An incident which occurred in the courtyard of Hoy Hong Temple in the Province of Canton was to have profound historical significance for our System a century later for it was here at Hoy Hong Temple that our history began.
Wong Bil Hong was born in 1841 in Canton. He trained in the Hung Gar System first under Wong Kay Yin, then under the Master's son Wong Fay Hung. He later became a Master of Hung Gar in his own right. One day he was challenged to a duel by the Master of another System over a dispute. Wong Bil Hong could not refuse such a challenge. As was customary at that time, they agreed to a duel place-- it was to be in the courtyard of Hoy Hong Temple. As arranged, the two Masters squared off on the Temple ground and were engaged in a deadly battle when they were bodily separated and thrown several feet apart. Between them stood an old Monk from the Temple, whose obviously superior martial arts ability so overwhelmed them that they submitted to the Monk's invitation to discuss their differences inside the Temple. With the Monk as mediator, the combatants came to terms and both asked to be instructed in the Monk's art. After much deliberation, the Monk accepted them as disciples and taught them his System of Kung-Fu called Hark Fu Moon (Black Tiger). Wong Bil Hong then spent several more years training under the Monk in the Black Tiger System till he also mastered this System of Chinese Martial Arts.
This event took place in the second half of the century, a time when rebellions led by the politically opposed religious societies raged across every part of the Empire during the closing decades of the Ch'ing (Manchu) Dynasty. The Ch'ing government regarded Shaolin Temple in Honan Province as the hub of Anti-Manchu revolutionary activities, persecuted its monks and burned down the Temple.
Wong Bil Hong's Master, a monk originally from Shoalin, entered the safety of Hoy Hong Temple to avoid the persecution. To protect him from official reprisals, his name and personal history were never disclosed. Thus the Monk's anonymity remains to this day although his art has been carefully preserved through three generations.
Wong Bil Hong inherited the legacy of the Hark Fu Moon and guarded its wealth of knowledge cautiously. In his life time, Wong Bil Hong taught this System to only two disciples, one of whom was his nephew Wong Moon Toy, and the other – his servant. Shortly before his death in 1934, Wong Bil Hong renamed the Art “Fu-Jow Pai of Hoy Hong Temple” in memory of his Master, the Monk of Hoy Hong Temple. Upon the death of Wong Bil Hong & following the death of his servant, Wong Moon Toy became the sole Second Generation Successor of the Fu-Jow Pai Tiger Claw System.
Lam Sai Wing Kwoon 1934. Lum Cho second row sixth from the right, Tiger Claw Grandmaster Wong Moon Toy and Wong Bil Hong second row third and fifth from the right, respectively. Another part of our untouchable history.
Wong Moon Toy, the Late Grand Master of Fu-Jow Pai was born on April 21, 1907, in the Canton Province of Southern China. He began to train in Kung-Fu while still in his teens. In 1927, after he had mastered Hung Gar & Mi Chung I, he was accepted as a disciple by his uncle Wong Bil Hong into the System of Hark Fu Moon (Black Tiger). Even though Wong Moon Toy had already mastered two other Systems, the training in Black Tiger System was arduous and rigorous, requiring great mental and spiritual discipline, as well as endurance to develop the quality and degree of proficiency necessary to Black Tiger standards. Wong Moon Toy trained intensely for seven years in the isolation of Lor Fow Mountain with his Uncle. His development as a genuine Martial Artist was forged in an environment devoid of the distractions of a commercial world & tempered by the constant influence of a highly evolved individual, his teacher. These factors affected him permanently for he never became egocentric in anyway despite his personal accomplishment and formidable knowledge of martial arts. An unpretentious and kind man, he was also highly educated.
After his teacher passed away in 1934, Wong Moon Toy came down from the Mountains and shortly after that, left China for the United States, settling in New York's Chinatown. He was then in his late twenties. As Successor of the Tiger Claw System, he did not take his responsibilities casually for in some twenty five years that the Late Grand Master taught Kung-Fu in New York, only a select few were considered by him to be worthy of learning Fu-Jow Pai. To the rest, the numerous Kung-Fu Clubs and Associations, he taught Hung Gar and Mi Chung I, never even mentioning the name of Fu-Jow Pai. Thus, Fu-Jow Pai remained unknown to the public for a century before it was allowed to be shown to outside world.
In 1957, Grand Master Wong Moon Toy was asked by his Disciples to expose the System to the public, with his authorization and supervision that the Chinese Youth Athletic Club, Inc. was formed. Assisted by three of his Disciples Chow Wan Sau, Ngok P. Eng and Wai Hong. During the years of the C.Y.A.C. administration, only Hung Gar and Mi Chung I was taught. The doors to Fu-Jow Pai were still not open to any one. Changes in tradition are gradual and the foundations of Fu-Jow Pai are deeply rooted in tradition nurtured by a cultural heritage of thousands of years. The secrets of each martial art were guarded with utmost care. However, with each succeeding Grand Master, the progressive socio cultural adaptation of Fu-Jow Pai underwent modifications shaped by changing needs and attitudes of the times. The appropriateness of opening Fu-Jow Pai System Kung-Fu to “outsiders” was also a function of that change.
When the Late Grand Master Wong succumbed to a fatal liver illness in 1960, he left seven Disciples, one of whom he designated as his Successor. After their mourning, the Disciples formed a committee to oversee the affairs of the Club & to preserve the Fu-Jow Pai legacy inherited from their Master. The Committee is now the Senior Board of Directors of the Fu-Jow Pai Federation, Inc.