Red Boats Opera
Prior to the formation of the Red Boat Opera Troupe, wing chun was only a concept…………
After the Shaolin Temples were destroyed by the Manchu’s, the surviving Monks fled south.
They fled mainly to Canton and Foshan, in southern China.
During this period there were many secret society rebel groups, fighting the Enemy, the Manchus.
The most notorious were the “Red Boats”.
The Red Boat Opera Troupe was a legendary rebel group attacking and fighting the Manchu’s.
They wanted to rid the Qing and restore the Ming.
According to wing chun martial traditions:
Red Boat duo, Wong Wah Bo and Leung Yee Ta were chosen by Yim Wing Chun and her husband.
They taught them the concepts and principles of wing chun kung fu.
Leung Yee Tai and Wong Wah Bo had as many as 11 peers in Wing Chun.
For example, “Dai Fa Min” Kam, who played the role of the martial painted face.
He is the ancestor of the Way Yan lineage.
The Yuen Kay Sanand Pan Nam branches descend from both Wong Wah-Bo and “Dai Fa Min” Kam.
Gao Lo Chung (“Tall” Chung) and “Hung Gun” Biu, also of the Red Boat Opera Company.
Both passed the art on to relatives, respectively, his son-in-law Yin Lee-Chung and the Wang family.
A monk named “Dai Dong Fung” is named as the ancestor of the Pao Fa Lien lineage of Wing Chun.
In the Red Boat Opera Company, the role of the virtuous “female” was played by Leung Yee Tai and Yik Kam.
Better known as “Ching-Deng” Kam because of the role he played.
Cho Shun, who played the “Little Martial” role, was a student of Yik Kam.
By passing the art to his son Cho Dak-Sang, Cho Shun established the Wing Chun lineage of the Cho family.
They are situated in Panyu village.
Leung Jan is as far back as the lineages that descend from him Yip Man, Yiu Kai, Pan Nam, Tam Yeung.
Fung Sing can reliably verify their genealogy.
Dr. Leung Jan was a practitioner of traditional chinese medicine in the city of Foshan in the 19th century.
Leung Jan is said to have learned from Wong Wah Bo and Leung Yee Tai.
They were respectively the male and “female” martial leads of the Red Boat Opera Troupe.
Each is said to have been an expert on different aspects of Wing Chun.
According to legends from the Yip Man lineage, Leung Yee-Tai was a poler.
He used a pole to steer the Red Boat away from rocks and shoals.
Hewas chosen by the legendary Shaolin master Jee Shin himself to learn the six-and-a-half point pole.
Leung Jan’s students included his sons Leung Chun and Leung Bik as well as “Wooden Man” Wah.
Chan Wah Shun system continued with Yip Man, Yiu Kai, and Pan Nam lineages descend.
When Leung Jan was 70 years old, he moved back to his native village of Gulao.
He only taught 3 people a synthesized version of his wing chun.
In my next Blog, I will discuss Leung Jan’s influence on wing chun kung fu and his direct descendants around China.