The Story of Mr. Jan's Employee and Student Big Mountain Shu by Mok Poi On
Note: Translated from the Chinese
By canceling the millstone palms, Moneychanger Wah knew in his heart Shu was better but when he pushed down the elder son, Leung Bik, trouble came.
Chu Chong-Man was a Foshan native. His name was originally Chu Yee-Sheung and his older brother was Chu Yee-Han. When Chu Chong-Man was young his body was not healthy, so his father had him learn martial arts to promote his health. He liked martial arts a lot and followed several teachers to learn. He gained his greatest understanding in Wing Chun Kuen. When he was young, he followed Ngau Shu, known as San Dai (Big Mountain) Shu. Later, he followed Dong Jik and Wong Jeet-Sing. This article is based on a story Chu Chong-Man heard, and what he saw.
Ngau Shu Became an Employee To Steal Martial Arts In Foshan, the southern sects of martial arts are popular. There were many masters of the martial world in Foshan. For example, one famous master was Foshan Jan Sin-Sang (Mr. Jan of Foshan). Mr. Jan's history has been made famous by many writers and many stories and his martial arts have spread to Hong Kong, making him an important figure.
The history for these many stories has come through the line of Mr Jan's student, Chan Wah-Shun, known as Jiao Chin Wah (Moneychanger Wah). Chan Wah-Shun's story has also become very popular in the martial world. This article, however, will talk about martial world expert, Mountain Shu.
Before, many people did not know much about Mountain Shu. Some have said Mountain Shu learned Hung Kuen. Another said he learned "tense-fist tense-stance" based martial arts. This is not true. Mountain Shu's real name was Ngau Shu. His original occupation was in Siu Lap (Bar-BQ) and he was good at it. He learned Wing Chun Kuen from Mr. Jan. This history can be proven.
How did Mountain Shu come to learn from Mr. Jan? Through many twists and turns.
Mountain Shu discussed methods with Chan Wah-Shun. Chan Wah-Shun's Mor Poon Gong Jeung (Millstone Palms Attack) was canceled by Mountain Shu This story Chu heard as a young child, because his family were the neighbors of Mountain Shu's Mao Sing Hall on Sing Ping Street. So, how did Ngao Shu, come to learn martial arts? Chu will relate the story.
When Ngau Shu was 20 years old he was very poor and did not have a lot of relatives. For a living, he worked at the Foshan Siu Lap (Bar-BQ) shop. At the time, Ngau Shu was young, strong, and had a lot of power. He used a fork to turn the pig rapidly in the cooking fire. Because he could turn it so fast, his pig's always retained more juice and were heavier then other cook's. While Ngau Shu worked at the shop, he came to know that Mr. Jan's martial arts were first class.
Mountain Shu very much liked the martial arts, he wanted to learn from Mr. Jan. At the time, however, this martial art was not taught to poor people. This is because learning the martial arts was like learning scholastics. One had to have enough money to afford a good teacher and enough time to learn. Mountain Shu had neither of these things. Also, because Mr. Jan was very famous and had quality skills, one could not simply approach him for lessons. One had to have a trusted friend who could gain one and introduction.
Mountain Shu did not give up, however, he kept trying to figure out a way. Every day he stood outside and peaked in on Mr. Jan's classes. Whenever Mr. Jan entered or existed his shop, Mountain Shu smiled broadly and tried to make a good impression.
After a long time, Ngau Shu became familiar to Mr. Jan and came to know the workers and family around his shop. Mr. Jan get accustomed to him. One day, Ngau's chance came. Mr. Jan needed to employ someone to clean the shop and, hearing the news, Ngau Shu asked the people of the shop to recommend him for the job. In the end, Mr. Jan agreed to hire him.
Ngau Shu quit the bar-bq job, hoping he would have a chance to see more martial arts. During that time, class distinction was rigidly enforced and the workers could not mingle with the wealthy people who made up Mr. Jan's class. Thus, Mountain Shu could not simply stand and watch, but had to make sure he stayed busy or stood off to the side. Because he could only watch and not participate, he worked very hard on his own to gain skill. In the beginning, Mr. Jan did not realize what Ngau Shu was doing. Eventually, however, he caught on.
One day, when no one was around, Mr. Jan approached Ngau Shu and told him he knew Ngau was stealing his martial arts. Ngau Shu confessed honestly and explained that he had neither the money nor the connections to gain proper lessons and spying was his only way to learn. Because of his honesty and good character, Mr. Jan gave his tacit approval. Since the wealthy and workers couldn't mix, however, Mountain Shu could not join the class and had to settle for only words of encouragement. From time to time, however Mr. Jan would let him come close and watch clearly.
Double Uplifting Hands To Cancel A Grinding Palms Attack Watching Mr. Jan's classes let Ngau Shu progress fast. In fact, since Leung Jan had over ten students and Ngau Shu got to watch each one of their lessons, he got to see more then any one individually. After work, he would practice hard by himself. In this way, Ngau Shu got good quality boxing methods.
One night, Mr. Jan was invited for food and drink at a party and asked Chan Wah-Shun to teach the students. Chan Wah-Shun often said that 90% the masters could not stop his side millstone palm. That night, one class member asked Chan Wah-Shun how to apply the side palm. Ngau Shu watched from the side as Chan Wah-Shun showed the class member. He made it look very easy. Mountain Shu, however, did not think the technique was perfected and saw a problem with the elbow power.
Ngau Shu did not say anything when the class member was there. When his younger martial brother left, however, he went over to Chan Wah-Shun. Mountain Shu told dai sihing (eldest classmate) Chan Wah-Shun that something was wrong. Mr. Jan did not use the palm in that manner and he felt if one did, it would not be effective since the elbow would not be powerful.
Chan Wah-Shun saw Ngau Shu as a low-class worker in the shop and himself as an experienced student of Mr. Jan. Jan had told him many things. He felt it was impossible for the worker to have more the knowledge them him. Due to his pride, Moneychanger Wah asked Mountain Shu to practice with him.
Ngau Shu agreed and they began to practice. Chan asked Ngau Shu to punch first. Ngau Shu punched with high speed and hit Chan in the chest. He used center-line punch to hit Chan. Chan Wah-Shun used the Wong Jeung (Side Palm), using one hand to Fook (Control) the bridge and with the other tried to grab his throat. Chan thought Ngau Shu must block his hand, and both of their bridges would be in contact. Chan's bridges ended up on the outside. He wanted to use the millstone palm like he had previously. He made up his mind and repeated the side palm to set it up. As their bridges moved around, Chan felt Ngau Shu's bridges were not easy to control. Ngau Shu's two bridges were very powerful. Chan wanted to retreat and change, but had not time. Both his shoulders were then lightly pressed by Ngau Shu. Chan lost his center of balance and fell back several steps before regaining his feet. Chan Wah-Shun felt Ngau Shu's hands were fast like lightning. He didn't know he had been pushed back. Ngau Shu worried that Chan Wah-Shun would hold a grudge. He immediately spoke to Chan but at that time Leung Bik came home.
Leung Bik listened to their story and thought Chan Wah-Shun had used the palm reasonably. He wonder if Ngau Shu's skill was good or not and asked Ngau Shu to practice. Ngau Shu was thus forced to try it with Leung Bik as well. They switched positions and began to compare. This time it was serious. Ngau Shu's hands were still fast as lightning and Leung Bik fell on the ground. Because Leung Bik wanted to understand Ngau Shu's methods, he tried again, this time with 80% power. Ngau Shu responded with the increased power and again Leung Bik fell to the floor. This time, however, the fall was hard, sending him flying back many meters and falling over a chair that Leung Jan always relaxed in. Because he fell heavily, the leg of the chair broke. Ngau Shu, recognizing the situation, quickly helped Leung Bik up and apologized. Leung Bik, however, was happy. Even though he had fallen and hurt himself, it wasn't serious. He was more concerned about the bamboo recliner. Mr. Jan, after finishing teaching, liked to lie back on the chair to relax. Thus Mr. Jan was certain to discover the broken leg and from there, that they had been practicing. So, the three had to fix the chair. They thought Mr. Jan would this way not find out.
When Mr. Jan Taught You Techniques, He Hit You Many days later, bad things happned. That day, Mr. Jan finished his course and, as usually, lay down on his recliner. When he lay down, he felt it was wobbly. He discovered the leg had been broken and repaired. Mr. Jan, thinking something was wrong, called Ngau Shu and asked for an explanation. Mr Jan was very serious when he asked, and Ngau Shu could not lie to him. He told that he had practice with Chan Wah-Shun and pushed him down. Mr. Jan smiled and asked why the chair was broken. Ngau Shu had to admit he practiced with Leung Bik and pushed him down over the lounge-chair, breaking it. This time, when he heard Ngau Shu explain, Mr. Jan's face was dark. Because Chan Wah-Shun was a student, if he compared with this lower-class guy, is was not important if he won or lost. But for the low-class person to practice with the master's son and use heavy power was not good. Mr. Jan was not happy with Ngau Shu for hitting his son. He was very angry but could not show it in front of people. Instead he kept it in mind and though of a way to settle the problem with Ngau Shu, unobtrusively. Ngau Shu thought everything was finished and okay.
10 days later, Mr. Jan finished the class and turned to Ngau Shu. He said that Ngau has been there many years already, and he thought Ngau had at least learned some techniques, so he wanted Ngau to practice with him. Ngau Shu was happy and afraid at the same time. Leung Jan told him not to worry, that he only want to know his level. Ngau Shu though he could practice with Mr. Jan only because Mr. Jan was the master and he was just the worker. He thought Mr. Jan wouldn't kill him, only hurt him maybe. Ngau Shu could not await this point and very pain. If Mr. Jan wanted to kill him it would have been very easy. Mr. Jan only use the heavy power to hit his rib, and he would be dead. But, Mr. Jan didn't want to kill him or permanently injure him, just hit him a little. This time Mr. Jan, instead of using his palm, used two fingers to pinch Ngau Shu.
The pinch was hard and Ngau Shu felt a lot of pain, he lost strength in his whole body and his face turned green. Because he had taught him a lesson and resolved things, Jan thought everything was fixed. Ngau Shu didn't die but for a long time after felt something was wrong.
Chu Chong-Man said that when Ngau Shu taught him the martial arts, he would lift his clothes and show him the spot. Everytime it rained or got windy, he felt pain. From this story we know Ngau Shu learned martial arts the hard way.
How did Chu Chong-Man learn from Ngau Shu? By chance. When he was just over 10 years old, his body was not healthy. His father knew martial arts was popular in Foshan. It was good exercise like sport andcould make you healthy but was also useful for defense. He wanted to go learn one system. One problem was that martial schools had people from everywhere and it was hard to know if the sifu's behavior good or not. His elder brother, Chu Yee-Hon made sure he found a good teacher. By chance, his elder brother had a frined named Fok Yui, who was know as Jong Biu Yui. He liked martial arts had a rich family. His family had a big house in Foshan and he had money to martial arts. He learned from many famous teachers. Like the pole from Leung Sai-So, who Jong Biu Yiu had paid a lot of money to learn from. After that he's paid a lot of money to learn kicking methods from another. By then, Jong Biu Yui thoungt nobody could match him in Foshan. His cousin was Ngau Shu. One time Jong Biu Yui and Ngau Shu compared methods and Jong Biu Yui failed. From then on, he followed Ngau Shu to learn Weng Chun. Chu's elder brother heard this story, that Jong Biu Yui had learned a long time but failed to beat Ngau Shu, so thought Ngau Shu was first class.
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