Gongfu: When Taijiquan Fought White Crane (1954)

Master Wu Gongyi (Left) V Master Chen Kefa (Right)

Translator’s Note: If the dates in the below Chinese lanuage text are correct, then in 1954 Master Wu Gongyi would have been 76! This may be compared to Master Chen Kefa who would have been just 36 years old (suggesting that Master Wu was 40 years older than Master Chen)! Having checked the Chinese language internet I have found that the dates for Master Wu Gongyi are in fact ‘(1898-1994)’ – which would have made him around 56 years old in 1954. Nevertheless, Master Wu Gongyi was still 20 years older than his opponent – Master Chen Kefa when this fight took place. Master Wu Gongyi was a practitioner (and Lineage Inheritor) of Wu Style Taijiquan, whilst Master Chen Kefa was an expert in ‘White Crane Fist’ (白鶴拳 – Baihequan).  Indeed, it is sometimes assumed that the ‘Grand Ridgepole Fist’ (太極拳 – Taijiquan) is related (or includes elements of) ‘White Crance’. Both fighters are dressed properly in white T-Shirts and black bottoms (signifying yin-yang ideology), and adopt a ‘natural’ stance and body position suitable for maximising rootedness, evasion and power-production. This fight, quite rightly in my opinion, was declared a draw after both fights landed full-powered blows to one another’s heads!  The Chinese text translated below is from the description of the video, but remember that the date given there for Master Wu Gongyi’s birth is wrong. ACW (22.6.2020) 

This is a bareknuckle gongfu fight between Taijiquan Master Wu Gongyi (吳公儀) [1878-1970] and Baihequan Master Chen Kefu (陳克夫 ) [1918-2013] – which was held on January 17, 1954 in the ‘New Garden’ of Macau. Around 5000 people boarded a large boat and travelled from Hong Hong To Macau to witness this event. Both communities in Macau and Hong Kong were set alight with expectation about this fight! The referee for the competition was the ‘Big Boss’ of the Chinese community in Macau – He Xian (何賢) – the father of ‘He Houhua’ (何厚華). The money raised was used for charitable reasons to aid the victims of disaster. Particularly the fire damaged wooden houses in the Shi Xia Wei’ (石硤尾) area. In attendance were the gambling king of Macau ‘He Hongshen’ (何鴻燊), and the tycoon of Hong Kong ‘Liang Chang’ (梁昌), as well as the entertainer ‘Zhang Ying’ (張瑛), and the Governor of Macau. Although the fight was short-lived, the buzz created sparked a worldwide interest in Chinese gongfu fever that would last for decades!  

Original Chinese Language Text:

1954年 六十五年前 香港兩位武術門派宗師打擂臺,震動港澳海外各界! 
太極拳「吳公儀 1878-1970」VS 白鶴拳「陳克夫 1918-2013」,在1954年1月17日打擂臺 在澳門新花園舉行, 
★這場功夫熱,同時推動(金庸 )(梁羽生) 等新派武俠小說誕生 和武俠電影潮流。(當時澳門賭牌,由第二代賭王,傅老榕,高可寧持有) #歷史時空 

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