|Wing Chun History | Master Biographies
About the Late Grandmaster Yip Man
Chan Wa Soon was Yip Man's first teacher. Unfortunately Chan Wa Soon died at a young age and Yip Man did not finish his instruction. As a young man, Yip Man studied English at the St. Steven's Catholic School in Hong Kong. It was during this time that Yip Man met Leung Bik who was the son of Leung Jon. Yip Man challenged Leung Bik and was beaten. When Yip Man found out who Leung Bik was, Yip Man asked to become one of Leung Bik's students. Leung Bik, being a small man, did not use muscles. His style was not as hard as that of Chan Wa Soon. Yip Man was able to learn both the hard and soft elements. (Another story from this time tells how Leung Bik's daughter-in-law was able to defeat Yip Man with her skill in Wing Chun kicking. From that time Yip Man never said he was number one in Wing Chun as long as the others were alive.)
After Yip Man's schooling in Hong Kong, he went back to China, his home town, worked as a policeman and trained cops in China. While working as a policeman, Yip Man killed someone in the line of duty. Fearing reprisals from the Communist government, he had to escape China and lost all his possessions. When he got to Hong Kong he only had his skills in Wing Chun with which to make a living.
In Hong Kong Yip Man met his old time best friend Chung Choui (Go Dai Chung). Go Dai Chung was a Hung Sang Choy Lay Fut teacher and taught through the Chinese Restaurant Association - East and West. Teaching at both locales was too much for Go Dai Chung and he gave one to Yip Man which is located at Dai Lum Gai in Kowloon, Hong Kong so he could teach Wing Chun to make his living.
Leung Sheung was a bookkeeper for the Chinese Restaurant Association and an assistant teacher to Go Dai Chung. Leung Sheung challenged Yip Man and was defeated. Leung Sheung thereupon became Yip Man's first student. First generation students that never openly taught include Lau Ming, Lau Kau and Lee Yu. Other first generation students include Wong Shung Lueng, Choi Shung Tin, Lok Yu.Yip Man is known as the person who brought Wing Chun out of China and into Hong Kong, however, there were certain types of students that Yip Man would not teach. Yip Man felt that relatives would not show him the respect that he deserved. Even though Wing Chun was developed by two women, Yip Man felt that having women in a gung-fu school would be too disruptive. Yip Man did not want the art to be taught to non-Chinese. He felt that children would not have the discipline to learn Wing Chun. Poor people, he felt, had to work too hard to earn a living and would be too tired to practice.
About Si-Gung Ho Kam Ming
Ho Kam Ming was of the second generation of Yip Man's students. He spent all his life to study Wing Chun and was one of the few men to complete the entire system under Yip Man. Ho Kam Ming was held in high regard by Yip Man. When Yip Man became ill and had to go to the hospital, he asked Ho Kam Ming to take him there. Ho Kam Ming often visited Yip Man in the hospital and took care of him in both the hospital and at home. Yip Man revealed many of the finer points of Wing Chun to Ho Kam Ming. Yip Man also appointed Ho Kam Ming to assume the responsibility of instructing his private students. By this time, Ho Kam Ming had already opened his first school in Macao and another in Hong Kong. He also organized the Ho Kam Ming Wing Chun Association which is authorized by the Yip Man Wing Chun Association. Today, Ho Kam Ming is well known in both Hong Kong and Macao. His full contact Wing Chun team has fought in martial arts tournaments throughout Southeast Asia and has achieved considerable recognition.
About Si-fu Fong
Augustine Fong was born on the island of Macao, off the coast of southern China. Since his early childhood, he has had a special interest in the Chinese martial arts. In 1960, he was fortunate enough to begin training in a traditional gung fu style. His instructor was the honorable Wing Chun master, Ho Kam Ming. Master Ho, a top student of the late grand master Yip Man, had, at that time, introduced the style to the Macao area. Augustine Fong, without a second thought, became one of his first students.
By 1964, master Ho's school had grown considerably. The school had gained a reputation, so good, in fact, that a famous gung-fu school from Hong Kong decided to send a formal challenge. Challenges, back then, were very serious business. The challenging school, in this case, had also obtained an impressive name and reputation. It was understood that they had fought and won over a hundred contests in this manner, and as a result, defeated a number of top schools in Hong Kong. Accepting the written challenge, master Ho decided that Fong would fight the match. Fong was master Ho's best student and toughest fighter. On the appointed day, the challenger appeared along with his instructor and ten fellow students.
Out of courtesy, the challenger's sifu was appointed the referee. The match was to consist of three rounds, with the only rule being you could not step out of the fighting area. During the fight, Fong dominated his opponent. In the second round, he became very aggressive, driving the challenger into a mok jeong (wooden dummy). In the third and final round, Fong continued his advantage, chasing and punching his opponent into a wall. Reeling off the wall, the challenger fell into a well-timed punch and was knocked unconscious. Without a word, his sifu and si dai picked him up and carried him out. Master Ho's school, through Fong's victory, had upheld its reputation. Fong, because of the encounter, became quite well known throughout Hong Kong and Macao. In Macao he is still known as Wing Chun's "Gum-Pai Da-Sau" or "Golden Ribbon Boxer."
Following this incident, many new students, hearing of the school's reputation, decided to enroll. To help with the increasing number of students, Fong was asked to assist master Ho in teaching. This was quite an honor for the young Fong. But instead of passing on the good news to his family, he chose to keep it to himself. His mother, during this time, was a very strict woman. Her opinion of the arts was not altogether high. She felt that skill in gung fu would only get one into trouble. So, instead of worrying his mother, Fong had decided from the beginning, to keep his skill a secret. And did he ever! For thirteen years, his mother never new that he was practicing the art of Wing Chun!
During this period, sifu Fong began studying under the Chinese herbalist, sifu Wong Bing Gong. Sifu Wong had learned his art from a monk and was well known for his healing ability. During World War II, he used his knowledge to cure a great many people. Sifu Wong taught Fong how to use "Dit Da" massage to heal broken bones and to treat bruises, strains, and sprains. Sifu Wong also taught him how to prepare herbs, and their medicinal remedies, all of which was valuable knowledge for a practitioner of the martial art.
In 1967, due to civil disturbances in Macao, Augustine Fong moved to Kowloon, Hong Kong. There, his instructor, master Ho, opened a Wing Chun school, where Fong practiced and taught for two years. Then, in 1969, following his father's footsteps, sifu Fong immigrated to America. Moving to Nogales, Arizona, and then settling in Tucson, sifu Fong soon began to teach and promote the Wing Chun style. In Tucson, he accepted a position teaching self-defense for the city. The program worked out so well, that in 1973, prompted by his students and friends, he opened his own school. This was the first public Wing Chun school in the southwestern United States!
Today, with over thirty-seven years of experience in the art, Master Fong is considered by the Ho KamMing Wing Chun Association in Hong Kong to be among the most skillful Wing Chun masters in the world. Furthermore, in addition to the two traditional Wing Chun weapons,the Lok Dim Bun Quan (Six and one-half Point Long Staff) and the Bat Jaam Do (Butterfly Knives), he is adept in a wide variety of other martial arts weapons and also specializes in the southern Lion Dance. Master Fong learned the latter from Master Chan Gin Man of the Hung Sing Choi Lee Fut Kuen in Hong Kong. Because of his knowledge, a number of poeple have come from other parts of the United States and from Mexico to study under Master Fong.
In 1989, Master Fong sponsored a visit of his teacher Master Ho to the United States to promote the art of Wing Chun. During this visit a Wing Chun Seminar was held at the Fong's Wing Chun Gung-Fu Federation headquarters. In 1990, Master Fong was appointed the head judge of the Wing Chun committee of the United States. In this capacity, he was responsible for setting up the rules of the Wing Chun Sticky Hands tournament organized by the United States National Chinese Martial Arts Competitions. To promote the Wing Chun system, Master Fong has given martial arts demonstrations, performed lion dances throughout Arizona, U.S.A. and Sonara, Mexico, and has organized very successful martial arts exhibitions in Arizona. He has appeared on numerous local television and radio shows as well as in articles published by "Black Belt" and "Inside Kung-Fu" magazines and several local newspapers. He also had taught many seminars throughout the country. Master Fong had written eight volumes of books about the complete system of Wing Chun Gung-Fu. With the help of The Panther Production Company, he had produced 8 volumes of video cassettes for the Wing Chun System. For many years of hard work, the Fong's Wing Chun Gung-Fu Academy of Tucson is recognized by the Martial Art Society as one of the top Wing Chun Gung-Fu Schools in the nation.
Master Fong currently operates his own federation headquatered in Tucson, Arizona Arizona where he founded his own Wing Chun Academy and established the headquarters for "Fong's Wing Chun Gung-Fu Federation". This association remains devoted to the exact principles of the complete system of Wing Chun Gung-Fu.and currently has affiliated schools throughout the United States and Canada.