With Grandmaster Lun Gai Foshan China October 2013
In1928 Joseph Stalin (18.12.1878–05.03.1953) was the supreme leader of Russia and Chiang Kai- Shek(31.10.1887 – 05.04. 1975) led the Northern Expedition to unify the country becoming China’s overall leader. Mao was fighting for control and had been expelled from his party post on the 14th of November the previous year. By April 1928 his luck began to change when the remnants of the Nanchang Mutineers under brigadier Zhu De sought refuge at Mao’s base. The Zhu-Mao red Army was formed and Mao sought to reestablish himself and by November 1928 Mao’s demands were met and he was told he was in charge of the Zhu-Mao army.
It was into this pivotal point in Chinese history that a boy by the name of Lun Gai was born on 06.11.1927 in Shiwan Guangdong Province
Much is written about the life of Grandmaster Ip Man (Cantonese) (Ye Wen Mandarin) and his students in Hong Kong, his teachings and followers have received wide publicity.
Thanks to their hard work the late Grandmasters art has now spread to every corner of the globe.
Generally little has been published about his teaching in Foshan (Fatshan) and his students from those early days.
Lun Gai’s (Lun Kai) (Lun Jie) father died while he was still young so he started work at the age of twelve as a boy servant at the Luen Cheong Embroidery Factory on Wing On Road which was owned by a relative.
The factory stood around 800 meters north of Grandmaster Yip’s residence at MulberryGardens. The owner of the factory was a good friend of Grandmaster Yip and so he invited him to teach Wing Chun (Yong Chun) (Ving Tsun) to his children in the warehouse at the back of his factory.
Lun Gai began to study under the Grandmaster at the age of fourteen; Grandmaster Yip was around forty years old at this time.
The group would meet every evening and consisted of around eight students and the Grandmaster taught for free, he asked his students to address him as ‘ Man Sok ‘, Uncle Man. This was during the occupation by Japanese forces so the class would meet in secret.
Great emphasis was placed on the study of the Siu- Nim-Tau form and on Horse Stance practise. When they practised Chi Sao Grandmaster Yip would cover his eyes and Chi Sao with all the students and he could tell by the feel which of the students he was training with.
The teaching method at this time was to teach the complete system in one year as lessons were held every night, which included Siu-Nim-Tau, Chum-Kiu, Biu-Tze, Butterfly Knives, Long Pole and Wooded Dummy. There was no instruction in any other form of sticking hand training apart from the two handed Chi Sao.
The class ran for four years and after the break up some of the class members stayed in touch with Uncle Yip, Grandmaster Yip lived with Lun Gai’s Kung Fu brother Kwok Fu during this period.
Grandmaster Yip left Foshan around 1949 after the Communist takeover as an Undercover Police Captain he feared possible reprisals from the new regime.
Before leaving China Grandmaster Yip instructed his few remaining students to use the Phoenix Eye punching method which Lun Gai Sifu still favours today.
During the training at the Luen Cheong Embroidery factory Lun Kai and Kwok Fu were good friends, being four years older Lun Gai looked upon him as being an elder brother.
During the early years of the Communist takeover the two classmates lost contact and went their different ways.
Lun Kai made an effort to try and contact Kwok Fu but to no avail, at the same time Kwok Fu was also trying to find Lun Gai.
Knowing his old classmate was an electrician by trade Kwok Fu would always ask any electricians he met if they knew Lun Gai.
One time Kwok Fu was near to Guangzhou and met an electrician who said he knew Lun Gai and that he had returned to Foshan and was working at a pump factory there.
Kwok Fu wrote a letter to the pump factory which Lun Gai received, the old classmates were reunited in 1958 and have been close friends ever since.
Si-Sok Gwok Fu with Si-Mui Ye Zi Zhu on her birthday
During the Cultural Revolution the practise of martial arts was frowned upon by the Red Guards many martial arts Masters were persecuted this included torture, imprisonment and death. Kwok Fu suffered at the hands of the Red Guards and his health is still poor today because of their treatment.
Lun Kai continued to practise throughout this period mostly at home; sometimes he would go to the park or the AncestralTemple. Often the practise at the Temple would be watched by a Policeman who was also a martial arts practitioner so he never reported him.
I asked Lun Gai Sifu if he had ever had to use his Wing Chun in a real life situation he said Grandmaster Yip did not want his students to fight.
There was one occasion however just after the Cultural Revolution when he went on his bicycled out into the countryside at night.
He was travelling along a dark road when two men jumped out in front of him, as he stopped the light, which was driven by a dynamo, went out.
He quickly put the bicycle down; one man threw a powerful punch towards Lun sifu.
Lun applied the Kuo Sao movement from Wing Chuns Second form Chum-Kiu.
He heard the breaking of bone and the man screamed with pain, turning to the side the other man had already launched a kick, which glanced against Lun’s thigh.
The man didn’t follow up the attack hearing his accomplice’s screams both men fled.
Lun Gai Sifu has taught for many years in Foshan and has passed on Grandmaster Yips legacy to numerous students.
Sadly Sifu Lun has suffered from health problems for many years. After his wife passed away on 30th June 1998 his mental state became very poor and confused.
Sifu has also suffered from painful knees as he has taken medications for high blood pressure for a long period and it appears that this has caused these side effects.
Since early 2000 he has found it difficult to walk and since 2006 when outside the house has moved around mainly in a wheelchair.
Since my first visit to Foshan in 1989 I have taken over 300 students to Foshan and many have trained with Master Lun. His teaching method was mainly to teach the forms, Chi Sao and applications.
Master Lun’s method of teaching never altered it has been the same from the first day I studied with him and throughout all my training and the groups I have taken until his retirement.
Sifu has said that he taught me in the same way that Grandmaster Yip Man taught to him and I also preserve the same method in my teaching.
Sifu Lun teaches in a traditional way and doesn’t offer grades or certificates.
I HAVE TAUGHT YOU EVERYTHING
I completed the system in the early nineties and ventured to ask Master Lun some years later “Sifu is there anymore for me to learn, any secrets?” “No I have taught you everything it’s up to you what you do with it now”
In February 2004 Master Lun gave me permission to form the Lun Gai Foshan Wing Chun Association we now have branches in Hungary, South Africa, Spain, Ireland and throughout the United Kingdom
Derek presents Master Lun Gai with membership of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association
Master Lun passed away at home on Sunday January 5th 2014 peacefully in his bed.
Rest In Peace Sifu