Wong Kei-ying or Huang Qiying (ca. 1815–1886) was a Chinese martial artist and physician of Cantonese ethnicity, who lived in the Qing dynasty. He was one of the Ten Tigers of Canton. His son, Wong Fei-hung, who inherited his martial arts and medical skills, is commonly portrayed as a folk hero in Chinese popular culture.
Painting of Wong Kei Ying
|Born||ca. 1815|
Xiluzhou Village, Xiqiao Ridge, Foshan town, Nanhai County, Guangzhou Prefecture, Guangdong Province, Qing Empire
Guangzhou Prefecture, Guangdong Province, Qing Empire
|Style||Chinese martial arts|
|Occupation||Martial artist, physician|
|Children||Wong Fei-hung (son)|
Wong was born in Xiluzhou Village, Xiqiao Ridge, Nanhai County, Foshan Town, Guangzhou Prefecture, Guangdong Province, which is now part of Xiqiao Town, Nanhai District, Foshan City, during the reign of the Jiaqing Emperor. His date of birth is not known. Since his son, Wong Fei-hung, lived from 1847 to 1924, his year of birth was estimated to be between 1810 and 1820.
In his younger days, Wong earned a living by performing martial arts and acrobatics in the streets. One day, he encountered Luk Ah-choi (陸阿采; Lu A'cai), a notable practitioner of the martial art Hung Ga. Luk was also a student of Reverend Jee-sin, one of the legendary Five Elders who survived the destruction of Shaolin Monastery by the Qing government in the 17th or 18th century. Luk saw great potential in the young Wong, accepted him as an apprentice, and taught him martial arts. Another legend, which reflects historicity in the Hung Ga lineage, says that Wong learnt martial arts from his father, Wong Tai (黃泰; ca. 1782–1867), who was taught by Luk Ah-choi.
Wong spent ten years training and mastering all the skills he learnt, including the Single Hard Fist, Double Hard Fist, Taming the Tiger Fist, Mother and Son Butterfly Knives, Angry Tiger Fist, Fifth Brother Eight Trigram Pole, Flying Hook, and Black Tiger Fist. Once his training was complete, Wong joined the Black Flag Army and became its martial arts instructor. However, as his wages were too low, he also opened a herbal medicine dispensary, Po Chi Lam (寶芝林), to earn additional income to support his family.
Wong was named one of the Ten Tigers of Canton, a group of the ten most famous martial artists in Guangzhou (Canton) in the 19th century. His martial arts and medical skills were inherited by his son, Wong Fei-hung, who also became a famous martial artist and physician in his own right.
In the many films about Wong Fei-hung, especially the Once Upon a Time in China franchise, despite his death in 1886, Wong Kei-ying appears as a supporting character with little screen time due to the real-life events that happened during Wong Fei-hung's lifetime. However the 1993 film Iron Monkey is a fictional depiction of the relationship between Wong Kei-ying and a ten-year-old Wong Fei-hung. It hints at how the younger Wong is shaped by the example of his father. He was also shown as the main protagonist depicted as a young man in his youth in the 2017 TV movie, Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-ying, which aired on HBO Asia.
Wong Kei-ying had a more prominent screen presence in Jackie Chan's 'Drunken Master', 'Drunken Master II' and 'Drunken Master III'. Veteran Hong Kong actor Ti Lung (狄龍) as well as Adam Cheng and Lam Kau brought a dignity to his portrayal of the character.