Monday, August 10, 2009


Students who enrolled in the China Drama Academy were not necessarily in top shape or best material for martial arts, but they had something in common -- they were definitely mischievous. Sammo Hung Kam Bo, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao......everyone was a mischievous star, but the king of mischief had to be mortal demon king Yuen Wah!

Previous columns have already described traces of Yuen Wah's misdemeanors. His mischievous history would be too long to write, smoking, arson, building jumping, student assault he has done them all. In comparison to Jackie Chan and Sammo, Yuen Wah got a small scolding every three days and a big one every five. He had the most among his peers and was the king of caning. He was the "Big Brother" under Master Yu Jim Yuen's cane.

Mischievous Wax Play Nearly Caused A Fire
Speaking of his mischievous past, Yuen Wah laughs, "Aside from training, we had a little entertainment. Once I boiled wax for fun and threw everything flammable into it. Finally as soon as I added water, the fire roared and almost burnt the entire storage room. After finding out Master was raging and immediately took a knife to my finger. He said that he wanted to chop off my finger and grabbed my hand. He did the full gesture so I was ready. As he was about to chop I immediately pulled my hand away. Master missed me, then pushed me away as a punishment."

Although he almost lost his finger, but the contract stipulated that even the school would not be at fault even if he died. If he truly lost his finger, who would Yuen Wah blame? Unfortunately Yuen Wah was stubborn and remained true to himself. Thus among the brothers, he had the nickname of "Little Flower Face" and "Clown".

Actually which child was not mischievous? Yuen Wah however did not learn what she should learn. He picked up smoking and never stopped since, as he could never quit. Yuen Wah says, "Back then I could miss a meal, but I had to smoke a cigarette. At the time I saw the brothers smoked so I joined them. Before leaving school, Master caught me stealing cigarettes. I thought you didn't have me to yell at for long, so you just go away. I just kept smoking."

Aside from smoking, fighting to Yuen Wah was also an everyday occurrence. When the conflict was internal or external, the fist was always Yuen Wah's status symbol. Back then over a hanger he used an iron to block Yuen Qiu's fist and left a permanent scar on Yuen Qiu's arm. Obviously Yuen Wah fought whether the matter was big or small, or who the opponent was. Yuen Wah says, "Not only Seven Little Fortunes, we really liked to fight people outside. Of course, outsiders always called us bald kids. How could we not be mad? We always ended up at the police station and we were familiar with all the cops."

Disciple Record, Sacrificial Lamb
Yuen Wah liked to start trouble, punishment was of course expected. Yet his over 70 lashes record was not due to his mischief but his loyalty. Back then Sammo ran away from school and Yuen Wah did not tell on him. He became the first sacrifice under Master Yu's extreme punishment, while Sammo ran away scott free. Originally deserving the punishment, Yuen Wah this time became the sacrificial lamb. Heaven seemed to be playing a joke on him. (45)

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