Bak Mei (White Eyebrow) Kung Fu stems from Taoist martial arts traditions tracing back into Chinese history, starting at mount Ngor Mei (E-Mei) near the end of the Ming Dynasty. There are many legends and stories surrounding Bak Mei.
The style started between 1650 and 1700 with the life of a Taoist monk known for his long white eyebrows. Bak Mei, the monk himself, has become a Chinese folk legend for his fighting skills and deeds. He is a controversial figure in Chinese history, often considered an evil character for his brutality and betrayal of the Shaolin Monastery. He is a pivotal character in the story of the 5 Elders/Masters, which details the genesis of modern Kung Fu. Some of this legend can be attributed back to the political conflicts leading to the end of the Ming Dynasty, the coming of the Manchurians and the destruction of the legendary Southern Shaolin Temple.
Possibly due to its localized nature and absence for the most part in the western world, the style has become known as a "secret" and "forbidden" style. Traditionally Bak Mei has been passed down unbroken from teacher to student - often father to son - to this day.
In keeping with its namesake's reputation, Bak Mei is a lethal style, not modified for sporting applications. It is a rare internal and external style from Taoist traditions, with deep traditional roots and respect for its heritage. Advanced techniques are only taught to advanced students.
Bak Mei Kung Fu is one of the few systems that combines both Shaolin and Taoist practices into a single fighting style. It is classified as an internal and external system that emphasizes the combination of the science of combat along with the Taoist principles of using the chi, or breath, to maximize the generation of power from within the body and to maintain health. In Bak Mei, Chi Kung is incorporated into every aspect of the art, unlike most arts which contain supplemental exercises to develop the chi.
Bak Mei is a highly sophisticated, fast and aggressive system that is rarely seen within the realm of Chinese martial arts today. Bak Mei uses Ging - or sacred power - a type of explosive power that enables a technique to change quickly from a soft and relaxed movement into a powerful strike upon impact. To the untrained observer, this can look quite external, or as using brute force. Techniques are executed between short and mid-range distances; hand movements are fast and powerful.
There are many different styles contained within Bak Mei; many of these are unique to Bak Mei. The following are only a few of the unique styles that Sifu (our teacher) has learned throughout his training:
These styles are quite often taught individually and some are later combined and modified to make up components and aspects of the more advanced styles. The different styles are taught in an order of progression that will depend on many factors. The later styles and more advanced styles are taught based upon trust, loyalty and effort to learn. This style of Kung Fu is a way of becoming truly strong and powerful, strengthening the mind, body and spirit. We strive for perfection and a state of balance and harmony with others.
In Bak Mei there are many aspects to training. Learning Bak Mei involves a great deal of hard physical work. This is coupled with the virtues of respect, honour and humility. These aspects must be learned and adhered to in order for any level of mastery of this art. The more learned, the better one is equipped to live well. This process involves a strong commitment over an extended period of time.
Respect your Kung Fu ancestors, before you can claim to respect your Kung Fu.
Learn to be righteous and temper your conduct, before you may learn Kung Fu.
If you know Kung Fu, you may not commit any illegal offences.
The best Kung Fu practitioners never hit people, even for the slightest offences.
If you encounter an evil person,
Even if you are offered thousands of pounds of gold, you may not teach them.
You may not even teach a close relative, if they are not morally decent.
You may teach a perfect stranger, as long as they are righteous and decent.
If you understand the essence of Bak Mei Kung Fu,
Even a stone is precious like gold.