Master Tam Sam
Founder of Bak Hsing Choy Lee Fut

tam_samThe particular style of Choy Lee Fut practiced in Yongquan Association classes is known as Bak Hsing, or Northern style, Choy Lee Fut. Although primarily thought of as a Hong Kong-based art, Tam Sam, the Bak Hsing founder, taught out of Siu Bak in the province of Guangzhou to the north on the Chinese mainland.

Tam Sam was an accomplished boxer before he came to study Choy Lee Fut but after a 'friendly' match with a Hung Hsing Choy Lee Fut practitioner, in which Tam Sam was clearly beaten, he decided to study under the victor's master, Liu Chan. Tam Sam trained for many years but he was something of an innovator and went on to modify the teachings of his master to the point where he had created a radically different approach to the application of Choy Lee Fut technique.

Feeling that his new approach was superior to the traditional method Tam Sam arranged for challenge bouts with Liu Chan's senior students, including the man who had bested him many years before, to demonstrate the efficacy of his art and very quickly defeated them all. Versions of events vary after this; some say that Liu Chan was so angry that he challenged Tam Sam himself and was also beaten, others that he simply dismissed Tam Sam as a student for not following the traditional Hung Hsing method, and others again that he was forced to expel Tam Sam as a student for reasons of face, but continued to teach him in secret. Whichever story is true Tam Sam eventually left Liu Chan's school and moved to Siu Bak where he began teaching his new system as Bak Hsing Choy Lee Fut.

Tam Sam was a contemporary of the famous Northern Shaolin master, Ku Yue-Chang (“King of Iron Palm”) and both men had a deep respect for one another, so much so that they arranged to exchange students and Leung Tse-Cheung was sent to Tan San's school to learn the art. Leung Tse-Cheung spent several years learning from Tam Sam before returning to Ku Yue-Chang.