My SiFus: Part 3
Farewell to SiFu Yip Man (惜別恩師)
Some events in your life you will never forget, nostalgic details that reveal themselves to you over time. I was at a cross road in my life deciding whether to move to the United States. I foolishly decided to move to America and before leaving, SiFu Yip Man wanted to show me something, and to have a talk with me. When I arrived at SiFu’s home, he showed me a pair of Baht Jahm Doh 八斬刀 that he had made. He explained to me the training necessary to fight with them and the importance of the details of the design of the double knives. One of his students owned a Chinese Weaponry shop and SiFu said that when I returned from my trip, he would forge a set of the double knives for me made specifically to my body measurements.
After we spoke for a long time, he gave me his copy of Bruce Lee’s 李小龍 first book. SiFu explained to me with great pride that Bruce Lee had dedicated that first edition copy to him. He was so proud of having had such a diligent student such as Bruce Lee and then SiFu gave the book to me. In retrospect, I felt he gave it to me to inspire me to continue my training. After he gave me the book, he asked, “Kong Jai, how long do you plan to stay overseas for your vacation? Somebody told me that you will be going to the United States for good. I hope not, because we don’t have too much time to see each other. My cancer is closing in on me and I worried I won’t have too many days left to live.” To hear him say such sad and heart felt words made my heart ache. I didn’t know what to tell SiFu, because in fact, I had planned to stay in the United States permanently if I could get legal residence status. However, I told him I would be back soon. SiFu then told me due to his age and illness, he could not teach me as well as he wanted and instead he would introduce me to his 5 private disciples. These private disciples had learned almost every thing from SiFu, and they would help to continue my training. Only years later, with the maturity and wisdom that comes only from life experiences, did I understand that SiFu didn’t really want me to leave at that time.
Reasons for leaving 離港因由
I wanted to leave because I was unsure of Hong Kong’s future. The Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Chow Eng Lai 周恩來總理, visited Hong Kong after an Asian tour and I was a member of the greeting group for Jardines Airways at the Kai Tak Airport. He told the public that China will take over Hong Kong after the British leave in 1997. 回歸祖國 The British had only rented the island from the Ching Dynasty 清朝 for 99 years. I was worried about the future because of our family’s brutal suffering during the cultural Revolution in China 文化大革命運動. I recalled how hard we struggled to escape the madness. I remembered how my younger brothers swam to freedom after training for 3 years in heavy currents with rocks tied to their bodies. They swam in the wide ocean for days and the endured the open seas and threats of shark bites. My mother and my older sister were convicted as fugitives from the Great Escape, 香港大逃亡 after they failed and were caught by the Hong Kong Boundary police. They were escorted back to China for free labor and served the Masses. My family, especially my father, suffered the Class Struggle, separation of family, and lost of my grandmother during those years. It was like we were living through the Holocaust 人間地嶽. Frankly, I had no intention to live in a place under the communist rules so I planned to leave Hong Kong and hoped some day I would build my future in a better place somewhere in this world. In my mind, I planned to enroll into college for my further education in Engineering Design or Space Study. This was my childhood dream. With only a high school education and with all of those years of working in the airlines, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t see myself progressing further than a common job. I felt, if I wanted to be somebody outstanding in my lifetime, I would have to go back to college and earn the knowledge to fulfill this dream. This change was a important decision for me.
The Adventure trip begins 尋夢異鄉
I had arrived in London via a British Airways (they called it BOAC at that time) jet. I spent a week in London with friends whom I used to play soccer with when I was younger. I had been the soccer team’s doctor (specializing in Chinese bone setting) 正骨跌打傷科隊醫. Our team, the Sic Ying Athletic Club 息影體育會, had traveled together to Taiwan for the President’s Longevity Cup tournament 總統萬壽杯 and won first prize. It had been many years since we had seen each other so we had a great time in our London reunion. For some reason, I felt England was not a place for me to stay for good, so I continued my trip to the land of dreams, the United States of America. I traveled around all the major cities: San Francisco, Los Angles, Boston, finally stopping in the Big Apple, New York. My friends told me that they could get me a job that would help to support me through college. If everything worked out, I would eventually obtain residency and stay in America. I had actually planned on staying in Los Angles for college and had already enrolled at Woodbury College in downtown Los Angles. However, the problem was, if I studied full time I wouldn’t have time to work. My friends, Monica and David, called me from New York City and told me they had gotten me a job in a Chinese restaurant as a trainee waiter. But if I took the job, I would have to move to New York and I might not have enough time for schooling. As a result of my travels to numerous cities and colleges, my funds were slowly depleting and my vacation was soon coming to an end. I had left my airline job in Hong Kong for too long and would not be able to get my old job back. I was in a tough predicament, and as a young man, it was difficult for me to admit that I made an bad decision. I made some bad choices along the way and I was too embarrassed to face my family, friends and colleagues. So, with a young man’s outlook and determination, I decided that I was going to start an uncharted new life in the United States of America.
Unexpected downs of life 起落無常
I had barely finished my high school education, and had been extremely lucky to have a job with the Airlines. Unfortunately, I was too ignorant to realize this at that time, and had an over-inflated opinion of myself. 目空一切 自以為是 For me, everything had seemed so easy to acquire (including the chance to learn from SiFu Yip Man). 得來容易不懂珍惜 Now I was in America starting a new life and things weren’t going quite as easily as I was accustomed to. The United States government changed their immigration laws and I couldn’t get residence status right away. I was lost, and sought advice from my friends who all advised and persuaded me to be patient and stay a while longer in the US in order to obtain residency later.
Maybe this was my fate, to experience the ups and downs of life. My prospects for a decent jobs weren’t very good because of my legal status, forcing me to survive off hard-working, menial jobs from within the Chinese communities. My jobs consisted of bussing tables, cleaning floors, throwing away trash and/or washing dishes. Waitering was considered the best job that I could get. While I was working these petty jobs, I always had to keep an eye out for Immigration Officers. One frigid winter I was working for a Chinese restaurant in uptown Manhattan. One day during the busiest hour of lunch, Immigration Officers raided the restaurant. As soon as I heard the warning, I slipped out of the side door and ran as fast and far as I could. I left my winter gear in the restaurant and the freezing cold of winter was stinging my skin. Of course that was the last day of my waiter job and the beginning of another miserable period in my life. My prosperity and good luck had been reversed in this new land. I was so disheartened. Was this what my future was to be like in the USA? I could not accept this and was determined not to give up.
Episode in New York 美國遭遇
It was hard for me to acquire a decent job that I liked due to my immigration status so I had to take any kind of occupation that I could to earn a living. It was hard to find a steady job and afford a good place to live. Eventually I met my uncle Mr. Hung Chu Lee 李洪柱 in the Prospect Park area of Brooklyn. He offered his apartment upstairs for me and some of my friends to share at a very good price. My uncle was a visual artist in Traditional Chinese Painting and specialized in flowers and birds. 功筆花鳥國畫 He was a very kind person who assisted and tutored me in Chinese Painting so I could earn a living as an artist. My uncle and I worked together everyday and as a result, we came to know each other very well. We spoke on many subjects. One day he said, “Che Kong, you’re an unusually strong young man, you must have trained some in martial arts.” This is how we began talking about Kung Fu. He then promised to introduce me to his good friend, a famous Martial Artist from Taiwan named SiFu Pang Hop. SiFu Pang was the leader of the Ng Mui style Kung Fu. I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm! According to legend, Ng Mui was the person who taught Yim Wing Chun, the founder of the style I had studied. I was curious about the Ng Mui style and looked forward to meeting SiFu Pang Hop.師父彭俠
The day arrived when my Uncle introduced me to SiFu Pang Hop and I got to see that he really knew something valuable. His style of martial arts was completely orthodox. We became good friends and over time spoke a lot about our different approaches to Martial Arts. SiFu Pang Hop told me that he knew a guy called SiFu Duncan Leung who was teaching Wing Chun Kung Fu in Greenwich village in New York City. At the time, I had never heard of SiFu Duncan Leung so I had no idea who he was.
One day, after painting for many hours, I needed to take a break. Occasionally, when I browsed the Chinese newspapers I had seen advertisements:- “SiFu Duncan Leung teaches the Wing Chun System, Pole and double knives...personally.” Teaching Wing Chun with the Pole and Knives was usually reserved for advanced practitioners so I was very curious to see who this man was. I ended up going to SiFu Duncan Leung’s school at 3 Great Jones Street in Manhattan, but unfortunately SiFu Leung wasn’t there. I sat down to observe the class and waited. I saw the students were doing very basic and fundamental exercises for a while and eventually, one of the students, the young and polite Morris Chisome, started talking to me. He asked if I had practiced before and I told him I studied Wing Chun in the past and was a student of SiFu Yip Man. He got excited and asked if I could do some Chi Sau with him. We practiced for a while, but SiFu Duncan Leung didn’t come back so I left.
Meeting SiFu Duncan Leung 同門相遇
I had a lot of pride and arrogance in the style of Wing Chun I learned. The message in the Chinese newspaper really surprised me. Teaching Wing Chun Fighting, Pole and Double Knives ... Personally—WHAT!?! 何方神聖 I wondered who was making these claims. As far as I knew, these weapons were reserved and taught only to the chosen disciples with good conduct and morality. It was absolutely not for strangers. I had to visit and find out who is this Duncan Leung Shiu Hung. This time SiFu Leung was there when I stepped into the school and he was explaining the Bong Sau position and it’s ideas to some students in his class.
After introductions, we were both curious about each other and we started to do some Sticky Hands. I began to really concentrate and was vaguely aware of some of the students watching us. Time flew by, it was time to close the school and he invited me to dinner and some more “fun” at his home, a walk-in apartment in Astoria, Queens. After dinner, we were both excited to meet a new Kung Fu brother and we wanted to learn more about each other and talk about Kung Fu. We spent hours testing each other’s skill, moving all around the apartment, knocking everything over in our maneuvering. I was really impressed with his understanding and skills. What a surprise it was to meet someone of his knowledge. In this Sticky Hand match, we were both totally controlled, doing exactly what SiFu Yip Man taught us to do in training Chi Sau. We didn’t try to hit each other by exchange, instead honestly trying to accomplish the the major ideas behind techniques, coverage, reflex, whole body coordination, and the back-and-forth movements with proper footwork, etc.,
After our Sticky Hands match, SiFu Duncan told me he hadn’t seen someone do Chi Sau like me in a long time. I felt the same way and was very happy to find a Kung Fu brother in this new land. He sincerely invited me to come back to his school for further training. He felt it was good to socialize together and have more fun training. I could tell he genuinely loved Wing Chun and was being very sincere. We started talking about many things and I told him about my immigration situation. He told me I could get sponsored for a special skills employment visa if I was the assistant instructor at his school. This seemed like a good chance to get legal residency status and so I decided to take his generous offer. This was how I first met SiFu Duncan Leung 梁紹鴻師父.
Wing Chun at 3 Great Jones Street 詠春拳館
I first came to assist my SiHing Duncan Leung because he offered me a chance to obtain legal residency through teaching at his Kung Fu School. Eventually, I started to enjoy training again and started gradually recognizing who , 何方神聖 SiFu Duncan Leung was. At that time in our teaching career, we were new to American culture, and wanted to promote the school and promote the Wing Chun style. Unfortunately, no one knew who we were. At that time, Kung Fu started to become popular, due mainly to the influence of our late SiHing Bruce Lee. The popularity of his Kung Fu movies exploded all around the world, increasing interest in Kung Fu fighting. As a result, many people came to our school for information while some came to challenge the Wing Chun Style to find out how it works. They knew that Bruce Lee 李小龍 learned Wing Chun when he was young. Everyday, there were at least 2 to 4 people kicking on the door. Some days SiFu Duncan Leung took on the challengers, and on other days I stood up for Wing Chun. It was a great opportunity for our school because our name and reputation started to grow. Many students joined and number of classes increased greatly. At the end of the day we were exhausted from teaching all the new students.
There were some very memorable encounters that I still recall to this day. I remember one gentleman who came in and said he had incredible kicks that very few Chinese martial arts could stop it. That day was SiFu Duncan’s turn and using the Wing Chun Kicking techniques, he sent the challenger a foot up into the air. Upon landing back on the ground, the challenger couldn’t move and had to rest for a long time before a couple of the students helped him go outside. A few days later, he came back to the school and asked to be a student. There were other encounters that led challengers to join our school and there were also many encounters that sparked friendships. SiFu Wong Tit Wai 黃鐵衛 of the Cantonese Wing Chun, SiFu Wan Chi Ming 溫志明 of White Crane and Hung Gar, SiFu Lee Sun Kit 李新傑 of Dragon Style, SiFu Lee Jun Fu 李振夫 of Xing Yi the Six Harmony, SiFu Chow Wai Ming 鄒偉明 of Dragon style and Ng Mui Pai (and eventual leader of Ng Mui Pai Style), The Black Dragon 黑龍 Mr Ron Van Cliff, 10th degree black belt in Goju Karate and his Sensei Frank Cruize and many, many others too numerous to list. There was no doubt that, everyone gained a newfound respect for this unknown Wing Chun fighter, SiFu Duncan Leung. Every martial art school in New York City knew that the Great Jones Wing Chun School took challenges.
MSG Tournament Training (默迪臣廣場世界拳擊大賽冠軍獎)
One day, some of the students approached us for permission to enter a full contact All Martial Arts tournament at Madison Square Garden. SiFu Duncan agreed but told them they needed to train extremely hard to prepare for this tournament. So he began to show them a special program which included sparring, timing, stamina training, etc. This made me curious about who this SiHing of mine was. As a result of this training, I came to spar with him. He set me up well. I was sure I was going to get him, but instead I fell right into his trap and experienced a Biu Jee technique that stunned me. I knew his skill level at that moment. He was in a totally different league than me. Also, I liked the way he approached Martial Arts. His outlook and method of teaching encouraged his students to trust their common sense and experience and to not blindly believe what they’re told. He explained to students, “Who I am is not important. The important thing is if I can teach you something practical.” It was exactly what SiFu Yip Man told me. All of these things made me more determined to find out more about this Kung Fu brother, SiFu Duncan Leung.
I recalled SiFu Yip Man’s last conversation about the 5 private disciples, and called my father in Hong Kong to find out if he was able to locate them but he didn’t know where to find them. None of them were in the public eye or teaching openly at all. I remembered one, whom SiFu Yip Man gave the nickname “Hung Jai”, had the real last name of Leung. SiFu had told me that “Hung Jai” from the Tsuen Wan area learned privately with his younger brother and showed me the pair of Parker pens “Hung Jai” had given him as a gift. In those days Parker pens were very expensive, and were considered to be high class collector’s items. Could SiFu Duncan Leung be “Hung Jai” from Tsuen Wan? I felt I had to research this more before I mentioned this to SiFu Duncan Leung.
Closing of the Great Jones School 拳館解散 各奔前程
One day, Dr. John Newton and David Meadow came from Virginia to visit our school. They asked if they could observe the class and then stood very quietly watching us teach and practice with students for a whole afternoon. Afterwards, they asked to speak with SiFu Leung. They said that our school was the school they were looking for, and that they liked the strict and serious attitude of SiFu Duncan’s teaching. They had a unique offer for him, a great proposal to start a new school in Virginia. When SiFu Duncan made up his mind to move to Virginia, I felt very disappointed. I was working towards getting a visa and all of a sudden, my sponsoring company was closing down. This was very hard for me to take, however I realized I needed to move on and I wished my SiHing good fortunes in Virginia. So once again, I had to take on any kind of job to survive.
With the support of my uncle, Mr. Hung Chu Lee 李洪柱, I established the Yip Man Martial Art Association USA in the Elmhurst area of Queens. I had the approval from the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Yip Man Martial Art Association Hong Kong 葉問詠春國術總會. The authorization letter was given by the Chairman, Mr. Yip Chun 葉準 , SiFu’s son. My school opened, I could keep on teaching Wing Chun, and also keep my visa application going. All I had to do was change the employment records of business owner for my residency application. Lucky for me, things were coming along easily this time. I met a wonderful young lady and got married. Afterwards, my student Tse But Moy 梅士拔, helped me to get a job at Fairchild’s Republic in Long Island as an Aircraft mechanic. I decided to work hard and fell into a routine where I worked at Fairchild’s during the day, and in a Chinese restaurant in the evening. Eventually, my wife convinced me to close the Wing Chun school and she sponsored me for citizenship. She felt that the school was a burden on our finances and we should do our best to save for the future.
However, I never stopped thinking of Wing Chun in my heart. One day at Fairchild, I was completely exhausted and fell asleep on the work bench during my coffee break. That day there was a Halloween party at the work shop. A co-worker dressed up as a gorilla, leaned over my head while I was sleeping and screamed like an ape to wake me up. I thought I was under attack and reacted the way I had trained to under such circumstances. We all had a good laugh as his joke turned on him. A Halloween gorilla with a bloody nose! I missed training… Wing Chun was in my bones. I felt I had lost a once in a lifetime opportunity to train with a person who seemed likely be one of SiFu’s private disciples.
The SiFu’s Private Disciple 師門秘徒
One day, out of nowhere, SiFu Duncan Leung showed up at the restaurant where I worked. He had come all the way from Virginia to see me. I was extremely busy, but he insisted that we talk. He had a business proposition for me. Many people in the Tri-State area had been exposed to Chinese Kung Fu movies on Channel 5’s Drive in Movie which aired a different Kung Fu movie 功夫電影 every Saturday at 3pm. What they didn’t know was this was one of SiFu Duncan Leung’s business ventures. Along with his partner, he had been bringing these wonderful films from China to be broadcast in the States. It was a big hit. I’m sure most Martial Arts film enthusiasts would recognize them. Many classics like Master Killer, Kid with the Golden Arm, The Chinatown Kid, 5 Deadly Venoms etc, were shown in this outlet. When he approached me, he wanted a trustworthy person to handle some aspects of the business. We talked about it over dinner and I agreed to help him. From then on, every week he would come to New York and stay with me and my wife. During his stays at my home, SiFu Duncan would often show me different aspects of special Wing Chun training. This I greatly appreciated.
As the eldest son in my family to be married, Chinese tradition holds that we throw a big party, inviting all my relatives to celebrate. It was during this time I was able to return back to Hong Kong. There I asked my good old friend, SiHing Poon Tung 潘東, to find out what he could about who Duncan Leung was. He learned from his uncle, Mr. Poon Yi 潘應 (a senior sales representative in the Hong Kong Garage), that Shiu Hung Leung 梁紹鴻 (Duncan Leung ) worked for Harper Trading Co., 夏巴洋行 an automobile dealer for English Ford and BMW. 英國褔特德國寶馬 He was an outstanding salesperson who was the first and only person to sell the special Taxi licenses (the white plate license) in Hong Kong. From all the information that he collected, Poon Tung discovered that SiFu Duncan Leung was indeed Hung Jai from the Tsuen Wan area 新界荃灣. With this new information, I was eager to speak with SiFu Leung at the earliest opportunity.
I invited SiFu Leung over to my home for dinner so we could talk. I said “Duncan, the last time I was with SiFu he told me about his private disciple Hung Jai from Tsuen Wan area who learned along with his younger brother. He also showed me a pair of Parker Pens that Hung Jai gave him. Are you Hung Jai?” He didn’t say anything, just sat looking at me strangely. A week passed until on his next visit he finally told me he was indeed “Hung Jai”, the student who had given SiFu the pair of Parker Pens as a gift. I had found one of SiFu’s elusive disciples.
A Negotiation in Virginia 維州造訪 拜門求師
With my newfound knowledge, I decided to take a trip to Virginia. When I got there, I told SiFu Duncan my Wing Chun history again, this time in its entirety. I told him what SiFu Yip Man told me about the 5 private disciples and how lucky I felt to have met him. Now I could continue the training that I couldn’t complete with my SiFu. He commented, just like SiFu Yip Man had, that I needed Gung Lek training, and the applied Fighting training of Wing Chun.
Later that afternoon, one of SiFu Duncan’s friend, a former Flying Tiger pilot 飛虎隊 was having a party at his house and we were invited. The Flying Tigers was a group of American fighter pilots who were based in China during WWII. At this party, I approached SiFu Duncan Leung sincerely in private and said, “SiFu Duncan, I feel a great regret that I didn’t go back to Hong Kong to see SiFu and finish my training. I had felt that my chance was gone because I hadn’t been able to locate the five disciples. Now I’ve met you and I want to continue the complete training of Wing Chun. Will you accept me as your disciple?” I was very serious. However, SiFu Leung ended the discussion for the moment and we enjoyed the party. Afterwards, he said, “Allan, we’ve known each other for many years, we’ve lived together and between us we’re like brothers. We had some difficulties between us, but we shouldn’t count those. You’ve helped me to teach all those years and you’re already teaching in the public. It is obvious you’re a disciple of SiFu and if I take you as a student, you’ll be demoting yourself by one generation. I shouldn’t take you as my student. But I promise, whatever you’re missing, I will wholeheartedly show you like a younger brother.”
I felt happy that SiFu Duncan Leung gave me this wonderful opportunity, even though he wouldn’t accept me as his disciple. In my heart, however, I consider him my SiFu. He who teaches you for one day, is like your SiFu for life.
Later on that night, SiFu Duncan convinced me to open a Wing Chun School in the New York area, so I can practice on the week days and go back to Virginia to learn under his private tutelage on the week ends.
Tough Training and keep Rolling 艱苦訓練
I had a chance to speak to my father about what happened. He told me that even though I was being treated as a Kung Fu brother, I should respect SiFu Duncan Leung as a SiFu. My father was educated in the traditions of Chinese culture and instilled these values to me since I was a child. The person that gives you knowledge for one day should be remembered and honored for a 1000 years. 得人恩典心年記 一日為師終身為父 It was my father’s way and it is also my way.
I reopened my school at 40 East Broadway in Chinatown, as SiFu Duncan suggested. This was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. During the week, I worked at Fairchild’s in the day and taught and practiced Kung Fu at night. On Friday afternoons, my wife would pack up food and clothes, and dress up my older son Jones. He was about 2 years old at that time. Together we traveled the 8 hour journey down to Virginia as soon as I got home from work. When I got to Virginia that night, I would practice for a few hours, then we’d have a late dinner. The next day I’d have two or three more training sessions and, if time permitted, a few more on Sunday. We would drive back to NY in time for me to get a few hours sleep before I went back to work early Monday morning. This was my routine for two years.
The kind of training SiFu Duncan put me through was tough, but I kept trying hard. I was determined to keep going. I didn’t want to miss this chance again. In the classes, he told his students to really attack me. “Attack him! Go for real he’s your SiSok! see how he handles it!....”. My schedule and hard training was exhausting, but I kept going. I was so tired, I couldn’t rely on strength, or speed. Exhaustion forces you to train the technique without power, without speed. This is one method for gaining a true understanding of Wing Chun. I was consumed with all the special training methods: Pak Sau training, circle training, power training, speed training, etc. Sometimes I didn’t realize my own power. There were times I would accidentally crush a drinking glass or ceramic bowl just by lifting it. My only desire was to continue training.
During the classes, SiFu Duncan would start his students training something over and over while he kept an eye on them. In his office, he would demonstrate something new for me and tell me to go correct the students. In this manner, he would guide me and give me the opportunity to practice it with different training partners so I could truly earn the knowledge and its application. I sincerely appreciate SiFu Duncan’s kindness and generosity for showing me this way, go for real allowing me the the chance to show the students my knowledge.
After the year of the energy crisis, the US Air Force canceled most of its contracts with Fairchild. I was laid off from the company, so I had more time to train in my school and in my own time. I trained myself at least 8 hours a day and 7 days a week. Eventually the traveling back and forth from Virginia was beginning to take its toll on me, but I refused to give up. I had made up my mind. Then one day, SiFu Duncan told me he had to give up his supermarket business in Virginia Beach and wanted to set me up with it. I discussed it with my wife and eventually decided to take this opportunity. SiFu Duncan and his wife, Amy, were very helpful. They taught us the ins and out of the business, and spent all their efforts to assist whenever necessary. I had no experience in business before that. Now we were all in Virginia Beach and I was able to continue my training with SiFu without driving 8 hours to meet him. I now had even more time to train and as a result of SiFu Duncan and his wife’s generosity, my business began to flourish.
My Father’s Expectation, My SiFu’s wish 師,父期望
My father, a Chinese doctor, operated a Chinese Dit Dar clinic (A Holistic Clinic) 正骨傷科跌打醫館 that was very popular in Hong Kong. He was the kind of doctor that treated everyone, whether or not they could afford it. During periods of heavy flu outbreak he would make huge vats of curative herbal Decortion and offer it to everyone in the neighborhood for free. He really tried to help society and people in need. This was a good doctor’s Morality. 醫德 He earned the appreciation and recognition of everyone who knew him. Ever since I started learning Wing Chun Kung Fu, my father would do whatever was necessary in his power to help anyone in the Wing Chun family. Later on, when I was accepted as a disciple of the Grandmaster, my dad developed his own close relationship with SiFu Yip Man. SiFu also heard of my father’s reputation and there was genuine respect and friendship between them. Before the Grandmaster passed, he asked my father to help the Wing Chun Family in whatever way he could. Of course my father promised to do his best. After SiFu Yip Man passed away, I spoke to my dad and we agreed to donate our home at No. 11 Nga Tsin Wai Road to be the headquarters of the Yip Man Wing Chun Martial Arts Association. This was part of my father’s promise.
My dad was in good standing with most of his patients and some of the Martial Arts community in Hong Kong. Most of the martial artists would visit and socialize with my father, partly because our house was the Federation of the Yip Man Martial Arts Association. This was how he came to know that Wing Chun’s name was deteriorating after the Singapore Full Contact Martial Arts contest 星加坡擂檯大賽 in the late 70s. Still continuing to repay the Late Grandmaster, my dad felt that he should do something to promote Wing Chun Kung Fu and show that Wing Chun can stand up strong in any fighting tournament. When he found out there was going to be another full contact tournament in Hong Kong, he contacted me and SiFu Duncan Leung to represent the Yip Man Martial Art Association in the competition.
He sponsored our fighter to compete, using his connections to publicize and arrange for the fights to be televised through out Hong Kong and the Far East countries. Unfortunately, our fighter was weakened from a stomach ailment that commonly occurs among travelers and simply gave up in the last round of the finals. This was not before he knocked around his opponent a good amount. The spectators couldn’t belive what happened.
However, this was nothing compared to my father’s thorough disappointment. 大失所望 He asked us if quitting was the way to repay our Late Grandmaster? He reminded me that the spirit of Martial Arts training is to never give up. 不屈不撓 As the Leader of the Yip Man Martial Arts Association fighters, I had to take responsibility and admit my failure of negligence of our student’s health condition. It was a bitter and humiliating experience to drop the Yip Man Martial Arts Association’s reputation. We learned some important lessons.
In 1992, there was another full contact tournament in Hong Kong and we were fully determined to succeed. I was the President and SiFu Duncan Leung was the Chief Instructor of our Team, The Yip Man Martial Art Association. 葉問詠春國術總會 He told me, “Allan, get me the determined people, and we will train them hard. This time we are going to take some trophies...” During the training of these fighters, SiFu Duncan Leung revealed more and more insights into Wing Chun training. I felt that no matter how long I studied, SiFu Duncan’s knowledge was as endless as the sea. 天外有天 , 學海無涯.
This time the Yip Man Martial Art Association swept most of the trophies thanks to the knowledge and training methods of SiFu Duncan Leung and the full determination of our fighters. My father was comforted and satisfied. He felt that this was a good way to promote Wing Chun. His expectation was for the Wing Chun Family to come together and share knowledge with each other and continue to grow, just like the message in the poem the Late Grandmaster gave to his disciples. 詠春傳正統 華夏振雄風 He reminded me again “Don’t forget your SiHing, your SiFu Duncan Leung. He is your real SiFu. You must pay him his deserved honor and respect. Always.“‘點滴之恩 湧泉以報
The Proposal of Applied Wing Chun 實踐詠春
My SiFu, Duncan Leung has taught Wing Chun Kung Fu for more than 30 years. Now he is retired from public teaching, occasionally offering only some private coaching for dedicated students. He is focused on the Chinese Import and Export business. Many people heard about his accomplishments of teaching the Law Enforcement and Military in Virginia area during the past years. While in China, some government officials in the Canton Area knew of his reputation and they were totally fascinated by SiFu’s Training Program. SiFu received an invitation to devote and help train some fighters to represent China in the future Full Contact Gung Fu (Martial Arts) tournament. In addition, Chinese Full Contact Bouts were under consideration for the next Olympic Games. Due to his busy routine, he asked me if it was possible to come help him on this mission. But because of my family and job responsibilities, it was difficult for me to commute back and forth. China is on the other side of the Earth. I was unable to assist full-time and leave my work and school behind. However, I did visit the PanYu training facilities a few times, utilizing my vacation time from my job in the airline industry, to help out however I could. It was there that SiFu Duncan had another opportunity to show me the rest of the fighting training handed down from our Late Grandmaster Yip Man. The secret Art of Wing Chun.詠春絕技
I remember the last time when we were in Switzerland, Hungary and West Germany, while conducting Wing Chun seminars and workshops at the request of the students and assistant coaches. At that time SiFu suggested we should establish a federation so we can strongly unite together and maintain the high criteria for all the students who learned from us. Since the late Grand Master Yip Man passed away, there was no leader in our style, the Wing Chun family has been falling apart, family members criticize each other with narrow minded attacks, claiming legitimacy as the real source or direct successor of the style. Some Wing Chun instructors claimed to be authentic, practical, genuine or what ever style of Wing Chun. However, SiFu Yip Man passed down one and only one style of Wing Chun. It is his knowledge, not “Somebody’s Wing Chun”. I feel its because too few Wing Chun practitioners are open-minded and willing to accepted each others’ ideas and bring together all approaches and really Apply all the ingredients in our style. Here I would like to strongly emphasize that I have no meaning or intention to claim I am so and so style, or tried to be any way of a leader. I do believe I am not qualified at all. Our idea is to only help to promote, improve or refine Wing Chun. The creation of Applied Wing Chun, 實踐詠春拳 is to give out our ideas and approaches which we considered is suitable for us.
During many years of teaching, SiFu Duncan organized all that he has learned from SiFu Yip Man and he has created a more complete curriculum from his vast experience. He has asked me to support and help organize an association to promote the Wing Chun Kung Fu we all learned from our Late Grandmaster Yip Man. We both feel SiFu Yip Man taught the same art to all of his students and every member of our Kung Fu family has a unique perspective to this great treasure. It is our hope to avert the decline of Wing Chun by encouraging the open-minded sharing of knowledge among our family. We strongly feel this is the only way for Wing Chun to survive, undiluted, into the future.
We choose the name Applied Wing Chun because we believe the theories and techniques of Wing Chun can only be learned and earn through real application. 實學, 實踐, 實用.
We are still under process in this project, however the result is quite acceptable,...
Deepest Appriciation for My SiFus
As a result of SiFu Duncan Leung’s genius and exquisite knowledge of Wing Chun Kung Fu, he knew what I missed in my training after our Late Grandmaster Yip Man. He never implied or said, “This is the way.” Instead, he engineered special training opportunities for me to experience, to engage in and earn the knowledge myself. To prove a theory by Experiment. 通過實踐 証實理論 SiFu Duncan Leung is a virtuoso of Wing Chun Kung Fu. His Knowledge gives me enormous leverage in my Martial Art life. His way of approach to Wing Chun is Genuine and totally Applicable. As a result of his teachings he revealed the answer to the question: “What is The secret Art of Wing Chun?”. I can honestly tell the world that without SiFu Duncan Leung, I would not know how to truly apply Wing Chun Kung Fu.
One memorable day, out of the blue, SiFu Duncan presented me with the poem in Chinese calligraphy for the grand opening of my new school in Flushing, Queens. I was moved and humbled by his generosity and consideration. This was the poem our Late grandmaster gave to his own disciples. Even though he treats me as a Kung Fu brother, in my heart I feel he is my SiFu. His knowledge in Martial Arts seems endless and his approach is incredibly practical. I have and will always encourage people to learn from SiFu Duncan Leung. In my experience of martial arts, I submit he is one of the most outstanding Wing Chun Martial Artists in the world .
Some people spend a lifetime trying to find the right SiFu; fate blessed me with three. Three Masters of Wing Chun Kung Fu. SiFu Lok Yiu, 駱耀師傅 the strict and diligent teacher who taught me the a-b-c’s and inspired me to devote myself to training. Grandmaster Yip Man, 葉問師傅 the Martial Art Legend who gave me a lifetime chance to be his student and taught me unique insights and philosophy into Wing Chun and wholeheartedly shared his treasure with me. And finally, my SiFu Duncan Leung Shiu Hung 梁紹鴻師傅 who looks over me with the love of an older brother. He shared the mystery of Wing Chun Kung Fu’s secret training. I have nothing but the deepest respect and reverence for these great Masters of the Wing Chun Style. They are my SiFus .我的恩師
Other articles by sifu