Choy Lee Fut is probably the most popular fighting style in Hong Kong and Canton, and has historically been one of the most successful styles in inter-style competitions in Hong Kong and South East Asia. It is therefore a little strange that Choy Lee Fut has not taken off in the UK in quite the same way as the other famous style from that region of China, Wing Chun.
Our type of Choy Lee Fut comes from a Master called Tam Sam, and is known as Bak Hsing. Bak Hsing Choy Lee Fut is characterised by its flowing, flexible movements and the increased turn of the body used in the postures and execution of techniques, generating easy power from the turning movement and momentum of the opposite hand to the one which is striking. Slip attacking and the destabilising effect of blocking techniques on the opponent are trademarks of the Bak Hsing style. Bak Hsing Choy Lee Fut is particularly relaxed and fluid in application.
"dynamic stability" means that stability in movement is not just a feature of good stance or posture, but rather is derived from the continual turning momentum of the body, with power being delivered to one side of the body from the opposite side. This works in exactly the same way as a gyroscope - its stability is a feature of the turning momentum, not the means by which it is supported.
Tam Sam was an accomplished boxer before he came to study Choy Lee Fut but after a 'friendly' match with a Hung Hsing Choy Lee Fut practitioner, in which Tam Sam was clearly beaten, he decided to study under the victor's master, Liu Chan. Tam Sam trained for many years but he was something of an innovator and went on to modify the teachings of his master to the point where he had created a radically different approach to the application of Choy Lee Fut technique.
Feeling that his new approach was superior to the traditional method Tam Sam arranged for challenge bouts with Liu Chan's senior students, including the man who had bested him many years before, to demonstrate the efficacy of his art and very quickly defeated them all. Versions of events vary after this; some say that Liu Chan was so angry that he challenged Tam Sam himself and was also beaten, others that he simply dismissed Tam Sam as a student for not following the traditional Hung Hsing method, and others again that he was forced to expel Tam Sam as a student for reasons of face, but continued to teach him in secret. Whichever story is true Tam Sam eventually left Liu Chan's school and moved to Siu Bak where he began teaching his new system as Bak Hsing Choy Lee Fut.
Tam Sam was a contemporary of the famous Northern Shaolin master and bodyguard, Ku Yue-Chang (the "King of Iron Palm") and both men had a deep respect for one another, so much so that they arranged to exchange students, which proved to be a major factor in the development of our own lineage.