Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Truth becomes known to us early or late, each excels in his field career or trade. Yu Jim Yuen although according to each disciple's qualification and quality assigned them to different positions and characters, but on stage no matter the role their basic foundation could not be missed. This is the meaning of what Beijing Opera actors often called "the act does not leave the technique".

According to second sister Yuen Po, Master Yu's intense training back then was disheartening. She says, "Getting up at 6AM, first we did laps on the roof, then performed hand stand for a hour, then basic training until 12PM lunch. At 1PM we started again, somersaults, carpet work, crouching tiger, tiger leap, hand stand, then 100 sweeps. We didn't stop until 5PM. If we had to perform at the Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park, we often left at 6PM, started the show at 8PM. After the show the Master would perform a live review. When we returned to the school it was almost 11PM."

Training Secret, Everyone Screamed
After months and years of energy expenditure only exhausted the body. What had the children cowering was Master Yu's unique training secret. Yuen Po says, "Sometimes Master would put a piece of gum on the tip of your nose and you had to kick it off, which trained your kicks. He also asked you to form a duo to perform a split back to back. The most terrifying was Master would put you horizontal on his lap and pull you waist back. It was so painful that everyone for screaming for help, but what could we do. Everyone experienced that. Master would not soften because you was screaming."

About this inhumane period, Jackie Chan in his autobiography I AM JACKIE CHAN revealed, "If you try to use illness and injury as excuses to reduce training, they never work with Master. In the eyes of Master, as long as you can still move, you can fly. Thus, using illness to explain lack of training or improper movement would not be accepted."

To be fond of an easy life and averse to work is ultimately human nature. Although Master Yu was strict, Seven Little Fortunes had their opposing strategy. Yuen Qiu says, "Don't you think Master knew who was cutting corners? Who was only doing half leg sweeps? Yet 100 truly was too much, we kids couldn't care less. When we could cut corners we did, we worried about punishment when it came."

Forced Out Teacher, Soldier Replaced
Children loved to jump around. Although it was tough, once they were used to it they could handle it. Yet the worst was having them sit still and study. According to Yuen Biao's recollection, Yu Jim Yuen later hired a teacher to teach Seven Little Fortunes for five hours. It was the biggest punishment. He says, "Master hired teachers to help us with learning and recognition words. Which one of us liked studying? Then all the children got together to pick on the teacher. Master felt that teacher was too soft. Later he switched to a teacher with a military background, we immediately were out of luck." (11)

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