Shaolin Master Ang Lian Huat
Founding Master of the Nam Yang Martial Arts Association
Master Ang was the founder of Nam Yang Pugilistic Association. He
was born in Quemoy, an island off the coast of Fukien province,
China. Quemoy was heavily fortified - an island fortress guarding
the Fukienese coast.
Master Ang took up training in the Tiger-Crane art when only
eight years old. His master was Tee Hong Yew, a member of the Tee
family, through which the art had been passed down for many
generations - ever since its development by Tee Eng Choon and Hung
Ee Kan. Tee Hong Yew was known as 'the secretive old man' due to
his habit of coming and going without a word.
See The Founding of Tiger-Crane Style Kung Fu for more details of
the Tee family.
As well as the Tiger-Crane Combination, Master Ang learned several
other styles. His second master was Tan Kew Leong. He was the chief
of the herbal medicine peddlers in the Chuan Chew district of
China. These medicine peddlers were usually highly accomplished
martial artists and were often challenged to fights in the towns
and villages they visited. For this reason, their Kung Fu had to be
good. Tan Kew Leong specialized in the Tai Chor (tiger) style and
was also a master of the Shaolin weapons system.
Master Ang's third master was Mioa Sian Meng, a monk from the Chuan
Chew Shaolin Temple. From him Master Ang learned the full Shuang
Yang Pei Ho (Sun Frost White Crane) soft art and external Chinese
Master Ang's family were quite wealthy - which was why he could
afford the very best Kung Fu teachers available. Kung fu was an all
consuming interest for him and he did little else. His father was a
timber merchant but unfortunately he died whilst Master Ang was
still young. His brother took over the business and moved it to
Singapore - a place which at the time, was attracting many Chinese
immigrants. In 1947, Master Ang emigrated to Singapore to take part
in the family business. He was so hot tempered, however, that he
quarreled with his uncle to the extent that he was excluded from
Since arriving in Singapore, Master Ang had continued to practise
his Kung Fu - at which he was now extremely accomplished. He took a
job as a 'bouncer' at a gambling den. During the second world war
and in the years after, Singapore was quite a rough, dangerous
place - in total contrast to what it is today. Martial arts experts
were highly favored as doormen and were often greatly feared.
It was in 1954 that Master Ang founded the Nam Yang Pugilistic
Association. Here he taught the Tiger-Crane Combination, Shuang
Yang Pei Ho, Tai Chor, Lohon and Monkey and Shaolin weapon arts as
well as Chi Kung and Lion Dance.
Master Ang was greatly respected throughout the Singapore martial
arts community. He was known as being strong willed, quick tempered
and an exceptionally good fighter. He disliked men who set
themselves up as Kung Fu masters without really knowing the art and
would challenge anyone who he suspected of being such an
When Mass Oyama, the founder of Kyokushinkai Karate, visited
Singapore he came to Nam Yang. Kyokushinkai Karate is famous as one
of Karate's hardest styles spawning many great bare knuckle
fighters. Karate styles also practise the Sun Chien form (often
called Sanchin in Okinawan styles like Goju Ryu). Oyama was
sufficiently impressed to offer him a karate black belt. Master Ang
refused, saying that he could only accept a grading from someone he
considered his senior.
Master Ang presided over Nam Yang for the rest of his life and
trained many students. He was still teaching keenly even in the
last few weeks of his life, trying to impart as much of his vast
knowledge as he could. He died in 1984 at the age of 60.
Master Ang had a great depth of understanding of Kung Fu. He was a
master of the 'touch' system and stressed the use of a straight
counter for a side attack and a side counter for a straight attack
- dash against wave and wave against dash. He maintained that to
every move there is a counter and to every counter there is a
counter, etc. He emphasised the importance of concentration and
awareness, having been beaten in his youth by an opponent who spat
in his face then hit him whilst he was distracted.
Despite knowing so many styles and several hundred patterns, Master
Ang stressed that this was not really important compared to the
depth of one's knowledge and the strength of one's basics. The key
to success is the mastery of the Sum Chien form.