Do Pi Kung Fu

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Do Pi, “style of the way”, is a southern style of Kung Fu founded by the late Chan Dau in the Yung Kay district of Canton in the late 1930s. Chan was a student of Yu Mui (Hung Gar), monks at a nearby temple (Hop Gar) and Charn the Fist-Monger (Choy Li Fut, student of Wong Fay Hung).

He established a school in Canton and later at the Sham Shui Po district of Kowloon, Hong Kong. The tradition is continued today by Chan Ching in Hong Kong, and by Lok So and Paul Chan in Toronto, Canada.

The style is a combination of Hung Gar, Choy Li Fut and Hop Gar. Some of the sets of this style include Drunken Eight Fairies and Drunken Fan. Do Pi, or the Style of the Way, was founded by the late legendary boxer Grandmaster Chan Dau.

The Yu family and the Hung Style Fist: Chan Dau began training in martial arts at the age of nine. He was a native of the Yung Kay district of Canton, and early in his life, he was kidnapped and sold to the powerful Yu family in the nearby town of Toishan.

Encouraged by the Yu family’s grandfather, Chan Dau began learning Hung Kuen, or the Hung Style Fist, under Yu Mui. At that time, Master Yu Mui had just returned from the US, and brought with him Western boxing techniques.

Chan Dau immersed himself in martial arts and rapidly excelled in Hung Kuen.

Retreat into the monastery: Somewhat of a naughty child, Chan Dau was one day practising martial arts and happened to hit his grandfather with an accidental blow. His grandfather became enraged, and drove him out of the Yu household.

Do Pi Kung Fu Master

With no place to turn, Chan Dau sought refuge in a nearby Buddhist monastery. The place was already familiar to Chan Dau. He had been taking additional lessons from a monk at the monastery on account of his step-grandfather’s encouragement. Homeless and without money, the monastery become Chan Dau’s new home and the monk his new teacher.

For two years, Chan Dau lived at the monastery and learned Hop Gar, or the Fighting System of Gallant Knights, from the monk.

The return home: After two years at the temple, Chan Dau returned to Canton with help from his new mentor. Unable to find his family in Canton, Chan Dau was forced to become a peanut-peddler to earn a living. One day, Chan Dau participated in a martial arts exhibition in the streets of Canton, and impressed the students of Charn the Fish-Monger. Chan Dau became a student of the Fish-Monger, and quickly gained a name for himself as one of Canton’s “Four Mad Fighters.”, Chan Dau would later make contact with his family, and also furthered his studies under Leung Kwai and Chow Lung.

Creating the Style of the Way: Encouraged by Wong Fay Hung’s adopted son, Kwan Kwun Kau, Chan Dau set up a gymnasium in Canton. It is at his time that he combined what he had learned from his teachers and formed his own style of martial arts called Do Pi.

Years later, he would establish himself in the Sham Shui Po district of Kowloon, Hong Kong. His lineage is succeeded by a number of students most notably his son Chan Ching, his protégé Lok So, and Master Paul Chan.

Do Pi Training Principles: Do Pi has a coherent set of training principles and techniques. With roots in many different styles such as Hung Kuen, Choi Lee Fut, and Hop Gar, Do Pi is a very unique southern style. The foundation of the system is based on the following nine techniques: chuen, pow, kup, tong, pin, sek, ten, chik, and got. You can see the Chinese Characters for these techniques on the left.

In the execution of its techniques, Do Pi employs body movements. Most of the foot and hand techniques are economical in nature. Master Paul Chan recalls that Grandmaster Chan Dau always stressed that simple movements are always the most effective in battle.

Do Pi has many form routines to help its practitioners progress in their development. The most famous sets include Drunken Eight Fairies and Drunken Fan.