The Lama Style

Lama was brought into southern China around (1644-1911) in the later Ching Dynasty. The style originated in Tibet, many generations ago, but was made famous in China when a (LAMA), a Tibetan monk named Sing Lung arrived in Kwang Tung province China, in which time he subdued the most powerful pirate, Chang Pao Chai. After this he wandered for years until he settled at the Ching Yun Temple, (Blessing Cloud Temple), on Mount Ting Hu in the Lake Chao Ching District, after the death of the presiding monk. He became Abbot, or head of the temple, and later engaged Wang Ping, known as the tiger of Chao Ching, also known as one of the heroes south of the five ridges. Once Wang saw how superior Sing Lung's martial arts skill were, the two became good friends. Being a layman, Sing Lung could not accept him as a student. Wang understood his predicament and sent his only son (Wang Yin Lin) to become a monk under the great monk.

Wong Yin Lin was only 11 years old at the time and dedicated himself to learning the skills of the Lama style. After Sing Lung's death, Wang returned home to show his father the skills he had learned. Afterwards, Wong traveled north to central China and began working with different escort services and lead the life of a traveling swordsman, which gave Lama kung fu its other name (Hop Gar) or (Hsia Chia), swordsman style or traveling hero style. Wong eventually returned home to Kwang Tung where he built a (lei tai) a raised platform used in full contact challenge fighting. There he fought over 150 other martial artist and was never defeated. Shortly afterwards, he was elected to the (Kwang Tung Sup Fu), the ten tigers of Kwang Tung, who were the top ten kung fu men in China. There he held the No. 1 position. He taught several students such as Huang Han Jung and Li Yin Chuan. Li had a student named Tsai Yi Kung.

Tsai Yi Kung learned from Li Yin Chuan for many years. Because of his dedication,Li introduced his pupil to the great grand master, Wong Yin Lin, who at this point moved in and took care of all the master's needs. He was able to receive the training and supervision every day. By the time the great master died, Tsai had learned all the skills of the Lama school. It was during this time Tsai supported the Anti-Ching revolution and was forced to take refuge in Japan. During his stay he served as Sun Yat Sen's bodyguard. Some time later, he returned to China and then moved to Hong Kong.

Tsai's most famous students were Kung Yi Chi and Chen Keun Ng. Chen was a famous martial artist known for his very serious fighting skill in China and Hong Kong. He also studied Lama from one of China's folk heroes (Nang Shat Lai).

Wai Lun Choi began his Lama training in 1957, studying under Master Chen, as part of his training routine, Choi fought in several of the rooftop fights where different kung fu styles would meet to test their skills. Choi's excellent fighting skills made him a favorite of Master Chen. This is why the Lama style has maintained its great fighting reputation.

Wai Lun Choi (right) sparring in a Hong Kong Park