Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Courtesy of

In the film CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, Leonardo DiCaprio took on a variety of disguises to escape from Tom Hanks' capture. Such battle of wits battles actually already appeared as early as the 60s in Hong Kong. Back then Yu Jim Yuen in order to battle mischievous disciples used every trick in the book like surveillance, sweet talk, and psychological battles. If "Three smelly tanners will beat one Zhuge Liang", then 50 to60 smelly tanners will beat 20 Zhuge Liang. Master Yu in order to make them submit could only choose to "do upon others that which you will have them do onto you".

Bad Talk Prevention, Cantonese Is Banned

Master Yu was an authentic Shanghainese who did not speak Cantonese. To prevent any bad talk about him he ordered that on school grounds only Mandarin was permitted. Whether deliberate or otherwise any"foreign language" was used, the cane awaited.

Seven Little Fortunes never dared to disobey Master Yu's orders. However, Sammo Hung Kam Bo, Jackie Chan, Yuen Wah, Yuen Biao and others were no slouch either. Everyone got lazy and took the risk of a beating. Their leg sweeps would always be halfway, their head stands would lean on fences; all were attempts to escape the Master's eyes.

Yet, old ginger is hotter. Master Yu had more salt than they had rice, how could Seven Little Fortunes win so easily? Master Yu constantly pretended to be asleep, his "Heavenly eyes" were half opened. As soon as a disciple slacked off a little, the Master would suddenly wake up and the slacker could only pay the price of a beating.

Naughty child Yuen Wah said, "At the time the Master read the paper while dragging us around in laps. The laps required coordination with hand gestures. Since we had our fill of the laps, we took the chance of when he was reading the paper to put our arms down. Who knew that his paper two two holes, his eyes were on us the entire time. How smart was he!"

Second sister Yuen Po also has experienced with her mentor's witty tricks. "Sometimes he would watch our training with a pair of sunglasses on but he would never move. We thought he was asleep but it was actually a trap."

Actually Master Yu was called the Opera "Jim" Bond. At the time he already knew how to use technology to watch his disciples' every move like a special agent. Yuen Biao said, "He really liked to use monitor device to listen to what we were doing, to see if we were chatting or sleeping; but we weren't dumb. As soon as we heard the noise, we knew that the Master turned on the speakers. Then we would keep quiet, sometimes he would even use a towel to cover up the monitor device."

Applying Both Tough and Gentle Tactics, Victory Is Certain

Master Yu not only established his might with physical punishment but also with psychological warfare. He deeply knew that the Seven Little Fortunes loved their dignity and accepted gentle and not tough tactics, so he constantly repeated his saying to keep the disciples in line. "Getting short-changed is actually to your advantage", "The Master brings you in, the training stays with you", "If you want to have bouncing prawns, you'd better properly jump for me", as soon as such phrases came out, no matter how rebellious you were your heart would have soften and obey the Master. One could say, no matter how mischievous the disciples were, Master Yu already had all the cards and firmly had victory in hand. (6)

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