simple movements are always
the most effective in battle.
Do Pi has many form routines to help
its practitioners progress in their development. The most
famous sets include Drunken Eight Fairies and Drunken Fan.