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A tale of Yuen Kay San As told to Sifu Sum Nung by Yuen Kay San thence to Yun Hoi Like

Sigung Yuen Kay San before him, sifu did not like to mention the names of those he defeated in his many challenge matches so as to save the defeated sifus face and allow them to continue earning their living from teaching gung fu. However, this match stirred up a considerable amount of controversy so the name of the challenger became widely know. Yu Lok Gong was a very famous Northern Mantis boxer. It was said that he could have nine fifty kilo bags of rice stacked one on top of another and kick any designated bag clean out of the stack without toppling the stack. Or, if bystanders asked, he could kick and pierce any bag, driving his kick into the bag halfway, again without tumbling the stack. In this way he demonstrated the incredible control, power and speed of his kicks. Law Kwan Yuk was Yu Lok Gongs teacher. He was renowned throughout China. He sent Yu Lok Gong to Futsan to take control of the Futsan branch of the eclectic Jing Mo Martial Arts Association. On his arrival, regional competitiveness flared. Yu Lok Gong was told that the South had better boxers than the North and that Yuen Kay Sans Wing Chun was invincible. Southerners and visiting Northerners got into debates as to who would win if Yu Lok Gong and Yuen Kay San fought. Some tempers flared and a number of scuffles broke out at inns and on the streets. Yu Lok Gong decided to seek out Yuen Kay San, challenge him, and settle the manner once and for all. He was given a brief description of Yuen and set out to Yuen Kay Sans hangouts. Eventually he arrived at a smoke house and on entering spotted someone whom he thought was Yuen Kay San. He asked the proprietor if the person was a Wing Chun practitioner. (It was actually Yip Man). The proprietor replied that the person whom Yu Lok Gong pointed to was indeed a Wing Chun practitioner. Thus, Yu Lok Gong, mistaking Yip Man for Yuen Kay San, then challenged him, Yip agreed, setting a time and place, some say a nearby local inn courtyard, others a temple, and left. In the interim, Yip Man decided that facing Yu Lok Gong might not be such a wise move, as he had never had any challenge matches. So, he informed Yuen Kay San that someone wished to discuss a legal matter with him. He offered the designated time and place of the duel and asked Yuen Kay San to attend and announce himself on entering. However, he failed to mention anything about a challenge. Yuen Kay San did as requested. On the day of the fight, Yuen Kay San, arrived at the designated place, announced to others present he had arrived and was waiting to be contacted. As he waited, time passed so he had perched on a high bench with his shoes dangling from his feet. He was surprised when Yu Lok Gong entered and announced that he had arrived to fight the Wing Chun school and meet the challenger, Yuen Kay San, whom he said had accepted the challenge. Yuen Kay San was intrigued as the senior Wing Chun master in Futsan that he had heard nothing of this challenge and obviously had not agreed! He spoke up and said he was Yuen Kay San but had heard nothing of such a challenge let alone accept it but, if there was a challenge to the Wing Chun school, he was the one to decide whether to accept it and who would fight. Yu Lok Gong noted that this was all very strange as Yuen Kay San was not the person he had challenged but said he would fight any representative of Wing Chun. At this time for the duel, Yip Man was nowhere to be found.

Locals who had overheard the conversation and gathered, asked Yu Lok Gong where he had met the challenger and about his appearance and concluded it must have been Yip Man he had spoken to. People who knew Yip added that he had actually departed that morning for Hong Kong. (Sum Nung stated several reasons as to why Yip had left for Hong Kong which I wont repeat here). The crowd gathered to watch noted that Yuen Kay San, was the most senior Wing Chun master in Futsan and that Yu might challenge him instead. Yu Lok Gong turned towards Yuen Kay San and challenged him. Yuen Kay San, who, although he had triumphed in numerous challenges, was not interested in such contests, and declined politely. Yu Lok Gong however, insisted and, without warning, launched an attack at Yuen Kay San. As he was forced to defend himself, Yuen Kay San quickly sprang to his feet, without time to even put his shoes fully on. Yuen Kay San pressed Yu Lok Gong back, sticking to his footwork, jamming his famous legs. Yuen Kay San continued to press until Yu Lok Gong was backed into a barred door and he could no longer retreat. Yuen Kay San seized and trapped Yu Lok Gong, taking the centre such that he couldnt move. Pressed against the door and unable to move, knowing Yuen Kay San, holding both his arms with one hand, was free to strike, Yu was forced to give in. Yu Lok Gong was very impressed by Yuen Kay San's superb technique and said that Wing Chun arms and Mantis legs would make a powerful system. Yuen laughed and said he had no need of other footwork and that his art should not be combined with any other. Yu asked Yuen Kay San to teach him but Yuen Kay San politely refused. Then he placed several demands on Yu Lok Gong: that he would not practise his art in Futsan; not open a gwoon in the South; and, that he would return home. Sum Nung stated that Yuen Kay San wasnt vengeful and when Yu Lok Gong remained living in the South but complied with the other two conditions, Yuen Kay San let things lie. (I believe that in noting this, the story has an added credibility. If it was told simply to glorify Yuen Kay San it would surely have concluded without this detail and possibly had Yuen Kay San knocking out, injuring or killing a challenger).

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