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Chapter 2 :
Liu Shui Met Other Heroes The First Time

Liu Shui Opened School For Chow Gar Tong Long

This is another part of the story where Liu Shui opened a school in Hong Kong and met all of the heroes for the first time.

Speaking of those who disregard the tens of thousands of the Southern Preying Mantis style followers, and believe they are the only dominant mainstream of martial art, would be a little naive and of less persuasion. In reality, popularity and recognition of a martial art style or stream does not really matter and is for the most part hype. Instead, people would have to see it to believe it and rather it is through the concrete fact of the experiencing and practising skills, then by word of mouth, and of course participation in martial art activities is what would certainly add value to the publicity of that one’s martial arts style. So, there is no need to put down others to uplift one’s fame or recognition, it simply does not work that way.  And this is considered disgraceful to the martial arts spirit!

Back to where we were. After Liu Shui met the super senior practitioner (the Taoist priest) and learnt from his mistake, he became more mature and acted more humbly with greater self-control and patience towards others. He came to Hong Kong during the Xuan Tong period of the Ching dynasty and settled down in Shau Ji Wan area of the Hong Kong Island, where it was known to be the popular settling ground for new comers.

Local Tyrants

At the time when Liu Shui came to the Shau Ji Wan area there were two local martial arts tyrants who already settled there for some time, both named Lee (Lee-X and Lee Tian-Wang - meaning; King of the Sky or Heaven!) who were not only rich but also had “unofficial” ruling power. Their students were not any better and were known to bully others, and thought of themselves as the overlords of the local area!

Liu Shui was not aware of any of the bullying business when he first came to the place. He only went there with one personal goal. This was to start a martial art school where he could teach and prosper, allowing him to refine his skills and expertise in the specialised stream of martial art known as Southern Preying Mantis (better known as Chow Gar Tong Long style). He also wanted to offer knowledge and his guidance to all those people who demonstrated an interest in Chow Gar Tong Long, in terms of practical applications, background, and possible further advance studies. These were the only reasons why he was in Hong Kong and why opened a martial art school and concentrated only in teaching his students and never bothered anything else as one should do as a responsible master. This was fair enough, but what Liu Shui did not realise was that Master Lee-X was actually living next door to his school. What an unexpected coincidence! Of course, the noise of a martial art being practised next door did not escape Lee-X’s ears or attention. In fact he was very annoyed and was puzzled as to why he was not aware of someone opening a martial art school right next door without his consent!? “How dare you!” he thought. This thought played on his in mind. “Well well, well, you just wait and see!” he thought to himself. He was determined to do something about this.

The reason why Lee-X was so upset about someone had opening a martial art school next to his place and not informing him about it was because at that time, people coming to the area to find job or earn a living in the area had bribe him (a respect as Lee would see it) and receive permission from him. This was the unofficial rule of the land as Lee regarded that part of Shau Ji Wan as part of his governing area and anyone who wanted to make a living there went by his rule book, otherwise, he promised a really, really tough time to those people who overlooked or ignored this rule! Right! You could imagine what this Lee-X was like at that time!

Condemnation - No Respect To The Overlords

One fine day, a well built fellow dashed into Liu Shui’s place and yelled: “Hey you! You’d been a bad boy, you know? As the old Chinese saying says; when you enter a temple, you should pray to Buddha. Who gave you the courage to come to someone’s area to open a martial art school without the consent of the local overlord?” He meant his boss of course, but didn’t say who he was. “How dare you be so disrespectful and ignorant?” he continued.  He then said: “It’s too late now, you cheeky lad! My master is coming here shortly to teach you lesson, so you’ll learn! Oh...you’re going nowhere but wait here, I’m afraid!” He then sighed loudly and pretended to take pity on Liu Shui for what’s going to happen to him. Just as he finished speaking, another strongly built guy walked into Liu Shui’s school. This man was no ordinary fellow but and had the noticeable characteristics of a martial art practitioner. He was about 7ft tall, strongly built with glittering eyes and dark eyelashes with a typical national hero look. When he spoke, a loud voice echoed around the room - you knew he was not an easy-going man!

As you may have guessed, this man was Lee-X and he condemned Liu Shui loudly: “Just who do you think you are? You come to my grounds but did not show any respect to the host here! I tell you I’m not having that! Today, I’m here and I want to see just what skills you have got to claim yourself a master and to be teaching students here!”

As usual, Liu Shui was very calm when the reckless fellow dashed into the school and yelled about. He was just stood there and listened. He kept his mind calm and clear and focused on every single word that went into his ears. None of the threats provoked him at all, and he showed no fear! He then stepped forward and greeted Lee-X politely.

Want To Teach Me A Lesson? By All Means!

Liu Shui said to Lee-X that he welcomed, by all means, whatever lesson he thought appropriate. Lee-X did not expect such a proud and direct response from Liu Shui and that really got on his nerve, so he yelled out again: “How dare you buster! It doesn’t help pretending to be calm, come on, and let me show you how to be respectful to the local master here!!” Liu Shui knew by the first look that this Lee-X was nothing but a local rascal and could not be reasoned with. To be able to live peacefully in the area and avoid even a slim chance of being plotted against in the later days, Liu Shui knew that he had no choice but to show him his determination and stance by means of to be friendly martial art challenge. It was clear that Liu Shui was a calm and alert person and he knew something was up when the reckless guy came into his school, and therefore had mentally prepared for it.

As Lee-X finished his yell Liu Shui already set his combat and defence pose signalling in his mind to Lee-X: “Be my guest!” Lee-X just could not stand the humiliation anymore and struck at Liu Shui with his powerful arm posed as a broadsword and aimed at an angle to Liu Shui, just like a hungry tiger hunting its prey. Wow, what a powerful strike! You really could hear the wind sound as Lee-X’s strike thrust through the air! It came really in the flash of light, but Lee-X did not realise who he was really dealing with. Liu Shui was focusing closely on the strike and as it about to reach him he twisted his body and retaliated with a powerful (Qi-Gong), spring-loaded like strike that sprung Lee-X off his strike path and left his belly wide opened. Liu Shui, of course took that opportunity and sent him a blow with his long waited and energy-filled fist strike right at Lee-X’s by the waist side. The truth was, the spring action magically (actually, no magic at all, that’s the secret of Chinese Qi-Gong effect) rerouted the accumulated power of Lee-X’s strike and sent it back to himself, that’s why he felt like being kicked to the sideways. So, this made Lee-X fell off a few feet away and landed on a bench inside the school hall. Actually, Lee-X was not only just fell, he was in effect being blown away by Liu Shui’s fist! As Lee-X was not simply well-built, he was actually a heavy bloke, so with this powerful blow (and throw), the inch thick wooden bench could not stand his weight and simply snapped.  It took Lee-X a little while before he could back on his feet. Then he finally realised Liu Shui was no ordinary young fellow!

Turned A Smiling Face

As soon as Lee-X realised that Liu Shui was a talented martial art master with extraordinary skills, he suddenly turned his hatred look to a smiling face, then stepped towards Liu Shui and gave him the traditional Shifu (master) style of greeting. Then he tried to loosen up the atmosphere and said: “We, the martial art practitioners, would be friends after this fight and encounter from now on. I wish that, you wouldn't mind exchanging some skills or practices in the later days. That would no doubt broaden my knowledge a lot! I'll be calling more often after today, and we would really be old friend!”

Liu Shui’s retaliated strike was no ordinary one but a well practised Chinese Qi-Gong, and the strike was at the Qi-men (the valve for Qi circulation) area in the waist of a human body.  Liu Shui showed his concern and asked Lee-X if he had got hurt in the internal Qi-men of his body. If so, Liu Shui said he could help to cure it. Lee-X was such a big fellow and at the time he was being struck down he was apparently not feeling any hurt in his body at all. So, when he heard Liu Shui's offer to help him cure his suspected internal trauma, he instantly burst into laughter and shouted out in reply: “I'm just a little slow in the response compared to you my friend. I'm also a well practised master, you know. How could I be hurt that easily by falling off the bench!? You're joking with me!” The bunch of trouble makers then left.

About half a month later, Lee-X’s death was on the local news. Apparently when his family gathered close by before he die and asked if there were something Lee-X wanted them to do. Lee-X drew his last breath and said: “Listen up real good. Remember...none of my descendants is allowed to practice martial arts whatsoever!”, and then he died.

Annoyed By the News – Tian-Wang: “Promised To Send You To Hell Within A Week”

Lee-X was such a mean, arrogant and unreasonable person who never realised his act in bullying people with his unofficial power and influence was never ever accepted by the member of the locals. It's a shame that he did not seem to regret a bit when he died!

The news of the fight travelled quicker that anyone thought, and it came to Lee Tian-Wang's ears and this really drove him up the wall!! Tian-Wang was another similar kind of person whose conceit was intolerable. He just exclaimed so furiously: “How dare you, Liu Shui boy, I promise to send you to hell within a week!” This was welcomed by his students and they all wanted to see Liu Shui suffer, that's for sure. 

The next day, Tian-Wang was pretending to be an ordinary local resident passed by Liu Shui's school and peeped inside for a clue as to what was so special about Liu Shui's skill. As he quietly watched for a while and all he saw what Liu Shui was teaching which included some common stuff, such as, arm and leg combat poses, leap and kick and all that. He thought that was no special skill at all! This put a smile on his face he and thought: “Alright! I can handle that!” (What a fool, didn't he realise he was only watching the students practising!). He meant to step inside and sort out Liu Shui right there, but a sudden hesitation arose on his mind and he thought for a little while and decided to wait for a little while. That was because something flashed out in his mind that people like Lee-X, who was also a well-practised martial art master, got done by this young fellow, so there must be something in it with Liu Shui's skill! But what exactly was that he just did not know.  Ah, he was not such a fool after all!

One Thin Mist Day: Liu Shui Was On His Way To The School

The reason why this Tian-Wang did not act when he thought “Liu Shui’s skill was no more than a kid’s play” was because he came up with an idea in mind for a plot to attack Liu Shui while he was alone. That’s why he left.

One day, the weather was not too good and everywhere was covered with a layer of thin mist. Liu Shui was alone and on his way to his martial art school. Tian-Wang was already lurking somewhere in the shadow along the road. Liu Shui did not expect to be plotted for attack, and so he carried on his usual way to his school. As he was approaching Tian-Wang’s hiding spot Tian-Wang wasted no time at all and struck with almost full power at Liu Shui, with an apparently very skilful kick that focused most of the energy on the tiptoe, aiming right at Liu Shui’s ribs area. As we knew already, Liu Shui was no ordinary martial art practitioner, and when we said he did not expect to be targeted by whatever reasons, but that’s not to say he would not be careful while travelling alone or would overlook things. In fact, Liu Shui was very an alert person, who had a good awareness of the surroundings. On approaching that spot, his defence instinct had already triggered an alarm in his mind, and he kind of felt something was up, and was therefore prepared for it.

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Translation: Brian Tsang
All names are in Mandarin Pin Yin form.
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