Tit Kiu Saam’s bridge hands defeat enemies

Translation.

Amongst modern boxers, Tik Kiu Saam had the strongest bridge hands. He was one of the Ten Tigers of Gwondung. He was born a long time before the rise of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom(1). His nickname was Tik Kiu Saam. His family name was Leung and his real name “Ah Kwan”. As he was the third child in the family and his bridge hands were as hard as iron, Tik Kiu Saam became as his nickname. Not many people knew his real name was “Leung Ah Kwan”. Tik Kiu Saam was good at Hung Kuen, being a proud disciple of abbot Wai Jung from White Cloud Temple(2) at White Cloud Mountain(3). He was also good at Tit Sin Kuen, which he learnt from Wai Cheung. Especially his bridge hands were very hard and his arm strength was particularly strong, like it was inborn. It is said that once at the birthday celebration of Ten Thousand Buddhas, he stood on a stone platform, stretched out his arms in order to lift up four people. The feet of these four people were lifted in the air and they couldn’t do anything against his bridge hands. Assuming a person weighed at least a hundred catty, this indicates that his arms have the power for lifting a few hundred catty(4). Therefore, the people in the world of martial arts called him “Tik Kiu Saam”.
During his entire life, Tik Kiu Saam trained iron bridge very hard. His iron bridge was related to Hung Kuen. In Hung Kuen the waist and stance must be strong and the feet are rooted in the ground, so the bridge hands can be as hard as iron. This yields particularly good results in fighting. Furthermore, his unmovable stance “Thousand Catty Weight Sinking Skill” was also amazing. He could concentrate all his power on his legs. Standing like this, nobody could pull him away. Even with his legs tied with a rope and being pulled by 20 people, they still could not move him away. Tik Kiu Saam trained very hard in Tit Sin Kuen (Iron Thread Fist). Tit Sin Kuen has some internal strength characteristics and makes one very strong. Concentrating all body power to the hands is not easy. People who learnt Tit Sin Kuen, put iron rings on their arms in order to increase the pressure. This is not easy.
No matter how strong Tik Kiu Saam was, there is always one mountain higher than the others. Buddhist elder Wan Sing from the North managed to overwhelm Tik Kiu Saam with a trick. The story went like this: Elder Wan Sing travelled far from Chinghoi(5) to Gwongjau(6). He stayed in Ocean Temple(7). As Tik Kiu Saam was learning from monk Yun Gwong in this temple at this moment, monk Yun Gwong introduced Tik Kiu Saam to elder Wan Sing. Monk Yun Gwong wanted Tik Kiu Saam to address elder Wan Sing as sibaak (elder uncle) and asked Tik Kiu Saam to praise his martial arts skills as being invincible. Although Tik Kiu Saam didn’t dare to show any disrespect, his face showed his objection. Therefore, elder Wan Sing smiled and said, “Yuen Gwong sidai (younger brother), your apprentice is still young, do not say he has achievement in iron horse iron bridge and rooting. If you praise him too much, it will reduce his motivation and passion, and make him conceited and arrogant. This is not good.”
Tik Kiu Saam replied immediately, “Sibaak (older uncle), you have never seen my martial arts skills. Of course you don’t know my bridge hands are as hard as iron. How can you judge that I’m overpraised?”
Elder Wan Sing said, “Someone learning an unique skill shouldn’t be afraid of difficulties and hardship. It takes a very long time of hard training. You’re still young but your attitude is quite arrogant. Therefore, it can be seen that your bridge hands still can’t reach the stage of high perfection. If you fight with an expert, you’ll be defeated.”
Tik Kiu Saam was not convinced and said, “Sibaak! Please give me some instructions. If Sibaak can pull down my bridge hands, I’ll candidly admit defeat.”
Monk Yun Gwong said, ”Sihing (older brother), please give one to two instructions to my student. This can help him reduce his arrogant attitude. Let him know that there are also some people beyond him”.
Then Elder Wan Sing nodded his head as answer. Firstly, he wanted to check the arm power of Tik Kiu Saam. Tik Kiu Saam took a bow stance in the living room. He stretched out his right forearm and exerted all his power into his arm. As he had trained hard for a period of time already, his muscles were very firm. From his shape, one could tell that his bridge hands were very outstanding. It would be very difficult to get the arm down. However, Elder Wan Sing said, “Tik Kiu Saam exert your power! I’m going to use my own kungfu style to pull down your right arm.” Then Elder Wan Sing stepped closer to Tik Kiu Saam. He used his left hand to grasp the right wrist of Tik Kiu Saam and pushed it down gradually.

1 Actually, the original says “after the rise of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom”, but it should probably be “before”.
2 白雲寺 Baak Waan Temple / Baiyun Temple
3 白雲山 Baak Waan Temple / Baiyun Temple
4 A catty is Chinese unit of mass, being about 600 grams. Actually, the writer wrote 800 catty. For some reason he assumed the weight of 4 persons was 400 catty carried with 2 arms should be 2 x 400 catty. More likely, it should be 400/2 = 200 catty.
5 青海 Qinghai Province
6 廣州 Guangzhou Province
7 海幢寺 Hoi Tung Temple – Haizhuang Temple

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TO BE CONTINUED…

Translated (C): Van ‘t Slot-Lai, 2014.