Monkey Kung Fu was created by a master of the art of Great Earth style (also called Tei Tong). It is a very low and powerful form of martial arts. Unfortunately, the actual time when Great Earth was created is not known. The master’s name was Kou Sze.
One day, around 1899/1900, Kou Sze was arrested for committing murder. Some say he killed a military official and others say different. One individual tries to sugar-coat it by saying he killed an evil villager but that is not true. (I know because I was there when he sugar-coated it).
“History is history and making up stories or inventing forms doesn’t help the art, it hurts it.”
Because of his crime, Kou Sze was scheduled to be put to death. However, his friends came to his aide. They bribed the judge and he agreed to give him only eight years but he must be kept in solitary confinement. They agreed.
Serving his term he tried to keep himself busy by practicing the Great Earth style, but they became boring very quickly. The only thing that kept Kou Sze from losing touch with reality was the cell window. Through it he can still be in touch with the outside world. The outside world however was the jungle which was filled with a colony of monkeys.
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The monkeys kept Kou Sze entertained and he eventually he was able to tell them apart, recognize their characteristics, etc. In a way, it was kind of his family, at least for those eight years. As Kou Sze watched them play amongst the trees, he began to notice their reactions in life-threatening situations as well. Some were quick, some was deceiving and others were very strong. He also noted how they reacted when a tiger or other animals came into their home and what they did to drive them away or even kill them.
So impressed by these monkeys, Kou Sze felt their movements were incredible. Because Kou Sze had studied the art of Great Earth, he movements, which were already low to the ground, were quite similar to those of the monkey. He felt that he could add the movements he sees and blend them with the Great Earth style; and that’s what happened.
Combining the characteristics, mannerisms and movements of the monkeys, he was beginning to create a whole new art form. Though each monkey shared movements like walking, jumping, leaping and more, he was able to decipher the monkeys into five major personalities.
These include 1) Lost Monkey, 2) Tall Monkey, 3) Stone Monkey, 4) Drunken Monkey and 5) Wooden Monkey. Tai Shing only has one weapon, the staff.
The Monkey family tree is very small since the art is only 100 years old. The following is a listing of those who have completely mastered the entire art form and have succeeded as the next generation grandmasters. This is an accurate family tree of Tai Shing (Monkey style). Note: there have been many students learning Tai Shing, however, they have only studied for a short period of time and have only mastered a small portion of the Monkey art. They are not teachers, just short-term students. This tree list those who have learned the entire artform:
1st Generation – Kou Sze
2nd Generation – Ken Tak Hoi
3rd Generation – Cho Chi Fung, 3rd Generation – Chan Sau Chung
4th Generation – Cho Chat Ling, 4th Generation – Chan Kai Leung
5th Generation – P. Zink
6th Generation – Michael Matsuda
7th Generation – C. J. Martinez, Jacquelyn Egger, Phoebe Wong