Huo Yuan-jia / Huo Yuan-jia (Pinyin).
Fok Yuen Gap (Cantonese) Huo Yuan Chia (Wade-Gillies)
Famous kung-fu expert at the beginning of the 20 th century Huo Yuan-jia was the master of the first Chinese modern martial art school known as the “Jingwu Men”. His life, and especially his death, which happened in very strange circumstances, would feed a long-lasting myth. It was several times represented in movies, notably in Fist of Fury, starring Bruce Lee and its remake made twenty years later, Fist of Legend with Jet Li.
Event though the second film offers a progressive re-reading of the first one, and is different regarding numerous aspects, the way Huo Yuan-Jia is showed is almost the same in both films: Master Huo dies in an unexpected way, shortly after having fought a Japanese challenger in a friendly confrontation. Chen Zhen, his fifth disciple, comes back to attend the funerals. He finds out quite quickly that Master Huo was actually poisoned by Japanese conspirators willing to eliminate a martial master whose fame and teaching were bothering Nippon imperialistic views over China. In Fist of Legend, the guilty persons are the masters of a Japanese martial arts school, in Fist of Fury it is a fiercely militarist Japanese general. To avenge his master but also to save the honor of his school, as well as the offence inflicted to the dignity of the Chinese people, Chen Zhen leaves to fight the conspirators.
For obvious reasons, Master Huo only appears in the two films as a photograph prominently displayed on an altar table. For occidental spectators that have no knowledge in history of the Chinese martial arts, the disappeared character of the master could be only a fiction, as is actually the Chen Zhen character, but in fact, Master Huo did exist. He was a kung fu adept, that instituted the fame of Chinese martial arts after the fiasco of the Boxers rebellion, and the history of the two movies is inspired by the numerous rumors that emerged after his death.