My Experience During The L.A. Times Interview by Howard Tan
Two reporters in their late-20′s came to visit Sifu Tom Wong. Both were about my height at 6ft. One carried a note pad, and the other carried 2 cameras. Sifu offered them some food and drink before they started the interview with questions about his background and reasons why Sifu began studying the art of Wing Chun. Sifu gave them a brief history of Wing Chun and the principles of Wing Chun. But the reporters seemed more interested in the stories about how and why Sifu Tom Wong became one of the top Wing Chun masters in the United States. Sifu continued with the stories of how he got the chance to meet the grandmaster of Wing Chun (Sum Neng) in China who had been undefeated for over 50 years. Sum Neng is recognized by the Chinese Central Government as the one and only chairman of all Wing Chun styles as documented and aired on China’s national t.v. in the 1980′s.
After interviewing Sifu Tom Wong, the two reporters asked if they could see some Wing Chun techniques. So Sifu starts off by showing the genuine and rarely seen “one-inch punch (see photo).” At first, the photographer was trying to take a photo as Sifu sent me flying back 25 feet! (measured distance), but it was too fast for the cameraman to capture. The photographer decided to set the camera to auto so that the camera would keep shooting at 5 frames per second. Only then was the infamous “one-inch punch” caught on film. Next, Sifu showed them the very powerful side kick. From a lead-off stance position, Sifu stood a leg’s distance in front of the shield. Without running or stepping to build momentum, Sifu thrust his leg into the shield sending me flying back once more into his fence. This awesome sight of power made the two reporters very excited and amazed but they were still in disbelief. So they asked to try it out and feel the power for themselves. Sifu sent the reporter flying backwards while the photographer filmed closely. After experiencing the powerful kick, the reporter was even more excited but this time convinced that the Wing Chun demonstration was not a set-up. Sifu asked the photographer if he thought he could withstand the impact of the kick without being sent backward. Being a fairly well built man, the photographer said with confidence that he could handle the side kick. He was also sent back. The two reporters agreed that they’ve never felt such power before. The whole sequence of photos will be shown in KungFu magazine.
Then, Sifu asked the photographer if he had good reflexes. The photographer said yes, so Sifu asked him to get ready and show him how to block a kick to his stomach. Without telegraphing his movement, Sifu did a famous Wing Chun kick called, “shadowless kick.” The kick was so fast, the photographer didn’t even have time to blink or react. Sifu retracted his kick a millimeter away from the photographer’s stomach with fine and controlled execution. The photographer’s jaw just dropped and I could tell that the reporter was breaking into a cold sweat. Both the powerful shadowless lead-off front kick style and the “one-inch punch” demonstrated Sifu Tom Wong’s fine control of explosive internal energy and they are some of his unique trademarks.
After that Sifu showed them a few De Su (ground fighting) techniques, which was more skillful than most Judo, Jujitsu or wrestling moves. Sifu with one technique which takes less than 2 seconds had already took me down, pinned both of my legs with one of his, and had a choke on my neck. In a real fight, Sifu could easily have broken my ribs and still finished the moves under 2 seconds.
Sifu Tom Wong ended the interview by saying: “Martial arts should not be explored as a violent means of practice and monetary gain, instead, martial arts should be emphasized for health, self-control, self-defense, kindness and friendship.” I’m certain that Sifu had given the two reporters a new perspective of the depth and skill the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun has to offer.