Whilst building Lung Ying (dragon shape) into our Wing Chun Kung Fu foundations, Grandmaster Wu guided us through an unforgettable martial arts tour in China, including a workout with his high ranking students.
In the early 1990s and in his late 70’s, Lung Ying Grandmaster Wu Hua Tai sought to transfer knowledge to a compatible school in Australia. What followed was many years of residency with Barry Pang Kung Fu.
In 1994, Wu Sigong and Barry together with a small team of Barry’s students, set off from Melbourne on a knowledge sharing trip to Grandmaster Wu’s home town in China. The trip was part personal – visiting family and ancestral sites – and part kung fu adventure.
Dinner, Drinks and Kung Fu in Macau
After a stopover in Hong Kong meeting Wing Chun masters, Ip Chun and Tsui Sheung Tin, we travelled by ferry to Macau to reunite Wu Sigong with some of his family and celebrate his 80th birthday. After a magnificent banquet, tables were suddenly moved aside. The dinner and plentiful drinks had evidently swayed the (Contonese) conversation toward “show us what you’ve got, then”. The event had become an impromptu Kung Fu demonstration.
First up were the travelling students, showing their progress on the first Ling Ying form, Sup Luk Dun. This was followed by some Wing Chun Chi Sao. Wu Sigong showed the crowd his graceful, fluid Tai Chi form. Ultimately, it was Barry that stole the show with his lightning hands demonstration and the “show us what you got” needs were officially satisfied.
Mainland martial artistry
We crossed the border into mainland China. It was time to head home with Wu Sigong. The bus ride was long. The locals were curious to see our mixed group of Chinese and westerners passing through each township. Staring was commonplace.
Wu Sigong’s first priority on arrival was to make his way home to his wife, whilst we settled into our Guangzhou hotel. We stayed there for several days, with the following highlight forever etched in our memories.
One chilly, foggy Guangzhou morning we walked to a grand lakeside park to meet and train with some of Wu Sigong’s senior students. Despite being early, the park was beginning to fill with locals seeking some space to exercise. Tai Chi, including sword practice, was common.
We witnessed Lung Ying form demonstrations, which attracted some curious onlookers – this was beyond the norm of just getting a bit of morning exercise. The power was evident in the footwork. Next came partner work, featuring two push hands champions of China, cycling through a variety of hand sensitivity exercises. Ian was invited to try, giving the local team opportunity to workout with a strong 6 foot plus partner.
This was honest, hardworking Kung Fu. No uniforms. No equipment. No custom venue. No pretensions. Just solid practice and valuable knowledge sharing.
Words and photographs: Rodney Zandbergs, Student at Barry Pang Kung Fu