Wong Fei-hung

This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wong.
Wong Fei-hung
Born (1847-07-09)9 July 1847
Foshan Town, Nanhai, Guangzhou, Guangdong, Qing Empire
Died 25 March 1924(1924-03-25) (aged 76)
Fangbian Hospital, Guangzhou, Guangdong, Republic of China
Style Chinese martial arts
Hung Ga
Teacher(s) Wong Kei-ying
Rank Grandmaster
Occupation Martial artist, physician, revolutionary
Spouse Ms. Luo (m. 1871)
Ms. Ma (m. 1896)
Ms. Cen (m. 1902)
Mok Kwai-lan (m. 1915)
Notable students Leung Foon
Lam Sai-wing
Dang Fong
Ling Wan-kai
Wong Fei-hung

The entrance of the Wong Fei-hung Memorial Hall in Foshan
Traditional Chinese 黃飛鴻
Simplified Chinese 黄飞鸿

Wong Fei-hung or Huang Feihong (9 July 1847 – 25 March 1924)[1] was a Chinese martial artist, physician, and folk hero, who has become the subject of numerous martial arts films and television series. He was considered an expert in the Hung Ga style of Chinese martial arts.[2] As a physician, Wong practised and taught acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine in Po Chi Lam (宝芝林; 寶芝林; Bǎozhīlín; Bou2-zi1-lam4), a medical clinic in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province. A museum dedicated to him was built in his birthplace in Foshan City, Guangdong Province.

Among Wong's students, the more notable ones include Lam Sai-wing (Lin Shirong), Leung Foon (梁寬; Liang Kuan), Dang Fong (Deng Fang), and Ling Wan-kai (凌雲階; Ling Yunjie).

Wong is sometimes incorrectly identified as one of the "Ten Tigers of Canton". His father, Wong Kei-ying, was one of the ten but Wong himself was not. Wong is also sometimes referred to as the "Tiger after the Ten Tigers".[3]

Alternative names

Wong's original given name was Sek-cheung or Xixiang (锡祥; 錫祥; Xīxiáng; Hsi-hsiang; Sek3-coeng4) before it was changed to Fei-hung (Feihong). His courtesy name was Dat-wan or Dayun (达云; 達雲; Dáyún; Ta-yun; Daat6-wan4).[4]


Wong was born in Foshan Town, which is now part of Zumiao Subdistrict in Chancheng District, Foshan City, Guangdong Province, during the reign of the Daoguang Emperor in the Qing dynasty. His ancestral home was in Xiluzhou Village, Xiqiao Ridge, Nanhai County, Guangzhou Prefecture, Guangdong Province, which is now part of Xiqiao Town, Nanhai District, Foshan City.[4]

At the age of five, Wong started learning Hung Ga from his father, Wong Kei-ying. He often accompanied his father on trips from Foshan to Guangzhou, the provincial capital of Guangdong Province, where his father peddled medicine and performed martial arts in the streets. When he was 13, he encountered Lam Fuk-sing (林福成; Lin Fucheng), an apprentice of "Iron Bridge Three" Leung Kwan, in Douchi Street in Foshan Town. Lam taught him how to use the sling and the essential moves of the martial art Iron Wire Fist.[4] He learnt the Shadowless Kick from Sung Fai-tong (宋輝鏜; Song Huitang) later.

In 1863, Wong started a martial arts school in Shuijiao (水腳) in Xiguan, which is now part of Liwan District, Guangzhou City. His students were mainly metal labourers and street vendors. In 1886, Wong opened his family's medical clinic, Po Chi Lam (寶芝林; Baozhilin), in Ren'an (仁安), which is now part of Xiaobei Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou City.[4] In legend, around the 1860s or 1870s, Wong was recruited by Liu Yongfu, the commander of the Black Flag Army, to be the medical officer and martial arts instructor for the regular soldiers and the local militia in Guangzhou. He also followed the Black Flag Army to fight the Imperial Japanese Army during the Japanese invasion of Taiwan in 1895.

In 1912, the Republic of China was established following the collapse of the Qing dynasty. During the chaotic early years of the Republican era, many businessmen who operated places of entertainment in Guangzhou decided to hire guards (or bouncers) to protect their businesses on-site in case trouble broke out. As Wong was trained in martial arts, he was hired by various businesses to be one of such guards.

In 1919, when the Chin Woo Athletic Association opened a branch in Guangzhou, Wong was invited to perform at the opening ceremony.[4] In the same year, Wong Hon-sam, one of Wong's sons, who was working as a bodyguard in Wuzhou City, Guangxi Province, was murdered by a rival known as "Devil Eye" Leung (鬼眼梁), who was apparently jealous that Wong Hon-sam was better than him in martial arts. Wong was so affected by this incident that he stopped teaching his other sons martial arts.[5]

Around August–October 1924, Wong's medical clinic, Po Chi Lam, was destroyed when forces of the Republic of China's Nationalist government were suppressing an uprising by the Guangzhou Merchant Volunteers Corps. Wong felt so dejected and saddened by the loss of Po Chi Lam that he fell into depression and became ill. He died from illness in Fangbian Hospital (方便醫院), which is now the Guangzhou First People's Hospital at Panfu Road in Guangzhou's Yuexiu District, and was buried at the foot of Baiyun Mountain.[4]

Wong's wife, Mok Kwai-lan, and his sons, along with his students Lam Sai-wing and Dang Sai-king (鄧世瓊; Deng Shiqiong), moved to Hong Kong and opened martial arts schools there.


The man in this photograph was alleged to be Wong Fei-hung, but was later confirmed to be actually Wong's son, Wong Hon-hei.[6]

After his first wife died of illness in 1871, Wong was widowed for 25 years. In 1896, he married his second wife and had two sons with her. Some time after she died of illness, Wong remarried again in 1902. His third wife bore him two sons before falling victim to a deadly illness. His fourth and final wife stayed with him from 1915 up till his death. The personal names of his first three wives are unknown. He had four known children.


Fighting style

Wong was a master of Hung Ga. He systematised the predominant style of Hung Ga and choreographed its version of the Tiger Crane Paired Form Fist, which incorporates his Ten Special Fist techniques. Wong is famous for using the Shadowless Kick. He named the techniques of his skills when he performed them.

Wong was adept at using weapons, such as the staff and southern tiger fork. One tale recounts how Wong defeated a group of 30 gangsters on the docks of Guangzhou with a staff.


A memorial hall in his honour is maintained in Foshan's Chancheng District.

Film and television

Over 100 films and television series featuring Wong have been produced since 1949, mostly in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong actor Kwan Tak-hing starred as Wong in over 70 films between the 1940s and 1980s and earned himself the nickname "Master Wong". Other prominent actors who portrayed Wong on screen include Jet Li in the Once Upon a Time in China film series, and Vincent Zhao in the television series Wong Fei Hung Series.

Theme song

The Chinese folk song On the General's Orders (将军令; 將軍令; Jiāng-Jūn-Lìng; Zoeng1-Gwan1 Ling6) is popularly associated with Wong Fei-hung because it was used as the theme song in various Wong Fei-hung movies.

The song was the opening theme of the 1978 film Drunken Master, starring Jackie Chan. In the Once Upon a Time in China film series, the song's title was changed to A Man Should Better Himself (男儿当自强; 男兒當自強; Nán-Ér-Dāng-Zì-Qiáng; Naam4-Ji4-Dong1-Zi6-Koeng4). It was sung in Cantonese by George Lam and its lyrics were written by James Wong. Jackie Chan sang the song in Mandarin in the second film. The version A Man Should Better Himself is the best known rendition of the song to date.

A rearranged version was rewritten and sung by Dayo Wong as the theme song of Men Don't Cry.


See also


  1. On Hung Gar: History and Practice pg.79 Paperback: 310 pages Publisher: CreateSpace (April 13, 2009) Language: English ISBN 978-1-4421-3747-9
  2. Iron Thread. Southern Shaolin Hung Gar Kung Fu Classics Series Paperback: 186 pages Publisher: CreateSpace (December 15, 2008) Language: English ISBN 978-1-4404-7500-9
  3. World of Martial Arts! By Robert HILL
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "佛山黄飞鸿—黄飞鸿史略 (Historical Biography of Wong Fei-hung from Foshan)". foshanmuseum.com (in Chinese). Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  5. "黄飞鸿的家庭 (Wong Fei-hung's family)". foshanmuseum.com (in Chinese). Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  6. Source file of the photo. The caption below reads: In 1976, Leung Ting (梁挺), who launched the Real Kungfu (真功夫) magazine for a friend, paid a special visit to Wong Fei-hung's wife Mok Kwai-lan. Apart from obtaining first-hand information about Wong from Mok, Leung also obtained the only available photo of Wong. The photo was not reproduced on time then and has been preserved by Leung until now, when it is unveiled to the public for the first time. See this link for details. Archived October 17, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
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