Challenge in a Hong Kong Park
Sifu Alan Hubbard
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In December 1991, Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong and his wife were taking a
trip to China via Hong Kong. They stayed in a hotel on the Yau Ma Tei
district across the street from the Temple Street shopping area on
Nathan Road of Kowloon. The next morning, Grandmaster Wong and a friend
and kung fu cousin, Mr. Calvin Chan, student of his Si-Suk Wong Ying
Sam called Grandmaster to practice kung fu with him in the small park of
the Temple across street from their hotel. They got together at 9 AM and
went through the forms that they learned from Wong Ying Sam, Grandmaster
Wong’s teacher’s kung fu brother. At the other side of the park, there
were several guys practicing some kind of kung fu and tai chi too. By
the time Grandmaster Wong and Mr. Chan were practicing the Tiger vs.
Leopard two man fighting hand form, some people gathered and were
watching them in the small park and applauding them for their
One guy came up and talked to Grandmaster Wong while they were taking a break. He introduced himself to them and told them he was an instructor of a southern style of kung fu (not appropriate to mention the style here). The style that he taught is a short hand system. He commented to them that their forms were very nice and beautiful to watch. However, the hands are too long with too many swinging movements. He said when it comes to a real fight it’s not practical. Grandmaster’s friend Calvin Chan said to him in an angry way, “what do you mean it is not practical, our system is the most popular and has the most people practicing in Hong Kong now?” The man replied, “Yes, Choy Li Fut is very popular in Hong Kong because lots of instructors are teaching this system here. Our system was not allowed to be taught to the public before, but now it is almost the second most popular kung fu in Hong Kong.” He wanted to prove his techniques are effective. He asked Calvin to spar with him. Calvin had no choice; he didn’t want to look bad in front of Grandmaster and the spectators in the park.
The southern style kung fu instructor was standing in a high stance with his hands protecting his chest in the centerline. Calvin tried to punch him with the straight cheong ngan chui like a jab to his face. The man stepped into the side and controlling his hand he tried to punch back with a straight punch. Calvin moved backward and used a kwa (back fist) to hit and block away the attacking hand. After sparring for a couple of minutes, Grandmaster saw the match was not very good for his friend, because Calvin only was in the system for a couple of years. He didn’t have enough fighting experience. Grandmaster Wong broke the fighting match and told them to take a break.
The kung fu instructor did better in the match earlier with Calvin because he was more aggressive. He turned around and asked Grandmaster to spar with him. Grandmaster couldn’t look bad in front of his friend, so he accepted his challenge. Grandmaster’s right hand was in guard and his left hand was on his right shoulder to protect his face. The other instructor was still in the same stance like before with the centerline guarding position. Grandmaster got close to the guys right hand and touched him to feel his jing. The instructor attacked with his left hand slapping to move Grandmaster’s right hand as he punched with his right fist to the nose. Grandmaster used a nop-sau to hook his punch downward slightly. The instructor followed with a left punch toward the face. Grandmaster used his left hand to make a short poon-kiu to press his left fist down and simultaneously he struck a sow-chui like a roundhouse swinging fist to counter attack him. Grandmaster didn’t hit him with his fist to his head; he used his forearm near the wrist area and pressed the left side of his neck down with ging or jing like lighting speed. The kung fu instructor fell down on the ground several meters away. Grandmaster was still holding his form with the sow-chui position and his other hand guarding his head. All the spectators were cheering and clapping for him. The instructor got up and thanked Grandmaster for not hitting him with his swinging sow-chui otherwise he could have been hurt very badly.
Eventually, this instructor became a friend of Grandmaster Wong, since he is known in Hong Kong now; it’s not nice to mention his name in the public. Each time when Grandmaster was in Hong Kong, he contacted him, most of the time this new friend took Grandmaster out for dim sum lunch or coffee to show his appreciation for his lesson well learned. Calvin Chan went back to his school and told his Sifu Wong Ying Sam what had happened of the challenge. Now Calvin is living in California and working in the Silicone Valley for a hi-tech corporation as an engineer.