November 18, 2007
Master Ku and Ah Thai.
Here’s a man who has devoted most part of his life to the preservation and promotion of his style of kung fu.
In all the 10 plus years that I have known him, he’s still the same steadfast kung fu teacher, oftentimes against adverse conditions, working hard to pass on the arts.
Meet him and he will strike you as someone who is meticulously informed about CKF and having no misgivings at all about sharing what he knows.
Every session I have with him, inevitably, goes into in-depth discussion about evolution and transmission of the arts from mainland to SE Asia. The more I talk to him, the more I realize how passionate this man is when it comes to the arts – simply unbelievable!
Think I am exaggerating? Try this; every time I bump into him, he would have a portable DVD player and a bunch of CKF DVDs, all ready for discussion. It’s either that or he will have documents, books or other handwritten materials on him….
And he is all about his WCK – “Opera Wing Chun” to be exact and his vocation to maintain this line.
A calling that has brought him to Malaysia and China many times to connect and rebuild ties that was broken.
I, for one, really respect his energy.
In Penang, he brought me to “Poon Yue Association” to meet a gentleman who is one of the late GM Cho Onn disciples.
Master Ku received his WCK from a relative first and then went under the wing of GM Cho Onn. Coming to Penang, Cho Onn-chosen home after leaving mainland is like homecoming for Master Ku.
And just before we left Penang, we went to see Ah Thai, Cho Onn’s son-in-law.
Watching these 2 seniors together and hearing them talk about old times – folks, this is exactly the kind of moment that inspires me ……..
November 18, 2007
So to different folks, this Penang event meant different things.
And many came, driven by their own motivations; to view rare Hakka styles, having 4 different White Crane styles contrasted etc etc….
Yes 4, we actually had a “Shaolin White Crane” represented by Sifu Ting Tiong Kong of Sibu but unfortunately he sprained an ankle during rehearsal and had to miss the night’s public show.
But during the rehearsal, it was eyes opening to first see Sifu Liu, Ruan Dong , Sifu Ting and then I jumped in to do a little of Fuzhou White Crane.
One bird but 4 different representations….
This event also witnessed the get-together of 3 lines of Nanyang Wing Chun; something that has not been done in the last 50 years or more….
I recall when I first spoke to Sifu Yip Fook Choy and his top student, Tony and they were really eager about meeting Por Suk.
Because of the change in dates, Sifu Yip had to let pass the occasion. He is occupied with judging a “Lion Dance” competition in KL the same weekend….
So we had Sifu Tony, Sifu Ku and Por Suk gracing the stage together for the first time in recent history.
To me, another piece of icing on the cake ….
And I am fully aware of Sifu Ku’s wish to reunite the Wing Chun families in Malaysia and Singapore.
Sifu Ku knows he can count on me to pull the strings.
November 18, 2007
More than merely just a public display of TCMAs, this Penang event also integrated a one day workshop/seminar in which masters of various styles got to introduce the histories, techniques and concepts of their systems.
Not exactly a widespread thing here in SE Asia; most schools tend to get a little shy when asked to do more than just forms and to do this in front of a audience comprising of experts from other styles is, really, a breakthrough.
Hopefully after this one outing, the momentum generated will carry through into other events to follow.
Still, after the show, with some spare time and armed with my ever handy little JVC digicam, I got Master Ku Choy Wah (Ban Chung Wing Chun) and Russ Smith (Okinawa Goju Ryu) to meet in a park and continue this interaction.
Besides just talking about the particular art form that each of them does, we delve into topics like how to examine commonalities and establish links, venues for future event and what format is most appropriate and attractive for those serious about TCMA research.
Perfect day in the park and 2 experts sharing candidly – the only thing absent is some of Por Suk super-brew tea……