Shaolin Gao Can Mun Nam Pai Chuan Kung Fu
Master Quek Heng Choon in kung fu uniform
Master Quek Heng Choon
Master Quek Heng Choon smiling

The Martial Arts History of
Master Quek Heng Choon

Master Quek

Master Quek Heng Choon was born in 1926 in Huian county, Fujian province, China. When he was 13 years old he met a wandering medicine seller named Liu Pingshan who was a master of the Taizu style. He became his student for 3 years. After this he started to train for himself.

In 1942, when he was 16 years old, his uncle asked him to join the army. He refused and left home to go and live in the Quanzhou Kaiyuan Temple. There he studied martial arts under Monk Maoyue for 15 months. He studied Wuzu Quan Sanzhan Simen Quan 18 step Saozhuan Quan.

He didn't want to return home after his time in the Quanzhou Kaiyuan Temple so he went to Xiamen to work in a teahouse. But somebody told him that there was no future working in a teahouse and asked him if he wanted to work in Singapore. He liked the idea and his aunt, who had lived in Singapore, took him there 2 years later.

Master Quek (3rd from left) at the Shuang Lin Temple
with other students of Cho Si

He went to Singapore in 1947, at the age of 21. A year later a friend suggested to him to study martial arts in the Singapore Shuang Lin Temple where Shi Gao Can was the abbot at the time. Because of his interest in martial arts, he immediately went to the temple. Abbot Shi Gao Can became his teacher.

Shi Gao Can was very strict with his students. Master Quek had to stay inside the temple walls to study martial arts for at least 3 years, during which time he wasn't allowed "even half a step outside the temple gates." Training took place three times a day, every day; the first training at five in the morning, the second at noon, and the last at seven in the evening.

After about 6 or 7 years of hard work, Shi Gao Can said: "Your study of the arts has been successful, now you 'can come down from the mountain' (leave the temple)." In 1954, he left the temple together with a classmate and they started the Singapore Sao Hua San Athletic Association. For their 2 year anniversary, they held a demonstration in Singapore's "Big World stadium."

Master Quek in tiger stance

In 1956 he left for Penang where he founded the Penang Sao Lim Athletic Association for Shi Gao Can. He led the school for 2 years and he brought in students for his teacher. At one time there were more than 300 people studying in the school of Shi Gao Can. The school is now run by Master P'ng Chye Khim.

In 1958 he founded Penang Sao Wah San Athletic Association and was the head instructor there. Later he was asked him to be an instructor in another school located in Penang. The next year he went to Kuala Lumpur to work in the harbour and taught martial arts in
a new village near the harbor, three times a day.

On May the 16th 1960 Shi Gao Can parinirvanaed (passed away).

Master Quek with Sifu Lai

For the first time Quek Heng Choon started to teach students on his own (instead of assisting Shi Gao Can in his schools) in order to popularise the martial arts. In 1963 he was asked him to become the Chief Instructor of a school in Kuala Lumpur. In 1967 he demonstrated Ying Qigong (Hard Chikung) by breaking marble table tops on his back in Singapore. He even received praise from the prime minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew (Li Guangyao). The next year he demonstrated Ying Qigong by breaking marble table tops with his hand in Kuala Lumpur and caused a sensation by doing so.

In 1971 he started his first formal school, Quek Heng Choon Martial Arts Sport School, and attracted students from Singapore and Malaysia. The next year he was to be the permanent Chief Instructor of Penang Shao Ci Shan Athletic Association.

He represents the original 50th generation of Shaolin and his students come from Malaysia, Singapore, and China. To further the martial arts, they always participate in competitions and demonstrations when invited. In 1973 his students joined the first South East Asia Competition and were very successful. He was also advisor and judge for the competition. In the same year, a Hollywood movie company shot the movie "Paper Tiger" in Malaysia and asked Master Quek to create some of the fight scenes along with Master Leow and Sifu Lai. Some of his students also acted in the movie.

In 1974 he went back to China to visit his family and also visited the Quanzhou Kaiyuan Temple, where he had studied martial arts 30 years before. In 1977 he initiated the Kuala Lumpur Song Shan Shaolin Wushu Association. Master Quek is the permanent Chief Instructor of this school.

In 1990 he started the Shaolin Gao Can Men in Singapore of Heroufo State and became the Chief Instructor. In 1993 he went back to China (Fujian Quanzhou) and started a school to teach Shaolin Wushu and Yijining. After 5 years, in 1998, he went back to Malaysia where he found students and taught Shaolin once again, which he did until his demise.

Master Quek teaching
Nam Pai Chuan students

He taught Yangshen Shu and long and short weapons and Yijinjing, Luohan Yangshen gong, Shenxinfa, Quantao: Yizhimei, Yizhichun and much, much more.

Master Quek is considered to be Shi Gao Can's most important and influential student from the Singapore/Malaysia era. During a training visit to London in 2009 Master Quek named Christopher Lai Khee Choong who is head of Nam Pai Chuan worldwide as his successor.

Unfortunately during a visit to China in February 2010 Master Quek succumbed to illness and parinirvanaed (passed away). He was aged 85. Sifu Lai and his students worldwide will continue to teach the art that was passed to them from Master Quek.