Thursday, December 01, 2005

Great Grandmaster Lau Soei

Lau Soei started training in the martial arts at a very young age and was already an accomplished Master of several arts most notably the Ma Kuen system or Horse Fist system. It was said that when he practiced the Horse Fist his pony tail was always in flight. The woodlands surrounding his home village were known to be populated by wolves, and locals lived in fear as these animals sometimes attacked villagers during the night. One evening, Lao Soei was making his way home to the village, when he was set upon by a vicious wolf. The animal leaped at Lao Soei but the speed of the wolf was no match for the reflexes of the young Kung Fu Master. He sidestepped the oncoming attack and as the wolf turned and leapt again Lao Soei delivered an unforgiving kick to the animals throat, knocking it to the ground and killing it.

When villagers heard of this incident, they were keen to learn the skills Lao Soei had employed to defend himself and his name soon spread far and wide throughout the region and many, many people started to come to him for tuition. One afternoon, the young Sifu was demonstrating several of the animal systems to his students in the village square. As he displayed his skill to the onlookers, a monk stepped from the crowd and said 'young man, your Kung Fu is barely better than nothing at all. How is it that you feel able to teach anyone?'

Lao Soei was of humble character. Instead of being insulted, he bowed to the monk and said 'from what you say, your Kung Fu must be very good.' The monk told Lao Soei that he was welcome to test his skill, and offered the young man initial strike. Lao Soei accepted, advancing with a powerful straight punch. The monk appeared to move ever so slightly. Even so, young Lao was hurled some distance away. Lao Soei realized that the Monk had just demonstrated something that was far beyond his abilities.
Inevitably he lost the bout with the monk, Lau Soei said it was like being hit by a lightning bolt and was intrigued by this Gen power. But still never the less came back for more and challenged Wong Fook Go once more. Wong Fook Go at that point must have seen the strength in Lau Soei's character because even though he beat Lau Soei quite badly this time the young man still had enough fire in his soul to try again. Wong Fook Go ended up staying in the village for several years and teaching Lau Soei the entire system. Lau Soei later moved to Hong Kong in the year 1913 and began teaching Chow Gar Praying mantis to the local population. This included Grand Master Ip Shui, Chu Gung Wa and Tam Wa etc

Lao Soei, as a gesture of respect to his Sifu and Si Gong, named his fighting system 'Chows Family Praying Mantis'. He founded schools in China where many thousands of students came to learn from the Great Master.


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