Sil Lum Mountain

Quick Facts


Lai Tung Pai incorporates both long and short fist as well as internal and external techniques. More on this can be found here.

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Lai Tung Pai


Lai Tong Pai or Lai Tung Pai (Poon Kuen - Encircle or Coiling Fist Style being the old Shaolin name) Kung Fu is an art dating back to the beginning of the Ching Dynasty (1644-1911) in China. It later moved south from the Sil Lum (Shaolin) Temple in Hunan to the Kwantong Province where it acquired the name of Lai Tung Pai. Lai Tung which we think means "dig a hole or in a hole" and Pai which means "family". The style being named after the village that did so much for the Sil Lum monk of Poon Kuen. He honored the town by changing the name from Poon Kuen to Lai Tung Pai. Centuries later, the style was taught to Kong Ki and later by Kong Hoi in Hong Kong where it became available to the public. This art was eventually was passed on to us by our Grandmaster Kong Hoi of the Kong Hoi Kung Fu Association - Hong Kong through Sifu Li Chi Keung and now through Sifu Anthony Stephenson. For more on Lai Tung Pai history, please refer to the History page.


Lai Tung Pai is a Chinese martial art that anyone can learn: young or old. It is kung fu style known for incorporating internal power, as well as, external power. Lai Tung Pai also makes use of long, medium, and short range techniques. Lai Tung Pai overall is a traditional Sil Lum (Shaolin in Mandarin) martial art style that is efficient, direct, practical, and aggressive in fighting situations. Qualities that shed light on why Lai Tong Pai has had, combined, thousands of practitioners from its Hong Kong and USA kwoons since the turn of the 20th century.


Lai Tung Pai is a great and fun martial system to learn! Especially, if one of your goals is to learn martial arts for your personal self-defense. One reason for this is that Lai Tung Pai is a very scientific style, whereby, it concentrates on the physics of bodily motion. Lai Tung Pai uses Long Fist as well as Short Fist techniques. What makes it unique is the fact that it not only uses long fist/long stances and short fist/short stances but that it also uses long fist with short stances and short fist with long stances. Something else unique is that it emphasizes technique over force, allowing smaller or weaker practitioners to overcome opponents that may be larger or stronger than them self. Quickly noticed is that it is a close-quarters fighting style, ideal for use in confined or crowded spaces. It utilizes the one and three inch punches, (you may have heard about these because Bruce Lee, whose foundation was Wing Chun, made them both famous) Another fundamental principle of Lai Tung Pai is the centerline theory - which in its most primitive form states that the shortest distance between points, A and B, is a straight line. An equally vital principle is economy of motion and energy. Lai Tung Pai emphasizes that one should not waste either. The style's kicks are considered to be a northern style kick utilizing the foot as that of a knife's edge. Kicks are generally kept low, aiming below the waist to stop advances or trip up opponents while in keeping with one of the basic rules of thumb for fighting out on the street.


Luk Sao (Lai Tung Pai Sticky Hands) is also included in the style. Luk Sao, generically called Chi Sao, is unique to Lai Tung Pai and a few other styles like Wing Chun and Southern Mantis. Luk Sao is used to help the student learn to feel energy, become sensitive to their opponent's movements by feeling rather than seeing, and to increase their reflexes. It also gives them an environment to practice techniques learned in forms like Kuen Jong, Lai Tung Pai's basic form.


It may be good to note at this point, that Lai Tung Pai has sometimes been confused with and compared to Wing Chun, when seen demonstrated, due to its sometimes linear and center line focused nature. However, to the trained eye, one would see that there are subtle differences between the two and based on the fact there are a greater amount of forms, one can conclude that it is an older and broader style altogether. One would also see a practitioner incorporating circular footwork along with the linear footwork. Something that is different from Wing Chun. Lai Tung Pai possibly has a connection with the earliest days of Ng Mui at the Sil Lum Temple and, therefore, Wing Chun, but we currently cannot verify that through our own historical documents.


Below is a quick overview of the style touching on new points, as well as, previous points mentioned above: