The Lost Shaolin Temple of Jimei



The Lost Shaolin Temple of Jimei(Nanping) - A Konigun Ninjutsu, International Martial Arts Academy, and International Conservation Society Exclusive 


       Over the course of the Chinese New Year, 2008, Konigun Ninjutsu China, in cooperation with the International Martial Arts Academy and International Conservation Society, have discovered the remains of a lost Shaolin Temple in Jimei, Fujian, China. The term “lost” with respect to a society or former settlement generally conjures images of archaeological digs, Atlantis, Troy, Hamunaptra, El Dorado, etc. In this case, however, much of the remains were hiding pretty much in plain site, some of them quite well preserved. What has been lost, in this case, is the knowledge and concern of this grand site’s origins and significance, rather than all of the buildings themselves.


       Rather than a buried ruin, this site more fits the bill of a reinhabited ghost town. This is evident from the fact that many of these buildings are now occupied, but with little knowledge or appreciation of their importance and historical/cultural value.


       The architecture was classic Minnan. There are countless such settlements throughout Southern Fujian. So, were they residences or temples? The answer is, both. Minnan society is deeply rooted in religion, and residences often double as temples, where Buddhist rituals mingled with the Confucian practice of ancestor worship liberally abound. Moreover, some of the buildings served as both domiciles where worship was carried out, while others were dedicated exclusively to community worship.


       Jimei, known now for its egregious contributions to Chinese education, and large student population, was indeed previously an edifice of an entirely different sort – a great fortress that housed one of the largest Shaolin monasteries of its day in fact.


        Though one wonders how something this seemingly obvious could go unnoticed for long, it is altogether reasonable that history in this case can go forgotten. Firstly, the Shaolin were a secret order, so did not keep records or broadcast their existence to the public. This became even truer when the Manchu of their day outlawed martial arts.


       Secondly, it is said that the winners of the wars are the ones who write the history books. Certainly knowledge of the Shaolin, if they ever were discovered, is not something that the Manchu or Qing dynasty would want to disclose. It was a can of worms much better swept under the rug.


       Finally, after the fall of the Ming dynasty, as well as after the burning of Shaolin temples on many occasions, many of the Shaolin monks fled China, seeking refuge and asylum in Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and elsewhere throughout the far reaches of Asia. This event afforded tremendous mutual influence between the Chinese and Japanese martial arts, as well as Asian marital arts as a whole.


In addition to all this, the Qing dynasty depopulated the entire coastal region in the area, as documented in Dr. Bill Brown’s Fujian Adventure. According to Dr. Brown 50,000 were also executed in Tong An. At the time of this event, what we now refer to as Jimei fell under the jurisdiction of Tong An (The appellation of  Jimei never came into being until the 1900’s with regards to this particular peninsular settlement).


Further weight to the fact that Jimei was once populated by Koxinga’s troops is lent by the following account:


From 1647 to 1649, Zheng Chenggong appeared and disappeared mysteriously with his naval warriors. No one could track his operations. He led his men to attack Tongan, Zhaoan and Chaoyang, Jieyang and Jieshi in Guangdong etc. As they were outnumbered or unable to sustain the fight or could not sustain their initial success, they could not expand their base.

At that time, Xiamen and Jinmen were controlled by Ming's generals, Zheng Cai (
郑彩) and his brother, Zheng Lian (郑联
). Both of them spent their time drinking and womanising. To make matters worse, their subordinates lacked discipline and everyone was a coward. All they knew was to steal the poultry from the villagers, capture the dogs, set fire and robbed the villagers. Cries of discontent could be heard everywhere. Life was tough for the people.

In August 1649, when the Qing army attacked Tongan, the defending warriors were running out of armaments and foodstuff. They kept calling out to Zheng Cai and Zheng Lian for help but the latter refused to lift a finger to help or release their soldiers. While they were not on guard, Zheng Cai and Zheng Lian killed Qian Shule (
钱肃乐), Xiong Rulin (熊汝霖
) and other Zheng's generals and took over their troops.

In August 1650, when Zheng Cai was away, Zheng Chenggong seized the opportunity to launch a surprise attack on Zheng Lian, so as to help the people get rid of the scourge. Zheng Lian was having a good time, drinking the night away at Wan Shi Yan. He was totally drunk. Zheng Chenggong grasped this moment and ordered his troops to land. They got rid of Zheng Lian's guards and laid an ambush on the island.

The next morning, while Zheng Lian was barely awake and still in his dreamland, he saw Zheng Chenggong marching in with his sword. He became so frightened that he knelt down immediately to beg for leniency. In a harsh tone, he reprimanded him for being heartless and for causing the deaths of the people. Thereafter, he ordered his men to execute Zheng Lian. He merged Zheng Lian's units with his own and later, accepted the surrender of Zheng Cai's soldiers. He then turned Jinmen and Xiamen as the anti-Qing base.

Zheng Chenggong grouped the men he recruited in Jinmen and Xiamen into more than 100 battalions, comprising the trusted troops, army and navy. He also supervised the construction of battleships and weaponry. He then ordered Feng Chengshi (
) to set up military drilling grounds in Xiamen and a military-display pavilion in Ao Zai where he inspected the training of the various troops.

       The presence of more than 100 batallions certainly would not preclude Jimei having been one of the places they occupied. This is especially likely in light of the fact that Chenggong’s forces and the Qing army had attacked each other in “Tong’an”. To reiterate, Jimei at that time fell under Tong’an’s jurisdiction.


The areas between in the areas between Shandang Lu, Jicen Lu, unjian Lu and the campus of Jimei middle school (formerly Jimei University) were what we initially explored, which showcase part of the remains remains of a vast Shaolin Temple, of which literally hundreds of superstructures still remain. The geographical layout of the buildings is strong evidence of interrelation. Further exploration revealed that this monstrous complex stretches all the way to the east end of the town, bordering the superhighway or town bypass, as well as on the northwest side of the town, west of the town bypass and north of Jimei University’s main campus.


Though many of the buildings throughout this complex have fallen into a state of extreme disrepair, their overall shape and structure distinguishes them as either temple structures or palaces/mansions. Five important points substantiate that they were the former rather than the latter.


       Firstly, the religious symbols adorning the buildings are far more likely to appear in temples than in palaces or mansions, though some palaces and mansions did indeed bear such religious ornamentation. The prevalence of this in all the buildings, however, would suggest that the compound in which they existed was religious in nature (as well as military and political). The democratization of the Shaolin arts in the time of the Ming rebellion also changed the nature of what had previously defined a Shaolin temple. Once exclusive and isolated retreats, the need for such compounds for a large portion of the population resisting Ching and Manchurian oppression became increasingly widespread.


       Secondly, the buildings are all located in close proximity to one another. How often do royalty or nobility coexist on a cramped lot with others of their status? Usually such individuals place their palaces and mansions on vast tracts of isolated land far away from others of their kind.


       Thirdly, many of the structures, though long abandoned by their original occupants, still sport features of temples, such as ancestral halls, open chambers rather than dwelling quarters, places where the religious statues were originally placed, etc. One of the main factors distinguishing many of these buildings as temple structures is the fact that they are “double buildings” with twin peaked roofs and a much thinner neck adjoining the inner portions of the lower parts of the roofs. These roofs are generally horned, rising slightly on the ends and dipping slightly in the middle.


       Many of these buildings are also interspersed with a vast abundance of relatively high stone foundations, many of which have been re-roofed with modern buildings. These suggest the erstwhile presence of the fort what was known to have existed aforetime in Jimei. The relative proximity of these structures to the fort gate and cannon on display on Jimei middle school’s campus sustain this probability.


       Fourthly, the proximity and related orientation to other structures that have been sufficiently preserved as temples indicates that the other adjacent and nearby buildings were probably related to these. How often did rulers or the aristocracy dwell within a temple compound? (with the obvious exception of when they were Ming royalty that were also Shaolin warriors leading the rebellion against the Qing Dynasty [or Ching Dynasty, as it is also known]).


       Finally, the abundant presence of what were obviously dormitories for the monks adjacent to many of these structures would seem to indicate that these were indeed part of a great temple compound. After all, it would be ludicrous for wealthy and important people to live beside their holdings in monastic conditions.


       That these temples were Shaolin is established by the nature of the ornamentation in many of the temple structures. In contrast to the pacifistic symbolism in conventional Buddhist temple decorations, the Shaolin temples include depictions of a more bellicose nature. Examples of this at the temple in Jimei include warriors in Kung Fu poses, armed mounts wielding weapons, and birds (sometimes with mounted warriors) whose position obviously indicate dive-bombing their prey. These birds strongly link to the Shaolin White Crane (Yong Chu, predecessor to Wing Chun) philosophy of emulating this formidable fowl’s aggressive nature in combat. It also includes the presence of weapons within the Temple structures.  It seems as if the architecture and artifacts are actually fashioned into a hidden instruction manual whereby the masters can teach the secret art.


       There are also reliefs of actual cranes engaged in combat on some of the structures. This further corroborates the link between these temple structures and the Fujian White Crane Shaolin Arts. Which, in turn, confirms that this was indeed a safe haven for the Red Flower Society and Shaolin Ming rebels in the 17th century.


       Another strong substantiation that this complex was indeed Shaolin was the widely documented presence of Koxinga (Zheng Chonggeng, 1624-1662) on Jimei island. Koxinga bitterly opposed and valiantly resisted the Manchus, and there is little dispute that he was allied and trained with the Shaolin Monks, who aided him in  resisting the Manchurians and the Qing Dynasty.


       Some historians speculate that Koxinga was, himself, a Shaolin Monk. While this remains far from incontrovertibly proven, it is certainly well within the realm of possibility given the nature of his relationship with the monks. He was recognized to have always traveled and fought in their company, surrounding himself with them virtually wherever he went. History is replete with references to his superlative prowess in the martial arts, as well as his Samurai heritage, which firmly bolster this possibility. This also suggests that the Southern Shaolin martial arts and Konigun Ninjutsu were of mutual influence on each other, with Koinga, who traelled back and forth between Fujian and Hirado when Konigun Ninjutsu was in its heyday in Hirado, acting as the chief conduit of this mutual influence. This is documented as follows:


Zheng Sen who grew up as a patriot was extremely concerned about the survival of the country and the suffering of the people. He vowed to be a learned warrior to bring the country back to its glory. Therefore, he took his studies seriously and trained hard in martial arts. He specialised in navigational strategy. . .


Zheng Sen was known to all for his hardworking nature. The moment his elder Wang Guanguang saw him, he said to Zheng Zhilong, "your Son is indeed well-versed in his learning and martial arts, even you can't hold a candle to him." When the learned in Nanjing saw him, they were impressed and were certain that he would bring great benefit to all.


       Zheng Chenggong’s relationship to the Shaolin Monks is also documented by the following passage:


Zheng Chenggong gathered his friends of common interest, Chen Hui (阵辉), Zheng Jin (张进), Shi Lang (施琅), Shi Xian (施显), Chen Ba (陈霸), Hong Xu (洪旭) and other anti-Qing warriors, totalling about 90 people. Together, they went on board two battleships to Nan Ao Island. They raised the banner of righteousness and shouted slogans of "Opposing the traitor father and eliminating the Qing aggressors" and "Overthrowing Qing and restoring Ming".


       Of primary analytical significance are the names Shi Lang and Shi ian. Shi is an honorific title reserved exclusively for Chinese Buddhist monks. Thus his friends involved in the revolution so named would have had to have been Shaolin Monks (what other kind of warior monk was there in that place and time?) 


       Koinga was his day’s leader of the Red Flower Society, a secret order which covertly propagated the teaching of martial arts and freedom from Manchurian oppression. The symbols at the top of the side walls of many of the structures we have visited suggest allusion to this secret order, and are similar, as is the architecture of these buildings in general, to the buildings in other settlements Koinga established in Taiwan, where he later brought Shaolin Monks to help him liberate Taiwan from the Dutch.


       We found a vast abundance of red flowers adorning all the restored Shaolin temple structures on Jimei, as well as many designs which may have represented red flowers on the end walls of many of the unrestored structures, just below the roofs. It is interesting to observe that amongst the flowers on the restored temple structure red is the overwhelmingly predominant color. That flowers of other colors exist may be to impart plausible deniability. That way, a Ming loyalist could have seen the red flowers, along with the other relevant symbolism and imagery, and recognize this as a refuge among friends. At the same time, if questioned by the Qings, they could simply say “See, there are many colors of flowers, not only red. Sorry, we have no idea what you’re talking about.”


       Concerning the Red Flower Society, the representatives of Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen (HFYWCK) proclaim:


Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen (HFYWCK) is the official label given to the martial science we study.  As a martial science it is over 330 years old and has a history that dates back to the Southern Shaolin Temple.  The emblem on our uniforms literally translates as Red Flower Righteousness Praising Spring Fist.  This emblem represents a bold visual statement of reality and history.  It is accurately symbolic of our martial science in that it is real, spontaneous, and complete. It’s “Real”, in the sense that it remains consistent, has substance, and has stood the test of time. It’s “Spontaneous”, because to the knowing eye it immediately tells its story. Finally, it’s complete by having a symbol at the beginning that denotes the paradox of the human social condition, and ends with a symbol that is identified with the harmony of all living things.  A study or “reading” of the HFYWCK statement should result in a paradigm shift that will bring enlightenment to the reader and give him a knowing eye.


Let us now “read” the HFYWCK statement one symbol at a time.  The first symbol is located at its top and resembles a swastika facing in a counter-clockwise direction.  It symbolizes there are many paradoxes in the human social condition. For example, it is considered a mortal sin to kill one’s neighbor in a time of peace, but one is permitted and even expected to kill one’s enemy in a time of war.


The second symbol is the Plum Flower, which since ancient times has been revered by warriors because of its beauty and toughness.  It only grows in the high mountains of Asia and will bloom even in the coldest winter yielding its beautiful red blossoms.  The Plum Flower is a symbol of enlightenment and connects the HFYWCK to its Shaolin history and to its roots in the secret societies.  Its story begins with its color “RED”; going back historically to the first Ming Dynasty Emperor of China. He was a Shaolin monk who rose in the defense of his people to lead them in the battles that drove the Mongols out of China.  He lead a group of rebels called the “Red Turbans”, his name translates to “red”, he wore a red bandana in battle, and the final battle was won during a beautiful red sunset that is described in many subsequent poems and literary works  The six pedals of the plum flower, emblazoned in gold with the Cantonese characters of HFYWCK, collectively represent the six gates of attack and defense.  Individually the characters have their own story. Hung Fa, or Red Flower came from the Hung Fa Wui, a Shaolin secret society counterpart to the Hung Mun revolutionary society.  Yi, or righteousness, emphasizes the practitioner’s strict adherence to the highest moral standards in conduct and battle in the fight for his country’s honor and the preservation of his Han heritage.  Wing Chun, originally written in Cantonese as “Everlasting Spring” to reflect the revolutionary’s desire that the Ming Dynasty would last forever, was changed to read “Praising Spring” by the addition of one character after the fall of the Southern Shaolin Temple.  It denotes that the revolution against the Qing Dynasty would be carried on by word of mouth, thus “Praising” in lieu of “Everlasting”. Kuen means fist and is the indicator that the system is designed for hand-to-hand combat.


In the center of the Plum Flower is the third symbol, a Gold Star, it represents that the originators of the system supported the Ming Dynasty using gold, which is the Royal color. The five points of the star represent the five line concept and the five stages of combat. The significant meaning of the star points themselves is their equality of importance and focus, yet randomness in selection, as are the martial applications of the five stages of combat.


Beneath the Plum Flower is the fourth symbol, a pair of Butterfly Swords.  Knives are implements of war and symbolize the battle tested readiness of the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen fighting system.


The fifth and final symbol is the most important. The Tai Gik, also called the Tai Chi, Taiji, or Yin Yang, is the universally identified symbol used to represent the harmony of all things.  This subtlety states that the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen practitioner does not fight with his opponent, but harmonizes with him in order to find the truth of the situation. A conflict to a Shaolin Monk was not a fight to the death but the realization that his opponent was out of harmony with life and to regain the harmony a life had to be taken.  After the conflict the Shaolin Monk would then return to his life of peace and harmony.


       It is interesting to compare this final paragraph, in the context of the color red, to the Konigun Ninjutsu’s philosophy as a red sect of the martial arts. Also interesting to note the six gates of attack and defense, from which the five auras of attack and defense in Konigun Ninjutsu evolved. These concepts were in all probability introduced to the Konigun Ninjutsu by Koxinga and his men who were in the Nagasaki area. It is highly conceivable, given Koxinga’s history of aiding in worthy rebellions, that he assisted the Konigun Ryu in fighting persecution by the local powers that be as well.


       Benny Meng, a direct descendent of the Ming Shaolin rebels and curator of the Ving Tsun museum, further expounds upon the colorful history of the Red Flower society as follows:


 From Shaolin To Wing Chun

by Benny Meng and Matthew Kwan

Ever since Wing Chun was introduced to the general public by Yip Man and was then later popularized by the international fame of Bruce Lee, Wing Chun has been spread around the world. Much of the history of Wing Chun is shrouded in myths of legendary characters that emerged some time after the burning of the Southern Shaolin temple in Southern China. One of the prime missions of the Ving Tsun Museum is to ferret out the myths and help the Wing Chun community as a whole find its historical roots. The process of determining history requires that we listen to many legends and cross-check them with all available documentation. The knowledge gained from this process is then widely shared through professional publications so that other scholars may dig even deeper until maximum accuracy is achieved.

This article is about another courageous Wing Chun family that has stepped forth to share its history and legends with the Ving Tsun Museum so that additional research and verification can be done by the scholars. The historical occurrences alleged represent radical departures from today's commonly accepted legends. At best, they may lead to the real root of Wing Chun. At worst, they will generate a flurry of academic digging. Either result can only be beneficial to today's practitioners of this amazingly scientific art form.

For many generations of Wing Chun practitioners, fabled stories of a young woman named Yim Wing Chun have grown to take the mantle of being called the "origins" of Wing Chun without knowing that there were other histories that were passed down through other Wing Chun lineages. One lineage that was concealed throughout the decades due to the political climate of China was the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen history. It's history, traditions, and teachings were passed down verbally from generation to generation of family members until recently brought to the public by Master Garrett Gee (Chu King-Hung). Master Gee states his only purpose in stepping forward at this time is to preserve the knowledge of our patriotic ancestry and to commemorate the valiant practitioners who fought and died for their country against the Ching Dynasty and later against foreign powers. He is adamant that he is not interested in political controversy, but welcomes historical research into the following facts as his lineage believes them to be.

According to Hung Fa Yi Kuen traditions, the history of Wing Chun begins in the Shaolin temple with the culmination of hundreds of years of martial arts experience. The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) saw a blossoming of Shaolin martial arts as never before. Almost all the residents of Shaolin took up Wushu and a powerful detachment of several hundred warrior-monks was organized. The Ming government treasured the warrior-monks, sending them on expeditions to border areas. After the Manchurians conquered China, the remnants of the Ming family encouraged export of the secret knowledge of Shaolin fighting arts to rebel troops to defend the Han nation and to try to restore the Ming regime. This time period was known as the Ching Dynasty.

The conquest of China by the Manchu in the 17th century and harsh actions created distrust among the people towards the Ching government. The Manchu, excellent warriors in their own right, kept the Ming dissidents under control, imposing on all the badge of subservience, the "queue" which symbolized for them a horse's tail. Animosity and discontentment towards the Manchurians became more visible. Many boxers joined various secret societies hoping to return the Ming to power. Formation of underground movements were the precursory events that brought Wing Chun and many other Chinese martial art styles in existence. Thousands from the north retreated southward to both southern China and Taiwan, disseminating their martial arts skills as they went. Although unsuccessful in their aims, the boxers seeking a return of the Ming did achieve a result. They spread the Shaolin boxing doctrines to all corners of China.

The Hung Fa Yi Kuen ancestors claim there were two significant people who set the stage for Wing Chun and many other Chinese martial art styles to flourish. The first significant person was a Buddhist monk from Northern Shaolin temple, his name was Chiu Yuen. In Hung Fa Yi lore, he played the leading role in keeping the underground Anti-Manchurian activities alive. Unknown to the Manchurians, Chiu Yuen's real identity was Chu Ming, one of the last surviving descendants of the Ming Dynasty Royal Chu family. It was his Anti-Manchurian activities, as well as his family ties to the old regime, that led to the eventual burning of the Shaolin temples by the Manchurian Soldiers.

The second person was known as Da Jung. Originally he was a Ming military officer from Northern China that was forced to flee south. Later he became a monk at the Southern Shaolin temple in Fukien. Da Jung's real name is unknown, but in the history of Chinese martial arts he is considered "Joi Si" or First Leader because he was the first person to extend Chinese Kung Fu to Southern Shaolin. Until his arrival, Southern Shaolin was not known for its martial arts. He organized what was called the Buddhist Hung Moon organization. This was a secret society formed in the Shaolin to overthrow the Ching Dynasty. The Buddhist Hung Moon was the first Buddhist political organization that was loyal to the Ming regime. This event is known in Hung Fa Yi Kuen as a milestone in Chinese Kung Fu because not only did he bring martial arts to Southern Shaolin (according to their lore), but he also bridged the gap between Northern Shaolin and Southern Shaolin.

Also during this time, Cheng Sing Kung, one of the last surviving Ming generals, fled to the island of Formosa taking it over from the Dutch in 1662. It was then that he established the revolutionary society Tien Dei Wui {Heaven and Earth society} which was the counterpart of the Hung Fa Wui {Red Flower Society} on the mainland. The Hung Fa Wui was an underground Anti-Manchurian society based in Shaolin. In Shaolin, the Hung Fa Wui had a special gathering place called the Hung Fa Ting {Red Flower Court}. This was a great meeting hall where Ming loyalists gathered and discussed political strategies to overthrow the Manchurians and the fall of the Ching Dynasty.


       Note that in the above passage Koxinga is referred to by another of his names, Cheng Sing Kung. Meng contiunues:


Early in the 1700's, during the reign of Emperor K'ang Hsi (1662-1723), the Manchurians became concerned about the Shaolin Temple's rebellious activities as well as their advanced fighting abilities and continued development of their martial arts system. Under the decision to eliminate the threat of these rebels and their rebel leaders, the Manchurians sought to exterminate the Shaolin monks to prevent them from spreading their martial arts skills and rebellious activities. Eventually the Southern Shaolin Temple was burned and destroyed.

The Shaolin Temple was not only a repository of martial arts knowledge and rigorous training academy but, as important, a stimulus for other marital art styles. Many of the systems today were born out of Shaolin roots. Prior to the destruction of the Shaolin Temples, a comprehensive and high level martial art system was developed which was formulated through multiple generations of Shaolin knowledge and experience. The Hung Fa Yi Kuen lineage believes the ultimate goal was to create a new system which could be used to defeat the classical styles. In pursuit of that goal, the elders shared their most advanced principles and strategies and work began on the new style. This martial art system latter became known as Wing Chun, named after the Wing Chun Tong {Everlasting Spring Hall} in the Shaolin Temple. As with all high level Shaolin knowledge, this new art was conducted under secrecy, a "Silent Code". In order to hide the new revolutionary fighting art's identity and origin, a fictional person named Yim Wing Chun and story were created to cover up the original nature of the art.

After the destruction of the Shaolin Temple and its Wing Chun Tong, the character of Wing used for this new art was changed from "Wing" meaning "always, perpetual, or everlasting" to "Wing" meaning "to recite, sing, praise, or chant." Chan Buddhism is based on oral communication to pass on its teachings. The character "Chun" meaning "spring, a time of new growth", stayed the same. The Han nation was seen by many as the spring of Chinese culture. By changing the characters, the Ming loyalists were reminded to pass on the tradition and secrets orally while working to rebuild the Ming government. The Chinese word "Yim" means "to prohibit or secret". By adding Yim to Wing Chun, the meaning was "to be discrete, secret, and pass on the revolutionary art orally". To insure that the art was not abused or to fall into the wrong hands, it was never documented.

During that time it was strictly forbidden to teach or reveal the art to anyone that didn't belong to the secret societies or were non-Han. Because of this reason, Wing Chun took on a mysterious persona. Many years later, a famous novel writer wrote a martial art fiction titled 10,000 Year Ching. In the novel, it talks about Ng Mui, Chee Sim, Hung Hei Goon, and Fung Sai Yuk. Many fairy tales and stories about Hung Kuen and Wing Chun were based on this novel. With each telling of the story from the novel, embellishments and exaggerations were added until the story reached the level of a fairy tale. Due to the nature of secret societies, these fictional stories and legends came to be the accepted truth as to the creation of Wing Chun.

After the destruction of Shaolin Temple, the connection between the Hung Fa Wui (Red Flower Society) and the Tien Dei Wui (Heaven and Earth Society) was opened up to the ordinary people in the involvement of overthrowing the Ching Dynasty. Their famous battle cry was, "Overthrow the Ching and Restore the Ming". New secret societies emerged after the Hung Fu Ting was destroyed. The three major secret societies that surfaced and gained public attention were the Triads {Three Harmonies}, the Gua Lo Wui {Brotherhood}, and the Dai Doe Wui {Big Sword Society}.

Of those who survived the Manchurian massacres, two Shaolin disciples escaped and were able to keep the Wing Chun system alive. The senior, a monk, was the twenty-second generation Shaolin Grandmaster, Yat Chum Dai Si. The other, his disciple, was named Cheung Ng.

Not much is known about the history of Yat Chum Dai Si besides the knowledge that he was originally a high level monk from Northern Shaolin which later migrated to Southern Shaolin to join the efforts to help restore the Ming Dynasty. Cheung Ng, unsurpassed in literature, military skills, and dramatic opera, was originally a native of Hanbuck in Northern China. It was said that he had come from a family of generations of military men serving the Ming regime until the Manchurians killed his family. Seeking refuge and fleeing persecution, Cheung Ng fled to Northern Shaolin to become a monk. After spending some time in Northern Shaolin, he heard of the gatherings in Southern Shaolin in a place called the Hung Fa Ting and that their purpose was to restore the Ming regime. He then left Northern Shaolin to join the rebels in Southern Shaolin where he met the Shaolin Grandmaster Yat Chum Dai Si. It was there that he began his studies of the art that was to become Wing Chun. Before the Grandmaster's death, Grandmaster Yat Chun Dai Si passed on his high level Wing Chun knowledge to Cheung Ng.

After the destruction of the Southern Shaolin Temple, Cheung Ng fled to Guangdong province. In order to keep his identity and Shaolin background from the Manchurian government, Cheung Ng founded the Red Boat Opera Troupe in Futsan. Known for its discipline and rules of conduct, the Red Boat Opera Troupe was an organization of talented stage performers who traveled in up and down the rivers of Southern China in red boats. This time period around the mid-to-late-1700s was known as the Red Boat Period.

During his travels with the Red Boat Opera Troupe, Cheung Ng soon became known as "Tan Sao Ng" from the Opera Troupe because of his skillful usage of the dispersing hand maneuver while he demonstrated his marital arts mastery to subdue opponents during challenges. ("Tan Sao" means "dispersing hand".)

Although the Hung Fa Wui (Red Flower Society) was destroyed, Tan Sao Ng continued his mission to unite the people against the Manchurians to overthrow the Ching Dynasty. He established the Hung Fa Wui Goon troop {Red Flower Union} in memory of the Hung Fa Wui (Red Flower Society) and the Hung Fa Ting which was destroyed at Shaolin Temple. The Hung Fa Wui Goon outwardly appeared as a traveling opera troop, but was actually a collection of secret society members that organized underground activities throughout China. Tan Sao Ng was very selective before he allowed any initiates to become a member. The initiates must prove themselves to be loyal and trust-worthy then after they must take 36 oaths and the 21 moral codes as well as the Secret Society Ritual of drawing blood.

The Hung Fa Wui Goon troop members had the perfect disguise. As an Opera troop performer, Hung Fa Wui Goon members were able to travel from place to place unquestioned by the authorities. By day, they would perform operas and by night, they would gather with local underground organizations to coordinate antigovernment activities. These were very dangerous and turbulent times for anyone connected to Shaolin or any underground society. If discovered as a member of any underground movement, the Manchurians would immediately execute him so keeping anonymity was very important.

Only select members of the Hung Fa Wui Goon troop were taught by Tan Sao Ng which were the first generation disciples of Wing Chun from the opera. Of those select students, few disciples were significant in the contribution to Wing Chun's history: Hung Gun Biu {Red Bandanna Biu}, Wong Wah Bo, Leung Yee Tei, and Dai Fa Min Kam {Painted Face Kam}. It is at this time that the art of Wing Chun continued to evolve, change, and adapt for several reasons. First of all, not all the disciples of Cheung Ng were members of the secret society. Due to the length of time spent with Cheung Ng and his need to keep the style hidden, not all his disciples shared the same experiences. Second, the Opera was a melting pot of both Northern and Southern Shaolin providing the performers access to a wide range of ideas, techniques, and training methods. This led some disciples to change and adapt according to their environment on the Red Boats and the influence of different martial art systems all present during that time.


Eventually the Manchurians suspected the Red Boat Opera Junks for supporting Anti-Manchurian activities. They began hunting for Anti-Manchurian collaborators. For Tan Sao Ng, it became very clear that it was time to change his identity once more and retreat into the security of the Secret Society underground.

Wong Wah Bo and Leung Yee Tai continued performing and were openly known for their Wing Chun skills. Dai Fa Min Kam left the opera troop some time later to teach Wing Chun privately. Hung Gun Biu, having been a distant relative of Tan Sao Ng, retreated with Tan Sao Ng into the underground. Hung Gun Biu continued being active in the Anti-Manchurian affairs as well as receiving the full knowledge of Wing Chun by Tan Sao Ng taught to him to its entirety and in full confidence. Hung Gun Biu's lineage followed a tradition to pass down the complete system only to family members who took a traditional ceremonial Shaolin vow of secrecy.

This lineage became known as Hung Suen {Red Boat} Wing Chun to the public, but it was referred to as Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun to the secret society of the past. The name "Hung Fa Yi" was used in reverence, as was the name the "Hung Fa Wui Goon" chosen by Tan Sao Ng, to remind the Wing Chun descendants of the direct connection from the Hung Fa Ting and the Hung Fa Wui than was established in Southern Shaolin.

A generation later, many of the Hung Gun Biu's Secret Society descendants banded together in secret to fight for their country against the eight foreign countries that had slowly exploited China during the 1800's and early 1900's. They were the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, British, Japanese, Russian, Germans, and the Americans. Many of Hung Gun Biu's descendants fought and died with dignity for their country during the Boxer Rebellion.

Hung Gun Biu's lineage continued during the early 1800's through his relative Cheung Gung, who passed on his knowledge and experience to his great nephew, Wang Ting. Wang Ting taught his son, Dr. Wang Ming of Saiquan, China. Dr. Wang Ming taught the entire system with its original concepts to only four disciples. One of these disciples was Garrett Gee. Sifu Gee comes from a family of great martial artist reaching back to the Song Dynasty. At the age of 5, Sifu Gee started his martial art training under the tutelage of his father. While attaining mastery of the various styles in his Kung Fu family lineage, Garrett Gee demonstrated an affinity and flair for swordmanship. He is an accomplished practitioner and instructor of traditional Kung Fu weapons styles. At age 13, Sifu Gee impressed Dr. Wang as they became acquainted while training daily in a park. Sifu Gee became the last of Dr. Wang's four disciples who received full training in Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen. Sifu Gee has been teaching since his move to the US in 1975. Traditionally, Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen has been taught primarily from father to son and, until instruction of Garrett Gee by Dr. Ming Wang, was never taught outside the family. In order to preserve his art and to honor his Kung Fu lineage, Sifu Gee has decided to pass on his knowledge to students who have a dedicated interest in this Wing Chun style. This is the first time that Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen has been taught outside of China.


The Ving Tsun Museum would like to thank Sifu Gee for bravely sharing his family lore with the Wing Chun world so that academic work on the roots of Wing Chun can continue. He has done so with the hope that other Wing Chun families will share their lore as well. Combined, we should be able to give enough information to the scholars of today to piece together the real history of our roots and lay many legends to rest.

For further information about Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen, please contact Master Garrett Gee at 140 Los Banos Ave, Daly City, CA 94014, (650) 755-1394 or the Ving Tsun Museum at 5715 Brandt Pk., Dayton, OH 45424, (937) 236-6485.

Benny Meng, a Disciple of Moy Yat from the Yip Man lineage, is the current Ving Tsun Museum Curator. Matthew Kwan is a martial artist based in the San Francisco area. Both are studying Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen under Sifu Gee.


       The connection of Wing Chung and the Jimei’s lost temple is well established. Wing Chung is the Cantonese dialect for the fighting style, but the local, Fujianese refer to it as Yong Chun. Yong Chun is also the name of the village in Quanhou county where this style developed. It is also referred to as Fujian White Crane Kung Fu. The prevalence of white cranes amongst the restored temple structures in Jimei is thus no coincidence.


       Meng, along with colleague Alfredo Delbrocco, further elaborates on the history of Wing Chung and the rebellions relevant to the great compound in Jimei as follows:


          The Secret History of Wing Chun: The Truth Revealed

(also appeared as "Wing Chun Controversy: Is this the truth about Wing Chun's History")

By Benny Meng and Alfredo Delbrocco

"The first casualty when war comes is truth."
-- Hiram Johnson 

Although the world itself has not gotten smaller, life in the Information Technology Age (via the media of email and Internet) has made contact and communication with people around the globe easier. Consequently, it is now harder for information and research to be constrained or concealed, or for only one perspective to be put forward. Most importantly, it means that certain myths will not be perpetuated. Information pointing to the historical origins of Wing Chun kung fu is one of them.

Put simply, the harsh truth is this: the myth of the Buddhist nun, Ng Mui and her disciple Yim Wing Chun, the supposed founders of the Wing Chun system, is just that - a myth. As the internet has brought information more readily to us, it has come to light that the story of Ng Mui and Yim Wing Chun was merely a way to conceal the truth about the system's origins and the identities of the political rebels who truly developed it.

After almost 400 years, mounting evidence is pointing to the truth of Wing Chun's creation and evolution. The question is: is the kung fu world ready for it?

There is no doubt that the information about to be disclosed will ruffle feathers to say the least. This is mainly because many Wing Chun instructors throughout the world are naively, and through no fault of their own, imparting a romanticized, fantastical history of the Wing Chun system. They are telling and retelling a story that is little more than a fairytale.

A view of the traditional legends with an eye on history reads as an even more fascinating point of view. And no less deserving of the term `legendary'...

Secrets in the Shadows of Shaolin

As near as history can testify, Wing Chun was developed around 400 years ago in a time of civil unrest. Between 1644 to 1911, the Manchurians ruled China, where 10% of the population (the Manchus) ruled over 90% of the population (the Hons). To maintain control over the Hons, the Manchus ruled with an iron fist. Aggression and oppression were the cornerstones of the Dynasty and the Hons were banned from using weapons or training in the martial arts. Thus, in order to overthrow their oppressors, rebel activity was instigated by martial arts masters in hiding.

Rebel activity developed rapidly in the Buddhist monasteries, which were largely left alone by the Manchus out of respect for the Buddhist culture and religion. These Shaolin/Siu Lam sanctuaries were ideal places for renegades to conceal themselves - they simply shaved their heads and donned the monastic robes of the disciples of the temple. During the day, the rebels would earn their keep by doing chores around the temple. At night, they would gather to formulate their plans to overthrow the Manchus.

There are some that maintain that Shaolin/Siu Lam sanctuaries possessed no political leanings. They further emphasize that the Buddhist teachings of these monasteries would have prevented their support for rebels and secret societies. Such a position is emotional at best with no grounding in historical fact. Religious leaders throughout history, in both the Western as well as the Eastern world, have influenced politics and government since the beginning of time. Churches have forever harbored political victims sought by authorities believed to be oppressive. In the case China, serious precedent for such behavior on the part of the monasteries had already been set 400 years earlier. As verified by Ving Tsun Museum research, Jyu Yuhn Jeung, the man who led the Chinese revolt against the Mongol and established the Ming Dynasty was himself a Buddhist monk.

Upon meeting, the revolutionaries identified themselves to each other with a secret hand-signal that would come to be the formal greeting or courtesy of Wing Chun. In fact, the traditional greeting or courtesy common to many of today's kung fu styles has two meanings. The first meaning recognizes the style's Shaolin origins - the left hand symbolizing the union of the Green Dragon (the left hand) and the White Tiger (the right hand), the fighting animals of the Shaolin monks.

In the Hung Fa Yi (Red Flower Righteous) Lineage of Wing Chun, however, the hands are reversed: the left hand forms a fist and the right hand is open palm. It still retains its significance to Shaolin but it also refers to the secret society. In this context, the fist represents Yat (the Sun) and the palm represents Yuet (the Moon). Combined, these two characters mean "Bright" which reads and sounds like "Ming." This is the name of the previous Dynasty - the one overthrown by the Manchurians who formed the "Ching" Dynasty in its place. Hence, during the time of rebellion, when a Wing Chun practitioner or secret society member saluted with a fist and open palm pushed toward you, they were saying "Return the Ming, overturn the Ching." Obviously, this was not a sentiment shared by the Manchus.

Late in the 1600's, the Manchurians became concerned about the Siu Lam Temples' rebellious activities and their continual development of the fighting arts. Therefore, they sent spies (many of them Manchu military leaders) to infiltrate the rebels and learn the traditional Southern fist systems as taught secretly in the Temples. The rebel kung-fu masters, realizing this, clandestinely developed a new system that was two-fold in purpose: firstly, it had to be learned quickly and efficiently, and secondly, it had to be devastatingly effective against the existing fighting systems that the Manchus were learning and teaching to their soldiers. Thus, Wing Chun was born.

Their spy rings compromised, the Manchus decided to eliminate the threat of spreading rebel activity by simply exterminating the Siu Lam monks. Eventually, the Southern Siu Lam Temple was burned and destroyed.

Extensive research conducted by the Ving Tsun Museum points to a generation of inheritors following the Southern temple's burning. Among them was a gentleman named Cheung Ng (referred to as Tan Sao Ng in other texts). Of this generation of inheritors, Cheung Ng is one to date that has proven to have historically existed. After establishing the Beautiful Flower Society Association (the precursor to the Red Opera and the public name for the Red Flower Society) and providing Wing Chun training to the secret societies, Cheung Ng went into hiding, disappearing from the public eye to escape Qing Dynasty persecution.

He was hidden by distant relatives, a Fuk Gin business family named Chahn. The Chahn Sih Sai Ga (Chan family) were well established and wealthy. Through indirect action they were willing to help Cheung Ng. Staying with the family for over a decade, Cheung Ng taught the family the art of Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun. It was preserved by the family for four generations before it was taught to outsiders. The direct members of the Chahn family were never directly involved with the secret societies themselves, resulting in a low profile in Praise Spring Boxing history. The last generation of the Chahn family to learn the art was a distant nephew, a high level secret society leader, Huhng Gan Biu. In Qing archives as well as historical research into Chinese secret societies, a person by the name of Chahn Biu was recorded as the leader of the Heaven and Earth Society. He was caught and executed by the Qing authorities. Due to similar names appearing in difference sources at around the same timeframe, there is much debate as to whether the Opera's Biu and the Heaven and Earth Society's Biu were the same person. According to members of the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun clan, Huhng Gan Biu was the 4th generation leader of the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun clan and his Wing Chun descendants have preserved the system through to the 8th generation Master Garrett Gee and his 9th generation students in today's modern era.

It was at the fourth generation that history and truth parted ways and the myth of Wing Chun's origins was created.

The Myth of Ng Mui and The Truth About Yim Wing Chun To protect the identities of the creators and the perpetuators of the Wing Chun system, a smokescreen was thrown up in the form of a story - the story of Ng Mui and Yim Wing Chun.

The legend was told that among the survivors of the Shaolin/Siu Lam massacres was a Buddhist nun named Ng Mui. Ng Mui was believed to have been the sole custodian of a streamlined, highly practical and effective martial arts developed within the temples. In turn, Ng Mui is said to have passed her knowledge onto her chosen disciple, a young girl named Yim Wing Chun. As Yim Wing Chun taught the system to others, it became known as Wing Chun. The story spread and today many versions of it exist around the world.

However, there are three important considerations to make when regarding the story of Ng Mui. Firstly, outside of the legend, there is no other evidence that Ng Mui - in her capacity as a kung-fu grandmaster or founder of a kung-fu system actually existed - no records, no historical documents - nothing. Secondly, it would have been forbidden for a nun to live in, let alone train within, a celibate monastic environment like the Siu Lam /Shaolin Temples. Thirdly, and perhaps the most important, after escaping from a life and death situation as a revolutionary, it does not make sense that Ng Mui would teach an advanced level fighting system to a local girl with romantic problems and no connection to the revolution. At that time in Chinese history, the Qing dynasty had devised a special form of punishment for traitors and rebels. After being made to confess his or her crimes, the guilty party was executed. Afterwards, Qing officials would hunt down members of the guilty party's family down to nine generations and execute them as traitors as well. Teaching Yim Wing Chun a martial arts would directly put her life at risk.

With regards to the Yim Wing Chun element of the legend, consider once more the relevance of secret rebel societies. `Yim' can be translated to mean `prohibit' or `secret.' The term `Wing Chun' referred to a geographic location - the Siu Lam Wing Chun Tong (Always Spring Hall), where the rebels perhaps practiced martial arts and orchestrated their seditious activities. The use of the term Spring symbolized the rebirth of the Ming Dynasty and Always referred to the reestablished dynasty lasting forever. After the destruction of the Southern Shaolin temple and its Wing Chun Tong, the survivors changed the character of Wing from Always to Praise. The term Praise referred to the fact that the revolutionaries had to spread the word about the revolution after the destruction of their base. Thus, `Yim Wing Chun' was actually a codename, meaning (protect) the secret art of the Wing Chun Hall.

If we now know that the destruction of the Siu Lam/Shaolin Temples occurred but that the story of Ng Mui was a diversion, the question remains: who were the real custodians of the Wing Chun system?

Enter the Hung Suen

We do know that many (not the legendary five) monks and rebel leaders escaped the Manchurian massacres and that, to aid the secrecy of the system, historical material was passed directly from teacher to student. Thus, the elders told of two Siu Lam monks/rebels who survived the temple raids and were able to keep their Wing Chun system alive. One of these was a monk, a 22nd generation Siu Lam Grandmaster, Yat Chum Dai Si from the Northern Shaolin temple. The other was a rebel training under him in the Southern Temple, named Cheung Ng. Fleeing the Manchurian persecutors, Cheung Ng founded the Kihng Fa Wui Gun (Beautiful Flower Society), the roots of the (in)famous Hung Suen (Red Boat) Opera Troupe.

Historically, we know that rebel activity flourished in the Red Boat Opera Troupe. The Red Boats allowed talented stage performers, accomplished in kung-fu and gymnastics, to form their own secret societies to overthrow the Manchu Dynasty. The Troupes provided the ideal sanctuary for fleeing rebels as the performers wore elaborate costumes and stage make-up, providing excellent but natural/plausible disguises for them. Additionally, the performers adopted and were known by their `stage-names', further cloaking their secret identities.

When Cheung Ng founded the Opera Troupe he became known as Tan Sao Ng - not only a stage-name but also a sly nod to his skillful deployment of the Wing Chun deflection/striking technique, Tan Sao.

An important fact to note is that so suspicious of the Manchus and their spies were these secret societies, that the true identities of the leaders, members and real nature of their activities were known only to an inner-circle within the society. Thus, genuine knowledge of kung-fu was passed only from a master to select, trusted disciples, thus protecting the purity and origins of the system.

In conclusion With the development of many different lineages of Wing Chun over the centuries (over 10 are known to date), Wing Chun could simply be seen as a generic name for a style with so many lineages - no different to `karate' being a generic term to describe the various Japanese arts - varying and similar. However, this article has focused on shedding light on the origins of Wing Chun. Indeed, to chart the development of the various lineages would require an entire book more complete than anything currently written. A complete historical and political analysis of Wing Chun's origins and development is currently being compiled in book form by the Ving Tsun Museum and should be available through major publication sources within the next twelve months.

A hypothesis that Cheung Ng was indeed the inheritor of the art from Southern Temple and the guiding force behind its employment as a complete combat training system for rebels certainly has more historical weight behind it than the legend of a young girl. It represents a much more plausible explanation of Wing Chun's roots considering the completeness of the art in terms of total combat effectiveness. It also gels with the historical background of the times preceding the Red Boat Opera travels. However, as with all historical study, one hypothesis can give great impetus to further in depth study giving rise to even more revelations. In short, more study grounded in the proper structure and atmosphere of true historical research will get us even closer to reality. Hats off to the Ving Tsun Museum staff and researchers for moving our search into the realm of scientific investigation and giving us another starting point for serious research!

Myths are often created to simplify something or to disguise the true nature of the subject to make it more palatable to the mind. Consequently, sometimes people want to believe the myths despite scientific or historical evidence to the contrary. A fiction can be more comforting than the truth; a fairytale easier to grasp than a treatise. The legend of Ng Mui and Yim Wing Chun is a great story. It just isn't true.

In light of being told one story for centuries, it will be difficult for some to accept the truth in minutes, hours or even months. But studying the martial arts (and Wing Chun in particular) is a continual quest for truth - personal truth, social truth, spiritual truth and - yes - historical truth.

I trust you have enjoyed your enlightenment on the true origins of Wing Chun. 

An internationally published author, Sifu Benny Meng is the founder and Curator of the Ving Tsun Museum in Dayton, OH, USA. A practitioner of Wing Chun for over 15 years, Sifu Meng has come into contact with most of the major families in Wing Chun. More information is available on the Ving Tsun Museum at  or by mail at 5715 Brandt Pike, Dayton, OH 45424, phone/fax (937) 236-6485.

Sifu Alfredo Del-Brocco has been training in Wing Chun for over 15 years, firstly under the guidance of Grand Master William Cheung, then under Master Rick Spain. Today he teaches around 350 active students in his Brisbane Kwoon. Sifu Alfredo was also the recipient of the 1998 Australasian Blitz Kung Fu Instructor of the Year Award. Sifu Alfredo can be contacted at  or by phone / fax : (07) 3229 8694




       The only relic of Koxinga on Jimei that is widely publicized are the fort gate and cannon listed in many tourist guidebooks and websites. It stands to reason, however, that a warrior would not equip a fort with only one cannon, and that there were probably many through out the island during Koinga’s occupancy. It also stands to reason that, given heng Chonggeng’s usual companionship with the Shaolin Warrior Monks, that this great fort also doubled as a monastery.


       Tan Kah Kee chose to build what is now Jimei Middle School on the site of this cannon. This was symbolic, as he believed that revolution like that of Koxinga could be established through education. It may also be inferred that he chose Jimei itself as the location for its symbolic value as the site of a prominent conduit of Koxinga’s revolution.


       Jimei Middle School itself appears to be built from the great main structure of the fortress beside the cannon. The tall, pagoda-like structures are exactly like those we have seen in temples formerly used in the Ming Rebellion throughout the Fujian province. (Locations to be disclosed in future volumes) Facing the temple, in the left tower, is a drum. On the right is a large bell with a dragon either beside it or painted into the architecture. The drum, on the left like the tiger, also pounds out the call to battle, the right side representing physical combat. The bell peals out the call to prayer, its right-hand location, as well as the accompanying dragon, signifying the spiritual. The high location allows the watchstander to alert the entire fortress/monastery in the event of an invasion. These features were doubtless sanitized from the watchtowers on Jimei Middle School during the cultural revolution, however. 


       It is also possible that, given their location, many of Mr. Tan’s buildings were restorations of the original architecture, slightly redesigned for more secular purposes. This seems particularly possible with the temple-like structures in his memorial park at the southeastern extremity of the island, the school buildings at the southwestern end of the island near iamen bridge, and with his ancestral home, as well as the large temple structures in the center of town.


       Mr. Tan’s ancestral home is, at the very least, a tribute to this style of architecture, replicating it perfectly. What makes it seem likely that his great home was actually a restoration of an existing temple building is the fact that there is, very nearby to the north, an unrestored version of a very similar temple structure almost exactly perpendicular to the Tan Kah Kee residence.


       If these buildings are indeed restorations of originals, however, they have been exceedingly well sanitized. All the architecture representing religion and/or rebellion has been replaced by bland, secular designs, with no hint of the former messages, instructions, etc.


       It can be inferred from Jimei’s proximity to Jinmen island, which is part of Taiwan, that this Nanping temple/fort was used to access Taiwan, for the purpose of having a place to rally troops to resist the Manchurian and Qing forces, as well as to oust the Dutch from Formosa Island. It is quite possible, especially given the fact that some historians believe Jimei’s old name was Quemoy,  that Jimei was at that time part of Jinmen island’s jurisdiction, which then bore the same name, and therefore part of Taiwan.


       Our observations have determined that there are remaining Shaolin Temple structures near both the eastern and western shores of the island, with many important Shaolin structures still remaining intact throughout the town.


       It is also interesting to note that on Taiwan’s main isle of Formosa is a village also established by Koinga bearing the similar name of Anping, and also bearing almost identical architecture to that found in Jimei’s old temple buildings.


       Beside the main road of the eastern shore of the Island, Xunjiang Lu, East of Jicen Lu, are several important structures. The main structure to the east is an unassuming double building constructed in architecture contemporary to Koxinga, sporting a horned roof and a small “square” in front of it. Affixed to the south side of this building is a squat, square-shaped stone tower of sorts which may have served some kind of military purpose.


       Just south of this structure is a medium-high stone building that bears similar architecture. This seems to have probably been part of the fortress. It is presently a small hospital. The red flower around the cross on this and most other Chinese hospitals seems like a coincidence, but it might not be (though we concede that it came long after the red flowers that pervade the historic architecture here).


       It quite possibly, however, dates back to legendary hero Wong Fei Hung, immortalized by Jet Li in the Once Upon a Time in China series. He has also been frequently portrayed in a more humorous light by Jackie Chan. Wong Fei Hung studied and practically perfected the Hung Gar and thus, while being a physician rather than a monk, was associated with the Shaolin, as well as the Cantonese anti-Qing counterpart to the Red Flower Society. He revolutionized Chinese health care in his day, and was also a champion for helping the poor stand up to the wealthy and powerful, even though he wanted for nothing. Wong Fei Hung was also an Anti Ching rebel in his day, so it is probably no coincidence that the red flower of the Chinese hospital symbol evolved from this. Note how the statue of the bust of Wong Fei Hung above is both surrounded by red flowers and making the Red Flower Society salute with the hands reversed from the typical Chinese saluting position.


       Between this building and Jicen Lu is a small shrine with an antiquated stove for the ritual burning of sacred paper. Within this shrine are several statuettes. In addition to those upon the alter are many statuettes that seem to not really be in use, but are just scattered on the floor near the shrine entrance. The most obviously Shaolin of these has a red face, and is assuming an unmistakable kung fu stance.


       Between the shrine and Jicen Lu is a building that appears to be a great Manor. There is a great possibility that it was once Koxinga’s home. What distinguishes it as a Shaolin structure and sets it apart from other mansions is the sculpture of a warrior brandishing a weapon in a kung fu stance in the center of the verandah’s ceiling. Though the building was renovated in 1932 (making it likely that Tan Ka Kee may have once dwelt there), the evidence of the shaolin architecture, as well as the presence of an old Buddhist stove outside, as well as its proximity to the other temple structures substantiates that it was probably once part of the temple complex/fortress. 


       On the north side of Jicen Lu, near the intersection of Xunjiang Lu, there is a mighty banyan tree with a restaurant, far and away the tree’s junior, built reverently around the venerable giant. The trunk of the tree and it’s stone planter actually protrude into the restaurant. Given the importance of such banyan trees in Buddhist temple courtyards (symbolic of, among other things, wisdom, age, and long life); this is, in all probability, why this tree was put there.


There is a similar such tree on the main road that crudely bisects the town from North to South. The trees excruciatingly asymmetrical position in the road indicates that the road was built around it, rather than the tree being built to aesthetically beautify the road. Many of the local drivers, however, believe that it was built centuries ago, in infinite wisdom and foresight, simply for them to display their churlish ignorance behind the wheel by parking against it and disrupting the flow of traffic.


       Another similar banyan tree is enclosed within a wall slightly to the northeast. It is enclosed by a well-locked fence and therefore impossible to view if any of the stones surrounding the base of its trunk are still in place.


       Slightly southwest of the banyan tree near the east coast, and due north of the manor, is a small pond. At the southwestern edge of the pond on the east side of Jicen Lu is another building that lends evidence to the probability that this pond was once a sacred carp pond, as seen from the piscine adornments on the green banisters of the building.


       At the southwest edge of the pond is one more temple structure with architecture similar to those aforementioned. It has the typical horned roof that rises on the ends and dips in the middle.


On the southern end of the pond are two temple structures that appear to have been restored. On these temples are reliefs of warriors wielding weapons and assuming martial arts stances, as well as cranes in fighting postures. They are also adorned by the ubiquitous red flowers.


       Across the street from these structures, beside the pond, are what appear to have once been dormitories for the monks, now occupied by humble civilians.  


       On the southernmost end of Xunjiang Lu is another antique shrine, with more statuettes inside. Many of these also bear distinctive Shaolin traits, such as the wielding of weapons and assuming combat stances.  


       To the east of these structures we have found some remains of what we believe was the southern wall of this great compound. Only a very small piece of it remains. It is attached to the retaining wall of the construction area for the new museum that is being built along the eastern shore. We really look forward to the opening of the museum and hope it will shed new light on this interesting village’s forgotten past


       As part of the expedition, and as a training exercise, we infiltrated the perimeter of the construction area during the night watch, using the Chinese new year’s fireworks as a diversion. We were mostly rewarded with a wet, muddy walk. We did, however, find one old well dug just west of the eastern breakwater, very close to turtle garden. Why such a well would be dug so close the shore is anybody’s guess, but there it was larger than life.


       Just west of this small shrine is an old naval building. Whether that building belonged to Koinga’s great navy or is more modern is still being investigated, though the probability is quite likely in the midst of all other supporting evidence.


       Along Xunjiang Lu, between the two shrines, are also what appear to be many old monk’s dormitories that have “evolved” into duck and chicken coops. Surely the monks are turning over in their graves protesting this fowl play.


       Just to the southwest of the restored temple structures fronting the pond’s southern edge, are two more restored temple structures that are almost identical. The reliefs and architecture are almost exactly the same. Again, the ever-present red flowers are also there in abundance.


       Slightly south of these are more, older temple structures. In front of one of these are some old wells that are similar to those documented to have been made in Koxinga’s settlements in Taiwan. Nearby these structures is another old Banyan tree surrounded by stone ruins that also appears to have once been part of a great courtyard. At present, however, the mesa into which this property elevates appears to be a soy bean garden.


       There are several more temple structures of “Koxingan” architecture surrounding the main, restored Shaolin temple structure near the center of “old town” Jimei. Just to the northwest and southwest of the main, central temple structure are also two nearly identical “twin” structures. One of these actually has banners adorned with monks in Shaolin Kung Fu stances draped in front of it.


       The temple structure in the center of the old town square is acknowledged by the Elderly locals to be Shaolin, though they seem oblivious to the significance of this. The grounds are at present completely devoid of any martial arts activity, and are, in fact, filled with retired gents lounging around watching daytime television and playing Chinese checkers.


       The locals have informed us that the proceeds to restore this structure were raised in Singapore. The Shaolin architecture, however, is distinctly Fujian.


       There are birds, both mounted and unmounted, dive-bombing their quarry, as well as reliefs and eave carvings of monks in stances wielding staves, spears, swords, etc. There is even one spear-brandishing monk in front of a lion dragon.


       Due west of the main temple structure is the traditional market. The temple has indeed become a “house of merchandise” with the hustle and bustle of daily activity paying scant notice to the wonder of a bygone era.


       This indifference is one important piece of evidence in gauging the authenticity of the restoration. Were the locals capitalizing on tourist revenues as a result of the temple’s presence one might question the legitimacy of the refurbishments. Given the local state of apathy and indifference toward this great cultural relic, however, there is little doubt that the restorations are genuine, made with no ulterior motives. There has been absolutely no effort whatsoever made to attract any tourists at all to this compound.


       The red flowers, though still present here, are not as abundant as those at the other restored structures. The reason for this may be because it was restored in a higher profile area and is the most frequented of any of the restored temple structures. It is noted that the appearance of red flowers here often was often beside another associated symbol, such as a white crane.


       On just to the north of the market flanking the central restored temple structure is a rounded building that may or may not have been part of the original architecture before being converted to brick. A red star with the year 1958 engraved at the top of the building’s front proudly attests to the social revolution’s presence here. Was the red star influenced by the red flower? Red color, five points rather petals, symbolic of revolution and “liberation”? Who knows?


       West northwest of the main restored central temple structure is another great banyan tree. This one is encircled by stones and surrounded by granite benches and, though now vacated, was certainly once a point of great congregation. It definitely has a great, old town square feel to it.


       Just north of the banyan tree with the stone benches is what appears to have been a communal dwelling complex. Several floors of rooms surround a central courtyard.


       To the northwest are many structures of a similar nature to the other non-restored temple structures. To continue to give a play-by play of each one individually would only prove redundant and tedious.


       The westernmost area of the compound overlooks the superhighway and the western shore of the island. It is restored with architecture and reliefs very similar to the main temple building in the center of “old town” that has been restored.


       East of these, between the Naval Academy and the main road are a few more temple structures. Nothing of additional note about them; they are similar to most of the temple structures described.


       There are several more temple structures in this western area that have not been restored yet. One of these provides the only unrestored evidence of Shaolin kung fu sculptures on the temple buildings. Though it has already been established that no ulterior motives were behind the restoration of any buildings, it further galvanizes the claim to note that the sculptures of Shaolin style personages adorned an unrestored building within the complex as well.


       Just east of the westernmost structures lies a gate that appears to have been a significant structure in the temple compound.  Just through the gate less than 100 meters is a shrine and stove similar to those at the southernmost extremity. This shrine also houses a red figurine of a monk assuming a combative posture.


Northeast of this gate, and on the main road east of the Western restored temple structure, about half a block down, is another, very small restored temple structure, obscured by a row of shops and located behind a gate. There are many Shaolin references here, as well as red flowers on the eaves. This building still retains its original architecture. Behind the small restored temple is a small cluster of unrestored buildings.


South of these, just north of the main road and east of the naval or maritime academy, are a few more unrestored temple buildings establishing continuity amongst all these structures.


       Further south, east, west of the main road, and just north of, lies a garden that was probably once a great central garden within the temple complex. This garden includes many stone paths, whose continuity is incongruous with the disruption of the paved road that has been lain in the midst of the garden. This garden was obviously not recently built as a public facility as it is locked and not open to the public. Within the walls of this great garden are a mid-sied old stone building, centrally located. The east side of this garden now has become an apartment complex. The luxurious impression of the gardens within this estate seems inconsistent with the slummish appearance of the apartment buildings.


       It is entirely conceivable that the area from the garden described above, east to Shandan Lu,  and north to the KFC area or beyond were all once one great courtyard. This is evidenced by the garden, the banyan tree in the middle of the main road, and several other great banyan trees that exist in asymmetrical isolation in various locations.


       One of these is at the track for the Jimei high school. There is one great banyan tree that appears to have been built around, with no semblance of symmetry or order whatsoever.


       The same is true of the extension of Jimei university within the center of town, on which is located the hotel. Beside the track on this campus are 2 fairly large banyan trees, placed seemingly without any rhyme or reason relative to the athletic facilities, which, once again appear to have been built around them.


       There is also another huge banyan tree very close to the one in the middle of the main road. There is another one just after turning on the net road to the north going west.


       There are also several gazebos with classic Chinese style roofs whose placement seems random as some of them line the canal running north from the dragonboat pool. and  others line one end of the nearby campus bordering the north side of Jicen Lu.


       Further east on Jicen Lu is another auxiliary Jimei University campus. Within this is a small water garden of a similar structure to other water gardens on Jimei. In front of it are two white cranes. Whether this is intended as a symbol of the Shaolin rebellion or the great egret population in Xiamen remains undetermined.


       Just southwest of this garden are two tall, imposing, temple-like structures. There is a third to the northeast of this, just east of Jicen Lu and at the top of the hill, inside the auxiliary campus of Jimei University. Whether these were restored from original architecture or not was, at first, uncertain so we went to work to substantiate it. Given their similarity to the large, neglected temple structure to the northeast and Tan Ka Kee’s seeming propensity to restore the temple structures on the island it is a distinct possibility. The temple worked into the west end of the auxiliary campus also is neither symmetrically positioned nor has a mirror image on the east side of the campus (even though the other constructions are virtually identical) further supporting the probability that the temple was a previously existing structure into which the remaining architecture was simply adapted. These temple style buildings also line up perfectly with the gazebos which, though on several different properties, line up perfectly with one another as well.


       The only possible way to have even a chance of finding out for sure if they had really once really been Shaolin temples was to get up on the roof. So we just strolled nonchalantly & unchallenged onto the campus. Sometimes the best way into somewhere is to pretend like you’re supposed to be there. There was a large courtyard with an athletic complex to the east of the temple structure. To the west, directly behind the building, was a great banyan tree, who appeared to have been there much longer than the campus ever had been. This made us all the more confident that this had once been the real deal. But we still needed more evidence.


       From the front the great temple structure truly looked imposing & palatial. As luck would have it there was a flight of stairs going right up to the school roof, just under the eaves of the great roof. Lo and behold, amongst the eaves, we found a whole plethora of evidence that had somehow miraculously survived both the Qing housecleaning and the Cultural Revolution.


 One of the most unique and interesting things we found in the eaves were carvings of elephants, tusks bellicosely brandished, with, yuppers, red flowers above the elephants. Whether this elephant is symbolic of something else or whether it represents a lost animal fighting style is uncertain. We have, however, found elephants in almost perfect likeness to these in temples of Shaolin heritage throughout Fujian, including one temple in Shi Shi that has a life-sied image of heng Chenggong to whom the locals pray.


       Also in the eaves we found the traditional dragon lions that are so prevalent throughout the Chinese culture and martial arts community. We found, as well, plenty of red flowers, though a great many of them were quite faded.


       On the west side, below the temple structure is an arched gate, below and to the west of which is a palatial garden. The entire area is atop a surrounding of high stone walls, and there is a raised stone foundation around what is now the athletic complex. Was this place once the fabled red flower court?


       We found carvings of many Shaolin monks assuming various stances with various weapons. We also found a blue Shaolin monkey in a fighting stance, almost certainly alluding to the monkey style kung fu. Many of the images sculpted onto the eaves have become faded, so their precise nature is not always 100% discernible. It is evident, however, that many of them are in distinct kung-fu stances, with many of them accompanied by red flowers. Many of them are also accompanied by birds dive-bombing in probable allusion to the white crane arts that later became known as Wing Chun.


       We also found amongst the eaves unpainted carvings on fine wood. The predominant structure carved on these was an entire woodwork bouquet of flowers similar to the red ones. Some of these flowers were encased in carved scroll motifs, indicating the association of the flowers with the lost and forbidden knowledge here discussed and imparted.


       There were also round plaques, primarily in the shape of deer and cranes. We are still researching the significance of the deer. It is possible that the presence of three round plaques together may in some way symbolize the three treasures of the Shaolin. We have also found reliefs of deer in temples that bear evidence of Shaolin heritage throughout the Lion City of Shi Shi.


       Our search on the rooves of the middle and high school campuses that had been built into temle structures proved largely anticlimatic, as did our search of Tan Kah Kee park. Most of the architecture had sadly been sanitized during the cultural revolution due to its prominent location.


        In the eaves of the high school, however, we found a large number of red flowers. We also found an engraved stone behind the highschool whose faded condition suggested it had nothing to do with the educational activities of the campus. The courtyard also contained two great banyan trees.


       Leaving no stone unturned we actually found another stone beside the banyan tree near the high school's track which still bears faded engravings of cranes.  



       Helping build a case for continuity between these structures and the remodeled temple structures that make up the university buildings at the foot of the iamen bridge, fronting the dragonboat pool, is another restored Shaolin temple structure. This is located to the west of the smaller lake adjoining the dragonboat pool and to the south east of the main naval academy campus. This is linked by other unrestored temple structures to the temple structures immediately southeast of the main naval academy campus. This structure bears a very strong Confucianist flavor, seeming to have been influenced by Koxinga’s predilections.


       This building does not have as many sculptures of Shaolin warriors as its counterparts, but does have battle scene mosaics emblazoned on its walls in black and white. The red flowers are present, but not in the numbers of its counterparts. Buddhist features include the presence of large shaolin Buddha statues on the innermost alter. These statues bear a unique Shaolin touch, however. The Buddhas are coronated with golden crowns topped with red flowers, seeming to broadcast the cryptic edict to restore the Ming to power, which sentiment is also echoed by their yellow robes.


       There are also reliefs on the side walls of a tiger and dragon. Consistent with Shaolin/Red Flower Society tradition the tiger is on the left and the dragon is on the right.


       The dragon boat pool in Jimei, noted for its colorful dragon boat races during the dragon boat festival, was built in the 1950’s by Tan Kah Kee. It sits on the southern edge of Jimei, just southwest of Jimei middle school. The way it and the gazebos and pavilions flanking it and in the middle of it connect the entire eastern row of temple like structures suggests a strong possibility that all of these may have been restored from previous temple structures in the same location.




       The placement of all of these objects seems completely desultory and out of place in the context of the entities in which they are presently encased. If seen from the vantage of all being part of one great whole, however, their placement is indeed very orderly and nearly symmetrical, similar to any classic Chinese temple courtyard.


Toward the west, just east of the town bypass, is another main structure of the temple. There is a very significant cluster of buildings in this area, interspersed with the rubble of more that have been demolished and with apartment buildings as well.


       Adorning the temple’s walls are kung fu reliefs and other examples of kung fu architecture similar to those found at the central structure near the traditional market. This one seems to still be used for more serious worship than the central structure, however.


       This structure also sports a long staff hanging in the eastern rafters, though we are uncertain whether anybody currently in regular attendance there is aware of its function or how to use it.


       At eastern edge of this cluster lies one of the original main temple structures, still marvelously intact though unrestored. The owner of this building was kind enough to invite us in to photograph the interior. What we found was absolutely amazing.


       The owner’s grandson, a student at Xiamen University, spoke decent English and was so kind as to interpret for his grandmother. The entire family was blissfully unaware of the significance of their dwelling. They were extremely nice, however, allowing themselves and their home to be photographed. We thank them from the bottoms of our hearts for their kindness and generosity.


       The painting on the back wall of their building shows a monk in a shadow stance carrying a staff on his back, as well as another monk warrior in a modified master’s stance, with a sword carried in his sash.(Explaining the practice of carrying weapons in the sash in the Japanese arts as well.)  


       There was also a staff stowed behind the wall, the end sticking up ready for use. The family was also unaware of the use and purpose of this.


       There were also carvings on the front of warrior monks in sashes assuming combative stances. Though broken, these are adequately similar to the other depictions of warrior monks in the restored buildings to substantiate that they are, indeed Shaolin relics.


       There was, as well, gold-colored rafter work. This strongly links this unrestored temple to the Shaolin, who staunchly supported the noble heritage of the Ming Dynasty. There is also a faded red dragon painted into one of the central ceiling beams.


       This building is particularly important because it provides evidence of Shaolin architecture and artifacts even in an unrestored state. As we left with the son we told him how special this building is, and what a shame it was that it was being destroyed for the building of high-rises. He told replied that the people need places to live. We agreed with him, but implored him to remember to protect his culture and heritage in the process. We fervently hope he will do this.


       In front of these buildings, running along the Jimei town bypass, is a wall. This wall runs separate from the wall around the naval academy nearby. There are no educational facilities anywhere near this cluster of buildings, so it can be reasonably deduced that these walls exist as part of the temple complex itself, and are competely unaffiliated with any Jimei school village structures.


       It can be deduced from the fact that this wall is several hundred meters from the beach that is was designed to keep out invaders rather than the tide. It can also be reasonably surmised from the height and sheer angle of the walls that they were built to repel invaders rather than stop erosion (though given the penurious nature of many local mainlanders who will spend an hour fighting over 1 RMB, it is very likely that the prospect of the miliquay decline in property value caused by the runoff of one speck of dust would send property owners into fits of psychotic, obsessive compulsive anxiety).


We followed what appears to have been the wall of this temple and fortress to a point just west of the main Jimei bus stop across the freeway from Jimei University. It appeared that the original stone suddenly was cut off, joined by a different kind of stone construction, to accommodate the slope of the road going down to the freeway. As the extrapolation of this wall is intercepted by the town bypass it is a valid inference that the original wall has simply been gobbled up by this super-highway, if not destroyed long beforehand.


       Southeast of this compound is another collection of old temple buildings that link to those southeast of the main naval academy campus. One of these has been restored and also sports several figurines of warrior monks, war scene mosaics, and the usual abundance of red flowers.


       “What cobblest thou, sir?” This tawdry Shakespearean pun may indeed have more tasteful relevance when applied to the cobblestone streets of Jimei. Many of these cobblestone areas were probably built for the great fort and temple in Jimei, but now remain because it is more economical to use or pave over them than build new roads.


       Much of the area between the central and western structures has been demolished either to make way for the Jimei school village buildings or had been demolished prior to that time. Due to the fact that Fujian was culled by the Qing dynasty, the Japanese and the cultural revolution it is difficult to determine precisely what was destroyed at what time.


       In the areas where the development has completely obliterated the former structures of the Shaolin temple and fortress there are still many piles of rubble, whose materials match the buildings that are still standing. This lends further support to the premise that the complex once stood in these areas as well.


       At the northernmost extreme of the evidence that we could heretofore find was an old, abandoned temple compound and graveyard. The main structure, large and imposing, faces east, with a pagoda to the southeast and a gazebo behind it. This structure is similar in style to those in the central area along Jicen Lu.There are also the remains of what was once a garden lake which, due to neglect, has succumbed to ecological succession and is now a depressed field (we also find this depressing). There was also, behind the temple, a huge ancestral graveyard.


       Around the temple area high-rises are being built on all sides. We truly hope that this magnificent remnant of lost history will survive this con(de)struction project.

       The temple compound was gated and locked, but our orders were clear, gain entry by any and all means necessary. After all, we would be unworthy disciples of Ninjutsu if we could not surmount such a mundane obstacle.


       We must at this time clarify that this action was necessitated by the impending doom his great remain faces if action is not taken. We would also appeal to those buried there and their posterity that we did not come to invade, disturb or defile, but to protect this invaluable piece of lost heritage. If somebody does not intervene, this precious cultural jewel will be lost forever. Moreover, the resting place of these good souls will surely be not only defiled but obliterated by these evil profiteers who would destroy all this impreciable heritage only to turn a buck.


       For this cause we implore your assistance. If any readers know which agencies to contact to intervene on behalf of this property please contact The International Conservation Society at once at or telephone us at +86133383772. Or, better yet, contact the Chinese agencies that are in a position to take appropriate action directly.


       Regrettably the red iron door in front of the main temple building was locked, and breaking into that would have been going a little too far. On the lawn were many great banyan trees, whose original stone planters were either reinforced or replaced by concrete.


       The area behind the temple was overgrown to the point that we literally had to hack through briars and brambles just to get through. It is a shame that something of such great relevance has fallen into such neglect.


       There is a path behind the retaining wall to the high-rises to the west of this temple compound which, though now elevated and covered over with dirt and gravel appears to have been in existence for quite some time. Why would somebody go to all that trouble just to make such a path behind a retaining wall? It seems obvious that the retaining wall was, in fact, built around the path.


North of the path (east of the naval/maritime academy housing and city park respectively) is an executive apartment complex. There are lovely modern gardens here, but the building of this complex has apparently obliterated every last shred of prior evidence of what once existed here.


       In the area immediately to the south and east of the temple/graveyard compound we found a deserted dump site that was filled with the ruins of old stone walls and mounds of rubble that were once more buildings of the fortress and temple structure. The nature of the building materials, along with the disposal of cases for the housing of Buddhist figurines, confirms this. There were also large cobblestones piled in abundance in this junkyard, indicating that this was once a great paved area.


      It stands to reason that this was probably where the main part of the fortress once lay, as evidenced by the overwhelming abundance of stone that remained in the demolished ruins, as well as by the fact that this occupies the area approaching the summit of the highest hill on the island. The summit, which was once connected, is presently occupied by a Red Army artillery compound, which shall be addressed momentarily.


       Between the junkyard and the ancestral burial ground are the remains of several brick and stone foundations. We were also absolutely sick as we there found the culprit of the disappearance of so many of the ancient remains.


       Right amongst these ruins is a stone and lumber mill, utilizing these great ruins as the source of their profits. They are probably unaware of the significance of what they are destroying. There are also several other stone cutters in this area. Again, if anybody knows how to contact the proper agencies to try to work out a win-win solution to this problem please contact us or them right away.


       More “Fowl Play” was at work here. Amongst these ruins was a budget poultry farm with chickens, ducks, and yes, even turkeys.


       At the intersection between Lu and Lu is an old apartment complex that has very few remaining tenants. Preposterous as it may seem, we found evidence of the previous templing of this area in the storage bin outside one of the apartments. Therein were loads of building materials used for temples, including the appropriate wood, tiling, etc. The most obvious evidence, however, was the abundance of green ceramic “bamboo” used to adorn temple walls and place “bars” in temple windows among other things.


       Between this area and the Red Army compound was wall that was obviously erected to hold the hill in place when the road was cut through. Along this road is a shrine built into a wall with many small statues. The overwhelming majority of these statues are Shaolin statues wielding weapons.


       Beside this shrine are many more idol cases that obviously came from the demolished temples, simply being discarded for trash collection. One man’s treasure is another man’s trash, I suppose.


       Between the area just described and Jimei’s town park is a Red Army compound. As we approached it from the west we noticed a sign that said FOREIGN DEVILS KEEP OUT! Well, not exactly, but it did read NO FOREIGNERS MAY ENTER WITHOUT SPECIAL PERMIT! We asked the watchstander’s permission to tour the facilities. Denied. He actually seemed quite nervous, as if I was reconnoitering the perimeter (casing the joint) for a Western Devil invasion. We then asked permission to take some photos from outside the gate. Denied. He seemed really uptight, so we decided it best not to risk an international incident by pursuing the matter further. He was, most probably, just a good man doing his job and following orders.


       It would probably have been quite easy to later infiltrate and get some pics under the cover of darkness. The place honestly wasn’t that well guarded. Bear in mind, dear reader, that yours truly once, back in my US Navy days, when bored out of my mind on a port call in Guam, swam up to a nuclear sub just to prove it could be done. And managed to get back into uniform in time to report “All conditions normal” in the logbook. Another fine example of your ta dollars at work.


       At any rate, we decided that a little restraint was in order. We respect the Chinese government, and appreciate their kindness and generosity in granting us the privilege of staying in their lovely country. We would not wish to do anything to jeopardize the Immigration status that they have been so generous as to extend us. We would be delighted, however, to provide security and/or unarmed defense consultation to the Red Army if they so desire J


       At any rate, visible from without the gates is a soldierly row of artillery cannons, no doubt trained on the Taiwan Strait to “protect from invasion”. I am uncertain as to whether I am supposed to know this or not. If I am not supposed to be party to this information, I apologize profusely to the powers that be, and promise not to use this knowledge to open up any cans of worms.


       The significance of this base, however, is that they probably chose this as the location for this compound for the precise reason Koinga once chose it in days of yore. That is because, at the very summit of the peninsular town that that lay in such a militarily critical area, it affords a view of the surrounding straits as well as artillery range to those areas.


       The only critical pieces of evidence for our research relative to that military compound, however, were readily accessible from without the walls. The first was, just outside the west gate, slightly to the south and directly outside the walls of the compound, is another mammoth banyan tree that was once used as a gathering point, as signified by the elevated stone (now reinforced with concrete) planer surrounding it. This also suggests that is was probably once used as a place for sitting and enjoying the view of a picturesque courtyard which now has been built over.


       The other piece of evidence was one of the original buildings of the ancient complex now inside the compound at the eastern edge. To photograph that we simply did so from below the eastern wall so as not to arouse any sentry’s suspicions.


       Back to the west of the military compound, going down the hill, southeast and across the street from the city park, was another restored Shaolin temple shrine. This building, though one of the smallest in Jimei, is one of the most significant in establishing that this compound was indeed once Shaolin.    


On the north (left) wall of the building just inside the temple was a mural of an adult tiger and a tiger cub. On the south (right) wall was a dragon. The significance of this is manifold. Firstly, it is evidence of the tiger and dragon fists and styles of Kung Fu. Secondly, it supports the mutual influence between Konigun Ninjutsu and the South Shaolin arts. It is entirely possible that the flying tiger in Konigun Ninjutsu was a symbolic way of streamlining the tiger and dragon into one symbol. Thirdly, the presence of the tiger cub with the adult symbolizes the progress of a warrior from novice to master. The greatest significance of the tiger and dragon to Shaolin heritage, however, is described below by the Danish Weng Chung Society, also directly descended from the Fujian Yong Chun: 


Shaolin - Now why is this word in the same logo as Weng Chun? How are the two related? Unfortunately many people, martial artists included, equate modern Wushu (i.e., Jet Li) with Shaolin. Wushu is a sport, not real combat. It is fun to watch, but not everyone can practice it. Shaolin consists of training one to be in harmony with reality, and modern Wushu does not have real skill for combat applications and is far from real combat. While Wushu has some Shaolin moves, it is not true Shaolin. It focuses on acrobatic demonstration rather than efficient martial science.

True Shaolin Martial Arts consists of three things. These are referred to as the three treasures of Shaolin. The treasures are Chan (Zen), Health, and Combat. Health refers to both the internal and external health benefits one receives from practicing Shaolin. Combat refers to the hand to hand combat methods developed and practiced by the Shaolin monks for centuries, Weng Chun being one of the most advanced of these systems. The Shaolin monks also developed these combat methods as an extension of their Chan studies. Chan focuses on removing illusions to discover reality, and nothing is more real than life threatening fighting. Remember what Weng means? We don't see too many 60 year-olds practicing Wushu – yet, we do see 60 year-olds practicing Weng Chun.

Now let's look closer at the two images within the Weng Chun Logo. First is the tiger. Tigers have long been a symbol of power and strength throughout many cultures. This particular image of the tiger is what makes it important for the logo. The tiger is poised as if ready to leap at its prey. It is ready to strike, but not ignorant of its surroundings. This is one of the key ideas of Weng Chun, "Maintain your space but keep your focus." In the Weng CHun system, the circle represents awareness of surroundings together with maintaining and creating space. The crouching tiger within the circle reminds practitioners of the importance of circular structure for health and combat. The tiger is also searching for a bridge, seeking to close the distance to its prey as easily and safely as possible. Tigers do not attack head on, but from an advantageous angle so they are safe and more successful. If you look at a tiger, it will circle until it can find another bridge from which to attack. This is but a part of the tiger's symbolism. It also represents the body methods of Weng Chun. The tiger is relaxed yet ready, low but can attack high, subtle but powerful. The tiger also reminds the viewer of another creature due to its particular pose within the logo. This creature is the dragon. The curved posture of the tiger is also reminiscent of the dragon's most seen pose, curved and poised to strike.

The dragon, according to Shaolin philosophy, is invisible, but it is present with the tiger. Where the tiger represents the visible aspects of Shaolin (combat), the dragon represents the invisible, internal aspects of Shaolin (Chan and health). For Weng Chun these are the 10 wisdoms of the art and the internal power. The dragon and tiger exist in harmony with each other in the Weng Chun logo. The tiger's curved posture, from its tail to its foremost paw, also draws a line making the circle into the Yin Yang, referring to the harmony that Weng Chun practitioners use to defeat their opponents rather than clashing with them. The tiger and dragon are one as Chan, Health, and Combat. There can be no doubt that Shaolin and Weng Chun are part of the same whole.

The next visual image is the character Weng. The character represents the triangles of Weng Chun. The triangle represents the focus within the space of the circle and using angles to penetrate space. Many of Weng Chun's physical structures require the body to take on triangular shapes to achieve maximum efficiency. Weng also implies space as well though. The symbol itself covers all dimensional space, reminding one to be mindful of his space while in combat situations, keeping his focus while maintaining his space. The Weng Chun expression of three-dimensional space is reflected in the traditional Shaolin concepts of Heaven, Man and Earth. The Tiger and the Character together create another facet of symbolism. In addition to the above reference about how a tiger will attack, the symbols remind us to be similar to the tiger, always circling the opponent for a vantage point, searching for the bridge and then closing that gap from that vantage point rather than rushing straight in. This is the proper way to engage and finish an attacker. While circling, one's triangles must remain aligned (observe the Tiger's paws), ready for the pounce. This is called maintaining one's space without losing focus.

The images combined introduce circles into Weng Chun thought, but why?

Many people equate fighting with being direct and straight on, but circles are not direct. How can circles exist within Weng Chun?

Simply put: They are a strategic tool used to help with tactics in combat. They are also part of the health aspects of Weng Chun, as its Shaolin roots make the art a vessel for improving one's health as well as skill. Circles are also continuously flowing and never ending as opposed to the angled corners of a triangle. Intimately connected, circles and triangles work together as Yin and Yang. We shouldn't tense up during a fight or in practice, but we should stay relaxed and fluid to help maintain our health and self-defense. That is the Weng Chun Logo. Five sentences explained in four paragraphs. The logo and its explanations are simple and to the point, yet they evoke more thought than one realizes. Weng Chun Weng Chun is the same way. Every motion is related to Chan, Health, and Combat – the three treasures of Shaolin.


       More on the symbolism is addressed in the following excerpt from the previously quoted dissertation by Sifu Benny Meng:


Upon meeting, the revolutionaries identified themselves to each other with a secret hand-signal that would come to be the formal greeting or courtesy of Wing Chun. In fact, the traditional greeting or courtesy common to many of today's kung fu styles has two meanings. The first meaning recognizes the style's Shaolin origins - the left hand symbolizing the union of the Green Dragon (the left hand) and the White Tiger (the right hand), the fighting animals of the Shaolin monks.

In the Hung Fa Yi (Red Flower Righteous) Lineage of Wing Chun, however, the hands are reversed: the left hand forms a fist and the right hand is open palm. It still retains its significance to Shaolin but it also refers to the secret society. In this context, the fist represents Yat (the Sun) and the palm represents Yuet (the Moon). Combined, these two characters mean "Bright" which reads and sounds like "Ming." This is the name of the previous Dynasty - the one overthrown by the Manchurians who formed the "Ching" Dynasty in its place. Hence, during the time of rebellion, when a Wing Chun practitioner or secret society member saluted with a fist and open palm pushed toward you, they were saying "Return the Ming, overturn the Ching." Obviously, this was not a sentiment shared by the Manchus.


Note how the positioning of the hands in the secret society greeting is reflected in the positioning of the tiger and dragon they symbolize on the temple walls. This is quite similar to the Konigun Ninjutsu warrior salute which quite obviously has its origins here. (This greeting is commonly practiced by Chinese, especially in Fujian, but they haven’t a clue as to it’s significance or origins for the most part).


The Konigun Ninjutsu logo of the flying tiger also indubitably evolved from this. The significance of the tiger to external combat is obvious. The wings probably replace the dragon as the spiritual and internal aspects of the arts. It is also remotely possible that the wings were modified to represent the Holy Ghost, symbolized by the dove, as Konigun Ninjutsu was a Christian sect of Ninja utilizing their skills to resist persecution in Feudal Japan, though highly unlikely as the wings on the tiger (Tobu Tora) almost certainly existed centuries before the Konigun Warriors' conversion to Christianity.


An interesting sideline is that the title of the movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon evolved from this classic symbolism. It, too, signifies the warrior aspect of the tiger, poised to strike, along with the invisible, intangible spiritual essence of the dragon.


Reference to Zheng Chenggong’s association with the secret movement, cited above as the Red Flower Society, is documented below as follows:


Zheng Chenggong gathered his friends of common interest, Chen Hui (阵辉), Zheng Jin (张进), Shi Lang (施琅), Shi Xian (施显), Chen Ba (陈霸), Hong Xu (洪旭) and other anti-Qing warriors, totalling about 90 people. Together, they went on board two battleships to Nan Ao Island. They raised the banner of righteousness and shouted slogans of "Opposing the traitor father and eliminating the Qing aggressors" and "Overthrowing Qing and restoring Ming".


       The structure is also adorned with decorations of war and kung fu similar to those in the other two restored buildings (West and Central) previously discussed. These included mosaics inside the shrine of various battle scenes.


       The chief piece of evidence on display in this temple building, however, is an ancient Shaolin straight sword resting upon the altar amongst the weapon-brandishing statues. This leaves little doubt whatsoever as to the true Shaolin origins of the Lost Temple of Jimei.


       In the modern restoration of this shrine an unwitting act of humor has been incarnated. The two artifacts on either side of the altar have, for some unknown reason, been equipped with gaudy, bulbously blinking Christmas lights that cheesily blare Christmas carols as they twinkle like jolly old Saint Nick’s eyes. Definitely an unlikely marriage of ancient Eastern & modern Western culture. Go figure.


       There were, of course, an abundance of red flowers on display here. This is consistent with all the restored temple structures in Jimei.


       Just to the northwest of this Shaolin building is the Jimei city park. There doesn’t seem to be much evidence of the former Shaolin or heng Chongging remaining there, as everything appears to have been recently constructed. There is perhaps a possibility that the lake there may have been a restoration of an ancient lake given its geographical relationship and similarity in design to the filled-in lake almost due east of it, but we were unable to find enough evidence to substantiate this possibility.


       The one object of Shaolin heritage we did find was actually quite comical. At the main entrance to the park was mounted a cardboard, Chinese New Year Mouse (rat?), to usher in the year of the rat. The mouse was in a Shaolin stance similar to the reliefs in many of the temples.


       Directly east, across the main road from the park, is another naval/maritime academy campus. Its construction has obviously buried any evidence which may have existed prior thereto. It is worthy of mention, however, that it seems appropriate for such a large maritime training academy to be based where Koxinga, one of the greatest naval warriors of all time, once spearheaded his military operations.


       We also found a complex whose architecture appears Dutch atop the hill on Jicen Lu. It is uncertain when or why this construction appeared, but it quite obviously has something to do with the “love triangle” between Koinga, the Qings (also known as the Chings), and the Taiwanese Dutch. At present, however, it is serving as a government Kindergarten, and has adapted a lovely set of playground equipment out in front.


       This structure also was interesting in that there were twin turrets on the east and west end which could possibly have once been pagodas, and there is also a structure that has a pagoda roof atop it. Given it’s proimity to the massive temple structure atop Jimei University’s auxiliary campus which we explored and found to be authentic, it is likely that this was a real pagoda which was simply built around.


       It is likely that, at some point, Jimei was under Taiwanese jurisdiction, given its proximity to Jinmen (anciently known as Quemoy). Many historians speculate that Jimei was once part of Quemoy as well. This building could well have been a Dutch administrative building from their occupation of Taiwan, or could have been built when they fled from Taiwan after being ousted by Koxinga. As much tampering of evidence, secrecy and bookburning as surrounds this matter, we may never know.


       Nearby this building, in the area between Jicen Lu and the net main east-west road to the north, we found many more old temple structures. Most of them are nondescript in comparison to the others like them. They are, however, highly useful in establishing continuity between the related buildings to the north and south of them, as well as to the east and west.  One of them, moreover, bears particular mention.


       On the north side of Jicen Lu is a red brick building whose architecture is fairly similar to the large mansion like building at the east end of Jicen Lu and unjian Lu. . It appears to have been much more recently restored than its counterpart .On the west side of the building, which is still constructed from the original or much older stone is, you guessed it, a red flower. To the east of this building, in an alley going north of Jicen Lu, are two cutoff stone posts that appear to have once formed a gate.


       At this point we thought we had concluded our investigation, but, boy, oh boy, were we ever so mistaken. On the night of February 9th 2008 I had a dream that I was walking on the northern end of Jimei, which we had thitherto not explored, through a large Shaolin complex like those we had previously discovered. Some would say this dream was the former occupants speaking to me. Others would say it was a spiritual manifestation. Yet others would say it was these ancient Shaolin warrior’s life forces or energy touching me. Some would say that it was my subconscious logically communicating to my conscious. Yet others would dismiss it as absurd Freudian wishfullness. Whichever of the above explanations, if any, you may subscribe to, it had to be investigated.


       When we first started north what we saw, just north of the temple remains with the large temple and pagoda with the overgrown graveyard, filled in lotus pond, and stone and lumber mill behind it, was the extension of the garden with its cobbled courtyard being used as a parking lot. There remained a garden with an old gazebo similar to the one found in the immediately aforementioned complex, which we have little doubt was once part of the same complex. There were great Banyan trees, as well as several wells that had been restored with concrete. That these were probably older wells is substantiated by the fact that they were “jerry rigged” with pipes and taps coming directly out of them, rather than being percolated in a modern fashion.


       Immediately northeast of this compound was what may have been an extension of the same garden, though immaculately restored with little of the evidence of antiquity exhibited by the previous 2 sectors of this compound. This was within a new and exclusive apartment complex, yet to be opened for rental, which we had to get permission to enter. The security guards were very friendly and kind, and required little persuasion.


       Just north of this apartment complex is the Jimei branch of the Xiamen electric company. On their premises we saw one old Minnan building converted into an office, quite out of place behind the modern offices on their premises.


       Not far northwest of these structures lies the Jimei hospital, with a statue of its founder in front. We wonder what may lie buried beneath this great building.


       Due north of the hospital is another apartment complex. The garden within may or may not have been part of the one mentioned immediately above. The apartments, as well as most of the garden within, are brand-spanking new. The gazebos are obviously either equally new or recently restored. Their roofs, however, show signs of weathering inconsistent with the newness of all else in the compound.


       A walk northwest to the town bypass revealed another garden immediately east of the bypass that seemed to have possibly been part of a great courtyard. At the northern edge of town lays a great running track and ball field west of the bypass, a new cloverleaf being built, and the Jimei sports arena. If there ever was anything of significance there it has surely been obliterated.


       When we first began exploring the northern area west of the town bypass, we thought we would only find farms and a main road of shops. Along the main east west road running north of the bypass we did, however, find some of the most delicious smoked ham and sausage we had ever tasted. The spicy smoked sausage almost was more Cajun than that sold in Louisiana. (Imagine the chagrin of the original occupants that their pearls were being cast before swine).   


       Just barely south of the running track, on the northeastern edge of Jimei, we finally struck the mother lode. The largest (and in many ways most significant) complex of temples is located there.


Just south of this road is the northern edge of this portion of the complex. This includes a few great superstructures, along with a couple giant banyan trees. Across the road from the main temple structure is a small shrine that has been converted into a shop.


The area was teeming with locals, most of whom were very friendly. Some, however, seemed quite suspicious. Their shock to see a tourist present and puledness that these remains should merit such attention indeed shows that knowledge of this great compound and its importance has been tragically lost.   


Branching east-southeast of this structure are many structures oriented east-west which merge with those just south therefrom oriented north-south which shall be described below. At one of these we found many people playing badminton, definitely unaware of and indifferent to all of the culture around them.


Just north of the Jimei university boundary there was finally, amongst all these unrestored structures, a restored Shaolin temple similar to the ones previously mentioned. It had many distinctive features as well, however. 

Chief among these was a large, 3D tiger on the left wall and dragon on the right. Allusion to the tiger-crane style is made by birds in combat at the top of the tiger relief.


There were also numerous red flowers adorning this temple structure, perhaps more so than any other structure in Jimei. They were mostly found on the roof and eaves, though some were found within the building as well.


Also an example of the secret order’s symbolism and passing of knowledge was the relief of a warrior holding a scroll and sword above him, as well as a cluster of red flowers below. The scroll also represents Confucian scholarship. It is common knowledge that the arts of the Shaolin were once recorded on scrolls. Once this knowledge became forbidden, however, the scrolls were burned by the Manchus, along with the South Shaolin temple. The monk in a warrior’s posture represents the technique being conveyed, and the scroll represents the passing of knowledge. It can also be said to represent the balance of scholarship and warrior training embodied by Koxinga.


Inside the temple are also many statues in combat posture. Two of the statues are quite unique. One is wielding a hatchet in one hand and a short, spear-like weapon in the other, and with a Fujian kung-fu fork protruding up from his crown.  The other holding a sword coming out of his robe (representing concealed weapon attacks) and is also crowned with a kung-fu fork.


  On the main altar of this building is a trio of small statues, all three of which are bedecked in red, patterned silk robes. The largest one in the middle has a peculiar iron cap atop his head. There is a long sash the color of the Shaolin Monk robes with tapered ends draped around his neck. The one on the left is raising a Shaolin straight sword high above his head. The one on the right is carrying a lamp.


Also of particular significance are the statuettes inside dressed in the yellow robes of the Shaolin monks. The Shaolin monks have ever worn yellow robes, signifying their fealty to the emperor (Ming).


It is also noted that the architecture in the rafters of this building and many others is golden color. This also signifies the noble heritage of the Ming Dynasty. These also indicate warriors in combat preserving lost knowledge of various techniques.


One such warrior has grappled an opponent’s attack with one arm and has his sword overhead poised to strike in the other arm. This is quite similar to a classic kenjutsu grappling technique used by Samurai and Ninja alike.


Another has his leg chambered to deliver a whip kick, with arm poised to deliver a hanbo strike and a short staff in the other hand as well. It is well noted that the weapon is being wielded with the hand toward the middle in such a position as to cover any vital ones exposed by kicking high and to be able to grapple or strike with either end of the hanbo at various distances. Under this is a woman wielding a bladed fan in such a manner as to appear innocuous but in a stance that would allow instant attack and defense if required. It is also wielded in such a manner as to allow grapples, blocks and strikes from both ends. They are surrounded by an overwhelming abundance of red flowers.


Another golden warrior still assumes the guise of a meek traveler bent under the weight of his luggage. Note that his baggage is perfectly positioned to defend his vital regions. He is carrying scrolls that are perfectly positioned to block, strike or grapple. This bespeaks a duality that is both literal and symbolic. Literally, it means that anything can be used as a weapon. Symbolically, the scrolls imply that both the mind and knowledge are the ultimate weapons.


Yet another golden carved pair of warriors is a complex teaching tool indeed. On it are two swordsmen, either of which can take the advantage. The shorter swordsman on the left appears to have the most obvious advantage, with his sword poised to sever the taller swordsman’s wrist, while simultaneously administering an inner whip kick to the breadbasket, knocking his opponent, whose feet are crossed, off balance. On the other hand, however, the taller swashbuckler can pivot on the front leg, sweeping the rear leg back, stepping behind the block and the shorter combatant, simultaneously bringing his sword down in a strike. It not only exhibits two very important sword techniques, but reminds us that any advantage can be turned into a disadvantage, and vice versa. It also speaks of the importance of developing one’s speed to be the first to gain the advantage. Both warriors are also using tree branches as weapons as well as swords. This signifies both the importance of harmony with nature, as well as, again, the fact that anything can be used for a weapon. It also represents the contrast and paradox of being at war and at peace that so commonly defined a Shaolin Monk’s life.


The net golden warrior indicates the more basic technique of a strike to the solar plexus and a sweep to the ground. The final warrior pictured here is similar to the first one, but simply using a different weapon.


  Just above the tiger relief are warriors demonstrating various weapons techniques. They primarily represent blocks, but could also represent preparations to strike for the more advanced pupils (isn’t that what a block is, after all?)


  Just above the dragon relief is a similar series of depictions of the warriors in meditational postures (but still prepared to attack or defend.) It is sublime how this corresponds with the symbolic nature of the tiger representing combat and the dragon representing the invisible, spiritual essence of the art.


The pagoda outside this structure also has many such reliefs. One of the most notable of them is an infant taking up a fighting pose, accompanied by two cranes.


Due south of this structure is another mid-sized  pond. This was probably once a carp pond. Along the southern bank of this pond are more temple structures, many of which have been converted into a beef and/or dairy farm. (not even a mu, but many moos crammed into it).


Proceeding westward there is another large and deep cluster of temple buildings. They run back several rows deep. Amongst these we encountered a grumpy old man who seemed extraordinarily perturbed about the western devil presence there. It seemed as if he was certain we were spies determined to deliver his entire community up unto an evil destruction.


At the top (north) and to the east of this cluster the area has been cleared to make a basketball court. Large piles of rubble still remain from the demolition that occurred. Court was apparently in recess, as it was too cold for basketball on that day.


North of the restored temple structure are countless other structures. One of the most significant that we found was one which, though not open to the public, still sported Shaolin warrior designs atop its roof.


We scoured the Jimei University main campus for evidence and found but one possible piece. This was, at the Northeastern side of campus is a great garden that appears too antiquated to be part of the modern campus. It featured a stone garden and wall, as well as several great banyan trees. There is also an old stone foundation upon which sits an incongruously new building.


Given the fact that all areas not built over by large properties and complexes on the whole of Jimei have related structures, and that the buildings of such complees would certainly have demolished anything previously standing, it seems reasonable to surmise that this vast temple and fortress indeed once covered all or nearly all of Jimei.


This would, under the circumstances of the day, have been an ideal location for such a structure. Firstly, it would have served as a buffer between Tong’an and Xiamen, serving to further protect Koxinga’s fortifications on Xiamen and Gulangyu.


Secondly, it is a peninsula surrounded on 3 sides by water, where Koxinga would doubtlessly have positioned many great war junks to repel any would-be amphibious assaults. This is also a likely choice given Zheng Chenggong’s historically affirmed preference for naval battles as opposed to land-based fighting.


At that point in time any Qing invaders would likely have come from the north, from Quanzhou via Tong’an. The presence of a great mountain to the north of this establishment meant that any land-based attacks would have had to come through relatively narrow funnels, thus cutting down on the angles from which Koinga would have had to defend, as well as the potential width of any such attack.


It is worth noting that we have found pockets of similar Minnan architecture, throughout Xiamen, though nothing close to this gargantuan compound within Jimei, Throughout iamen, primarily in the areas that were,not coincidentally, settled by Koinga. These include directly across the Xiamen bridge from Jimei,  near Huli, where Koinga may have had another fort (definitely a fort thereafter) (Close to SM shopping center),  and within blocks of the ferry terminal to go to Gulangyu, and near Xiamen University. One could just imagine the anachronism of Shaolin warriors going shopping in Walmart or grabbing a bite to eat at McDonalds (perhaps a McSoy burger).


We have, moreover, found reason to suspect that the Nanputuo Temple was once Shaolin. Its location against the mountains on one side and the then koinga controlled coast opposite Gulangyu would give much credibility to such a supposition. Xiamen University, like Jimei University, also has architecture very much like the temple, which Tan Kah Kee could very well have built into the campus as he did in Jimei.


Note the similarities in both the roofs and the stone walls adapted under them in both the Nanputuo "main entrance" and the Xiamen university Chemistry building, as well as the building on the XIamen University campus overlooking the track. The last of these buildings is nearest Xiamen beach. There is an uncanny similarity between the steep wall of steps here and those leading up to Koxinga's old fortress where Jimei Middle School has been adapted.







The history books say that it was the Mings who destroyed the Nanputuo Temple, and the Qings ordered it rebuilt as a Buddhist temple during their reign. It is well noted, however, that the Qings had already spread many rumors about the Mings in an attempt to quell the rebellion. It would certainly have sparked outrage against the Mings to have accused them of destroying such a hallowed sanctuary.


One of the most basic things needed to convict one of a crime is a motive. In the case of the anti- Qing Shaolin of the Ming dynasty, what would their motive have been to destroy a temple? Indeed, temples were what they utilized to work their subterfuge, as well as organie, train and rally their troops. It is also well documented that one of the Manchurian badges of subservience imposed by the Qings was the cue, and that many rebels in Minnan areas joined the monasteries as an excuse to shave their heads and be rid of their cues, as well as to train in the martial arts for rebel activities. Why, then, would the Ming rebels have destroyed a perfect stronghold impregnably situated between a coastal fort erected by their leader (well in sight of Gulangyu Island, also controlled by Koxinga), and a steep, lofty mountain. There is simply no rational justification why this allegation by the Qing produced history books could be anything more than spurious propaganda.


Moreover, we found loads of evidence at Nanputuo suggesting it had been Shaolin, including architecture, pugnacious carvings, reliefs of battle scenes carved into the temple (similar in substance if not style to those found in the bellicose murals of the original shaolin temple), a tiger and dragon, red flowers, etc. This evidence will be chronicled in greater detail in my forthcoming work, the Lost Shaolin Culture of the Fujian Province, to be released shortly.


It was also interesting to note that the nearby overseas Chinese museum appears to have been built into what was once part of Nanputuo, and there is a nearby temple which appears to have been part of the complex at one time. This museum was also built by Tan Kah Kee, founder of Jimei school village.


There are other old temple buildings that seem to establish the continuity of Nanputuo’s gargantuan sprawl well beyond the overseas Chinese museum as well. Details will be provided in my forthcoming work, The Lost Shaolin Heritage of Fujian.


Tan Kah Kee was also a rebel in his own right, supportive of the anti-Ching revolution in his day. He was a staunch supporter of Sun Yat Sen and almost single-handedly funded Chiang Kai Shek’s rebel army, and was, no doubt a member of whatever secret society had evolved from the red flower society.


Our most recent research has revealed that both Sun Yat Sen and Chiang Kai Shek were red pole enforcers prior to becoming famed activists. This position in the secret order descended from the red society could only be filled by those who were thoroughly trained in the Shaolin arts. This further substantiates the likelihood that Tan Kah Kee was affiliated with the same secret orders that had been passed down from Koxinga’s time and was knowingly honoring and preserving Shaolin heritage when he established his universities and museums at important sites in Shaolin and Ming Rebellion history.  


Mr. Tan is recorded to have stated that he chose the old fortress of Nanping as the site for Jimei school village because he believed education could also be considered as a revolution. There is little doubt that he also chose the Nanputuo monastery as the site of iamen university for the same reason. It also stands to reason, given his anti Qing affiliations and activities, that he chose both locations in tribute to the rebels of old who had once occupied them.


On the 13th of February we made another historic journey to Yong Chun, which many credit as the birthplace of modern martial arts which actually yielded much substantiating evidence to this search.



We met Master Pan Cheng Meiow, a direct descendent of one of the people who claims to have originally learned white crane Kung Fu from Fang Qi Liang. This is in antithesis to the claim above that there was no Fang Qi Liang. Which one is correct? Does it really matter? Is the style any more or les valid either way?


On our journey to there, passing through Tong ‘An and Nanan we found many more temples and Minnan villages nestled in the mountains, which would have been the perfect place to station troops, and was right on the way between Koinga’s hometown of Nanan and iamen. We found in the temples in these areas many distinctively Shaolin features, complete details of which shall be fully disclosed in our forthcoming publication on the Lost Shaolin Heritage in Fujian.


Included in this was a temple not 50 meters away from Master Pan’s gym which had many red flowers, as well as a tiger on the left and a dragon on the right in the temple’s entrance.


Master Pan is indeed martial arts royalty, yet carries himself with a modesty and humility that is also regal. He was very friendly and hospitable, as was his entire family, and his wife made the best pork, mushroom & egg vermicelli I have ever tasted.


The story of Yong Chun White Crane as told by Master Pan is documented below:


This article was written by Pan Xiao De – the father of Pan Cheng Miouw – the current system head.


In Ming Dynasty during the years of Jia Zheng (嘉政), there were twenty-four people from my town -Yong Chun (永春)- setting off to the exterior of North Gate of the Fu Zhu Family in Fu Jian Sheng (福建省福宁府北門外). Their mission was to learn the martial arts of Bai He(白鶴拳法) from Fang Qi Liang (方七娘), the daughter of Mr. Fang Cheng (方撐). They had learnt from her for two years. My ancestor, Pan Dui Jin (潘堆金) was one of the twenty-four members. He subsequently returned to Yung Chun to pass on this martial arts to Pan Sai Yu (潘賽玉)Pan Da Ren (潘大壬)Pan You Cheng (潘有成) and Pan Yue Zhao (潘月照). These five persons were proficient in Bai He, expert at the surgeries of broken tendons and blood clotting, and were renowned throughout the province. They had attracted quite a lot of pupils and later on had passed on their martial arts to Pan Dun Chi (潘敦池)Pan Shen En (潘深恩) Pan Li Qiu (潘利秋) and Pan Zhen Tuan(潘貞團)Pan Zhen Tuan is my elder uncle. When I was eleven years old, I followed him to learn Bai He and at the same time had practised duo-fighting for three years with my schoolmate, Huang Yi Bian (黃奕扁). When I was fifteen, I studied arteries and veins in Chinese medicine with Ruan Guo Xing (阮國興). When I was eighteen, I opened a dispensary for bone-fractures in Chi Shui Street (赤水街). When I was thirty-three, Yao Ming Qiao (姚明僑), the fifth son of the millionaire Yao Zhang(姚樟) who lived in the riverhead of Da Pu Fu(達埔洑) in Yong Chun, had donated money to the Ping Lu Province (平魯縣) in Guang Dong (廣東). As the province magistrate was very fond of martial arts, he invited me to teach martial arts in his two halls. In eighty days I was granted two hundred dollars. In 1928, when I was forty-seven, I set off for Nan Jing (南京) to participate in the examination for the First National Martial Arts, which had lasted for one month. Then Mr. Zhang Zhi Jiang (張芝江), the Head of the halls, personally urged me to travel to the areas around Malaya(南洋) to spread Chinese martial arts. Thanks to Mr. Zhang, I first arrived at Malaysia, and with the decision of Mr. Chen Jia Geng (陳嘉庚) I had led performances and taught in many states and provinces. Later on, a national martial arts school was found within the Singapore Commercial Remedial School, and I was appointed as the Acting Head for the national martial arts school and had coached eighteen (18) disciples. At that time there were totally three hundred and twenty (320) pupils. When I returned to my motherland, I had established a Chinese martial arts school for three years in the shrine of Weng Gong(翁公祠) in Wu Li Street (五里街) in Yong Chun. People of all walks of life in Yong Chun knew about it. Eventually, Pan Dun Chi (潘敦池)Pan Shen En (潘深恩) Pan Li Qiu(潘利秋) and Pan Zhen Tuan(潘貞團), etc. went to teach in the major province Jiang Xi(江西省), and passed on the martial arts to quite a number of pupils.


-          Narrated by Pan Xiao De(潘孝德) –


Master Pan claims the following lineage:




掌光(Fang Zhang Guang)


方七娘 (Fang Qi Niang)


曾四 (Zeng Si)


潘賢 (Pan Xian) , 葉福 (Ye Fu) , 姚虎 (Yao Hu) , 林推 (Lin Tui) ,

二十四英俊 (Er Shi Si Ying Jun) , 曾祿吏 (Zeng Lu Li)


潘堆金 (Pan Dui Jin)


潘賽玉 (Pan Sai Yu) , 潘敦池 (Pan Dun Chi) , 潘大 (Pan Da Ren)


潘深恩 (Pan Shen En), 潘月照 (Pan Yue Zhao)


潘利秋 (Pan Li Qiu)


潘貞團 (Pan Zhen Tuan)


忠瑛 (Wang Zhong Ying), 潘嗣清(Pan Chi Qing), 潘世颯 (Pan Shi Sa) ,

潘孝德 (Pan Xiao De)


潘孝德 (Pan Xiao De)


潘世瓊 (Pan Shi Qiong), 潘成 (Pan Cheng Miao), 裕 (Pan Xing Yu) , 潘錦 (Pan Jin Biao) , 潘清己 (Pan Qing Ji) , 潘應 (Pan Ying Luan),

陳國珍 (Chen Guo Zhen), 顏拱堪 (Yan Gong Kan) , 張山 (Zhang Heng Shan) , 周河漢 (Zhou He Han) , 顏樹炳 (Yan Shu Bing) , 鄭源 ( Zheng Jin Yuan), 林大德 (Lin Da De) , 黃文勇 (Huang Wen Yong), 林天(Lin Tian Rui) ,

許裕云 (Xu Yu Yun) ,黃吋芬 (Huang Shi Fen)



潘成 (Pan Cheng Miao)


潘瓊琪 (Pan Qiong Qi) , 潘瓊琳 (Pan Qiong Lin), 林強 (Lin Qiang), 潘進興(Pan Zhen Xing)

林要強 (Lin Yao Qiang), 招瑜 (Chen Zhao Yu) , 黃子文 (Huang Zi Wen) ,

呂培陽 (Lv Pei Yang) , 呂連樹 (Lv Lian Shu) , 呂送 (Liu Tian Song) , 吕晓铃(Lv Xiao Ling)

顏世榮 (Yan Shi Rong) ,聯進 (Gu Lian Jin) , 顏金發 (Yan Jin Fa)

 潘辉澜(Pan Hui Lan),潘彬(Pan Hui Bin),張亞芬(Zhang Ya Fen)

陳偉彬(Chen Wei Bin),颜明煌(Yan Ming Huang),潘泽(Pan Ze Long),潘東海(Pan Dong Hai)


·        the names in red are the passed-away.



Master Pan further recounts at


Martial arts have a long history of development in our country,it’s one of the important cultural heritages our ancestors has left with us.It’s not only a kind of body building sports,but also contains the historic significance about our nation’s resistance against invasion.


Yongchun White Crane is the youngest fist style among the fist styles of Shaolin Wuzu. Legend has it that during the Kangxi time of Qing Dynasty,in a temple located in the Bai Lian temple, out of the north door of Fu Ning region there’s a woman named Fang Qi-Niang, daughter of Fang Zhong,who is a disciple of Shaolin Kung Fu.Her father had taught her martial arts from an early age.One day,she was weaving in the temple,when a white crane flew and rested in the roof,perking its head and flapping its wings,dancing and playing with its alas,using its beak to peck its own feather,holding out its neck to search for food,twisting its neck to take a rest, Fang Chee-Niang was very surprised with its amazing gesture.Then she threw a box on it,but the white crane easily dodged it;she contined to use her ruler to attack it,but once again the attack was effortlessly deflected,after that the white crane open its wings and flew high into the sky. Astonished by the crane's skill, Fang Chi-Niang sought to practice with it on a daily basis. Eventually she recognised the significance of the crane's movements, and began incorporating them into her training Shaolin pattern,developing a characteristic fist style,namly “White Crane”.


   Since then Fang Qi-Niang taught Kung Fu at the Bai Lian temple,and became very famous.She was named famous teacher of the worldheroine of the nation.And she has taught countless students.Zhengli Zhengchong Yefu Pansai Liuzao came from Yongchun to the Bai Lian temple to be prentices of Fang Chee-Niang.During the period of Kang Xi Emperor,Fang Chee-Niang and her husband were exiled to Yongchun”(Yongchun county annals* biography of FangjiThey together taught students of 24 different surnames—WuWangLinCaiLeXuShuZhouKangYanZhangCiLiBai ZhengYao etc.


It is interesting that the account of Lineage substantiates the existence of Fang Qi Nang in antithesis to Benny Meng’s previously cited article. It is certainly possible that a Shaolin nun could have developed a fighting style and aided in the rebellion. There is certainly ample evidence of great female warriors in Chinese history (Most notably Mulan), despite the fact that it was considered socially unacceptable for a woman to be a warrior in that society.


Is it really important whether Fang Qi Nang is fact or fiction? Is White Crane any more or less effective whether it was authored by a Shaolin Nun or a secret committee of warrior monks? Obviously, it is equally efficacious regardless of from whence it was derived, so straining at gnats and swallowing camels over any controversy surrounding its origins is moot and frivolous at best.


Master Pan’s account continues: 


In the 22nd year of Emperor Kang Xi(In the Summer of 1683,a Grand-Master Bai Jie from Taiwan,also prentice of Fang Qi-Niang at the Bai Lian temple,came to Yongchun to teach”Inch power saves strength”,from then on white crane has become more perfect.It can be judged from this that white crane had already spread to Taiwan at that time.  


The above documentation that White Crane masters had come from Taiwan implies that the White Crane was probably brought to Taiwan by Koinga and his forces.  This is extremely likely given the proximity between Yong Chun and Koinga’s hometown of Nanan, which are only a few kilometers apart.


We were also privileged to receive a Yong Chun White Crane banner from Master Pan. Interestingly enough, Master Pan told us one of the meanings of the Chinese characters in the logo is “always spring”. This was exactly one of the colloquial code phrases of the Ming rebellion under Koxinga.


We have since been traveling throughout Fujian, especially Quanhou, Nanan, Tong’An and Shishi, uncovering more of Fujian’s lost Shaolin Heritage. What we have found is most interesting, and reveals that the Shaolin presence was much more ubiquitous than has previously been thought.


Included in this has been, of course, reliefs and murals with tigers on the left and dragons on the right when entering the temples, replica shaolin battleships with warriors wielding weapons on board, cannons, shrines and graven images of Koinga, within temples, representations of the various Shaolin fists and animal styles, etc. Precise details and locations will be disclosed in my soon to be released work, The Lost Shaolin Heritage of Fujian.                             


The marriage of  Zheng Zhilong to Matsu, and Koxinga’s and his father’s firm connections with Japan, afforded tremendous mutual influence between the Chinese and Japanese martial arts, as well as Asian marital arts as a whole. There is little doubt that much of this transpired in the village of Jimei, and throughout the Fujian Province.


It is also interesting that many of the temples in the Fujian cultural regions have infused graven images of Mazu, the Chinese goddess of the see, to whom Koxinga was known to have prayed. Could Mazu have also been a codeword for Matsu (Koxinga’s mother), that would have been known to all sympathizing with the Ming rebellion but completely beyond the comprehension of the Manchurian oppressors?


Indeed, Shaolinesque movements, stances and weaponry, as well as the southern Chinese Kung Fu styles which stem from them) can be traced in great abundance to the styles of  ninjustu (see our previous article on the Konigun Ninjutsu China website), Pencak Silat, Tong Su Do (which was later adapted to become a kinder, gentler art called Tae Kwon Do), Escrima, Okinawan Karate, etc. 


This is particularly true of the mutual influence between Konigun Ninjutsu and the Southern Chinese arts. We have previously established many of the common bonds of style these arts share, now we will shed light on the historical evidence of the connection.


       It is a well documented fact that in the 1600’s there was quite a substantial Chinese community in Hirado and the Nakasaki area. It is recorded that these Chinese were Hokien (a corruption of the term Fukien, which is, in turn, another dialectual variation of the name Fujian, the name of the province where the Southern Chinese arts originated), speaking the iamen or Quanhou dialect. There is also historical documentation that Koinga’s father, Zheng Zhilong, was involved in a secret rebellion in the Nagasaki prefecture that surely would have involved the aid of ninjutsu. That Koxinga’s mother was of Samurai descent lends further merit to this probability. The following excerpt from the China History Forum sheds further light on these happenings.


How could Zheng Chenggong be born in Japan? Chenggong's father, Zheng Zhilong 郑芝龙 used to learn how to do business with a businessman and often went to Japan to sell his goods. As he was a shrewd businessman, he made a fortune in a matter of few years. With his new found wealth, he came into regular contacts with the rich and famous in Japan and was known as "Lao Yiguan 老一官"

Having been in Japan for a long time, he made "Qian Li Bin", Japan his home. Later he married the daughter of the famous Tanaka family in Nagasaki. In 1624, his wife gave birth to a son. The Tanakas had high hopes for their son and named him "Fu Song"
who later turned out to be Zheng Chenggong, the one who made splendid achievements in history.

At that time, Japan was under the rule of the corrupt and rotten Dechuan Mufu
德川幕府. It imposed various kinds of taxes on the people. There was great bloodshed. Together with his sworn brother Yan Siqi 颜思齐, Zheng Zhilong secretly organised the Chinese to overthrow Mufu's rule. Unfortunately, their traitor leaked their secret to the government and they were wanted by the Mufu. Zheng Zhilong and his people left in a hurry by boat.


       Historians also chronicle the occupation of several small islands off the coast of Kyushu by Koxinga’s forces. This also substantiates the probability of mutual influence between South Chinese and Japanese arts, particularly amongst the Shaolin, Konigun Ninjutsu, and other arts practicing in the Nagasaki region  at that time.


Koxinga also once appealed to the Japanese Shogun requesting the aid of Samurai to aid in his struggles in China. This fact lends further merit to the interrelation between China and Japan, both in terms of history and of martial arts.


Another member of the Ming royal family, Zhu Yujian (朱聿键) established his regime in Fuzhou and adopted the title of Long Wu. But that was war time with strong enemies at his heels. The Ming dynasty was coming to an end. Emperor Long Wu did not have a single soldier and had to depend on Zheng Zhilong who was leading 100,000 trained warriors.


One day while Zheng Chenggong was observing the drilling of the soldiers at Mount Pan in Fengzhou, Nanan, a few of his close friends and relatives brought him a letter from Zheng Zhilong. In the letter, his father tried to persuade him to surrender to the Qing by promising him wealth and status in return. Chenggong flew into a rage after reading the letter. He tore it into fine pieces in the presence of his soldiers.

He was greatly ashamed of his father's behaviour of surrendering to the enemy to gain wealth. He could not sleep when the night fell, so he wrote a letter to his father, saying: " It has always been the father teaching the son to be patriotic, there is no such thing as the father telling the son to surrender in exchange for wealth. If you insist on your ways, I have no choice but to oppose you." Therefore, he parted ways with Zheng Zhilong.

Seeing that he was unable to persuade his son, Zheng Zhilong, together with his remaining troops, surrendered themselves. The Qing General, Bo Luo (
), hit it off immediately with him. He shook his hands and addressed him as brother. They behaved as though they were long time pals. Bo Luo even held a dinner in Zheng Zhilong's honour. During the dinner, Bo Luo broke an arrow into two and assured him that he would gain wealth and status. However, on the third night, Zheng Zhilong was held as hostage by the Qing army to Beijing.

Although Zheng Chenggong had, on several occasions, been to the battlefield, he still carried a scholarly look. As he looked back, he decided to abandon the academia to take up the arms. He vowed to use force to fight against the Qing aggressors and to restore the glory of the Ming dynasty.

This day, he came to the Confucius temple in Nanan, wearing his armour suit and carrying his scholar gown. He burnt his gown and pledged in front the confucius statute: "From today onwards, I am going to end my scholarly ways and put on the armour to defend the country, but I will remember your teachings." He then left.


Further evidence that these Fukienese in particular were probably involved with the Konigun Ninjutsu fight against the persecution of Christians and thus had involvement in each other’s style is recorded below:


What is interesting is that the coming of Koxinga to the Philippines had something to do with the Catholic religion. His father, Zheng Zi Long, was a Catholic.

According to Louis Pfister, in his famous work, Biographies of Jesuits in China During the Ming and Qing Dynasties: Johann Adam Schall Von Bell, Zheng Zi Long, son of a poor family from Nan An county in Fujian, went to Macau at a young age and was baptized there with the Christian name Nicolas Gaspard.

He later went to Japan and married a Japanese who gave birth to Koxinga. Pfister said Koxinga went to Manila accompanied by a Spaniard and then to Taiwan with a Portuguese during his childhood.

According to Alfrecht Worth, in his work Taiwan Before 1898 Zhen Zi Long or Nicolas Gaspard had worked in Macau as an employee. He went later to Manila, where he also worked as an employee.

This fact bolsters Pfister’s report that Koxinga might have been in Manila as a child. What we do not know are Koxinga’s age, the year he came to Manila, how many times he visited, and the places he stayed in.



       Koxinga’s association with Spaniards and Portuguese also suggests that he was probably involved in the efforts of the Christians in Japan to resist persecution (many of whom had very close ties with the Spaniards and Portuguese whose missionaries had converted them). Yet another piece of evidence that Koxinga and his father were probably involved with Konigun Ninjutsu’s efforts in the Nagasaki prefecture in his day.



       Religion and revolution have long worked hand in hand. Religion can be a powerful tool in the hands of an astute revolutionary in swaying the masses to his/her cause. To do so, often the religion is shaped to custom-fit the constituency, and religious fusion occurs when aspects of other religions are adopted to make the religion more politically correct or appealing. The cultural revolution put a new spin on things when it was actually the absence of religion that became the unifying factor in empowering the state.

       Emperor Constantine once persecuted the Christians in Rome. Later, however, when it became politically expedient he “converted”. In order to unify what was then Byzantium Constantine imbued Christianity with a polytheistic favor, making it more palpable to his Roman subjects and securing his reign and legacy.


       This has been the case with virtually every major religion. The different interpretations of Islam (often for political purposes) are the leading cause behind the war in the Middle East. Hinduism, Buddhism and Shintoism have all undergone similar politicization.


       Separation of church and state is, unfortunately, often an impossible ideal. Even in the good old US of A where it is constitutionally guaranteed there are too many cases where it just doesn’t happen. Take, for instance, the 2008 GOP primary, where religious values took center stage in the debates between Huckabee and Romney. Or the ongoing issue of school prayer, holiday decorations in public places, etc.


       Religious fusion also often occurs when a religion is banned. This also occurred in Christianity under the persecution and oppression of the Roman Empire. The date of Christmas was changed to coincide with the celebration of Saturnalia so as not to attract the undue attention of the empire. Come on, how many shepherds watched their flocks by night at the end of December? (Actually, astronomers have recorded that a conglomerate of stars and planets combined to form the Star of David on April 6th, 6 B.C.) The burning of the yule log is also a carryover from the building of great fires to appease the gods as the days shortened. This was because the gods were obviously angry and were allowing the sun to dwindle, so thus needed to be persuaded to rekindle it. It obviously worked each time the ritual was performed as the days got longer again without fail.


       Rituals from one religion are also often adopted into one another through common interaction. Easter is a good example of this. Easter actually comes from Oestra, the goddess of fertility. Eggs and bunny rabbits are common symbols of fertility, and have somehow been adopted into Christian holidays. The Christmas tree has also been thus adopted from the pagan Germanic ritual of the Tannenbaum.

       This phenomenon is presently occurring here in China, where Bhuddists are beginning to observe Christmas. It is done in a completely secular manner for the most part, with no religious ramifications whatsoever, but just because Santa Claus, Christmas Trees, Christmas lights, etc. are cool. This is quite similar to the American adoption of the occult holiday of Halloween, not as a religious holiday at all, but simply as a way to have fun.


       In the Shaolin Temples a similar fusion occurred, melding various aspects of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, and is perhaps most strikingly evident in the surfacing of the lost Jimei or Nanping Shaolin temple. Artifacts and architecture from all three disciplines, as well as those peculiar to Shaolin, exist in vast abundance there. Whether it was done for political purposes, occurred as a natural evolution, or as a camouflage to escape persecution from the rulers of the day is difficult to determine. It could, in fact, be a combination of the three.


       Great complexity surrounds this fusion within the Shaolin domains. Koxinga, the leader of the revolution against the Mings, was born to a father who had at least once been a Jesuit catholic, raised as a Confucianist, but ultimately spread Bhuddism in Taiwan.


       The following anecdote chronicles Koxinga’s reaction to his father’s surrender to the Chings following his mother’s passing as evidence of both his devotion to Confucianism and his final abandonment of its pacifist doctrines.


    Zheng Chenggong, who was stationed in Jinmeng, was heart-broken on learning that his mother had killed herself. He ordered his troops to mourn for his mother and made an assault on Anping in the starry night. The Qing troops hurriedly retreated with their loot when they saw the Zheng's amry was so fierce and brave. With deep grief, Chenggong buried his mother. He vowed to fight the Qing aggressors and seek revenge for both the country and himself.

After burying his mother, Chenggong decided to persuade his father to help in the fight against the Qing. When he reached his house, he heard loud singing and dancing. It was a scene of merry making. Zheng Zhilong was holding a feast for his aides and staff. He was not the least saddened by the fact that his country had perished and his wife was killed. Upon seeing Chenggong, he ordered him to pack his belongings and surrender to the Qing.

On hearing this, Chenggong fell to his knees and begged his father: "The mountainous terrain in Fujian and Guangdong are precipitous and favourable for defence. So long as we are able to recruit fine soldiers and give them intensified training and reassure the people, we will be able to bring about a resurgence of the nation. We should stay on to where we belong, why should we be a slave to a foreign power? Please consider this seriously, father!"

Blinded by the lust for gain, Zheng Zhilong brushed Chenggong aside. Zheng Chenggong's uncle, Zheng Hong Kui (
), was touched by his nephew's sense of patriotism. He helped Chenggong up and said vehemently: "you are a man with great ambition. The task of overthrowing the Qing occupiers and reinstating the Ming dynasty depends on your efforts. Run for your life now, your father will not let you off." There was little that Chenggong could do but to flee Anping in the night.

One day while Zheng Chenggong was observing the drilling of the soldiers at Mount Pan in Fengzhou, Nanan, a few of his close friends and relatives brought him a letter from Zheng Zhilong. In the letter, his father tried to persuade him to surrender to the Qing by promising him wealth and status in return. Chenggong flew into a rage after reading the letter. He tore it into fine pieces in the presence of his soldiers.

He was greatly ashamed of his father's behaviour of surrendering to the enemy to gain wealth. He could not sleep when the night fell, so he wrote a letter to his father, saying: " It has always been the father teaching the son to be patriotic, there is no such thing as the father telling the son to surrender in exchange for wealth. If you insist on your ways, I have no choice but to oppose you." Therefore, he parted ways with Zheng Zhilong.

Seeing that he was unable to persuade his son, Zheng Zhilong, together with his remaining troops, surrendered themselves. The Qing General, Bo Luo (
), hit it off immediately with him. He shook his hands and addressed him as brother. They behaved as though they were long time pals. Bo Luo even held a dinner in Zheng Zhilong's honour. During the dinner, Bo Luo broke an arrow into two and assured him that he would gain wealth and status. However, on the third night, Zheng Zhilong was held as hostage by the Qing army to Beijing.

Although Zheng Chenggong had, on several occasions, been to the battlefield, he still carried a scholarly look. As he looked back, he decided to abandon the academia to take up the arms. He vowed to use force to fight against the Qing aggressors and to restore the glory of the Ming dynasty.

This day, he came to the Confucius temple in Nanan, wearing his armour suit and carrying his scholar gown. He burnt his gown and pledged in front the confucius statute: "From today onwards, I am going to end my scholarly ways and put on the armour to defend the country, but I will remember your teachings." He then left.


       Further details are furnished by the following version:


Loyalty to the Ming Empire
Beijing fell in 1644 to rebels led by Li Zicheng, and the last emperor Chongzhen hanged himself on a tree at Mei mountain. Aided by Wu Sangui, Manchurian armies knocked off the rebels with ease and took the city. In the district below the Chang Jiang, there were many anti-Qing people of principle and ambition who wanted to restore descendants of the Ming Dynasty to the Imperial throne. One of these descendants, Prince Tang, was aided to gain power in Fuzhou by Huang Daozhou and Zheng Zhilong, Koxinga's father. When the Qing captured Prince Tang, Koxinga was in Zhangzhou raising soldiers and supplies. He heard the news that his father was preparing to surrender to the Qing court and hurried to Quanzhou to persuade him against this plan, but his father refused to listen and turned himself in.

Death of his mother
Not long afterwards the Qing army captured Quanzhou, and out of loyalty to the Ming Dynasty, Koxinga's mother took her own life. When Koxinga heard this news he led an army to attack Quanzhou, forcing the Qing troops back. After giving his mother a proper burial Koxinga went directly to the Confucian temple outside the city. There he took the Confucian style clothing and hat that he usually wore and burned every last thread. In tears, he prayed to Confucius saying, "In the past I was a good Confucian subject and a good son. Now I am an orphan without an emperor. I have no country and no home. I have sworn that I will fight the Qing army to the end, but my father has surrendered and my only choice is to be an unfilial son. Please forgive me."

He left the Confucian temple and proceeded to assemble a group of comrades with the same goal who together swore an allegiance to the Ming in defiance of the Qing.


       One of the primary tenets of Confucianism is filial piety. At this time Koinga felt that he was grievously and irreconcilably out of harmony with one of the core precepts of his religion.


       Substance is lent to the claim that Koxinga became a Shaolin monk by this final vow of revenge. His other vow to remember the teachings of Confucious would explain the abundance of Confucian influence on the Shaolin temple complex  in Jimei.


       It is also highly possible that the Confucian design was introduced as a subterfuge to spare the Shaolin temple in Jimei from the persecution and destruction to which the other Shaolin temples fell prey. The Henan, Putian, and Quanhou temples were all burned several times, with many of the monks therein killed on each raid. It would likely help stave off invasion to allow the Qings to think that the complex was just a peaceful Confucian temple that posed no threat to their regime.


       Adding elements of additional religions may also have made Buddhism more appealing for converting Confucianists, thus garnering more support for the revolution. This also may have been crucial in unifying Taiwan, where Koxinga introduced Buddhism .The fact that he did institute Buddhism to the newly formed nation on Formosa island indeed bolsters the possibility that he was a Shaolin warrior monk.


       This fusion is evident in the Nagasaki prefecture of Japan as well. The Shokofuji buddhist temple, built in Nagasaki in the 17th century, is patterned after Fujian architecture, and was headed by Abbot, who was one of Koinga’s comrades in the revolution and the previous Abbot of the Wangfu Temple in the Fujian province. The statue from this temple depicted here is definitely of Shaolin origin, and there are also Buddhas making Shaolin warfists and some statues armed with hatchets within the temple.


       There is also a statue of an armed warrior wielding a great halberd. His stance has evolved to one more reminiscent of the Konigun ninja present there, yet the positioning of the staff is consistent with many of the Shaolin warriors.  


       The Koshibyo Confucian temple in Nagasaki also bears remarkable similarities to the Shaolin temple structures in Jimei. Chief among these are the curved, horned roofs, dragons on top of the roofs, and, last but not least, red flowers on the roofs. The twin pillars on the temple’s verandah are also uncannily reminscent of those posessed by their forefather in Jimei. Though this temple was officially built in the 1800’s, it was quite obviously influenced by Koinga’s structures here.


       The Konchi Matsuri celebration, held each October, is Nagasaki’s greatest festival. Note the distinct Shaolin features of the warrior monks in the festival decoration, including warrior monks brandishing weapons and the presence of red flowers.


       These similarities and influence serve to corroborate not only the influence of the Jimei temple on the development of the Chinese architecture in Nagasaki, but on the Japanese martial arts and Konigun Ninjutsu, whose shadow warriors resided in the Nagasaki prefecture at that time. It is almost certain that Konigun Ninjutsu and Zheng Chonggong mutually influenced each other at that time.


       The presence of warrior monks in the Nagasaki area of Japan even well before that time is documented by the following excerpt from an online tourist guide to the Kofuku-ji temple.


Dating from an even earlier period is the bronze Buddha head, which, save for a crumpled left ear, is in exceptionally good condition. The original, complete statue was stolen from another temple by Kofuku-ji's warrior monks sometime during the Heian Period (794-1185). The body was destroyed in a fire, after which the head was buried underneath the replacement Buddha. In 1937, it was rediscovered during a renovation of the building. (Italics added)


    This discovery may not have the mystical appeal of one of the legendary lost cities or artifacts. Certainly it cannot imbue the immortality that the Holy Grail or fountain of youth can. It isn’t nearly as romantic as Hamunaptra or Atlantis. The weapons we found were not Excalibur, nor did we discover the ruins of Camelot.

       What this treasure has, however, that none of the above can claim, is substantiable reality. We have found evidence that this was real, and thus what we have discovered is something that lives on today through the practicioners of martial arts and to those who stand up to oppression in its various forms throughout the world. And though it is certainly no El Dorado or Coumel it contains cultural riches more precious than all the monetary wealth in the universe.


       As conservationists, we value the rich cultural heritage embodied in this find, and hope it will be preserved for future generations. We see the precious heritage here and throughout the world and hope that enough people will take a stand, as did these great warriors of old, to preserve what is theirs (though hopefully more successfully).


       As martial artists we treasure the heritage specific to martial arts here. This is one of the places where virtually all martial arts in the world have their roots. We are honored and humbled to be able to pay homage here.


       As brothers and sisters of the Konigun Ninjutsu Ryu we particularly cherish the impact this very place and those once therein have directly had on our heritage, as they have passed on their great knowledge and traditions in 18th century Kyushu. We humbly and gratefully acknowledge the role our forefathers had in handing this great art down to us, and indelibly shaping it along the way. We are mindful of the persecutions and hardships they endured to achieve this end, and pay solemn tribute to this. We hope that we, too, can pass our art down to future generations and stand up for truth and justice as these, our predecessors so courageously did.


       We are presently assisting Abbott Shi Chong Deng of the South Shaolin Temple in lobbying for UNESCO recognition of Shaolin martial arts. The government of the PRC has stated that the Shaolin heritage is the most important cultural resource China possesses. We are honored and privileged to be a part of this noble effort, and are confident that it will result in the future recognition, preservation and benefit of all martial arts derived from Shaolin, as well as many items of cultural heritage worthy of preservation.


       This research has been conducted and shared as a free public service by The International Conservation Society, Konigun Ninjutsu, China, and the International Martial Arts Academy. We do not receive any public funding for our work. We greatly appreciate the donations and support that have made this momentous discovery possible. You, too, share in this triumph, and this is as much yours as it is ours. Please help assist us in carrying out future research and conservation projects. We are dependent upon your donations. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support. Together we truly can make a difference.


Copyright 2008 Trey Woodford, all rights reserved. We would be delighted, however, if you freely duplicate distribute this text or any portion thereof as public domain, for any NON-COMMERCIAL purpose, particularly for public information, educational or nonprofit purposes, and would only ask that you credit the original author, refrain from plagiarism or misrepresentation, and provide a link back to this site.