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Shaolin Wahnam Lineage ?

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  • Shaolin Wahnam Lineage ?

    Dear Family and Friends,

    here a representation chart of the Shaolin Wahnam Lineage can be found together with some 'historical' Information:

    It is not signed/underwritten by Sitaigung. I suppose it was made by somebody else, found this version used also on local school websites.

    I'm not able to reconcile it with some basic mathematics and references to standard Kung Fu history, within itself and with Information from Sitaigung (The Way of the Master).

    I'll post my notes in following posts.

    With Shaolin Salute,


  • #2
    description of my understanding of the '^school version' as in post 1

    The chart and text as posted in the first post, supposes all lineages run down from the Shaolin monastery in Quanzhou 'in parallel at the same time', that this was the monastery Sijo Venerable Jiang Nan 'escaped from' around 1850, that this monastery was the same Venerable Che Seen was at and therefore it was 'the same temple destruction', further that after this event the temple on nine lotus mountain was build and destroyed.

    From my perspective this version is obviously 'inconsistent'.


    • #3
      Lineage of Sijo Venerable Jiang Nan and Date he escaped temple destruction

      Lineage of Sijo Venerable Jiang Nan and Date he escaped Temple Destruction

      In 'The Way of the Master' it is said that Sitaigung started learning from Sichangung Ho Fatt Nam in 1971. When Sichangung Ho Fatt Nam was starting to learn from Sijo Yang Fatt Khuen the latter would have been 70 years old and had started learning from Sijo Venerable Jiang Nan at age 30 (40 years ago). Sijo Venerable Jiang Nan was said to be at age 80 at this time.

      I do not know, which year Sichangung Ho Fatt Nam started learning from Sijo Yang Fatt Khuen, so I take the year 1950 as supposed starting year. This would mean that Sijo Yang Fatt Kheun started learning in 1910.

      This would mean that Sijo Venerable Jiang Nan was 80 in 1910 and therefore he would have been born in 1830.

      I do not know, for how long after this Sijo Venerable Jiang Nan lived on, if we suppose for ten years, he would have approximately lived from 1830-1920.

      This would make him a bit senior the generation of the famous Wong Fei Hung of Hung Gar Kung Fu, who's life is relatively well documented and lived from 9 July 1847 - 25 March 1924.

      Further, from the information in 'The Way of the Master' Sijo Venerable Jiang Nan was 30 when he escaped the temple and wandered around for 50 years before he met Sijo Yang Fatt Khuen. Therefore the destruction of this temple would have been around 1860 (when Wong Fei Hung as comparison was 13 years old and Venerable Jiang Nan Sijo was 30).


      • #4
        Lineage of Wong Fei Hung

        Lineage of Wong Fei Hung

        Famous Hung Gar Kung Fu master and Chinese folk hero Wong Fei Hung lived from 1847-1924:
        Here one of a typical Wong Fei Hung linieages:

        Normally it is said, that Wong Fei Hung (1847-1924) learned first from his father, Wong Kei Ying (ca. 1815-1886).

        Wong Kei Ying (1815-1886) learned from Wong Tai who learned from Luk Ah Choy, who was the junior to Hung Hei Goon, who is said to have lived from 1745-1825.

        Luk Ah Choy and well-known Hung Hei Goon (1745-1825) are said to have learned from Venerable Chee Seen before his death.
        Luk Ah Choy had learned from the old Venerable Chee Seen and was then sent to his senior Hung Hei Goon (not a monk, a layman reportedly) to complete his studies.

        So, by this widely accepted lineage, how can Venerable Chee Seen survive a temple destruction as in our lineage description in around 1860, then found another temple and then die, when Wong Fei Hung (1847-1924) was already 6-7th generation after Venerable Chee Seen and with Venerable Chee Seen's top student Hung Hei Goon already dead since 1825 (before Venerable Jiang Nan was supposedly even born)?

        (By the way most Hung Gar Lineages via Wong Fei Hung here say the same to my knowledge, also the one of a Hung Gar school I've trained in on beginner's level for some months).


        • #5
          Chee Seen, Ng Mui and Bak Mei's generation

          Venerable Chee Seen, Ng Mui and Bak Mei

          The life dates of this generation are a bit more in fog. They are sometime said to have survived a temple destruction already in 1647. The Qing dynasty (Manchu) went from 1644-1912. So, the abondoning of the Northern Shaolin Temple and opening of southern Temples is seen in connection with 1644 therefore.

          However, as it seems a bit more widely used is a temple destruction of a southern Shaolin temple in 1723, that were all 128 top Sholin fighter monks where killed except for the '5 elder' that survived, given as Chee Seen, Ng Mui, Bak Mei, Fung Do-Duk and 'unshaved' Miu Hin.

          After this it's said that they escaped to Sichuan Mt. Emei, then Bak Mei was selected to infiltrate the Qing Army but in the end would have led the Qing Army to the destruction of a southern Shaolin Temple whereby Venerable Chee Seen was killed by him.

          So, if Venerable Chee Seen's student Hung Hee Gun was born 1745, he was said to have learned 6 years, and if Hung Hee Gun was, say 20 when he started, then this would give around 1771 when Chee Seen must have still been alive, also he trained Luk Ah Choy for a while.

          Therefore a likely date of this legendary destruction of a southern Shaolin temple could be around 1775-1780.

          This would be around 55 years before Venerable Jiang Nan was appr. born, who would be born only after Hung Hee Gun's death in 1825.

          Sources for expl:


          • #6
            Shaolin during Qing dynasty 1644-1912

            Shaolin during Qing dynasty

            So, it seems that during the complete Qing dynasty Sholin was not on the side of the Imperium (except maby for the case including Bak Mei).

            Shaolin temples where said to have been build, destroyed and rebuild many times during this time.

            So, the temple that Sijo Venerable Jiang Nan escaped from can be a later different one and we would be talking about a different generation then.


            • #7
              Venerable Jiang Nan's lineage II

              Venerable Jiang Nan's lineage II

              When Sijo Venerable Jiang Nan lived appr. from 1830-1920 and therefore was a bit senior to Wong Feu Hung, and was born after the death of Hung Hei Gung (1745-1825), then what was his lineage?

              Given that we have no other name for it as 'Shaolin' Kung Fu, when the five elders incl. Chee Seen, Ng Mui and Bak Mei where the only survivors in 1723, would his lineage as a southern Shaolin lineage then necessarily also be traced back to them?
              Last edited by MichaelS; 31st October 2017, 01:27 PM. Reason: typo


              • #8
                Counting generations

                Counting Generations

                If the temple destruction of three of our lineages would be the same, how then come, that the number of generations down to Sitaigung are so different?

                Is it not obvious, that the only three steps to Sijo Venerable Jiang Nan only go back half the way as the many more steps in the Hung Gar and the Wing Choon lineage?

                You can compare the number of steps also to other lineages of other school with the same result.

                I do not say, that the 'counting' is wrong as counting from a Southern Shaolin temple, but obviusly it cannot be the same temple and not spann over the same time frame.


                • #9
                  Time , Temples , Ages & Lineages

                  "I do not say, that the 'counting' is wrong as counting from a Southern Shaolin temple, but obviusly it cannot be the same temple and not spann over the same time frame" ..

                  Thank you Michael for sharing your relevant research : myself have wondered ( but not worried ) about the "inconsistency " .

                  My conclusion : either its another temple at another time or our past masters ( Ven Jiang Nan , Yang Fatt Khun ) in our lineage lived longer then presumed ( eg internal artist Lee Ching Yuen supposedly lived over 200 years , Lu Zijian almost 120 years , proven guiness world record holder almost 120 years , etc ) or i await further data from any avid professional researcher .

                  Either way we are lucky to inherit the transmitted arts .
                  Last edited by Damian Kissey; 31st October 2017, 06:31 PM.
                  Damian Kissey
                  Shaolin Wahnam Sabah , Malaysia .


                  • #10
                    'Burning of the Shaolin Temple'

                    'Burning of the Shaolin Temple'

                    Northern Temple:

                    Some articles in this school say that the NorthernTemple was burned only in 1928.


                    However, Sitaigung said in the Q&A November 1999,which was reposted on kung fu magazine in 2001 more specifically:

                    'Historicalrecords show that the northern Shaolin Monastery was burned three times.The first two times were in the distant past, and the last time was in 1928...'




                    Another source I've found also talks about differentraids of the northern Shaolin Temple.

                    Southern Temple:

                    Some Articles in this school associate the burning ofthe southern temples with Qing Emperor Yong Zheng with the help from Lama KungFu experts from Tibet.


                    This is generally in our school said to be in the1850's and it is associated with Venerable Jee Seen, Pak Mei and with VenerableJiang Nan.

                    However, Emperor Yong Zheng lived from13.12.1678-8.10.1735.

                    Venerable Jiang Nan was approximately born around 1830according to our lineage information. The temple burning at the end of EmperorYong Zheng's reign is classically the one which was said to be survived by the'five elders' including Pak Mei, Jee Seen and Ng Mui. Venerable Jee Seen andPak Mei however did not live up to the 1850-60s.



                    • #11
                      'Hung Gar' Lineage of Sichangung Lai Chin Wah

                      'Hung Gar' Lineage of Sichangung LaiChin Wah

                      Sichangung Lai Chin Wah learned from 3Kung Fu Masters, but ‘we count our lineage’ from the first one. The Tiger-CraneSet for example Sichangung Lai Chin Wah learned from his third Sifu.

                      How the lineage continues from the starting point isexplained by Sitaigung in a Q&A from December 1998, which was also repostedon kung fu magazine in 2001:

                      For convenience the relevant part is given below,where the original is not in bold letters (‘I’ve highlighted them here in bold’):

                      Question 7
                      Also, can you tell me the lineage of Sifu Lai Chin Wah's Hoong Family Kung Fulineage from Chee Seen?

                      Answer 7
                      My sifu, Sifu Lai Chin Wah, was not only a great fighter but also highlyrighteous. He was actually better known by his nickname Ye Sook, or UncleRighteousness. He learned from three masters, namely Ng Yew Loong, Chu Khuen,and Lou Chan Wei. All these three masters were the best known Southern Shaolinmasters of their time. My sifu was an idealist; he sought and learned from thebest. Ng Yew Loong learned from Chan Fook, a Shaolin monk from the southernShaolin Monastery in Fujian province, who returned to lay life.
                      I could nottrace beyond Chan Fook.

                      The Venerable Chee Seen was the last abbot of the southern Shaolin Monasterybefore it was razed to the ground by the Qing army. Hence Chan Fook could havelearned from one of Chee Seen's disciple in the monastery.

                      My sifu, Uncle Righteousness, passed on to me as a legacy a secret kungfu setknown as "Essence of Shaolin". This kungfu set is reputed to be thespecial set of the Venerable Harng Yin, the most senior disciple of Chee Seen.It was from this kungfu set that I learned the poetic couplet I mentioned inthe webpage Amazing Techniques in Shaolin Kungfu, namely, in Cantonese,"miu fatt fatt chong shang miu fatt, kei kung kung seong kin keikung".
                      Itmeans "marvelous techniques beget marvelous techniques; wondrous skillsgenerate wondrous skills".

                      My notes:

                      According toSitaigung’s explanations he could not trace the lineage back beyond Chan FookSijo.

                      Venerable Jee Seen is starting point of the lineagebecause he is the ‘patron saint of Southern Shaolin Kung Fu’ and practically allHung Gar liniages trace their roots from him.

                      That VenerableHarng Yen is included in our lineage is according to Sitatigung’s explanation amere fictional construction, a hypothesis based on the fact, that SichangungLai Chin Wah taught the ‘Essence of Shaolin’ Set and that it can read in kungfu history or legends that this set a specialty of Venerable Harng Yen.

                      But even going with this hypothesis:

                      With Chan Fook Sijo we again – as with Venerable JiangNan Sijo – only ‘come back’ to the middle of the 19th century (‘the 18hundrets’) approximately to the generation of Wong Fei Hung.

                      But Venerable Harng Yen was the generation of Hung HeiGun (also see the article in a different answer), who lived from 1745-1825.

                      The Wong Fei Hunglineage does have two generations inbetween, and I would suppose, that also ‘ourlineage here’ would need one or two more generations inbetween to bridge thedistance between Chan Fook Sijo and Venerable Harng Yen (the latter’s appearanceis hypothetical).

                      With Shaolin Salute,


                      • #12
                        On Kung Fu lineage

                        On Kung Fu Lineage

                        My reflection based on my limited 'observations' regarding Kung Fu lineage:

                        Lineages go person to person the same as the teaching/learning or transmission.

                        They are not lineages of Institutions.

                        The lineage in a Kung Fu School is the lineage of the Sifu of the school.

                        It is quite common that a 'Kung Fu Master' learns from many teachers/masters, but it is not common practise to count all of them as lineage, there are specifics, for example depending on the kind of training ('Only courses' or 'regular school training' or 'personal training'), which 'Art' was taught/learned ('Tai Chi Chuan' or 'Hung Gar' or 'Praying Mantis' etc.), whether this was essential or a round-up, or how deep the learning was in terms of the 'DNA' of a 'school' or 'how much of the standard curriculum', for how long the training was, from whom was learned ('head-master directly or instructor/sihing'), or whether one just learned forms etc. without going through the process 'of building ones system according the style' and 'getting fully into the flavour' of the style.

                        Here is a link to an overview article on 'Knowing your lineage':

                        Some key words from the article:

                        allochronism - mythological history of a style - actual history of a style

                        With Shaolin Salute,


                        Last edited by MichaelS; 7th November 2017, 11:48 AM. Reason: typo


                        • #13
                          Shaolin Wahnam Tai Chi Chuan & Co lineage

                          Shaolin Wahnam Tai Chi Chuan & Co. Lineage
                          Sitaigung writes and says that he learned Tai Chi Chuan from books and YouTube/Videos.

                          As this is common knowledge in our school I guess I do not need to post a source here.

                          He writes he never found a Tai Chi Chuan Master that seemed competent enough to 'know what he's doing' (in my words). From the limited overview I've got about it I can quite relate to this, as in martial arts circles this seems to be 'common knowledge' along with 'typically reported symptomps' that there seems to be no Tai Chi Chuan Practitioner that can use it for combat (and if somebody can fight this would normally mean, that he learned another type of Kung Fu and uses this other style in sparring), that there seems to be no one who could demonstrate the 'typical Tai Chi Chuan flavour' in Sparring etc.

                          So, we do not have a Tai Chi Chuan lineage, and other arts in our school like Xingyichuan or Baguazhang seem to have 'the same lineage'.

                          I do not know for some other Style names or Sets in our school, there are some that I cannot trace to Sitaigung's lineage or there are sets of one lineage, that he would not have learned during the time in the corresponding school according to my understanding of what he wrote about it.

                          With Shaolin Salute


                          • #14
                            Counting generations again

                            Counting generations again

                            Now, after the further 'cross-check's' I've become aware that I have to correct a statement I've made inbetween in a post to the lineage via Sijo Venerable Jiang Nan in post No. 8 here on this thread:

                            'I do not say that the counting is wrong as counting from a southern Shaolin temple...'

                            This also depends on what can be called a Shaolin Temple and how the counting is represented or specifically formulated and which temple in referrs to.

                            But here as on the webside of Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland in connection with the usual linieage chart and a Shaolin monastery before the one on the Nine Lotus mountain together with the description for Sitaigung:

                            He is 6th Generation Shaolin Successor through his first Master's line, Sigung Lai Chin Wah
                            He is 4th Generation Shaolin Successor through his third Master's line, Sigung Ho Fatt Nam

                            It cannot be denied that this counting is obviously wrong.

                            Furthermore it cannot be denied that such a counting as shown in the posts before is not possible in our School in these lines, as these lineages cannot be specifically traced back to any of the Shaolin monasteries in the 18th century ('17hundrets').

                            But an approximation would be, that the same as in lineages that can trace it back, Sitaigung would be around 9th generation (with the usual inclusive counting and from the time of Venerable Chee Seen as in usual Hung Gar lineages) in either line.

                            With Kung Fu Salute,



                            • #15
                              Hi Michael,

                              Looks like you've been doing a good deal of research! I must admit, I have not read your posts in depth, but quickly read through them, and think you are addressing an interesting topic that applies to most (likely all) traditional martial arts. I suspect the inconsistencies that you have been finding are due to a combination of several interesting factors.

                              1) oral traditions - stories change as they are told over and over again. Years, dates, people's ages, etc. are all details that do not significantly alter the story. I am not surprised to see some inconsistencies in this information from one telling of a story to the next, especially if multiple years pass between tellings.

                              2) the telephone game - I am not sure if you are familiar with this game, by this name, but one person whispers a sentence to another, who in turn whispers it in the ear of a third, and so on through a chain of people. The last person in the chain then says the sentence aloud. Most often, there is quite a bit of variance between the original sentence and what is spoken at the end. This is closely tied to oral tradition, and also likely is the cause for many of the inconsistencies that you have noticed.

                              Both of the above assume there is no attempt to intentionally deceive the listener by telling the story. But that brings us to the most interesting factor...

                              3) the true history of "Shaolin" - What is the true history of Shaolin? How many temples were there, and where/when did they exist? Who were the "monks" at these temples? Where did they learn kungfu? Of course, there is the traditional history of Shaolin, which likely is based on some facts from some point in history. How much of that story, though, is actually what happened? That I do not know.

                              I HIGHLY suspect that a more interesting history/research project would be to compare the Shaolin stories of the temple locations/dates and famous monks with Chinese government and military history. Chinese history is violent and there were many armies, generals, and soldiers. With each regime change, there would be highly skilled military men suddenly found without homes and the target of the new government. What better way to hide than to shave your head, change your name, and hide in a temple? This would easily explain the high level of martial arts often attributed to Shaolin, as well as the many different arts throughout history. It also explains why temples would have been burnt.

                              I suspect that if you compared enough historical information of regime change and governmental turmoil, you would find a pattern between date of turmoil and appearance of Shaolin "monk". I suspect this would also apply to many of China's great, historical healers and doctors. The need for highly skilled people to hide and reinvent their identities cannot be something that is disregarded when discussing violent histories.

                              4) people lie - Sometimes people make up stories. Sometimes people allow stories to be told about themselves, even if they know the story to be untrue. Sometimes stories are spread faster than someone can correct them.

                              So... Shaolin Wahnam lineage? I do not know. I know Sifu has been very up-front about where, when, and from whom he has learned. He is also very up-front about what, in Shaolin Wahnam, he has changed/altered/composed. Beyond that... I have no direct experience.

                              History is an interesting topic, especially when dealing with what is not being told and why. Once enough people believe one story, it becomes the "truth". But the true truth?... if you do not live it, you may never know.

                              Interesting subject, though! Thank you for bringing it up.