Lau Kar Leung was a third generation disciple of the historical Wong Fei Hung, the most important real life kung fu expert from Southern China who became the basis for the first black and white kung fu films made in Hong Kong. Wong Fei Hung was an expert in Hung Gar kung fu (an adaptation of the Shaolin Tiger style). Wong Fei Hung taught many pupils, the most well-known was Lam Sai Wing, who then taught Lau’s father Lau Charn, who then taught Lau Kar Leung. Lau Kar Leung was a real life master of Hung Gar, and he is also the most prominent auteur of the kung fu film to come out of the Hong Kong film industry, directing his films for the Shaw Bros. studio from 1975-1985. Lau took his expertise in traditional Hung Gar, and combined it with his knowledge of presenting kung fu as a stage performance from the Chinese Opera he learned from his father, as well as his years as a top action choreographer in Hong Kong cinema, and directed 17 feature length kung fu films for the Shaw Bros. studio. Lau was carrying on the tradition of showcasing kung fu to the outside world started by his father’s sifu, Lam Sai Wing, who published the first Hung Gar manuals in Hong Kong in 1917. In this same tradition, Lau would showcase orthodox Hung Gar in his films and by doing so kept the historical traditions of the Shaolin temple alive into the modern era.
Pellerin, Eric, "Lau Kar Leung and the Shaw Bros. Studio in Hong Kong" (2015). CUNY Academic Works.