Shaolin “Fan Tsi Eagle Claw Kung Fu” is a set of traditional Chinese kung fu fighting techniques. This type of Northern Kung Fu was developed and widely used in China. The traditional style of kung fu was used by the famous military General, Ngok Fei, to train his soldiers. This set of fighting techniques is mostly composed of the following: “Jau” (grab), “Da” (strike) , “Kum” (catch), “Na” (hold), “Fan Gun” (separate the tendons), “Cho Gwat” (dislocating the joints), “Dim Yuet” (strike precisely the pressure points), “Baai Hei” (stop the breathing) , “Sim Gin” (fast changing stances), and “Tun Noh” (Jump and take away). Traditional Eagle Claw is based on three (3) fundamental forms: Hahng Kuen Sahp Lo (walking fist 10 sections), Lin Kuen Ng Sahp Lo(combination fist 50 sections), and 108 Chin Na (joint locking techniques). All the techniques are very practical.
Eagle claw kung fu was invented during the “Song” Dynasty. Its popularity however, did not come until the” Ming” Dynasty. The historical development of Eagle Claw Kung Fu is as follows: a monk named Lai Chun, who was a famous practitioner of the Fan Tsi style developed an interest in the Eagle Claw techniques. He invested a great deal of time training and improving the techniques which he incorporated into a new set of Fan Tsi Eagle Claw Kung Fu fighting techniques. These techniques were then passed down to a monk named Tao Chaig who passed them on to a monk named Fat Sing. Up until this time, this set of techniques was only taught to Buddhist “monks” and so, these techniques were not known by many people.
At the end of the “Ching” Dynasty, a man named Lau Si Chun, from Huibei inherited these fighting techniques from Fat Sing. Lau Si Chun spent thirty years practicing diligently. He became famous in Beijing because of his knowledge and ability in the “Shaolin Fan Tsi Eagle Claw Kung Fu” traditional fighting techniques. Lau Si Chun also specialized in fighting techniques using a “dai gong gee” (long staff). He became known as “Da Gong Gee Lau”, because of his outstanding performances in the “old days” fighting competitions. In his later years, he passed all of his techniques to his nephew Lau Sing Yau; Lau Sing Yau then passed this knowledge to his third son Lau Kai Man and his nephew Chan Tsi Cheng. Lau Kai Man passed the Eagle Claw Kung Fu to his nephew LAU FAT MANG (The 7th Generation Eagle Claw Late Grandmaster).
Chan Tsi Cheng succeeded in learning all of the techniques. Because he admired the Chin Woo Association, started by Huo Yuen Ja, Chan Tsi Cheng went to Shanghai with Lau Fat Mang to join the Chin Woo Association, and spread the knowledge of Eagle Claw Kung Fu there. Lau Fat Mang was Lau Kai Man’s blood nephew, so he learned from his uncle at a very early age. When Lau arrived in Shanghai, the first thing he did was to go to the head office of the “Chin Woo Association” to teach. In this Association, everyone was required to know the ten (10) basic forms of Chin Woo. The ten basic forms are: Tam Teui, Gung Lik Kuen, Da Gin Kqen, Sahp Gee Gin Kqen, Tuet Jien, Ng Fu Chon, Quan Yeung Quan, Toa Kuen (2 man form), Bat Kua Do, Jeet Kune. After that, they could learn one (1) of the five (5) Kung Fu Styles taught at that Association. In time, Lau become Chan’s Assistant Eagle Claw Kung Fu Instructor. In 1924, the Chin Woo Association was started in Hong Kong. The Association wanted to send a teacher from the headquarters in Shanghai to go to Hong Kong to teach, and Chan Tsi Cheng was selected. Hence, Lau Fat Mang remained in Shanghai and became the head teacher in the Chin Woo Association where he trained many successful students. Two (2) years passed and the Chin Woo Association opened a school in Fut Shan, which is located in the south. Lau Fat Mang was sent to this school.
In 1929, Chan Tsi Cheng left Hong Kong and returned to Northern China. The Chin Woo Association in Hong Kong was left without an Eagle Claw Kung Fu teacher, this situation allowed Lau Fat Mang to go to Hong Kong and take over the teaching position. Lau Fat Mang arrived in Hong Kong and attracted many students. Among them were Ng Wai Nung (Master Shum Leung’s Sifu), Lee Zhau Mang and Lee Waig Hong. Lau Fat Mang was serious about his job and patiently worked individually with his students. At this time, three (3) famous teachers from the north who teached in Hong Kong were: Kan Tak Hoi (Tai Shing Pek Kwar Moon, Monkey King), Yip Yue Ting (Mai Jung Law Hong) and Lau Fat Mang (Eagle Claw Fan Tsi Moon). Because these three masters were from the same village of Huibei and were very skilled in their Kung Fu, the Wushu community named these Masters the “Huibei Three Heroes”. They were very good friends, and were always together. In 1931, Lau Fat Mang was invited to head the Jung Nam Martial Arts Association, where Lau taught for a few more years.
In 1933, Lau Fat Mang received an invitation to be chief instructor for the Guang Dung Army. He accepted the invitation. Not long after, Lau Fat Mang quit teaching for the military and returned to Hong Kong. He opened the Lau Fat Mang Eagle Claw School. Soon after Lau Fat Mang opened his school, the Japanese invaded China. Although Lau Fat Mang had many students, and he being a faithful citizen, he decided to close his school and fight for his country.
He fought at the front line and was the creator of the 19th Regiment Army “Dai Do (Big Sword)” . Lau Fat Mang continued to fight on the front line until Japan surrendered. After the war, Lau Fat Mang moved to Guang Chou.
In 1949, Lau Fat Mang moved his family to Hong Kong. He continued to teach and spread Eagle Claw Kung Fu. At this time the Hong Kong Kowloong Restaurant Union invited him to represent the Northern Style Kung Fu.
In 1954, Lau Fat Mang, Lee Jen Chen, and Dong Ying Kit, were invited to judge the first Lei Tai match in Hong Kong, Macau. A White Crane Sifu, Chan Hut Fu, challenged Ng Tai Chi Master, Ng Goong Yee. This was a very exciting event. Many famous movie stars, and rich people, went to watch. During this event, Lau Fat Mang and Dong Ying Kit were asked to do a sparring demonstration. This was more exciting than the Lei Tai match, because these were two (2) very famous Masters. The money from this event was donated to charity.
When Lau Fat Mang returned, he became ill with pneumonia. He went to Chen Chao, an island off of Hong Kong. For more than 2 months he remained in bed until he recovered. His doctor recommended that he avoid heavy work and stress, so he decided to stay at home and teach his children the Eagle Claw Kung Fu Techniques. Also during this time he wrote the book Shaolin Eagle Claw Fan Tsi Kung Fu and 108 Chin Na Techniques. Lau Fat Mang finished half of the 108 Chin Na Techniques. His eldest daughter Lily Lau and her brother Francis finished the book by showing the techniques in the pictures. The young woman that is shown in the book is Grandmaster Lily Lau.
When Lau Fat Mang felt he was totally recovered after resting for a few years, he finally returned to Hong Kong. Lau Fat Mang still was determined to spread the knowledge of Eagle Claw Kung Fu. So he re-established his Eagle Claw Kung Fu School in Kowloon Mong Kok, and was joined by more students.
On March 17, 1964, Master Lau, passed away at the age of 62. He begun his journey from Shanghai and travelled to the south when he was 22. He spread the techniques of “Eagle Claw” for almost his entire life. Although Lau Fat Mang was the kung fu nephew of Chan Tsi Cheng, because of the time and effort he put into the development and teaching of Eagle Claw Kung Fu, he had the greatest impact. There is no doubt that he was the Grandmaster of the South, for he spread the Eagle Claw Kung Fu System throughout the area. No one ever mastered his favorite form “Joit Lok Tong” (Eagle Claw Drunken Form), as well as he did.
References and sources for this Eagle Claw Kung Fu article
Originally sourced from www.lilylaueagleclaw.com which no longer exists so you can watch a video of an eagle claw form instead https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiIEnRTVZys