Mi Zong Luo Han
by Sifu Alex Kwok
The origin of this composite style can only be traced back to Grand Master YE YU TING. Master YE YU TING was born during the Qing (pronounced Ching) dynasty around 1892 in the province of Hebei, in the township of Cang, and learned his martial arts from his uncle YE Xi Zhen. At twenty four, he joined the Northeast External Victory BIAO JU, an operation equivalent to today's Brinks Armor Car for transferring money and valuables. At this time, the Manchurian Government (Qing Dynasty) has just been overthrown but the country is still far from united. This was the period of the Warlords and power struggles were occurring everywhere. In the outskirts of towns and cities, bandits were gathering together like armies. Master YE earned a name for himself in the Northeast after numerous successful operations defending against the bandits.
He was quickly recruited by WANG Huai Qing, the Infantry Commander in the City of Beijing (Peking), to be the Martial Arts Instructor for his soldiers. Within three years, Master YE was promoted to the rank of Chief Martial Arts instructor in WANG's army. Master YE taught under WANG for seven more years before the Commander merged his army with General ZHANG Xue Liang of the Nationalist Government. Master YE continued to teach for General ZHANG for three more years and then resigned to return to his home town.
At this time, the province of Shandong was controlled by Commander ZHONG Zong Chang, who seized the opportunity and asked Master YE to be the Martial Arts instructor for his army. Master YE accepted the offer and taught the Shandong Army for two years until Commander ZHONG died from assassination in 1932.
In Shanghai, the Jing Wu Athletic Association was getting to be very well known by accomodating many different Martial Arts styles under one roof, and have attracted many famous Martial Artists of the time. The association also has its own system of forms, which were set up by Master ZHAO Lian Huo. Ten of these were designated as the "Ten forms of Jing Wu", and must be learned by all students of the association before specializing in any particular style.
Tired of military life, Master YE went to Shanghai to join the Jing Wu Association. There, he learned the Jing Wu system from Master ZHAO, which he also taught for the association. Master YE received an invitation from the South China Athletic Association of Hong Kong to head the Shaolin Martial Arts Class. The South China Athletic Association (SCAA) was and still is the largest sports association in Hong Kong.
It has lots of facilities including its own football stadium. Master YE accepted the offer and went to Hong Kong. In 1941, the Japanese Army invaded Hong Kong. Master YE stayed and guarded all the properties in the head office of SCAA because there were lots of robberies and thefts. During one theft chase, Master YE injured his leg while jumping down from a building. Very soon after, Master YE left Hong Kong for Guang Zhou (Canton) and stayed there for the duration of the war. In Guang Zhou, he taught classes at the Xi Ying New Martial Arts Center.
After the Second World War, Master YE was invited back by the executives of the SCAA. There he taught until he died in the Quarters of the SCAA in December, 1962, and was buried in the Tsuen Wan Chinese Permanent Cemetery by the Association.
There was only one book ever published specifically on this style. It was a LUO HAN form with action pictures of Master YE in it. The material was originally published in the "WUSHU Magazine" of Hong Kong in the mid 1950s, and was later recompiled as a book. Although the circulation of this book is very limited, its picture appeared in the Black Belt Magazine in the early 1960s when introducing the Chinese Martial Arts. This book has recently been republished in Taiwan.
Some of his earlier students include: W.F. Liu, T.Y. Lau, W.L. Shien and C.C. Hsiah. His later students includes C.H. Marr, K.B. Wai, K.C. Chau. After his death, the SCAA Shaolin Martial Arts classes were taken over by two of his senior students, T.Y Lau and W.L. Shien. Master Shien has since passed away and left Master Lau in charge of the Shaolin Classes.
Master YE's senior student W.F. Liu is no longer in the Martial Arts and is living in Montreal, Canada. C.C. Hsiah eventually became the head of Western District Hong Kong Police before he retired to Vancouver, Canada. K.C. Chau started the MI ZONG class in the Jing Wu Association of Hong Kong for a very short period of time and then migrated to Toronto, Canada. He is still teaching part time in one of the societies in Toronto's Chinatown. C.H. Marr carried on teaching the classes in the Jing Wu Association of Hong Kong and turned out some of the best tournament fighters in Hong Kong. He finally moved to Toronto, Canada in 1986.
However, the first person to teach the MI ZONG LUO HAN style in North America was Raymond Wong, who migrated to Los Angeles in 1967. Kam Yuen Leung, the fight scene choreographer for the Television Kung Fu Series, was one of Raymond's students. Another proponent of the style in the United States is Johnny Lee, who has been teaching in Shreveport, Louisiana since 1974.
The first person to teach the style in Canada was Alex Kwok, who migrated to Vancouver in 1969. A student of Master T.Y. Liu and W.L. Shien, Alex is now living in Calgary.