White Eyebrow Style (Bak Mei Pai)

Pak Mei (also known as Bak Mei and in Mandarin Bai Mei) is a Kung Fu system created by a Taoist monk of the same name. The date generally given for the formation of the style is 1647, just after the creation of the Qing Dynasty (1644). Bak Mei is said to have sported white hair on his brow but it may be, as was common in China, that the name refers to a distinctive white head band.

Taoist priest Pak Mei.

Taoist priest Pak Mei.

Bai Mei was said to have studied Shaolin at the main temple on Song Mountain. From this he travelled to O Mei where he learned new information while refining his early studies. This is one reason that Pak Mei is said – as is Wing Chun – to be the child of the two parents: Buddhist and Taoist martial arts.Pak Mei had only one disciple, a monk named Gwong Wai. Gwong Wai so respected his teacher that he named the entire system after him.

Gwong Wai’s only disciple was another monk name Jok Fat Won.

Jok Fat Won passed his knowledge to Lin Sang who had no disciples and also to a martial arts teacher named Cheung Lai Cheun (1880-1964, Zhang Li Quan: in Mandarin) in Canton.

Cheung was already expert in a number of systems including, interestingly enough, the Dragon Style developed by the nun Ng Mui.He had learned Dragon from Lam Ah Hap and earlier from Wong Che Si and Lam Ah Yuan (a student of the monk Tai Yok). From these various Dragon teachers he learned Depressing Hand, Serpent Hiss Boxing and more. He was also an expert in Li Gar and Beggar’s Style: all of them Short Fist styles of high level fighting.  After movng to Guangzhou he learned Pak Mei from monk Chut Fat Wan. Cheung became a top fighter and remained undefeated throughout his life. He was considered one of the three Tigers of East River and also became one of the Seven Southern States Champions. He moved to Honk Kong in 1949. He had a varied life becoming, among other things, the family instructor of C. T. Chan – Governor of Kwantung, head of 18 schools, and one of the instructrors of the Wang Poe Military Academy.

Cheung passed his knowledge to Cheung Bing Lam , Cheung Bing Fat (his sons), Kwong Man Fong and H.B. Un.

Some of Pak Mei’s forms starting with its core curriculum as shown by Cheung Lai Chuen:

Jik Bo Chuan
Kao Bo Tui
Sup Bat Mor Kiu
Mang Fuoo Chut Lam: The last form learned from monk Chu Fat Wan. 30 + moves concentrating on exploding power in the manner of a tiger.
Hong Sau Yup Ba Yen

and there is…

Sup Gee Kuen: A form derived from Hakka style was brought in by Lin Shi (Cheung Lai Chuen’s teacher), about 70 movements.
Sam Moon Quan: Three Doors was brought in by Mr. Cheung to honor his Li Jia teacher, Li Yi. 50+ moves.
Fu Bo
Sup Baat Fung Chun
Dai Sut
Chat Dim Mui Fa
Fa Pao

Sei Moon Bat Gwa: Cheung Lai Cheun’s own high level form incorporating movements not see in other Pak Mei forms.


Pak Mai staff work.

Translations of some of these forms
Straight Step form (beginning)
Small Cross form (beginning)
Stone Lion Cross form (beginning)
Small Three Doors (beginning)
Three Door Bridge (beginning)
Eagle Claw Continuous Bridge(beginning)
18 Rubbing form (intermediate)
Jik Bo Kun
Three Gate BaGua (intermediate)
Four Gate BaGua (intermediate)
Single Energy (intermediate)
Double Energy (intermediate)
9 Step Push (advanced)
18 Rubbing Hands (advanced)
Fierce Tiger Leaves Mountain (advanced)
Fierce Tiger Comes out of the Forest (advanced)
Five Element Rubbing (advanced)
Pak Mei Staff
Pak Mei Double Axes
Pak Mei Butterfly Knives
Pak Mei Spear
Pak Mei Tiger Fork
Pak Mei Tonfas


The hard-to-find Crompton 1st edition 1974 that can sell for up to $90.00 nowadays

Kicks of the styles include:
Zhuang Jiao: Clashing kick
Nie Jiao: Light Tread kick
Ding Ban Jiao (0r Shadowless: Wu Yin Jiao) kick
Chuan Xin Jiao: Heart Piercing Kick
Pian Shen Jiao: Lateral kick

Short Broadsword
Straight Sword
Double Sabers
Long Stool

One Hong Kong instructor, Yan Jian Guang, originally hails from Nan Hai, in Guang Dong. He makes the following comments on the forms: Tiger Leaving the Jungle was created by Zhang Li Quan uses the Pressing Tiger Step for maximum mobility. Five Element Rubbing Form trains sensitivity in the forearms and is used with the Shadowless Kick for coordination between hands and feet.

Pak Mei is an interesting and compact style.It is both an external and internal art where Chi Kung is martial and martial arts refine Chi. Pak Mei motions are aggressive, fast and very efficient. One of their main goals is to concentrate the entire force of the body onto a singal attack point. The snappy, explosive quality of their force is intimately linked to the relaxation of the muscle and the correctness of their postures. A middle-to-short range system Pak Mei is distinguished by its footwork and the unique “hunting steps.” The Phoenix Eye Fist is particularly emphasized along with whipping hands resembling FuJian White Crane Boxing. Steps are small and circular with great rooting. It also uses the concept of, Subduing Two Hands with One. If you see Pak Mei you witness a dynamic style where whipping, cutting and poking motions mix in a subtle and aggressive manner.

Other Pak Mei Principles and Theories include:
Yin Yang
Three Forms: Round, Flat and Thin
Four Internal Methods: Swallow, Spit, Float Sink
Five Elements: As other styles
Six origins of Strength: Body, Shoulders, Waist,  Limbs, Neck and Abdomen.
Eight Hand Techniques: Whip, Cut, Hold, Smash, Bounce, Snap, Wrap and Pound.


NOTE: There is one legend, denied by Pak Mei practitioners, that Pak Mei himself was a “traitor” because of his allegiance to the newly established Qing Dynasty. He was ordered to infiltrate one of the Southern Shaolin Temples. He did this and even burned that Temple down beginning the generations long diaspora of the so called Five Families which each hid and took Southern Family names. These re-emerged as the systems of Hung, Mok, Li, Choy and Fut (Buddha or Shaolin) styles. To this day some teachers will not teach Shaolin to Pak Mei graduates and call it the “forbidden style.” Almost in symbology of this Pak Mei stylists salute with the usual right fist and left palm salute reversed.

Bak Mei DVDs

Bak Mei VCDs

Bak Mei Books – English

Bak Mei Books – Chinese


One Response to “White Eyebrow Style (Bak Mei Pai)”

  1. Wong hin (Roger) Mo says:

    I am one many Master UN HO Bun student.
    Reading from here, much appreciate his name was mentioned.
    hopefully I can able to contact and discovered more of our Master.

    many thanks

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