His name is also romanized as: Lo Kwan Yu / Law Kwong Yuk / Lo Gwohng Yuhk / Lo Kwang Yo / Lo Kwon Yuk / Low Kwan Yu.
Born in Penglai county (Shandong Province) in 1888, shifu Luo Guang Yu started training under shifu Fan Xu Dong around 1908.
The Hong Kong tradition mentions that shifu Luo Guang Yu used to make and repair shoes for a living, however the Malaysian branch mentions that shifu Luo Guang Yu’s father was a rest house owner, and shifu Luo Guang Yu worked in that rest house and not as a cobbler.
The Shang Hai Central Jing Wu Sports Association wanted shifu Fan Xu Dong as instructor because of all the endearing stories of how he was trouncing all comers. Shifu Fan Xu Dong turned down the offer, partially due to the fact that he was by this time in his eighties. Instead he sent shifu Luo Guang Yu in his place, who arrived to Shang Hai (Jian Su Province) in 1919. Shifu Luo then had to beat the stuffing out of a lot of people in order to gain the same or at least comparable respect to his master. For example, in 1919 he won the Grand Championship in a fighting competition held in Shanghai.
It is said to have practiced every form in the praying mantis system daily, shifu Luo’s skill level in praying mantis was developed to a high degree. He taught for ten years within the Shang Hai Jing Wu Association, and Luo’s reputation was further enhanced when one of his students (shifu Ma Cheng Xin) won in 1929 a fighting in Nanjing.
Shifu Luo Guang Yu was a triad member under the Qing Bang, where he was brother of the famous Chang Quan Tang Lang Quan master, shifu Wang Song Ting.
Because of his fighting ability, shifu Luo Guang Yu was called one of the three “Three major boxers of Jing Wu” (Shang Hai) and he became one of the “Four Super Lords” of the Jing Wu Association (in Hong Kong).
Around the early 1930’s, shifu Luo Guang Yu was requested by the Hong Kong Jing Wu Association to come to Hong Kong and teach, and from then on Seven Star Praying Mantis Kung fu was then propagated to other parts of China besides Shan Dong Province.
Shifu Luo Guang Yu had six children, according to shifu Jon Funk 4 sons and 2 daughters and he mentioned that none of them have involvement with martial arts. However, according to shifu Zhao Zhi Min, shifu Luo Guang Yu had 5 sons and 1 daughter and one of his sons learned the mantis system, but he never took interest in teaching and did not follow in his father’s footsteps.
Shifu Luo Guang Yu’s favorite fist set was Tang Lang Tou Tao (Praying Mantis Steals the Peach). This a hand set that is performed with quickness, and is excellent for developing fighting skills. Shifu Luo was also known for his ability with iron palm, and would only spar with his student using defensive actions. He feared his iron palm ability might accidentally injure someone.
If we compare the PRC forms against shifu Luo Guang Yu ones, part of the reasoning why shifu Luo changed the Mantis he was taught, may have been to make it more functional, more adaptable to actual combat and to combat against more current fighting systems that existed at that point in time. Shifu Fan Xu Dong was a big guy and did not depend upon lightening quick movements but rather upon the overwhelming strength he had in comparison to many of his opponents. Shifu Luo shortened the movements, raised the stances and made the forms match more of his personal fighting style.
Other opinions say that shifu Luo Guang Yu changed his Northern Praying Mantis because he was influenced by the other teachers at the Jing Wu Association. In fact, even today the Jing Wu form Gong Li Quan is taught as a basic mantis set in many schools and in some of the fist forms you will find some eagle claw techniques what would prove there was some cross training done while shifu Luo Guang Yu was at Jing Wu. Additionally, other Jing Wu forms were adopted and added a mantis flavor, but the exact number of additions remain in debate.
Not many people know that shifu Luo Guang Yu was partially crippled in one leg and he did not favor low stances. Amongst his gong fu brothers he was not known as a forms man, rather he is regarded as a sanda specialist. Some masters claim this is the justification of the changes. But for whatever reason, it is acknowledged that shifu Luo did install some changes to the Mantis he had been taught.
Shifu Luo Guang Yu is arguably the most well known master in the Qi Xing Tang Lang history, the major reason he is so famous is because of his role in the Jing Wu association and the southern dissemination, and from there onto the rest of the world, of Tang Lang Quan.
Shifu Luo Guang Yu was appointed as Chief Instructor of the Executive Committee of the Man Keung Athletic Association set up by his students in Hong Kong. After which he planned the return to Shan Dong Province.
In 1944, shifu Luo Guang Yu was going back to his home county in China to retire (with his two sons). While in this trip to Peng Lai he got sick and passed away being 56 years old.