Choy Li Fut Founder's Family and I
In August 2005, after the choy li fut kung fu exhibition in Jiangmen, China and the grand opening of the new Choy Li Fut Kung Fu Association of Jiangmen, a student of mine introduced me to a lady in her 70s which was Madam Chan, the wife of Chan Sun Chiu, the present Keeper of choy li fut. I had already met Madam Chan 15 years ago, however she didn't remember me. She asked me who my teacher was, because all the kung fu forms that were performed by our students looked so similar to the forms taught by her family. I told her my teacher Hu Yuen Chou was a disciple of her husband's father Chan Yiu Chi. Madam Chan and the Keeper Chan Sun Chiu invited me and my team of 40 students to visit their home in the King Mui Village. I also invited the keeper to go with us for the tour in the Jiangmen suburb area. We celebrated the keeper's birthday and we all had a great time together.
I had heard the name of Chan Sun Chiu in the 1980's by my late teacher Hu Yuen Chou. Hu told me that Chan Sun Chiu is his sifu's youngest son, which is also his youngest kung fu brother. Hu continued telling me that, some day if I ever have the chance to run into him, to make sure that I take very good care of him and his family. Therefore, each time when I was in Jiangmen, I always invited Madam Chan and the keeper to go out for dining and entertainment. I showed respect and treated them the same way as I treat my own teachers.
In October of 2005, one day Keeper Chan Sun Chiu asked me to take his grandson Chan Siu Fung to become my student, I asked him, why me? I told him that there are many good teachers in China. He told me that "yes, there are many teachers of kung fu, but it's not that easy to look for a teacher for my grandson in choy li fut." He said his older son which is Chan Siu Fung's father passed away a few years ago and his youngest son Chan Wing Kin and family immigrated to Belize. Most of his nephews are in Australia. The Keeper also said he just recovered from a bad stroke three years ago and is now having difficulty in moving around or doing kung fu. The keeper continued and said, besides, it is not easy for him to teach his own grandson, it's better for someone else to teach him. He wanted his grandson to learn his family's arts which is the teaching from his father Chan Yiu Chiu only. His father had many second generation students in Guangzhou, but it's much too far away for his 15 years old grandson to travel to take lessons from them. I told him that I live much further away than the people in Guangzhou, but he said I come to China so often. He wanted his grandson to become a student under myself and my twin kung fu brothers, sifu Lin Ru Jiang and Lin Ru Hai. In this way, his grandson can take regular lessons from the twins and when I come to China, I can teach his grandson directly. I was not sure if I should do that or not, but a couple of days later, the keeper's youngest son Chan Wing Kin called me from Belize to ask me to accept his nephew as my student and my twin kung fu brothers also requested me to help them to teach the young Chan Siu Fung. I consulted with my teacher Great-grandmaster Wong Gong about taking Chan Siu Fung on as my student and he approved. Finally I gave the answer to the Keeper that I accepted his grandson to be my student before I met the young man. On October 15, 2005, the bai si discipleship ceremony happened in the local restaurant and few of the local choy li fut people witnessed the ceremony. The Keeper told me the reasons that he chose me to be his grandson's teacher. First of all, I know his father's arts; second, he saw the performance of my students' kung fu and he was very happy and satisfied with my teaching. Third, I am available for his grandson to take lessons from his area.
In March 2006, I was in China with the Keeper and his wife; I heard that they wanted to rebuild his great-grandfather's house, the formal residence of Chan Heung, the founder of choy li fut kung fu. However, that required a lot of money to accomplish, so I told them go ahead and get started and that I will be taking care of the money part. In less than four weeks, I raised all the money from my Plum Blossom International Federation. I went back to China on April 5, 2006 and presented all the cash totaling $10,000 in hundred US dollar bills to them.
On June 3rd, 2006, Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong took a team of his staff and went back to the choy li fut's hometown to help the Keeper Chan Sun Chiu to buy glass display cabinets, furniture and to decorate the founder's renovated house. He was setting up new road signs in the village for directing visitors on how to get to the house. Grandmaster Wong also helped to arrange the reservations at the restaurant for the banquet and renting the auditorium for a kung fu performance on August 3rd for the founder's bicentennial birthday celebration and the grand opening of the renovated house of the founder.