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Five Elders

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Title: Five Elders  
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Subject: Southern Shaolin Monastery, Ng Mui, Fong Sai-yuk, Chinese martial arts, Shaolin Monastery
Collection: Chinese Martial Arts, Quantified Human Groups
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Five Elders

Five Elders
Chinese 少林五祖
History of China
History of China
Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BC
Xia dynasty c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC
Shang dynasty c. 1600 – c. 1046 BC
Zhou dynasty c. 1046 – 256 BC
 Western Zhou
 Eastern Zhou
   Spring and Autumn
   Warring States
Qin dynasty 221–206 BC
Han dynasty 206 BC – 220 AD
  Western Han
  Xin dynasty
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei, Shu and Wu
Jin dynasty 265–420
  Western Jin
  Eastern Jin Sixteen Kingdoms
Southern and Northern Dynasties
Sui dynasty 581–618
Tang dynasty 618–907
  (Wu Zhou interregnum 690–705)
Five Dynasties and
Ten Kingdoms

Liao dynasty
Song dynasty
  Northern Song W. Xia
  Southern Song Jin
Yuan dynasty 1271–1368
Ming dynasty 1368–1644
Qing dynasty 1644–1911
Republic of China 1912–1949
People's Republic
of China

Republic of
China on Taiwan


In Southern Chinese folklore, the Five Elders of Shaolin (Chinese: 少林五祖; pinyin: Shàolín wǔ zǔ; Jyutping: Siu3 lam4 ng5 zou2), also known as the Five Generals are the survivors of one of the destructions of the Shaolin temple by the Qing Dynasty, variously said to have taken place in 1647, in 1674 or in 1732.

The original Shaolin Monastery was built on the north side of Shaoshi Mountain, the central peak of Mount Song, one of the Sacred Mountains of China, located in the Henan Province, by Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty in 477. At various times throughout history, the monastery has been destroyed (burned down) for political reasons, and rebuilt many times.[1]

A number of traditions also make reference to a Southern Shaolin Monastery located in Fujian province.[2][3] Associated with stories of the supposed burning of Shaolin by the Qing government and with the tales of the Five Elders, this temple, sometimes known by the name Changlin, is often claimed to have been either the target of Qing forces or a place of refuge for monks displaced by attacks on the original Shaolin Monastery. Besides the debate over the historicity of the Qing-era destruction, it is currently unknown whether there was a true southern temple, with several locations in Fujian given as the location for the monastery. Fujian does have a historic monastery called Changlin, and a monastery referred to as a "Shaolin cloister" has existed in Fuqing, Fujian, since the Song Dynasty, but whether these have an actual connection to the Henan monastery or a martial tradition is still unknown.[4]


  • The Five Elders of Shaolin 1
  • The Five Family Elders 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5

The Five Elders of Shaolin

Within many martial arts circles, these original Five Elders of Shaolin are said to be

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Mandarin pinyin Cantonese Yale
Ji Sin (Gee Sin) 至善禪師 至善禅师 Zhì Shàn Chán Shī Ji Sin Sim Si Also transliterated as Ji Sin Sim Si, literally, Chan (Zen) teacher" Speculated to be also known as Chi Thien Su.
Ng Mui 五梅大師 五梅大师 Wǔ Méi Dà Shī Ng Mui Daai Si Noted as founder of Ng Mui Kuen, Wing Chun Kuen, Dragon style, White Crane, and Five-Pattern Hung Kuen
Bak Mei (Pei Mei) 白眉道人 白眉道人 Bái Méi Dào Rén Bak Mei Dou Yan Literally "Taoist with White Eyebrows" Speculated to be also known as Chu Long Tuyen.
Fung Dou Dak 馮道德 冯道德 Féng Dàodé Fung Dou Dak Taoist Founder of Bak Fu Pai.
Miu Hin 苗顯 苗显 Miáo Xiǎn Miu Hin an "unshaved" (lay) Shaolin disciple

The Five Family Elders

The founders of the five major family styles of Southern Chinese martial arts, were all students of Gee Sin (see above), are also sometimes referred to as the Five Elders. This has caused some confusion.

Common English Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Mandarin pinyin Cantonese Yale
Hung Hei (Goon) 洪熙官 洪熙官 Hóng Xīguān Hung Hei (Goon) founder of Hung Gar
Lau Saam Ngan 劉三眼 刘三眼 Liú Sānyǎn Lau Saam Ngan literally "Three Eyed Lau;" founder of Lau Gar
Choi Gau Yi 蔡九儀 蔡九仪 Cài Jiǔyí Choi Gau Yi founder of Choi Gar
Lei Yau Saan 李友山 李友山 Lǐ Yǒushān Lei Yau Saan founder of Lei Gar; teacher of Choy Li Fut founder Chan Heung
Mok Ching Giu 莫清矯 莫清矫 Mò Qīngjiǎo Mok Ching Giu founder of Mok Gar

See also


  1. ^ Shahar, Meir (December 2001). "Ming-Period Evidence of Shaolin Martial Practice". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies (Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies) 61 (2): 359–413.  
  2. ^ Title: Martial Arts of the World [2 volumes]: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation, Thomas A. Green (Editor), Joseph R. Svinth (Editor) Page. 94, Hardcover: 663 pages,Publisher: ABC-CLIO (June 11, 2010), Language: English, ISBN 1598842439, ISBN 978-1598842432
  3. ^
  4. ^ Author: Meir Shahar, Publisher: University of Hawaii Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2008), Language: English, ISBN 082483349X, ISBN 978-0824833497

Further reading

  • Chu, Robert; Ritchie, Rene; & Wu, Y. (1998). Complete Wing Chun: The Definitive Guide to Wing Chun's History and Traditions. Boston: Tuttle Publishing.  
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