I began my journey into martial arts in 1985 when I was 10 year old. At the time, I was introduced to my first Sifu, GM The Kang Hay, by my father who had been a student around the 1970’s where at that time since the 70’s Kwee King Yang no longer taught therefore only Grand Master The Kang Hay taught in GM Kwee King Yang Bukoan.
I practiced every Wednesday at 4 PM. I lived only 3-4 blocks away from my sifu’s restaurant that was also the Bukoan/Studio. The studio was located near the main road. It was within walking distance. My childhood home in Indonesia is now where the Chinese Consulate is located.
Slowly but surely I started to hear about the life story of Kwee King Yang and he how he learned martial arts himself. I found out he had nine different teachers before he started teaching around the late 1920. I found out Cia Fun Tjiao was the last Black Flag teacher and that previously he had had eight teachers himself. The styles he learned from 9 teachers include:
- Tai Cho – Grand Ancestor
- Ngo Cho – Five Ancestor
- Bai He – White Crane
- Tat Tjun – Boddhidarma
- Lo Han Quan – Shaolin Fist
- Hak Fu – Black Tiger.
- Eng Chun- Black Flag from the Black Flag
From my sifu, I learned the history how Tjia Fun Tjiao was the last chief instructor of the Black Flag Lodge. He left China due to political rivalries among in the secret society between the three split-ed ideologies between the pro Qing, Birtish, and Ming.
He left for Indonesian to look for his cousin in Malang City who had established a successful business there. At first he could not find him. He went to a restaurant and learned that someone that worked in the restaurant had murdered his cousin. He did not know that before he made his trip, therefore he had not come there for revenge. At bit later, he got cornered by either 8 or 80 people armed with axes. The remarkable part of the story is that he was able to take down all of them without any injuries to them within a very short time. Imagine fighting to many people and still having the skill to not really hurt them. So based on this, I feel that:
(1) There is something very special with the Tjia Fun Tjiao system. This is because it’s easy to hurt people but to neutralize them without injury takes great control.
(2) There is something special about the art from Tjia Fun Tjiao because Kwee King Yang learned from eight different Sifus before that and one of them was, Gui Bok Ki, famous master of Five Ancestor style. But after he met with Tjia Fun Tjiao he never looked for another master implying he found what he was looking for to perfect his Kung Fu.
Kwee King Yang started teaching around late 1920. He had the original five students:
- Po Lin
- Hok Sing
- Hok Jin
- Tiauw Jiang
- Hu Liang
It is very obvious that The Kung Fu that Kwee King Yang taught was a mix of all of these southern styles mentioned but the “DNA” or soul was the Black Flag [Eng Chun Tim].
Coming to the next generation, most of Kwee King Yang students didn’t teach the same way even though they came from the same source (they interpreted his work differently from the foot work, combat principles and strategies, or use of internal power). This is due to the fact that everyone received a different portion of his original teachings and personal preferences.
This is the point at which I began by investigations and serious research into 3 stages:
- Gathering all different variety of Kwee King Yang’s teaching from all Kwee King Yang Students that still alive and I had the opportunity to meet.
- Researching by directly learning all the styles that Kwee King Yang learned directly to their kungfu descendent of each of those styles
- Researching the historical Black Flag lodge / Tian Di Hui and comparing our art to the modern Wing Chun from Red Boat Opera
With my Sifu’s permission I started to visit some of these other Sifus and I learned from everyone that was had been taught by Kwee King Yang. My idea was to try to get a complete picture of the Kung Fu he taught back then.
Toward the end of my studies, I learned that most of Kwee King Yang students were not into the history of the art and knew only a little bit. However, in general most of them knew from which style Kwee King Yang Mixed Kungfu originated (Five Ancestors, Wing Chun, Monkey Boxing Style, Lo Han Boxing, Bodhidharma Fist, Grand Ancestor and Black Tiger).
Most of Kwee King Yang students don’t know what part is what. They all learned a portion of this mixed Kung Fu. So not only were they uninterested in the history as they’re more focused on the training and functionality, they did not even know most the original names of the techniques/movements they were learning.
As a part of the Kwee King Yang family I feel very sad to see this state of affairs because the majority of the King Yang’s Students just know, for example, something like “this and that deflection techniques” but there are many types of deflection techniques. They had no vocabulary for most of these pieces.
These techniques do have original names and eventually I found out each by learning from many of them and revived the name of those techniques/movements.
I also discovered around 1965 there was a lot of pressure on the Chinese community in Indonesian because he President Suharto waged a war of propaganda against the Chinese/communists.
Based on Presidential Instruction No 14/1967 (Impress 1419) any Chinese literature, culture, language or characters were banned. Consequently, no one could not talk about not to mention Chinese history let along Kung Fu. This contributed to why that generation did not maintain and passed down the history.
After I hit this brick wall, I could not figure out back then which part were other styles and what was the pure Wing Chun out of Kwee King Yang Kungfu System. So again, with my Sifu’s permission, I started to visit other instructors from OUTSIDE the Kwee King Yang family. I focused on all the styles GM Kwee King Yang ever learned and learn directly to the source[their descendents]
My researches of seeking for the TRUTH was more than just recording on the Video, I personally visited and actually trained at least six months in each this style by becoming their students
- Grand Ancestor Fist
- Five Ancestor Fist
- Tat Chun – Boddhidarma Fist
- Monkey boxing
- Lo Han Fist
- White Crane boxing
- Black Tiger Boxing
I also looked at the other Eng Chun (Fujian Wing Chun) version from to make a comparative study [Lauw Tjing Tie/Beh Kang Pin version] and also investigated Southern Southern Tai Chi under Grand Master Lee Tjing Yan. The reason I visited him because he was a close friend of Kwee King Yang.
Last, but not least, I also checked the Cantonese version of Wing Chun from the Red Boat Opera line, including Malaysian Chow Gar Wing Chun and VIKOGA Wing Chun.
As I studied these styles, I came in with an empty cup and even though I was very into in Black Flag art, I really wanted to learn what these other style did so I could differentiate them from each other and eventually discover what parts were the really Wing Chun [Black Flag].
My mission at that time was to research [3 Stages] and collect all the Kwee King Yang teachings then REVIVED the Black Flag Wing Chun part by filtering all other non-Black Flag art out to reveal the Black Flag Wing Chun teachings. Once I had collected all the pieces, I determined that no one person had been given all the pieces but was they were scattered. I then assembled them into a complete system known as Black Flag Wing Chun today.
One of the reasons I was so motivate to learn Wing Chun was because the art was extremely efficient. Something that I later called “maximum efficiency. “ I feel the way we generate our power is completely internal whereas the other styles rely on structure or muscle. I find this aspect to be unique to our Wing Chun.
With that being said, after I collected all the teachings and filtered it and revived it. I created a complete system and continue to improve the teaching methodology until today and I named it as the art from the Black Flag Lodge based on the Eng Chun Tim/Weng Chun Dim. I am more convinced than ever that when we talk about the Wing Chun Dim (Everlasting Spring) as compared to Praise Spring Time). I think that we belong to the Everlasting Springtime family [Weng Chun not Wing Chun].
In conclusion, the name of our name Black Flag Wing Chun is the name of the complete system from Kwee King Yang’s Mixed Kungfu that I revived by 3 stages researching, collecting, and filtering only the Black Flag part, into its original parts. To give respect to teaching of Cia Fun Tjiao passed down through of this new system, I decided to call it Black Flag Wing Chun.
Comparing my teaching of black flag Wing Chun system to other teachers within the Kwee King Yang line, they are no longer the same. We have the complete teachings of Black Flag system from Tjia Fun Tjiao through our research, but they only have a few elements mixed along with other elements such as White Crane, Five Ancestor, Grand Ancestor, Black Tiger, and others which we already filtered out in the case with our Black Flag Wing Chun.
In the end, I believe I have an accurate picture what kind of Kung Fu was taught by Cia Fun Tjiao.
Furthermore, in 2011, I presented my idea of the original Teaching of Tjia Fun Tjia’s Black Flag to the elders of Kwee King Yang Kungfu family and they are completely happy and support my end result of the Black Flag Wing Chun today.
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Inauguration Certificate of Black Flag Wing Chun by Senior Students of GM Kwee King Yang.
Original teaching of Tjia Fun Tjia, Last chief instructor of Black Flag, Revived by Sifu Kenneth Lin[/caption]
One Heart One Mind