Choy Lee Fut martial art was found in 1836 by Chan Heung 陳享. Choy Lee Fut was named after the combination of his three instructors who taught him 3 different family of Chinese martial arts. The Choy 蔡 was to honor Buddhist monk Choy Fook 蔡褔 who taught him Choy Gar 蔡家. The Lee 李 was to honor Lee Yau-San 李友山 who taught him Lee Gar 李家. And finally, the Fut 佛 was to honor his uncle Chan Yuen-Wu 陳遠護 who taught him Fut Gar 佛家, developed to honor the Buddha and the Shaolin roots of the system.
Chan Heung 陳享 was born in King Mui 京梅, a village in the San Woi 新會 district of Jiangmen, Guangdong province of China on August 23, 1806 (July 10,1806 lunar calendar).
At age of seven, he started learning Southern Shaolin style Fut Gar 佛家 from his uncle Chan Yuen-Wu 陳遠護, who had trained under Du Zhang Monk 独杖禅师 at the Shaolin temple.
At age fifteen, his uncle brought him to his senior classmate, Lee Yau-San 李友山 who had trained under Zhi Shan Monk 至善禅师 to learn Southern Shaolin style Lee Gar 李家. Zhi Shan Monk 至善禅师 was known as one of the legendary Five Elders who surivived the destruction of the Shaolin temple during the late Qing Dynasty.
After 4 years of training under the intructions of Lee Yau-San 李友山, because of his impressive abilities, he was suggested to seek and train a Northern Shaolin style Choy Gar 蔡家under the instructions of Choy Fook 蔡褔, the "Monk with the Wounded Head" 爛頭和尙 who trained under five instructors - Jue Yuan Monk 觉远上人, Yi Guan Monk 一贯禅师, Li Sou 李叟, Bai Yu Feng 白玉峰, and Cai Jiu Yi 蔡九仪. He found Choy Fook 蔡褔 on Lau Fu mountain 羅浮山 where he had to beg Choy Fook 蔡褔 days after days to teach him Choy Gar 蔡家 since Choy Fook 蔡褔 had retired from teaching martial arts. Choy Fook 蔡褔 ended up training him both Buddhism and Choy Gar 蔡家 for 9 years.
At age twenty eight, 1834, he returned to his home village and started to revise and refine all that he had learned. He was given advice in a form of a poem known as a double couplet by Choy Fook 蔡褔.
By 1836, Choy Lee Fut Martial art was formally established.
In 1848, he sent out the 18 disciples to start and promote Choy Lee Fut martial arts schools. The 18 disciples were named the eighteen Lohan 十八羅漢 to honor the Bodhidharma who was the predecessor of Shaolin martial arts and taught the methods of the original Eighteen Lohan hands to the Shaolin monks.
Chan Heung 陳享 passed away at age sixty-nine on August 20, 1875. His legacy was passed on to his two sons, Chan On-Pak 陳安伯 (younger son) and Chan Koon-Pak 陳官伯 (elder son). The elder son was nicknamed "Yut Cheung Ng Mui Fa" 一槍五梅花 or "Five Blossoms with One Lance" due his specialty and advance control of the spear. And they continued spreading Chan Heung 陳享, their father, legacy throughout China and the rest of the World.