Wu Hua Tai (1914-2002) was a renowned student of Grandmaster Lam Yiu Gwai, the master responsible for the dissemination of Dragon Shape Kung Fu.
Wu Hua Tai was already an accomplished martial artist when, as a young man, he met Lung Ying (Dragon Shape) Grandmaster Lam Yui Gwai 林耀桂 in Guanzhou, China. After a quick and humbling encounter, he became a devoted student for the next 40 years.
Wu was taken aback by Lam Sifu’s mobility, power and incredibly soft hands that enabled lightning striking speed when attacking and acute sensitivity when redirecting an opponent. In order to soften his own hand techniques, Wu practiced and mastered Tai Chi forms and push hands exercises, learning from Yang Sau Chung 杨守中 (eldest son of Yang Chengfu). He also developed Lung Ying’s renowned stepping and stance strength. As an instructor, he produced high quality students, including Push Hands Champions of China.
Grandmaster Wu visited Australia in the late 1980’s and met Sifu Barry Pang. Identifying Barry’s Wing Chun as a complementary martial art, he trained for several years with Barry and his school, transforming their kung fu in the process. He attended their student training camps in Victoria, sharing his knowledge at intensive teaching and training sessions. He also joined Barry on kung fu trips to China, meeting kung fu masters in Hong Kong and on the mainland, including Grandmaster Ip Chun.
Grandmaster Wu passed away in 2002, aged 88. He is greatly missed in Barry Pang Kung Fu circles, but never forgotten.