Master Tan Kew Leong
师公陈九龙 1892 -1967
My Grand Master Tan Kew Leong (陈九龙 – Chen Jiu Long), was the second Master of Master Ang Lian Huat. Master Ang learnt the Tai Chor “Tai Zu” (Tiger) system and the famous “Song Jiang” traditional weapon from him. Originally from Taipei, Taiwan which was formerly known as Jin Men (金门). He was married into a Chiu family whereby his first daughter had to bear the surname of the Chiu. Subsequently he had a son, who bears his surname, Tan.
Grand Master Tan Kew Leong used to travel between Taipei (台北) and Zhang Zhou (漳州) and established a shop as a bone setter. Zhang Zhou is famous for the Shaolin “Tai Zu” style of martial art and also the Shaolin “Song Jiang” weapons which comes with the “Fighting Green lion”. He also has a family in Zhang Zhou. He has an adopted son Chen Huo Tuan who does bone setting as well.
(The above picture is of Master Tan Kew Leong demonstrating his Iron Shirt Skills, and was presented to Master Tan Soh Tin by Master Tan Kew Leong’s grandson in China)
The legendary General Song Jiang from the Heroes of the Marsh or Water Margin was famous for his war strategies and warfare formations. The formations use different weapons which can be single or double bladed, short or long. The formations are very much based on the eight trigram or “ba gua” which can be very directional. During the Chinese New Year the troupe will travel and perform in different villages together with weapons and lion dancing.
My Master Ang Lian Huat trained with Grand Master Tan Kew Leong and learnt from him most of the Shaolin weapons. Apart from all these he also learnt external Chinese Medicine. The Green Lion was being taught in temples and martial arts schools all over in Zhang Zhou as an anti Ching Dynasty and Manchu cause. During the Chinese New Year these troupe would travel out of their county to all the nearby districts to show off their fighting skills.
In an extract from a book about martial arts published in Zhang Zhou there was a mention of Grand Master:
“In the 40’s there was Master Chen Jiu Long who came from Taiwan to Fujian or Min Nan which is short for Fujien, where he passed through, finally settling in “Zhang Zhou”. Master Chen Jiu Long was a practitioner of the “Taizhu” fist and he learnt his skills from “Wu Da Chao” who was renowned for his martial skill. Master Chen was a Chinese doctor and herb seller by profession in Zhang Zhou and was also known by his nickname “Chen Jiu Long Hao Da Dao” (Chen Jiu Long Great Big Knife).
He once taught a student “Wu Pu”, “Chang Tai Zai Tu Gan” from Chou village. His disciple Ni Hong Fei was previously from Chang Tai city community Hospital and was a retired doctor. Master Chen left Zhang Zhou for Taiwan to visit relatives from which no news of him was ever heard. His wife Huang Xue passed away a year before this book was published.”
My Grand Master was a famous bone setter and medicine peddler. He established a shop in Zhang Zhou at Zheng, which still exists today. In 1949 in the midst of the civil war, Great Grand Master returned for Taipei and never set back to Zhang Zhou again. This Shop was famous in the 40’s because of a “big knife” straddled across the frontage of the shop, so much so that he was known as Da Dao Tan (大刀陈).
The above picture of, from left to right, Master Iain Armstrong, Master Tan Soh Tin and Dougal Simmons was taken outside Great Grand Master Tan Kiew Leong’s medicine shop in Zhang Zhou. The 1st 2 characters of his name, 九 龙, still remain on the door, and Master Tan Kew Leong’s second wife still lives there.
In 1967 during the Cultural Revolution, his shop was targeted, martial arts was banned. The Red Guard tore down, confiscated and destroyed everything in the shop. At the same time my Grand Master passed away at the age of 76. He left behind 2 sons in Zhang Zhou and 1 son and 1 daughter in Taiwan. None of them however practiced martial arts. His son in Zhang Zhou does some bone setting.
Above is a picture, from 2014 in Taiwan, at the Tomb of Great Grand Master Tan Kew Long, with from left to right Gerald Lim, Qui Kwang Sheng, Tai Chor Master, Master Tan Soh Tin, Wang Fu Shun, Master Tan Kiew Long’s grandson, and Andrew Lee.
Master Tan Soh TIn presenting Mr Wang Fu Shun, Master Tan Kiew Long’s grandson in Taiwan, with a picture of his grandfather, kept by Master Tan Kew Leong’s grandson in China