Stories of a Supernatural Lam
TV Interview Denied
Upon his return from Taiwan it was said that one of the major USA Television networks (perhaps a CBS affiliate) approached Lam Sifu to do an interview. The story goes that he was offered a substantial sum (30,000 USD) if he would appear on TV. His disciples say he brushed that off without interest as if it was just pocket change! He often was said to "chastise those who would prostitute his art".
Monkey was a Horse King
First generation disciples say Lam Sifu could have all his pockets stuffed with cash in the morning but return at night completely broke. His favorite pastime was horse racing and he always sat in the same seat at the race track. One day he put his newspaper down in his seat and went to buy a ticket. Upon returning there were three sailors sitting there and one in Lam's chair. He asked the sailor to get up and explained that was his lucky chair and he always sat there.
But, the sailors looked down on this little Chinese man and standing up in confrontation ordered him to leave! Lam is said to have used the 18 point technique of attacking with fingertips the bladder in a downward motion which caused one of the sailors to slump back in the chair and urinate on himself! He soon recovered and they let Lam Sifu have his seat back!
Poison Snake Staff
Once there was a Sifu of another southern style who barricaded the door of one of the Chinese Associations preventing Lam Sifu from entry. Using a large heavy wooden staff he challenged Lam Sang to try to get inside. Lam retrieved a staff and when that Sifu struck hard at Lam's head it is said that Lam used the poison snake staff with vibrating "ging" power and in only one defense and simultaneous counter strike caused the other Sifu to drop his staff and his palms were bleeding. Like holding a baseball bat tight and banging it against a telephone pole the reverberations are painful!
(Animation right- Elder Kwongsai Jook Lum Mantis Sifu - Yao Kam Fat aged 90 and still going! Hakka Chinese in Longgang District - Contemporary of Lam Sifu and Iron Uncle Chung).
Lam Sang is Hakka from Pingshan Town
Iron Uncle Chung Wu Xing was born in 1907 and never left Pingshan. He was about 97 when he passed a few years ago. He stated during the 1920s, Chung Yel Chong opened his first Kwongsai Mantis Tong in Pingshan Town, the Shang Mo Tong, Highest Martial Hall, and accepted students including Lam Sang and Wong Yook Gong. Uncle Chung said they all recreated together in the Pingshan opium dens back in those days. He also said that Lam Wing Fei (Lam Sang) had a brother named Lam Choy who later on opened a bookstore in Taiwan.
According to Iron Uncle Chung, Chung Yel Chong's family and Lam Sang's family, early on, resided on opposite sides of the street in the Ma Sai area of Pingshan. Today, the "Dai Wong Yea" area where all the "Lams" and "Chungs" resided, is a football field and the old houses are torn down. Iron Uncle Chung also said that he, Lam Sang and Chung Yel Chong often went to Quarry Bay in Hong Kong in the 30's where they smoked in the opium dens and recreated together.
Macau Jook Lum Temple
Lam Sang accompanied his teacher Chung Yel Chong to visit Lee Siem (second generation ancestor) on Lee's 80th birthday. It is said that Lee Siem celebrated his 80th birthday in the Macau Jook Lum Temple where he received Chung Yel Chong and his student Lam Wing Fei (Lam Sang). It seems that Lee Siem's given name when born in 1863 was Li Guan Qing, and his Buddhist names were Lee Siem Yuen (capable of grasping truth) and Lee Chan Shi (Buddhist Master). When I questioned those in attendance at this Temple circa 2002, I was asked to wait a moment with patience while a senior was rounded up. When I asked the senior about Som Dot and Lee Siem, he promptly stated that "Lee Siem is this Temple's patron Saint of Kungfu". There was a record of Lam and Chung visiting Lee Siem at the Macau Temple in 1943.
Two primary reasons exist as to why Lam Sang's teaching differs (in name) from the Kwongsai Mantis in China; first is that Lam Sang was very private to the point of secrecy and so not many today have seen or understand his original teaching and secondly it is said that Lam travelled with monk Lee Siem who taught him the separate skills he passed on in NYC. Some today say that Lam mixed his teaching with this or that or that he learned Chu Gar, that he was never a student of Chung Yel Chong and more - however, the first hand evidence of Lam still exists in China today as evidenced above by the extant 1943 records at the Macau Jook Lum Temple, the family of Chung Yel Chong and the China elders still living who knew and were friends of Lam.
Fireworks, No Urination, Sky Claw
In the late 1950's, when Lam Sifu was living together in one apartment with his first generation of 7 disciples, he had a hard time to get them off the bed before daybreak. Lam resorted to throwing firecrackers under their bed and the noise and smoke aroused them to head to the roof. As part of their kungfu training they had to reach the rooftop before daylight and face toward the rising sun. There could be no urination until the "chi - vital energy" had circulated enough that the morning erection had subsided. Then without blinking they had to stare into the morning sun until tears flowed freely. Only then could they wash their face in a big pan of water. (It is said one's qigong is not cultivated unless within nine respirations one's erection subsides). And the technique of staring into the sun is called "cultivating yang energy thru the eyes" or sometimes called "sky claw". Sun gazing is a popular method to unlock hidden powers in many cultures. Click these links to read about Sun Yoga or Sun Gazing training. And nocturnal emission / cultivating Yang thru the eyes http://www.chinamantis.com/tien-tao-qigong.htm
Lam Sang's Light Body Skill (Qing Gong)
Lam Sang Sifu was well known for his light body skills. Early on when Lam was living on Broom Street, he and three of his disciples that lived together had been to the horse track. Lam Sifu loved to bet on the horses. It was in the winter time and there was snow on the ground. One of the disciples who had won at the track that day bet his Sifu Lam $200 USD (a lot of money in those days) that he could not walk in the snow without leaving his shoe tracks!
He states that all four of them stopped and Lam Sang made a couple of movements (as if pulling up his lower dan tien) and then simply stepped again 6 or 7 steps - without leaving any sign of a track in the snow. The three disciples looked back where they came from and there were four sets of tracks - they looked forward to where Lam Sang was now standing and nothing - no tracks in the snow. They each tried going to where he was standing but the three disciples, try as they may, all left tracks in the snow.
I asked the disciple who lost the bet, Jesse Eng Sibok, is that really true? He swore several times that he saw it with his own eyes. They all saw it. And so, he paid the $200 USD to Lam Sang to his dismay and to Lam Sang's joy!
Letter from Wong Yook Gong
In 1963, Wong Yook Gong Sifu wrote a letter and mailed it to Lam Sang (addressed to Wong Bak Lim) in NYC. In the letter, Wong stated that one Mr. Lee had made trouble after studying with Chung Yel Chong a short time in Hong Kong and had left China perhaps to possibly arrive in NYC. Wong, addressing Lam Sang as "hing-dai", asked Lam to "close Lee down" should he attempt to open a school in NYC. Wong Included in the letter a small 2" x 2" photo of himself (the same used in the dedication page of our chinamantis site). There are some today who distort the facts and would demean Lam to enlarge themselves! This letter is retained today. Search and prove all things!
Lam Sifu Knows the Day of His Passing
The third generation disciples of Lam Sifu said that some days before he passed, he would don his Buddhist robes and return to his daily chanting. As his day approached he asked his disciple to prepare all things for his departure and he checked himself into the hospital and quietly passed away.
Those are first hand stories from first hand accounts of those who were with Lam Sifu. They are not hearsay or second hand stories. And there are several other stories yet to be written here.
Lam Sifu followed a life of "hsing-ming gong" a mixture of spiritual cultivation and physical development. Most over 60 in (and others out of) NYC Chinatown have stories of a reserved man of small stature able to perform supernormal feats of strength. Few are those masters of old today!
Anecdote: When I made Chu Gar Mantis ceremony to Chen Ching Hong (Eugene) circa 1989 in San Francisco he repeatedly said that he had heard Lam Sang in NYC was one of excellent and perhaps supernatural skills. As I think now perhaps it was Chen Sifu who repeated a story about Lam Sang in a Chinese restaurant kitchen reaching into a boiling wok of oil and slowly pulling out a silver dollar. At the time it wasn't sure if it was the silver protecting his hand and arm or a coat of some chemical oil or if he just was supernatural. He was well aware that I was a grandstudent of Lam Sang and we freely discussed the differences between Jook Lum Temple Mantis and Chu Gar Mantis...RDH
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