HISTORY OF NEI WAI CHIA KUNG FU
The following account is as accurate as over 100 years of elapsed time permits. It draws upon many sources, eyewitness accounts, scholarly papers, magazine articles, and personal remembrances. I hope that it is complete enough to allow the student a look into how this marvelous system began.
At the turn of the century, the Boxer Rebellion reduced some of China's great martial artists and systems to oblivion. Fortunately, many fine boxers survived. Yet, because of China's apparent inability to cope with its problems, all Chinese were branded "sick man of Asia". Therefore, a deep sense of nationalism occurred and the martial artists of China set out to prove the world wrong.
It is not unusual for men with a common interest to exchange ideas. Four such men met in Shanghai in 1908. They were: Huo Yuan Chia, Ku Yu Cheong, Chan Wah Shun, and Sun Lu Tang.
Huo was chief instructor of the Ching Wu Physical Exercise School; in China the greatest of all martial arts schools. It would later be called Ching Wu Athletic Association. Master Hou was undefeated in hundreds of contests.
Ku Yu Cheong was master of Bok Pai Shaolin, and said to be the greatest exponent of Iron Palm ever known. He too was never defeated.
Sun Lu Tang was the president of the Xiangsu Boxing Association. This master of Pakua, Hsing I and Tai Chi was undefeated. He created his own style of Pakua and Tai Chi.
Chan Wah Chun was master of Wing Chun. He was undefeated. Some 30 years later, as one of his last students, he would teach a man named Yip Man. Yip would teach many students, one would be Bruce Lee.
Huo yuan Chia sent an invitation to the other three master, calling upon them to add their expertise to develop a new art based upon the best of the Chinese arts. Together they met to combine their talents to develop a system that, once and for all, would eradicate the title "weak or sick man of Asia". This would be a total discipline: mind, body, and spirit. After weeks of culling their arts and accepting only the best of each, they named their system NEI WAI CHIA (internal external system).
They chose as the recipient of the training Master Hous' number one student Liu Chen Sheng. In 1909, Master Huo died and Liu and Chao Chen Ch'un (later known as Chow Ting Hua and Chow Jen Fa ) took over teaching at the Ching Wu. Nei Wai Chia was never taught openly, but 3 persons besides Liu and Chao learned it. They were Li Hui-Sheng, Wang Wei Fan, and Ch'en Xung-Che.
In the years that passed, all save Chao died in numerous ways, (wars, accidents, etc). In 1961, only one practitioner of Nei Wai Chia was alive, 78 year old Chao Chen-Ch'un, now called Chow Ting Hua. It is with the man named Chan Wah Shun that our story temporarily branches off into two different directions.
One of Master Chan's last students was Yip Man. He was renowned in his ability with Wing Chun. One of Yip Man's many students was a young man named Bruce Lee. In 1962, Bruce and his brother, James Yim Lee opened the James Lee school of Jun Fan Kung Fu (Jun Fan is Bruce' Chinese name). Shortly thereafter, Master Chow came to visit the school of one of his late Masters descendant students. Master Chow met a young Texan, named Larry Sanders who was studying wing chun. Master Chow took a liking to the boy and began to teach him Nei Wai Chia Kung Fu. Master Chow also suggested that he expand his studies with other masters, which he did.
Larry Sanders studied Wing Chun from Bruce Lee, James Lee, Joe Cowles, and George Brock; Hsing I and Pakua from Biff Painter; Hsu Shih Fen, Tai Chi from George Brock; and Iron Palm from Biff Painter and Wang Tzu P'ing. He also studied Jiujitsu, Karate, and weaponry. In 1976, Larry Sanders began teaching the new revised modern version of Nei Wai Chia Kung Fu to the American public. Then in 1982, he was promoted to the rank of Sijo (Founder) of Nei Wai Chia Kung Fu.
In 1983 Larry Sanders began training Dan Suchon.