Chow Gar's Beginnings and Subsequent History
"Chow' Gar Praying Mantis kung fu is one of the few unadulterated, traditional Chinese martial arts available to prospective students today. The development of the style is attributed to a man called Chow Ah Naam, said to be a cook in Shaolin Temple..."
One day, Chow noticed a bird trying to catch and eat a praying mantis. Try as it might, the bird could not attack the mantis without being struck first. (The mantis' forelimbs are powerful tools, able to strike with force, to impale, to seize and to pull a would-be assailant). The bird, defeated and bloody, left the mantis and went in search of easier prey. Seeing this, Chow thought he might be able to improve his own kung fu if he learned how to fight like the mantis. He caught several mantids and studied their techniques. From this research, and with the help of senior monks, Chow created his art. This is a very abridged version of the story more fully presented elsewhere.
The system passed from Chow Ah Naam down to Wong Fook Go and then to Lau Sui. Lau Sui travelled from China's mainland to Hong Kong acknowledging Ip Shui as his successor in 1948. Grandmaster Ip Shui closed his hands, passing the mantle to his son, "David" Ip Chee Keung, on the occasion of own 90th birthday in December 2002. Ip Shui died in Hong Kong on 27th April 2004 and is greatly missed.
Until the 1940's, only Hakka Chinese people (Hak ka translates as "Northern Guest") were taught this martial art. The Hakka's history made them necessarily distrustful of outsiders. Ip Shui was one of the first non-Hakka to be taught the system - he was Cantonese. Since that time, the schools have opened their doors to other Chinese people and later, non-Chinese.