Leung Yee Tai

Posted by tommy56nc on Dec 3, 2011
Category: 
Ancestors and Sifus
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Leung Yee Tai (Liang Erdi) was the Profesional/Stage name of a member of the King Fa Wui Goon Opera, in the 1850′s. In most oral traditions, he was a full member of the Opera troupe who played the role of Mo-Deng ( “female” martial lead) (since females were not permitted in the opera, due to being bad luck, males would play their roles in “drag”.) In some varying accounts, Leung was a poler, not an actor (someone who used a long pole to help push, pull and direct the boat when in shallow waters). In this same account, it was said at some point he became a props-master for his particular troupe.

Leung Yee Tai, as a Cheng Tarn or Mo Deng, would have not only been a master of traditional Operatic method, but also crowed-pleasing martial arts. In some of the oral traditions it was said he learned the Chi Sim Look Dim Boon Gwun methods. Later, Leung reportedly studied the Wing Chun Kuen system under Leung Bok Lao (according to the Cho Family, Leung Yee Tai was the second student accepted, Yik Kam third and Dai Fa Min Kam fourth). In the written accounts of Yip Man, he was said to have learned from Wong Wah Bo instead, trading his knowledge of the Look Dim Boon Gwun for knowledge of Wing Chun Kuen.

Some oral traditions in Malasia state that Yik Kam, was actually taught by Leung Yee Tai, not Leung Bok Lao. As such making Yik Kam a second generation practitioner like Fung Siu Ching. Which is interesting considering that both Yik Kam and Leung Yee Tai, were known to have played the female roles.

When Leung Yee Tai retired, he settled in Foshan and assisted Wong Wah Bo in teaching Leung Jan, until he passed away, due to some illness. Some accounts suggest Yee Tai was an old man, when visiting Dr.Leung Jan for treatment, and ended up teaching Leung Jan, due to Leungs kindness in treating the poor for free. The fact of Leung Jan treating the poor for free, is even represented in the name of his clinic, which made referance to a famous Doctor, that treated the poor and sick in an apricot grove. But most traditions suggest Leung Jan learned on the Red Boats first, pre-1855.It was said Leung left the Opera boats, for Foshan, several years prior to the Tai Ping rebelion, to take over his fathers medical clinic. Later after the Opera was banned, Leung Yee Tai and Wong Wah Bo, moved to the surrounding Foshan area, where Leung Jan continued his studies,helping support his 2 teachers, while refining the Wing Chun system.

Not much is known about Leung Yee Tai’s method of Wing Chun.It has been suggested that Leung Yee Tai, passed down the San Sik method, of preserving the Wing Chun system, to Leung Jan, who passed it down to Wong Wah Sam and 2 other students, when he retired back to Kulo Village. Further that the three hand forms of Wong Wah Bo, are what Leung passed down to all of his later period Foshan students.

Romantic legend states Wong Wah Bo practised a “male” version of the Wing Chun Kuen system and Leung Yee Tai practised a “female” version. Some equate the male/female dichotomy, into External/internal respectivly or Long bridge/short bridge respectivly.

Sources: 
  • Oral and written traditions Yip Man
  • Oral and written traditions Pan Nam
  • Oral and written traditions Cho Family
  • Oral and written traditions Lo Kwai Family
  • Oral and written traditions Yiu Choi Family
  • Leungs Publishing
  • AWCKRI

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