Pak Mei Pai Altars 白眉派神檯
In traditional Chinese Martial Arts schools you will almost always find an altar. This altar is for honouring and paying respect to the kungfu ancestors (拜祖 Baizu) a kind of memorial. In Chinese the altar is called a Zai Tan (祭壇 Jitan), Zai means to "offer" and Tan is altar. In Chinese Martial Arts school the altar is called a "martial shrine" or San Toi (神檯 Shentai, literal Spirit table).
When a student enters the training hall he pays his respects to the altar with a short bow or a salute. More official is three bows with 3 sticks of incense (more known as "kowtau" 叩頭 literal knock head) that are left on the altar in a jar with sand. Or the offerings of paper money, candles, food and drinks. The last two a usually refreshed every day. The food, drinks and paper money are for the deceased masters to have in their afterlife's. The incense and candles (these days often replaced by red lights) are should send a signal to the heavens in hopes that they watch over and bless the training in the hall. The nice fragrance and the rising smoke from the fire should please the ancestors or Gods in the altar and tempt their spirit to attendance.
On the altar you can find for instance a picture with text or only texts (creed) and the usual items as incense, food, etc. In Pak Mei school many times picture of Grandmaster Cheung Lai Chun (張禮泉宗師) with characters is found (see below).
|Text left (cantonese):
Song Saan Sat Noi Hin Kei Text left (pinyin):
Song Shan Shi Nei Xian Gi Gong
||Text right (cantonese): Baak Mei Cyun Sau Zan Miu Sau Text right (pinyin): Bai Mei Chuan Shou Zhen Miao Shou|
Lee Family Pak Mei Altar
In the Pak Mei Family school of the Lee Sai Keung (李世強師公) lineage we usually use an other altar. It has no picture on it and consist only of text (poem) (see below).
|Text top (cantonese): Jyun Fo Fung
Text top (pinyin): Yuan Huo Feng
English: Wind Fire Hall (r to l)
|Text left (cantonese):
Si Fu Zan Cyun Fu Pau Jin |
Text left (pinyin): Shi Fu Zhen Chuan Hu Bao Xing
English: master (sifu) transmits tiger and leopard (forms)
|Text right (cantonese): Sin Jan Zi Dim Lung Se Seot
Text right (pinyin): Xian Ren Zhi Dian Long She Shu
English: immortal(s) teach dragon and snake art
| Text middle (cantonese): Baak Mei Zou Si San Wai
Text middle (pinyin): Bai Mei Zu Shi Shen Wei
English: White Eyebrow grandmaster (founder) altar (spirit place)