Bak Mei martial arts has its origins in Shaolin, from our Exalted Master Bak Mei (白眉上人), one of the five great Shaolin Masters. After Shaolin, Bak Mei trained at Mt. Emei (峨嵋山). The martial art of Bak Mei passed to the monk Gwong Wei (廣惠禪師) of the second generation, then to the monk Juk Faat Wan (竺法雲禪師) of the third generation, which then passed to Cheung Lai Chuen (張禮泉) of the fourth generation.
The first three generations of the Bak Mei martial art stayed within a Buddhist community. Cheung Lai Chuen was the first outsider to learn Bak Mei after realizing the extraordinary qualities of this art. Master Cheung took in the fundamentals of Bak Mei and also incorporated the best kung fu from his previous three teachers, including aspects of finger-, body-, hand-, and waist-movements, as well as horse stances and explosive power generation. Current forms of Bak Mei can vary slightly, but all incorporate the fundamental arts passed down from Bak Mei.
CHEUNG LAI CHUEN
Master Cheung Lai Chuen was from Huizhou (惠州), in Guangdong province, China. A descendant of the Qing general Zhang Yutang 張玉堂, he began learning kung fu at the age of seven: Lee Family style (李家) from Master Lee Yi 李義師; Vagabond style (流氓教) from Master Lin Shek 林石師; and Master Lam Ah Hap 林亞俠師. Master Cheung was also a student of Dharma meditation, Chinese orthopedics (跌打), and the art of escape/disappearing (遁術).
The original forms of Bak Mei included Jik Bo (直步標指), Gow Bo Tui (九步推), 72 Day Saat (七十二地煞), 36 Tin Kwong (三十六天光), 18 Mor Kiu (十八魔橋), Sticky Hands (粘黏拳法), Empty Hand vs Sword (空手入白刃), and Mang Fu Chut Lam (猛虎出林).
Forms integrated into Bak Mei by Master Cheung Lai Chuen were 3 Mun Bagua (三門八掛) from Master Lee Yi; Sup Gee (十字扣打) from Master Shek (Sup Gee is also known as Shek Si's form 石師拳); and Master Lam Ah Hap's Ying Jow Lim Kiu (鷹爪黏橋). Weapon forms from the three masters were also integrated. Master Cheung created 4 Mun Bagua (四門八掛拳), which integrated the essentials of different kung fu styles, but its fundamental power delivery was based on Bak Mei's teachings.
More history to come... still working on translating it. It's not easy!
Cheung Lai Chuen
Yip Chi Sum
Wilkie Wu Wai Kwan