Monday, November 14, 2011

Black Flag/HKB is Wing Chun

Black Flag / HKB is Wing Chun


1. The origin of the Black Flag Wing Chun Name
Eng Chun or Wing Chun was simply a combat system that was created during the revolution of Anti-Qing China to train Secret society members (Tian Di Hui) for the purpose of overthrowing the Qing government and restoring the Ming government.
The Tian Di Hui, had many lodges represented by flags of different colors. One of these is the Black Flag Lodge. The Black Flag Lodge’s main role was one of internal affairs and the rooting out of traitors. Black Flag Lodge members were taught special skills to be able to succeed in their role.

The origin of HKB Eng Chun came from GGM Kwee King Yang who studied under Cia Fun Tjiao, the last chief instructor of the Black Flag Lodge. Based on this origin and considering that Wing Chun was already an established name to represent the combat system that once came from secret societies, we decided to call our system Black Flag Wing Chun, to differentiate our Wing Chun from others. To clarify, the name of Black Flag Wing Chun is new as there was never a style in the past known as Black Flag Wing Chun.

2. Legitimation of Black Flag Wing Chun system
Is this a legitimate system and original? Of course yes. This system came from the Black Flag lodge.

Martial Arts skills can never be manipulated, as many people around the world who have already had a direct experience with HKB Eng Chun can testify. HKB Eng Chun has been proven to improve skills and maximize potential through our unique training method.

3. Is it true about the rumor that Black Flag Wing Chun is fake?
Of course not, from the very beginning of our research we stated that the origin of our system came from Cia Fun Tjiao, the last chief instructor of Black Flag Lodge.

If we were trying to claim that our system originated from Yip Man Wing Chun for example, it would be a lie. We don’t call it Yip Man Wing Chun because what we teach did not come from Yip Man. We don’t call it Foshan Wing Chun, because what we teach did not come from Foshan. Again, our system came from Cia Fun Tjiao who is the last chief instructor of Black Flag. That’s why we call it Black Flag Wing Chun.

4. Can Black Flag be called Wing/Eng Chun?
We believe it can. In the past, the system did not even have a name, it was simply an essence of Southern Shaolin system taught to secret society members (Tian Di Hui). Within Tian Di Hui, there are 5 flags. The Black Flag Lodge being from Fujian.
The essence of Southern Shaolin Combat System, that links back to Muscle Tendon Change and Bone Marrow Washing, was been passed down to Black Flag Lodge members. The combat system from the Black Flag is not as widely known as many other lineages of Wing Chun.

5. Why are some forms and the engine, including the power generation method of Black Flag , very different from the common ‘Mainstream Wing Chun’ ?
Of Course it is different, because ours originated from Black Flag Lodge. Today’s accepted standard as mainstream Wing Chun came from a different Tian Di Hui and lineages.

6. Why does Black Flag have some similarity with other Fujian or Southern system such as the lohan hand system?
Wing Chun was not created by one person. It came from an evolution of long martial arts history that was put together around 400 years ago from the essence of many southern styles. Of course it may contain some common foundation of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts. Specifically, for the Black Flag Lodge member’s combat system, its foundation came from the Southern Shaolin system based on the Chan concept of detachment. Therefore, labeling our system as Southern Shaolin is not wrong.

Moreover, even the mainstream Wing Chun also share similarities with many traditional Chinese Martial Arts. This is understandable. For example, there are some similarities with the forward motion of Hsing Yi, Stickiness of Taichi push hand, similar movement from Fujian White Crane, Tai Zu, Bak Mei, Southern Praying Mantis, Ngo Chor [Five Ancestor Fist], and many others.

7. What if there are some groups/associations who criticize our having Wing Chun in our name?
From the very beginning, we stated that Black Flag Wing Chun is a combat system that came from the Black Flag lodge of the Secret Society (Which we discovered as Tian Di Hui though our historical research).

We simply wanted to introduce this is the combat system from the Black Flag Lodge Origin… be known as Black Flag Wing Chun.

Moreover, even the name of Wing Chun to represent the standard accepted name for representing the mainstream wing chun, is also a new name. Prior to 1850, there was no mention of Wing Chun name as a Martial Arts style in any history. No one owns the Wing Chun / Eng Chun name.


The following is taken from the preface of a work entitled, Thian Ti Hwui: the Hung-League, or Heaven-Earth-League, by the late Gustave Schlegel(1):

“In the spring of the year 1863, a lot of books were, very accidentally, found by the police in the house of a Chinaman suspected of theft at Padang (Sumatra), which proved the existence of a secret society at that place, numbering about 200 members. These books, containing the laws, statues, oath, mysteries of initiation, catechism, description of flags, symbols and secret signs ect., etc., were placed officially into my hands for translation. Most of these books were, at the time, quite unintelligible to me and, as the case pressed, I had no leisure to study them more thoroughly. I requested, however, the Government to return these books to me after the decision of the case, and to place all Chinese and foreign documents relating to Chinese secret societies in the N. I. Archipelago at my disposal, as I hoped to be enabled, in that way, to find out the secrets of those societies. Government acceded liberally to this request, and ordered all such books, if found, to be delivered to me. In this way we got, besides the books found in Padang, a Chinese book full of drawings, found in 1851 at Japara (Java), with the statues of the Shautung-branch; a memorial concerning seven friendly societies found in Palembang (Sumatra) and a copy of Dr. Milne’s account of the Triad-society.

The most valuable contributions, however, were two Chinese manuscripts prescuted to the Batavin Society of Arts and Sciences by Mr. Teysman, of Buitenzorg, containing the whole Catechism, History, description of the rites, lodges, flags, secret signs and implements, enriched with a series of drawings; both which books were kindly place at my disposal by the above named society.”

Not only was this information found in Indonesia(2), where HKB legend states KongCo [Great great grand master] Tjia Fun Jiao brought the art from China, but, furthermore, Schlegel’s work has been expanded upon in various academic circles and published material exist today that cite Schlegel to support their arguments. However, Schlegel’s interpretation of the manuscripts, although interesting, are not of practical importance; rather my arguments will be based off of the pure evidence from which he draws his conclusions.

The slanders claim that HKBECP is related to traitors in the 1930’s, this is because the traitors also went under the name of “Black Flag”, but then why not relate us to Liu Yongfu, the Chinese sword for hire, who, with his Black Flag Army, fought against the French in Vietnam during the 1870s and 1880s? Why not HKBECP be associated with this black flag group? – Who, I might add, is more easily discovered through the ‘public documents available’ – This is a valid question, but the answer is obvious – Liu Yongfu was remembered as a patriot, not a murderous traitor, and so the propaganda wouldn’t have the desired effect. It is my intention, however, to show our relationship to another, completely unrelated, society; that of the Hong Men [Hung Moon], the society from which Schlegel’s manuscripts originate. HKB legend states that our system originated from the Southern Shaolin temple; similarly, questions 33-36 of the societies’ Catechism(3) is recorded as follows:

Q. 33. How did you obtain your knowledge of military art?
A. I learned it at the convent Shao-lin
Q. 34. What did you learn firstly?
A. I firstly learned the art of boxing of the Hung-brethern.
Q. 35. How can you prove that?
A. I can prove it by a verse
Q. 36. How does this verse run?
A. The fist of the brave and valiant Hungs are known through
all the world;
Since the Shao-lin-convent it has been transmitted.
Under the whole expanse of heaven we all are called Hung;
Afterwards we will assist the prince of the house of

After the Shaolin temple’s destruction at the hands of the Qing [Tsing] dynasty forces, HKB legend goes on to declare that there were five survivors who splintered off and created five separate lodges, each designated by a different colored flag, to combat the Qing. Schlegel relates that after their escape, “The confederates now dispersed themselves over all the provinces of China in order to gather troops and money.” Schlegel continues:

The five monks of the Shao-lin-convent were made heads of the five
principal lodges […] Thsai-the-chung went to the province of Fuh-
kien where he erected the first lodge, which he named: “The blue-
lotus Hall.” […]
Fang-ta-hung went to the province of Canton where he erected the
second lodge, which he named the “Hall of obedience to Hung.” […]
Ma-chao-hing went to the province of Yun-nan where he erected the
third lodge, which he named “The Hall of our queen” […]
Hu-the-ti went to the province of Hu-nan where he erected the fourth
lodge, which he named the “Blended-with-Heaven Hall.” […]
Li-sih-khai went to the province of Cheh-kiang where he erected the
fifth lodge, which he named the “Extensive-conversion Hall.”

Furthermore, Volume I of Triad Societies: Western Accounts of the History, Sociology, and Linguistics of Chinese Secret Societies describes the actual ceremonial flags used in the societies’ rituals:

The Flags of the “Five Ancestors,” which are triangular; each
containing the surname of one of the five priest, […] and the name
of the province, - Fuh-kien, Kwangtung, Yunnan, Hu-Kwang, or
Chekiang, in which each priest founded a Lodge

On these Flags, are inscribed in abbreviated characters, the
mottoes, “Obey Heaven, Walk righteously,” and “Exterminate the
Chheng,” or, “Overturn the Chheng, restore the Beng. ”(5)

The flags are, Black, Red, Yellow or Carnation colour, White, and
Green, (or Azure blue); all have a pennon with suitable inscription,
and before inserting each in the Tau, the Sien Seng recites an
appropriate verse. – e. g.

The first, or Black Flag of Hok-Kien.
“The black flag of Hok-Kien has the precedence.”
“In Kam-Siok (Kan-Suh) they also associated together, and laid a

“The “Beng” conferred on the Lodge, the title of “Blue Lotus Hall.”
“So the whole 13 provinces shall guard the Imperial domains.”(6)

All of this evidence correlates with HKB legend, but We also realize, however, that the correlation may be perceived as sprung from mere coincidence – “there is, it seems, an association between HKB legend and the legends presented in these manuscripts, but is a relation between these legends and the system of HKB itself extant?”, you may ask – and thusly we are obliged to answer.

Firstly, it must be understood, during the time of its conception, the Wing Chun [Eng Chun] system was without a name; it would not adorn its title till much later, when adherents of the societies would refer to it by alluding to its original birth place – ie: Eng Chun Dim, or Eternal Springtime Hall, of the southern Shaolin temple. In fact, before our system was called Hek Ki Boen Eng Chun Pai in the United States, it was referred to as Hokkian Eng Chun Kok Sut Cia, meaning that the system [Eng Chun system] originated in Hokkian or Fuh-kien province, and that it is derived from the “18 lohan hands” [Lohan Cap (10) Pwe (8) Jiu (Open hand )(7)] techniques that originated from Shaolin.

Interestingly enough, the twentieth question of the Catechism is as follows:

Q. 20. Which abilities do you posses that you dare enter the army?
A. I am fully acquainted with the eighteen military arts.

Furthermore, within the HKB legend it is recorded that in the ruins of the Shaolin temple, a mysterious sword materialized from the ground; its blade bore the inscriptions Sang Liong Jo Cu, or Two dragons fighting over a pearl, and Bhiat Ceng Hok Beng, or Overthrow Ceng (Qing), restore Beng (Ming). These two saying became the mottos of the secret societies, and they are represented physically in the opening of salute of HKB system, and the formerly mentioned term is actually represented in the principal movement of said form. The HKB legend is precious, but it is hard to believe a sword sudden sprung forth from the earth, it is most likely of symbolic importance; however, the sword does exist, and it is mentioned in Volume IV of Triad Societies: Western Accounts of the History, Sociology, and Linguistics of Chinese Secret Societies; in relating the intricacies of the initiation to the Hung Society, the volume records the catechism between master and vanguard thusly:

Master – Have you anything else?
Vanguard – I have a sword.
Master – What is on that sword?
Vanguard – Certain characters.
Master – What are they?
Vanguard – On one side are two dragons disputing over a pearl,
and on the other “Overthrow Ts’ing and restore Ming.”(8)

I hope it is now truly apparent the origins of our art. It is true – there are still some historical concerns that remain unaccounted for, but their discovery will have to await further evidence. Still, it is regrettable this article ever had to be written, and that we had to dirty our hands with the stench of petty politics; the Hek Ki Boen system is a true jewel, and shouldn’t have to be defended, but it would be foolish to forsake the manure that fertilizes strong trees. HKBECP was established in the United States from Indonesia in 2005, and has only recently been introduced to the wider international community; the response of these slanderers is a sad thing, but even diamonds don’t shimmer until they have been dug up, retrieved from their earthy abyss, and are illuminated by the warm light of the sun. And so we hope that in the future we may be received by the warmth and the light of many open minded martial artists.

Bolton, Kingsley, and Christopher Hutton, . Triad Societies. Western Accounts of the History, Sociology and Linguistics of Chinese Secret Societies. Vol. I. VI vols. London: Routledge, 2000.
Musashi, Miyamoto. "The Earth Scroll." In The Book of Five Rings, by Miyamoto Musashi, translated by Thomas Cleary, 10. Boston: Shambhala, 1993/1643.
Schlegel, Gustave. Thian Ti Hwui: The Hung-League, or Heaven-Earth-League, a Secret Society with the Chinese in China and India. . Batavia: Lange, 1866.
Ward, J. S. M., and W. G. Stirling. Triad Societies. Western Accounts of the History, Sociology and Linguistics of Chinese Secret Societies. Edited by Kingsley Bolton and Christopher Hutton. Vol. IV. VI vols. London: Routledge, 2000.


In the practice of every way of life and every kind of work, there is a state of mind called that of the deviant.” Regrettable is the truth of this statement – more regrettable still, is its relevance in politics! There are those deviants(10), who, in hopes of rousing fear and fury, shamelessly produce falsehood for public consumption. We are all well aware of this fact; at its mere mention history reminds us of her examples. Those hideous shameful ones! – Without reason and conscience do they slander, from all walks of life do they march, and, unfortunately, we in the martial arts community have yet to rid ourselves of their stench. Regrettable, indeed, is the situation – if only this madness would confine itself to politicians, with its inevitable spree taking place every four years.

In the recent month, multiple media has been circulated across the internet that defiles our art and slanders our members and leaders; these deviants, with their fragile arguments, have accused the Hek Ki Boen Eng Chun Pai [HKBECP] system with many slanders arguments that contradicted to each other. For example:

• Being associated with traitorous bandits who allied themselves with the Japanese during the invasion of Manchuria in 1931 – they even went so far as to claim a relationship between HKBECP and the Nanjing Massacre (1937), with a healthy amount of unpleasant imagery to accent their fear mongering.
The slanders claim that HKBECP is related to traitors in the 1930’s, this is because the traitors also went under the name of “Black Flag”, but then why not relate us to Liu Yongfu, the Chinese sword for hire, who, with his Black Flag Army, fought against the French in Vietnam during the 1870s and 1880s? Why not HKBECP be associated with this man black flag group? – Who, I might add, is more easily discovered through the ‘public documents available’ – This is a valid question, but the answer is obvious – Liu Yongfu was remembered as a patriot, not a murderous traitor, and so the propaganda wouldn’t have the desired effect. It is my intention, however, to show our relationship to another, completely unrelated, society; that of the Hong Men [Hung Moon], the society from which Schlegel’s manuscripts originate

• These slanderers have yet to make any criticism on the actual system of HKBECP; instead, they attack the existential qualities of its origin. They have claimed that we, HKBECP as an organization, have changed our history multiple times for the purpose of propaganda, and yet they show themselves as the true propagandists – propagandists who are na├»ve to the idea that historical interpretations of century old oral legends might inherently contain certain difficulties. Their ignorance begets their disgraceful behavior – it seems when they cannot attack the art, they will attack the artist – and so they let loose their ad hominem arguments. (11) They have attempted to disgrace my Suhu [Sifu/Master] by such lowly tactics; as stated in a Youtube video, posted under the pseudonym of wcwatchdog, “it is not right this Chinese bastard in the United States spread nonsense, hypocrisy and pain.” Wcwatchdog claims to quote this from a Mr. Zhao Yuan, a Chinese citizen who contributed an article to a newspaper.
• The original attack tried to relate us to Lohan Fist system,
[Every HKB Eng Chun Practitioner knows there is a big different between Lohan Fist system and HKB Eng Chun]
• Then their next attacks changed to relate us as Five Ancestor Fist and Vikoga Wing Chun, simply because Sifu Lin had a chance to study other style such as Tai Zu, Hsing Yi, Ngo Chor(Five ancestor), Tai Chi and Vikoga Wing Chun to expand his horizon.
• Then their next attacks changed to accuse Sifu Benny Meng to integrate Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun, into the HKB system. [This slanders can be proven as not true by every HKB practicioner who had Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun experience. It is very clear that HKB doesn’t share the same concept, movement and formula]
• Then the attack changed to relate us to 18 Lohan Hands [Shi Ba Luo Han Shuo] now.
[It is also not true. For the last 5000 years Martial History, there was no such thing as 18 Lohan Hand Style [Shi Ba Luo Han Shou]. However, there is 18 Lohan fist system [Shi Ba Luo Han Quan] which totally have different shape, form, movements, engine, etc from HKB Eng Chun]

(1)While writing this volume, Gustave Schlegel was working as “the interpreter for the Chinese language to the government of the Netherlands-India, and a member of both the Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences, and of the Royal Institute for the Philology, Geography, and Ethnology of Netherlands-India.” (see Schlegel’s title page)
(2)The Hek Ki Boen family still has schools in Indonesia, in the past the style original name was known as Hokkian Eng Cun Kok Sut Jia. Moreover, there have been many of HKB members from USA, have been to them, and have met multiple Grand Masters; there are pictures, AND videos to document this, it is entirely preposterous to conclude that our Sifu, Lin Xiang Fuk, fabricated our entire legend.
(3)A question and answer method of expressing the beliefs and regulations of the society. In this case, it appears in the ritual initiation of new members.
(4)Schlegel, Pg. 65
(5)Chheng and Beng, here, are different ways of spelling Qing and Ming respectively.
(6)Pg. 7
(7)As opposed to a closed fist [18 Lohan Fist].
(8)Pg. 59
(9)The information presented here would not have been available if it wasn’t for my Su-Te, Larry Brayboy, who originally discovered most of it.
(10)Musashi, Miyamoto.
(11)Latin: To the man; a common term for the logical fallacy of determining the validity of a proposition by the merits of its advocates

No comments: