Chan Heung Gung, Founder of Choy Lee Fut

(1806 – 1875)

2nd Generation Great Grand Master Chan Koon Bak

(1857 – 1916)

3rd Generation Great Grand Master Chan Yiu Chi

(1892 – 1965)


4th Generation Grand Master Li Iu Ling

(1916 – 2007)

Choy Lee Fut (蔡李佛) as a distinct kung fu style has a colourful history of more than 170 years since its creation by Chan Heung Gung (蔡李佛始祖陳享公) , in 1836, in Southern China. As a revolutionary who fought during the Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion, Chan Heung created Choy Lee Fut as an effective fighting style for use by revolutionaries in the battlefield. The name Choy Lee Fut was chosen by Chan Heung in honour of two of his three mentors, one a Shaolin master by the name of Lee Yau Shan (李友山 ), the other, a Shaolin monk who survived the destruction of the Shaolin Monastery (少林寺), by the name of Choy Fook (蔡褔禪師). Chan Heung added the word “Fut” (佛) meaning Buddha or Buddhist, in reference to the legacy of the Buddhist teachings of the Shaolin Monastery.

The history of Choy Lee Fut, particularly in the first one hundred years of its founding, parallels the chaotic period in China’s history from the revolutionary anti-Ching Dynasty movements to the founding of the Republic of China through to the Japanese invasion of China.

Chan Heung Gung’s second son Chan Koon Bak (陳官伯),  inherited the leadership of the Choy Lee Fut clan following the death of his elder brother Chan Onn Bak (陳安伯).

Chan Koon Bak was responsible for setting up a large following in the Jiang Mern City and Guangzhou City, where he established the Choy Lee Fut Hung Sing Ancestral School (蔡李佛雄勝祖館). Some of his famous disciples included Chan Cheung Mo, Ngan Yiu Ting, Choy Bak Tat, Choy Bak Hung, Fong Yuk Shu, Leung Kwei, Wong Fook Wing and Tam Ging Fu.

Chan Koon Bak taught his son, Chan Yiu Chi (陳耀墀), who in turn taught his own son Chan Wan Hon (陳雲漢 ) and adopted son and protégé Li Iu Ling (李耀齡) at the Choy Lee Fut Hung Sing Ancestral School (蔡李佛雄勝祖館) in Guangzhou (廣州).

Chan Yiu Chi ’s kung fu was characterised by his lightning-fast footwork and his mastery of the hard and soft.  Chan Yiu Chi’s style was not showy but subtle, deceptively “soft” but incredibly powerful, ever changing like a dragon and fast as a cobra.

The Choy Lee Fut lineage of the Li Iu Ling Martial Arts Alumni is that of Great Grand Master Chan Yiu Chi (陳耀墀), passed on by his most illustrious “Golden Disciple” (金徒弟), Grand Master Li Iu Ling.

In accordance with the tradition laid down by my Shigung, Chan Yiu Chi, and in his memory, we call our lineage Hung Sing (Sage’s/Hero’s Victory) Choy Lee Fut (雄勝蔡李佛).