It is said that the southern white crane systems of today, originated from the Shaolin temple at the nine lotus mountain in the province of Fujian. However, there was more than one temple in Fujian around that time. A man named Fung Fei-Sze, studied kungfu at the temple and he taught his daughter Fang Chi-Niang his style of martial arts. But Fang Chi-Niang was not of the same stature as her father and found it very difficult against her counter parts, as they were normally bigger and stronger.
One of the many stories is when Fang Chi-Niang returned home one day she found a crane in the rafters of the house. She tried to make the crane leave using a long stick of bamboo, but each time she swiped or thrust at the crane, it just deflected or evaded her movements. Fang Chi-Ni ang was amazed at the cranes agility, so she watched the movements and combined them into her already well trained kungfu style.
The white crane fighting arts system that we teach in our club is very strongly influenced from the crane and tiger system that Master Ang Lian Huat originally taught in Singapore.
Master Ang Lian Huat
Master Ang was born on Quemoy Island, off the Fujian south east coast. He learnt the Crane and Tiger system from the Tee family on main land China where the system had been passed down through many generations. Master Ang also learnt many other martial arts in his life time.
His second master was Tan Kew Leong, who specialised in the Tiger Style of fighting. This works very well with the crane system as the cranes legs are weak and the tiger adds stability to the stances. It was master Tan Kew Leong, who also taught Ang, the Shaolin weapons, that are found in the white crane system today.
The third master was Miao Sian Meng, from the Chun Chew Shaolin temple. It was from him that he learnt the Suang Yang soft style form also known as Frost and Sun, soft and gentle flowing art, along with the many chi gong exercises for health and co nditioning.
Master Ang Lian Haut suffered from diabetes later in life and unfortunately passed away in 1984 aged 60 years.
The White Crane Martial Arts club does not claim any direct lineage over hundreds of years like lots of other clubs do, after all if nobody had further developed each style, we would not have the rich wide range of styles that exist today. China has so many unseen heroes that have never been seen in the West never mind made famous and their martial arts are a way of life to them not a commercial product.
One of the more well known areas that white crane kung fu can be found is in the Yong Chun province of China. There are four main clubs in Yong Chun and I have seen all of them demonstrate their patterns. You can see they all have their own flavour but must have developed from the same root. It is not the window dressing that matters but the principles of the crane systems holding them together.
White Crane Fighting Arts and its members are proud to continue progressing the crane systems into future generations.
One thing that has not changed over the years is:
You only get out of kung fu what you put into it.
Head Instructor Neil Johnson.