Born in Canton, aka Tan Ji-her, his nickname was Three Legs Tan for the three kicks he used during combat: the No shadow kick, something akin to what Jet Li as Huang Fei-hung does in Once Upon a Time In China (1991; OUTIC), at one time in Hollywood being referred to as the Hong Kong kick; the Ground Tiger Tail Kick; and the Beautiful Dragon kick.In this Shaolin Studios penultimate chapter, where like many major film studios with cinematic historical foundations see new studios evolve from the original ashes to keep the films and stories alive with contemporary plots, it’s important to remind new generations that the fount of many a martial art movie has arisen from the fount of martial arts…the Shaolin Temple.
Played by Lo Meng, a regular in the Five Weapon Guys films, yet mostly known for his role as the Golden Arm Kid in Kid with the Golden Arm (1979), Chen Chang-tai, aka Tie Zhi-chen, specialized in the martial art Iron Finger thus he was nicknamed Iron Finger Chen.Although most historians agree Huang Fei-hung was not a Ten Tiger of Canton, he probably would’ve replaced his father if the Ching’s killed Chi-ying. Though he never become a Ten Tiger, Fei-hung is a compelling and important figure with strong ties to the Ten Tigers, so it seems appropriate to discuss his martial arts history and cinematic contributions here.It’s something all martial artists need to recognize and address whether they’ve fought in the streets, martial art schools or full contact combat sports, they need to know how it relates to their physical, emotional, and mental injuries that come with combat; intergenerational trauma (I.T.).Two film notes of interest; years later Chen Kuan-tia played Hong Xi-guan, in Executioner of Shaolin; and Gordon Liu played Yang Wu-lung in The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1983).From Your Site ArticlesLater in life he married Muo Gui-lan, a teenage bride that was bestowed to him in return for saving her father’s life. However, deeply saddened by Bao Zhi Lin’s destruction during the Republican Revolution, Huang slowly passed away and died in 1924 at age 77.Ten Tigers of Shaolin (1978)– The Big Fib
Jet Li as Huang Fei-hung in OUTIC (1991)
As a child, Huang was a martial arts street performer, then a martial arts instructor for General Li Fu-ling’s 5th Regiment of the Cantonese army and the Cantonese Civilian Militia. He devoted all of his time to running his father’s Bao Zhi Lin Chinese herb clinic
Portrayed by Wei Bai (Snake in The Five Deadly Venoms (1978)), Huang Chi-ying was born in Xi Chao, Canton and grew up as child street performer. During a performance, he saw Zhi Shan’s student Lu A-Tsai, who made Huang his first, last and only student. After training under Lu for 10 years, Huang became a martial arts instructor and taught the General of the Canton’s Infantry Regiment. He earned little as a teacher and so to make ends meat, he opened the herbal medicine clinic Bao Zhi Lin. No body argues that Huang passed on his knowledge of medicine to his only son Fei-hong, yet whether he taught Fei-hong martial arts or not, it is debatable.Answer: The famous Chinese idiom, Shi Chuen Shi Mei (Mandarin Chinese) states that 10 is Perfect and 10 is Beauty. To reiterate from Part I, based on available information, details on several of the Canton Tigers is unfortunately extremely limited.As a student of Lu A-tsai, Huang Cheng-ke, not related to Chi-ying (last name is a different character) is oft portrayed as a specialist of the Nine Dragon Fist.
One of the most famous of these films is Chang Cheh’s Ten Tigers of Kwantung (1979; TTKT) that is missing two tigers: Tan ji-yuin: and a reputed major Shaolin hero that has appeared in other films, Lu A-tsai. In 1979, one of the hottest Shaw Brothers actors was Alexander Fu Shen, who was predicted to overshadow rival film studio, Golden Harvest’s Jackie Chan. Though Fu Shen played Tan Ming, a nonsensical character that is not on any 10 Tiger list, it is my conjecture that he was playing the combined caricatures of Tan Ji-Yuin and Lu A-Tsai.
Before the listing the remaining six of the 12 Tigers of Canton, it’s a good time to address the hanging question from Ten Tigers of Canton Part I, “Why are there only 10 Tigers of Shaolin or 10 Tigers of Canton, wouldn’t it be better if there were 20, 50 or an army of them?”Born in 1847, in Xi Chiao village, Nanhai county in Canton province, folk hero Huang Fei-hong was the true reflection of the Confucian code. Apart from his phenomenal fighting skills, Huang was renowned for his chivalry, righteousness and “bone-setting” healing abilities.After several years under Zhi Shan and perfecting the rare 8-Diagram Pole skill, (created during the Sung dynasty by Yang Wu-lung that could be used with a spear), Zhi sent Lu to learn Hong Jia-chuen (Hung Gar kung fu) from its founder Hong Xi-guan (a Ten Tiger of Shaolin), to help Hong set up his new martial arts school and to help spread the art in Canton.Fei-hung has also been portrayed by Gordon Liu in Challenge of the Masters (1976) and Martial Club (1980), Jackie Chan in Drunken Master (1979), then after a lull in the character there was a rebirth in 1992, with Jet Li in Tsui Hark’s OUTIC .In the Liu Chia-liang directed Challenge of the Masters (1976), Chen Kuan-tai playing Lu is seen teaching the secret 8-Diagram Pole skill to Huang Chi-ying’s son, Huang Fei-hung to prepare Fei-hung to fight a skilled spear-wielding villain.As is common in many martial arts films where actual weapons or techniques remain secret, when Tsui had Li do Huang’s patented No Shadow Kick, we’d see Li flying sideways through the air kicking his legs like riding a bicycle, nobody knows what the no shadow kick looks like. It also was so fast that it didn’t leave a shadow.Another version of Lu’s travels indicates that after escaping the Jiu Lian Temple burning, Lu fled to Canton where he met his first, last and only student, Chi-ying. When Lu was on his death bed, and Chi-ying sought his advice on how to defeat the powerful rugged fighter Big Kam, who was an expert of the Left-Handed Fishing Pole, while propped up by pillows in bed and using a pair of chopsticks to represent cudgels Lu taught Chi-Ying the 8-Daigram Pole technique. In the balance, if Chi-ying lost he would have to end his medical practice and close his martial arts school. Lu died at 68 at his home Lei Shan lodge never knowing the outcome of the duel.Lu A-tsai was a Manchu, who orphaned at an early age and raised by an abusive uncle, ran away from home, and became a servant at age 12. Living a tough and torrid life, his fortunes changed when he met Shaolin monk Li Bai-fu at a Cantonese opera performance in Canton and became Li’s disciple. Lu trained with Li for seven years learning the powerful Flower Fist style before being introduced by Li to one of the Five Elders of Shaolin, Zhi Shan, at Jiu Lian Shan Shaolin.Perhaps a reason why in Chang’s TTKT had Fu Shen play the combo character Tan Ji-Yuin and Lu A-Tsai under the pseudo name Tan Ming is that Chang may have had some kind of sensitivity issue in the 1970s using a Manchu fighter as a Shaolin hero.Although a constant character as Fei-hong’s dad in Tsui Hark’s OUTIC films (1992-94), and in the Liu Chia-liang (the head of Hong Kong’s Hung Men back then) directed Challenge of the Masters (1978), A-tsai trains Fei-hong in Liu’s typical fashion, where training is seen as a way of physical and spiritual development, which is most prominent in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978). Donnie Yen’s portrayal of a young Chi-ying in the Yuen Woo-ping directed Iron Monkey (1993) is arguably the best film revealing Chi-ying’s combative performance.Though a practitioner of Hong Chia kung-fu, Canton’s best lion dancer hence nicknamed The Lion King, and an expert of Iron Wire Fist and No Shadow Kick, he was renowned for using the weapon Fei Tuo, a metal weight attached to a rope, which may have been developed through his Chinese medicine background from a weighing device similar to a Western plumb-bob scale.On his deathbed, Lu taught Chi-ying the 8-Diagram Pole technique so Chi-ying could defeat the arrogant and feared fighter Big Kam. Although learning the eight basics of pole wielding overnight and during the duel Kam was trying to kill him, Chi-ying used great restraint, easily defeated Kam without hurting him and thus gained great respect and admiration within the country’s kung-fu circles. It was this same conscientious approach to life and martial arts that Chi-ying passed onto Fei-hong, one of the most respected martial artists in martial art history.Lu A-tsai From Challenge of the Masters (1978).