Lam Family Kung Fu Legacy
Generations of Martial Excellence
Our Kung Fu Family
Lam family is one of the most respected and well know gung fu families in the world. Known through out the globe not just for their impeccable martial and medical skills but for their endless efforts to openly teach, promote and uphold the true spirit of Hung Gar kung fu. For generations, from master to disciple, father to son, the Lam family has been carrying and passing on the traditional art of Hung Gar gung fu and Chinese Medicine (Dit-Da) with integrity and pride.
Our sifu Leon A. Dogan is a long time disciple and the official representative of the Lam Family Hung Kuen in the United Kingdom. On the right is our kung fu family tree and below is a short biographies of Lam Family Hung Kuen masters through generations.
LAM SAI WING
The Lam Family’s Hung Gar legacy begins with Lam Sai Wing who is widely considered as one of the best martial artist of his time and most certainly one of the most well known gung fu masters of all times.
Lam Sai Wing (1860) was born in Ping Chow, a small village in Namhoi district of Kwangtung province, China. He was brought up in a family of expert gung fu masters and following his family tradition started learning gung fu and traditional Chinese medicine from a very young age under his father Lam Che-Chung, and grandfather, Lam Geui-Chung. His strong interest, natural ability and unbreakable dedication in gung fu allowed the young Lam Sai Wing to learn and progress rapidly. In time he mastered his family style but was still yearning for more. His hunger to learn further and dedication to improve, perfect his skill led him to seek out and train with some of the most well know gung fu masters of his time.
Lam Sai Wing’s search ended with the legendary folk hero Wong Fei Hung. For those who are new to Chinese martial arts, Wong Fei Hung is without a doubt one of the most renowned, respected and talked about gung fu masters of all time. His life and exploits has been immortalized by hundreds of movies, publications, TV&Radio shows, comic books etc. In-fact so famous, that he has become a household name all over China, Hong Kong and most parts of south-east Asia. For Hung Gar practitioners around the world, he is considered as the father of the modern day Hung Gar due to his additions and the pivotal role on the development of Hung gar as we know today.
The young Lam Sai Wing was fortunate to become one of Wong Fei Hung’s indoor disciples. He trained under the careful guidance of his master for decades, learning and mastering everything, including Wong Fei Hung’s famous dit da skills and lion dance. He eventually became the chosen successor of Wong Fei Hung to carry on the tradition and teachings of the Hung Gar style. In those days open challenges within the martial arts circles were common and as part of tradition it was a known fact for the top disciple of a master to fight first in any challenge match. As a result of such tradition, Lam Sai Wing faced many expert gung fu fighters who came to cross hands (challenge) with his master. With his victories, his fame grew and he soon became one of the most respected figures within the martial arts communities. There are countless real life accounts, stories and incidents about Lam Sai Wing and his life, from open challenge matches to recorded incidents such as the Lok Sin theater incident where Lam Sai Wing and a handful of his students were trapped and forced to fight for their life against 100s of armed opponents and survived without a scratch. Sticking to the main topic we’ll leave these stories for another time.
Besides his martial and medical skills, Lam Sai Wing was respected for his strong character, honesty, righteousness and moral values. He is also well known for his endless efforts to teach, spread and preserve the art of Hung Gar and teachings of Chinese Martial arts. He was the first Hung Gar master to publish books on the style. To this day his 3 books are the best Hung Gar books ever published and considered as the treasures of Hung Gar style. Lam was an excellent teacher and taught his skills openly to the public. Mass of students from all over southern China came to study under him. Being an excellent teacher, he trained many talented and high caliber students. He was also asked to instruct the army in martial arts and became the head instructor for the new Republics Chinese army in Canton. Lam Sai Wing did not have children of his own, but adopted a young orphaned boy (Lam Cho) whose parents had passed away when the boy was still very young. Lam Sai Wing loved and raised Lam Cho like his own son and taught him everything he new about Chinese Martial Arts and Medicine. Some years after the fall of Ching Dynasty and in early years of the Republic, Lam Sai Wing was invited to live and teach in Hong Kong. Lam Sai Wing eventually moved to Hong Kong, taking his nephew with him. Soon after moving to Hong Kong, Lam Sai Wing set up the Southern Martial Physical Culture Association (Nam Mou Taiyuk Wui) where he continued teaching and spreading the art of Hung Gar. Lam Sai Wing passed away in 1943.
Grand Master (Sigung) Lam Cho was a legend of Hung Gar. The last of the great masters of his generation, Lam Cho sigung dedicated his whole life to the research, promotion and advancement of Hung Kuen.
Lam Cho sigung, also known as Lam Kwoon Kau was born in 1910 in Ping Chow, a small village in Namhoi district of Kwangtung province Lam Cho sigung’s lifelong journey in Chinese Martial Arts began when he was still a young boy. He was only 6 years old when he began training in Hung Gar gung fu under the strict but caring guidance of his uncle Lam Sai Wing. Extremely talented, young Lam Cho was not only a natural athlete but also very intelligent and hardworking. His natural flair combined with his conscientious attitude towards training allowed him to quickly learn and grasp the finer points of the art. Under the watchful eyes of his uncle, young Lam Cho diligently practiced everything he was taught and kept on practicing day after day until he perfected every single move and mastered everything Lam Sai Wing taught him. Grand master Lam Cho was born to be a gung fu man and destined to be a great master. Lam Sai Wing taught his nephew everything he knew, including the traditional art of dit da medicine along with many secret herbal formulas which was only passed down to the next successor of the art. Not surprisingly, grand master Lam Cho is as famous as a dit da healer as he is for his Hung Gar. Using his first hand knowledge and years of experience in dit da, Lam Cho sigung has helped and healed thousands of people throughout his life and still continues to do so today.
In his teens, Lam Cho sigung had already become a well known and respected figure within the martial arts community throughout the whole of Southern China and Hong Kong. He was only sixteen years old when he began teaching the art of Hung Gar. He was admired by all and called sifu even at the tender age of sixteen. However during those times teaching gung fu and being called sifu was not taken lightly. Lam Cho had to prove his skills and martial abilities in many challenge matches against expert gung fu masters and fighters. Initially he assisted his uncle in teaching at his Southern Martial Physical Culture Association which he eventually took over. Later, he set up his own gung fu schools and dit da clinics in and around Hong Kong. Grand master Lam Cho was an excellent teacher and taught his art openly to all those willing to learn. He was extremely accurate in his teaching and always ensured that his students completely understood even the hardest aspects of the art. Tons of students from all over southern China traveled to learn Hung Kuen from Lam Cho. Some of these students also became quiet well known within the Chinese Martial Arts community in Hong Kong and around the world. Following the footsteps of their master, many of grand master students went on to open gung fu schools of their own through out Hong Kong and southern china.
Grand master has been one of the most celebrated gung fu masters of his time. He often demonstrated his skills and power of his art to the public and was invited to all important events. In one such event during the 1930′s for the British military, Lam Jo sigung was invited to perform gung fu in front of hundreds of foreign and Chinese spectators. The audience was amazed by grand master powerful performance. The photos and articles about sigung’s amazing performance was published in a London newspaper as well as local newspapers in Hong Kong. The art of Hung Gar had now become internationally renowned.
On December 8, 1941, during World War II, Hong Kong woke up to find itself in war. The Japanese military had invaded Hong Kong and a great darkness had fallen up on the people of Hong Kong. This was the beginning of almost four years of hardship and deprivation. Grand Master did all he could to help ease the pain and suffering of the people. People looked up to him and recognized him as a leading figure within the community. The cruel treatment by the Japanese military soon resulted with a civil disorder breaking out in the streets of Hong Kong. Lam Cho sigung came forward as a leader to try to maintain the peace and lead people to safety. The Japanese well aware of grand master Lam’s status and influence on the public wanted him on their side. They pressured sigung to work for the Japanese and offered him many privileges. However, Lam Cho refused everything and as a result his studio/school was burned down by the Japanese. He became a wanted man and had no choice but to flee to China. He eventually ended up in his native village of Ping Chow. There he taught Hung Gar gung fu in secret until the end of the war. Sigung returned to Hong Kong once the Japanese invasion was over. His deeds and efforts to help those in need during the hard, haunting times of Japanese occupation are still remembered to this day.
Back in Hong Kong, grandmaster reopened his school and dit da clinic. He also became the chairman of the Physical Culture Association, the martial arts consultant for the Paper and Boxes Association Union and the Dit Da herbalist of the Restaurant Workers Union. Sigung carried on teaching his art openly to the public and continued to treat patients using his superb dit Da skills. Treating the rich he never over charged, treating the poor he charged a very little or nothing at all.
Even at the advance age of 100, Lam Cho sigung was still vigorous and full of life. He still practiced gung fu every single morning, operated a dit da clinic and occasionally taught hung gar to some of the students training at his famous studio and dit dat clinic located in Mong Kok. Grand Master Lam Cho is one of the most venerable and greatest grand masters Hong Kong has ever seen in its rather short history. An exceptional man, sigung has had an incredible life and accomplished much. Despite all that he always remained extremely humble and very much down to earth. To his last days every year Hung Gar practitioners from all corners of the world travel to Hong Kong to pay their respects to grand master Lam Cho and train at his legendary gung fu studio.
Lam Cho sigung passed away on 29 March 2012 but his spirit lives on strong in our hearts and his kung fu legacy and teaching will live forever through his students and future generations to come. Lam Cho sigung passed down his great legacy to his sons Lam Chun Fai, Lam Chun Chung and Lam Chun Sing. Like father, like son,all 3 are exceptional masters gifted with natural talent with decades of experience in their family art of Hung Gar and Dit Da medicine. As a matter of fact all of grandmasters children have been trained in their family art since childhood. Grand Master’s first born son, Master Lam Chun Fai runs his own gung fu school and dit da clinic, located in North Point/Hong Kong. Master Lam Chun Sing, sigung’s youngest son, is in charge of his father’s legendary studio in Mong Kok where he teaches kung fu.
LAM CHUN SING
The youngest son of the legendary grand master Lam Cho, Lam Chun Sing sifu was born on 30th January 1952. Brought up in a family of expert gung fu masters, Lam Chun Sing sifu began his gung fu training as soon as he could stand on his two feet. The training was extremely hard and demanding. Like his brothers and sisters, Master Lam had to train everyday under the strict discipline of his famous father. He practiced day after day, year after year without fail. Not training meant severe punishment like being hanged upside down in the mid air by iron chain. Needless to say that correct training and becoming proficient in the family art of Hung Gar was taken extremely serious in the Lam Family house hold. Every move, every principle and concept of the art had to be perfected before moving on to the next. For Master Lam, this was the way of life. His natural talents and dedication together with years of painfully rigorous training, under strict discipline allowed Lam sifu to quickly grasp and master all that his father taught him. He is one of only hand full of masters who knows all the ins and outs of Hung Gar gung fu by heart.
As gung fu and traditional Chinese medicine goes hand in hand, Lam sifu also learned and mastered the traditional art of dit da alongside Hung Kuen. He was taught all the various methods of treating a patient as well as learning the traditional herbal formulas which were only passed down from father to son or master to selected student. As a young man Lam sifu assisted his father with teaching gung fu and helped him with treating patients.
In 1973, Lam Chun Sing sifu set up his own gung fu gymnasium and dit-da clinic in Jordan of Hong Kong where he taught the traditional art of Hung Kuen to anyone wishing to learn. A year later he closed down the Jordan school before venturing into business. In 1975, Lam sifu returned to teaching Hung Gar gung fu at his fathers legendary studio. He is currently in charge of the Mong Kok studio where he has taken his fathers place to pass down the family art to all those interested to learn. Every year students from all over the world come Hong Kong to train at grandmasters famous studio where they are personally instructed by Lam Chun Sing sifu.Over the years,Lam sifu has been invited to give demonstrations, lead seminars and teach private classes in various countries around the world. He has taught and continues teach Hung Gar to students from many different countries such as England, America, Italy and Checz Republic.
In a league of his own, Lam sifu is an exceptional master of gung fu and a first class teacher. He has devoted his life to the research, promotion and advancement of Lam Family Hung Kuen. Lam sifu is truly an excellent gung fu teacher and a living example of what he teaches. With years of first hand experience, in-depth knowledge and wisdom under his belt, Lam sifu knows exactly how to teach and pass on the complete art of Hung Kuen to the future generations. Patient and precise, he is extremely careful and accurate when it comes to teaching and guiding his students. He always takes the time to thoroughly explain what he teaches and encourages his students to train properly and devote the time & energy necessary to become proficient in what they learn.