Exhibits | 展品
Du To Wan, born in 1950, is a Hakka from Guangdong’s Hingning county. Du To Wan’s father ran a furniture business. He was forced into the labour rehabilitation programme during the Cultural Revolution. Du To Wan and his two siblings were thus left in their mother’s sole care. In order to protect his family he trained hard in the martial arts. In 1965 he finished secondary school and left home. In the following years he found employment as a wood-worker and carpenter in various places, including in Fujian and Jiangxi. In 1979 he migrated illegally to Hong Kong, at first working at a garment factory, then in 1990 he opened his own industrial laundry factory, which continues to this day.


He started kung fu training from around the age of seven. The martial arts he learnt were passed down within his family, and it was forbidden to teach people outside the Du clan in Hingning. Therefore, Du Gar Gau kung fu was practiced only within a few neighbouring villages which share the name surname. Every evening Du To Wan had to wait for the elders to finish kung fu and lion dance training, before he could practice with other village youngers under the elders’ supervision. Usually they had a group of around ten people, and their daily training consisted in kung fu and lion dance training, and “walking the eight immortal table”. Martial arts practice was a form of entertainment to them. Indeed, martial arts were very popular in Meichow’s Hingning area in general, and during Du To Wan’s youth he had many opportunities to acquaint with other local boxing forms such as Chu Gar Gau, Hung Kuen, Li Gar Gau, etc., which his peers in secondary school practiced. He even studied Li Gar Gau with his maternal uncle for a time, as he used to run his own school.

他約七歲開始練習家傳的刁家教4 功夫,由於興寧刁家教功夫不傳外姓人,只可在附近幾個同姓村落傳習,因此每天晚上,刁濤雲需要等待長輩們練功、舞獅(鬥牛獅/客家獅)後,然後才由長輩帶領村中小朋友練。一般十人一起練,功夫、舞獅子、跳八仙桌,每天都練,像日常娛樂一樣。梅州興寧習武風氣盛5,刁濤雲很多機會接觸當地不同的拳術,如朱家教、洪拳、李家教等功夫,中學的同學都有學,李家教甚至跟舅舅練,他的舅舅曾經開設武館。

He was fond of training with the wood dummy (a specialised method of Du Gar Gau’s) and liked to exchange with his brothers. He also followed his elders to nearby Du surname villages to train, and had trained with many elders such as Du Fong Ching. As Du Gar Gau was taught only to members of the Du family, the usual master-disciple relationship did not hold, as younger clan members simply learnt from their uncles and elders. Looking back, Du To Wan said that life was tough back then; all they could afford when visiting clan elders and teachers was to bring some baijiu, and when they did not have enough of that they would pour water into the alcohol. People were content with little. Sadly, many elders who taught martial arts were killed by the red guards during the Cultural Revolution.


In 1979 Du To Wan moved to Hong Kong. At first he worked at a garment factory, then in 1990 he opened his own laundry factory which continues to run today. Du To Wan now lives in a village house in Tai Po. Every morning before sunrise (at 4am) he begins his daily routine, starting with qigong, then he trains with the bean bags (Du Gar Gau has their own specialized training methods), and finally moves on to set practice. He has maintained this routine all these years, training early in the morning before he goes to work.


In 2015 during an ancestor worship ceremony the clan members decided that times had changed and that Chinese martial arts should be taught in a more scientific manner, and should not just focus on the fighting aspect. Moreover, it was necessary to spread Du Gar Gau beyond the clan to prevent it from being lost. Since Du Fo Lung and Du Lung Cheong founded the Du Gar Gau system over a hundred years ago, Du To Wan is now the fourth generation lineage holder. Individuals from the previous two generations had used kung fu for their own gain and brought shame to the whole clan. This led to the decision of not teaching Du Gar Gau to non-clan members and the closing of all Du Gar Gau schools. The time had come to reverse this policy.


In the same year, with his clan’s support, Du To Wan started Du Gar Gau Guoshu Association, and for a short while held classes at Tsuen Wan Kai fong Welfare Association together with Kwongsai Bamboo Forest Temple Praying Mantis ’s Du Kwok Cheong. Subsequently, he opened a school at his own laundry factory. He now has over ten students, all of whom joined through friends’ recommendation.