My kung fu background


The style that I practised and still teach is formally called ‘Fong Yang’ kung fu which orignated in the precture of Fong Yang (now spelt Feng Yang) in Anhui province. However it is also known as the Beggars Art because of the custom of the villagers (usually women or the older men) travelling around China selling medicines, giving medical treatments etc. in return for money – hence they became known as ‘beggars’. It is these women who probably account for the tales of wandering female  kung fu experts fighting off bandits etc..

The style is a composite one because it combines the Southern Peh Hoke (White Crane) system  and the Northern Thai Chor (Great Ancestor) system; it is therefore said to combine the hands of Peh Hoke with the feet of Thai Chor. However as a result of the constant wandering of the villagers the Beggars Art also contains many forms gathered from other Chinese kung fu systems.

My teacher in this style was Sifu Tan Siew Cheng, who died in 1996. He was recognised as one of Singapore’s ‘Three Tigers’, that is to say one of the three senior kung fu masters of that country.

I trained with Sifu Tan from 1967 up to his death in 1996. Although English martial arts is now my main system I retain the utmost respect and admiration for Fong Yang and the man who taught it to me. I actually still teach the Beggars Art to a couple of people and it is my hope that one day they will pass that knowledge on.

Sifu Tan, with his son Tan Seng Lee, created Singapore’s own, indigenous martial art which is called Khong Chang (Open Palm) and I hold a black belt 2nd dan grade in that system.

More pictures and information will be added to this page over a period of time and I will gladly answer any questions about Fong Yang.