Kung Fu means "great skill acquired through work and time," and refers to all traditional Chinese martial arts. Martial arts were developed in ancient China as military exercises and as an art form. They were eventually adopted by Buddhist and Taoist monasteries, most famously the Shaolin temple, and the art form to bring discipline, health, and longevity. In the last few hundred years, these traditional arts have been shared beyond temple walls to benefit those with determination and eagerness to learn, bringing traditional methods of training to the modern world and continuing their evolution.
There are many different styles of Kung Fu, each belonging to a different lineage where the art is passed down through generations from master to student. Many of these use the movements of animals such as the tiger, crane, snake, and monkey for inspiration. Each animal is associated with different qualities that the style is designed to inspire in the practitioner. The tiger style is considered to be among the most difficult to master, and places emphasis on the transformation of muscles, tendons, and bones to turn the practitioner into a living tiger. The tiger embodies the qualities of courage and determination, and its movements are powerful and agile.
The Tiger Claw style of Kung Fu is a complete martial art. Training includes strength, flexibility, calisthenics, strikes, kicks, joint locks, throws, and weaponry. Although the training is designed for self-defense and combat, Kung Fu aims at developing virtues in our character so that we may become better people as well as martial artists. As we develop our skills, increased confidence and self-mastery allow us to meet conflict with a peaceful and calm demeanor. The training teaches us to overcome adversity in all forms, whether minor or life-threatening, in the most peaceful way possible.
Fu Jow Pai
Fu Jow Pai is the tiger claw system of Kung Fu. It has its origins in the Shaolin temple and was originally called Hark Fu Moon, the Black Tiger system. We are able to trace its known lineage to an incident at the Hoy Hong Temple. Wong Bil Hong, born in 1841 in Canton, was a master of Hung Gar who trained under Wong Kay Yin and the famous Wong Fay Hung. One day he was challenged to a duel by a master of another system, and as was customary could not refuse the challenge. The duel was held at Hoy Hong Temple where the two were engaged in a deadly battle until an old monk suddenly separated them, throwing them several feet apart. They were so overwhelmed by the monk's superior ability that they submitted to the monk's invitation to enter the temple and discuss their differences.
With the monk as mediator, they came to terms and both asked to be instructed in the monk's art. After this, Wong Bil Hong spent several years training under the monk in the Black Tiger System until he mastered it. Due to the persecution of the Shaolin monks and the burning of its temple by the Ch'ing Dynasty, the monk's name and personal history were never disclosed and remain in anonymity to this day. Wong Bil Hong inherited Hark Fu Moon and guarded its wealth of knowledge cautiously. He taught the system to only two disciples, his nephew Wong Moon Toy and his servant. Before his death in 1934, he renamed the art Fu Jow Pai, the Tiger Claw system.
The late Grandmaster Wong Moon Toy became the second generation successor of Fu Jow Pai. He was born in 1907 and had already mastered Hung Gar and Mi Chung I when he was taken as a disciple by Wong Bil Hong to study Hark Fu Moon. In order to master the arduous and rigorous training in the tiger system, Wong Moon Toy trained for seven years in isolation on Lor Fow Mountain with his uncle. He was renowned as being unpretentious, kind, and well-educated in addition to his formidable accomplishments as a martial artist. After Wong Bil Hong's death in 1934, Wong Moon Toy came down from the mountain and settled in New York's Chinatown shortly after.
In the twenty-five years that Wong Moon Toy taught kung fu in New York, only a select few were considered by him to be worthy of learning Fu Jow Pai. Although he taught Hung Gar and Mi Chung I in numerous Kung Fu clubs and associations, founding the Chinese Youth Athletic Club, the name of Fu Jow Pai was kept secret and known only to his private disciples. In 1960, the Late Grandmaster Wong Moon Toy succumbed to a fatal liver illness, leaving seven disciples. One of these, Grandmaster Wai Hong, was designated to be his successor and remains the living owner of the Fu Jow Pai system. On August moon of 1968, Grandmaster Wai Hong officially formed the Fu Jow Pai Federation to make the name known and the arts accessible to the public for the first time.
Fu Jow Pai Creed
Take on responsibility as a duty
Be fair and just.
Fulfill your duties to the very best of your ability.
Be truthful in all things, big and small.
As a Fu Jow Pai martial artist,
Conduct yourself with:
Justice, and righteousness.
And humanitarian concern
For All People.