Since 1998 I had started learning Wing
Chun from Sifu Ng Wah Sum for many years. Throughout this period,
Sifu Ng has always been telling me the stories about the life of
Master Leung Sheung and his teaching experiences of Wing Chun.
Sifu Ng has taken many photos of the frequent Wing Chun gatherings
with his colleagues. With Sifu Ng's kind permission, I have the
privilege to share with you the biography of Sifu Ng and his precious
photos taken with Master Leung Sheung and grandmaster Yip Man, as
well as his various Wing Chun students. Let me introduce Sifu Ng
Wah Sum to you first.
SIFU NG WAH
In Kung Fu,
Sifu Ng Wah Sum's first love was Hung Ga. It was Hung Ga's exaggerated
movements that he particularly enjoyed. It was a very physical style
that was dramatic to watch.
Ng Wah Sum had studied Hung Ga for a few years, he faced a beimo
(a skill comparison, which usually took place in an alley or rooftop)
that led to a change of his life. During the beimo, Sifu Ng Wah
Sum lunged to attack into his opponent, however, before he could
strike, his opponent landed several punches on his chest. Sifu Ng
Wah Sum was stung by these swift punches, both physically and mentally.
When Sifu Ng Wah Sum next saw Sifu Lam Fei Hung, he asked why this
opponent was able to punch him several times before he could do
later, Sifu Ng Wah Sum spotted the opponent who was also a guest
while attending a friend's banquet. His friend introduced him and
found that the opponent practiced Wing Chun under Leung Sheung,
who was a disciple of the legendary Yip Man. At that time, most
people did not know much about Wing Chun and it was commonly regarded
as women's style. After some conversation with the opponent, Sifu
Ng Wah Sum discovered he was hit by the Wing Chun's chain punches
beimo was long over, Sifu Ng Wah Sum still felt the sting of those
punches and became skeptical of Hung Ga's techniques. After a couple
of months, through his friend, Ho Gay, Sifu Ng Wah Sum visited Leung
Sheung's school (in fact, Sifu Leung Sheung had been expecting him).
The school was located at 10 Liberty Road in Kowloon. The visit
went well. Thus, Sifu Ng Wah Sum began to study Wing Chun under
Leung Sheung in 1961.
For Ng Wah
Sum, studying Wing Chun was not an easy task. Hung Ga's training
made Sifu Ng Wah Sum very hard and stiff. He had to change his style
from the hard physical Hung Ga to the soft feminine Wing Chun. Sifu
Leung Sheung told him to relax and gently shaked his wrists every
day in order to make himself softer.
At that time,
Wing Chun was still a "small family". Sifu Ng Wah Sum
was able to practise with the Yip Man's other disciples. Afterwards,
Sifu Ng Wah Sum joined them to watch or participate in beimos.
of 1969, Sifu Ng Wah Sum competed in the first Far East Kung Fu
Tournament held in Singapore. In the fight, he lost on points. However,
he managed to knock his opponent out of the ring using Po Pai.
After the tournament,
Sifu Ng Wah Sum set up his own Wing Chun school on Sai Yeung Choi
Street in Kowloon. Some of his earlier students included Lee Wai
Ming, Leung Yin, Leung Woon Lam, Wong Kwai Lun and Chung Kwok Chow
followed him. After two years of training, Leung Yin competed in
the second Far East Kung Fu Tournament in Singapore and got prize
of the first runner up. To Sifu Ng Wah Sum, this was the school's
greatest moment. During this time (1972), Chung Kwok Chow moved
to New York and started his own Wing Chun school.
Sifu Ng Wah
Sum's school was only two blocks away from Yip Man's residence.
When Yip Man was semi-retired, he dropped by Sifu Ng Wah Sum's school
a couple of times weekly to have tea with Sifu Ng Wah Sum. Sometimes,
they would also play mahjong or go for a movie. Although he was
a legend, Yip Man was always quiet and humble.
the 70's, while Bruce Lee was at the climax of his popularity, Wing
Chun was in great demand. Bruce Lee created a worldwide demand for
Kung Fu, especially Wing Chun. As a result, Sifu Ng Wah Sum's school
was crowded with students everyday. There were up to 40 students
packing in only 500 square feet of space.
In 1980, Sifu
Ng Wah Sum was involved in another significant beimo. This time
the opponent was a Kung Fu instructor. At one point the opponent
tried to attack by using a sau kuen (an overhead blow). Sifu Ng
Wah Sum responded to the attack by side shifting and using a wu
sau (a type of blocking hand) to block the attack. Simultaneously,
he counterattacked with a chung kuen (centerline punch), which knocked
his opponent off his stance. A journalist witnessed and captured
the entire event and reported it in the next day's newspaper.
Wing Chun Ng Wah Sum
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