Hung Fa Yi October 2000 Visit ReportParticipants: Sifu Meng, Mike Mathews, Jeremy Roadruck, Joe Seidenschmidt
Sifu Garrett Gee discussing Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun
After arriving at 6:30 at night and getting to the hotel, Sifu Gee, three of his students, Benny Meng, Allan Kong, and Jeffrey Chin along with two grand students, Jeremy Roadruck and Joe Seidenschmidt had a lengthy discussion ranging from HFY technical development through current activities in the Wing Chun community. Specific topics included the kyuhn chyun kyuhn exercise, 3 dimensional daan chi sau, jyu ga tong long, luhk dim bun gwan history, the HFY curriculum and organization. After 5 hours of discussion and training, the group took a break and went for dinner. During dinner, Sifu Gee and Sifu Meng continued their discussion on daan chi sau. After dinner, the group returned to the hotel and trained daan chi sau, footwork and stances until 3:30 Thursday morning.
San Francisco Wing Chun enthusiasts
Thursday morning, at the hotel the VTM group reviewed kyuhn chyun kyuhn, daan chi sau, the footwork and stances covered the previous night. Moving the discussion to a restaurant for dim sum, the conversation continued on daan chi sau. After meeting over dim sum, the VTM group traveled to the Marina with Sifu Gee and his student to continue discussing HFY and train for a couple of hours covering daan chi sau, paak sau, and geuk jong training. After an hour break to get a snack, the training and discussion resumed in a China Town park for a couple more hours covering paak sau progression, stances and footwork, development of taan sau in daan chi sau and application of geuk jong. At 7:00 the VTM group met with Sifu Gee’s students for a formal class lasting 4 hours. Topics discussed included the twelve levels of HFY, the first level’s material, paak sau progression, daan chi sau, stances and kyuhn jong with plenty of time for training. Following the class time, several members went out for a snack. After the snack, the VTM group returned to the hotel to review the information presented during the day.
Hung Fa Yi discussion with Samuel Kwok's Wing Chun Federation
Friday began with a quick visit to Japan Town for the VTM group. After social time and lunch with Sifu Gee, the VTM group returned to the park to continue discussing and training HFY for 3 hours covering the baai jong and jong sau along with stances, footwork and paak sau progression. While waiting for additional members of the HFY group to gather in Chinatown, members of the VTM group took the opportunity to do some shopping in China Town for a half hour. After dinner, the HFY group met for a three-hour organizational meeting.
(l/r) Garrett Gee, Linda Lee Cadwell, Benny Meng
Chi Sau as Bruce Lee looks on
Saturday began with a meeting with members of the San Francisco Wing Chun Community in Oakland. The lineages represented were the
- Hung Fa Yi/Garrett Gee/Benny Meng
- Moy Yat/Benny Meng
- Lo Man Kam/John Kang
- Pan Nam/Eddie Chong
- Leung Sheung/Ken Chung/Eddie Chong
- Leung Ting
- Ho Kam Ming/Buddy Wu
- members of the Vince Lacey and Johny Jang families were also present.
VTM members strike a Hung Fa Yi pose
- a demonstrations of SNT from the HFY and Lo Man Kam lineages
- a discussion on the opening movements of SNT
- a question was raised on the Bong Sau sequence in the HFY SNT.
- Sifu Meng discussed this thoughts on HFY.
- Sifu Gee discussed the HFY concept of Time and Space in reference to the opening of SNT
- Tom Parker made the observation on Yip Man’s approach to making Wing Chun simpler. Tom asked how HFY makes combat simpler. Sifu Gee responded by giving a specific example of simplicity. He asked Tom to demonstrate how he would engage with an opponent. Tom used a stance with one leg directly in front of the body. Sifu Gee pointed out that HFY does not make use of this type of stance. To put one leg in front of the body creates a preference in your footwork and limits your mobility, requiring time to adjust.
- Tom Parker also made mention of the Pan Nam lineage’s use of 5 lines. Sifu Gee explained that he has had the Pan Nam 5 lines explained to him, but the usage is different between the two.
- Tom Parker mentioned a Hei Gung aspect to the end of Pan Nam lineage’s SNT. Sifu Gee mentioned that you have to know who Pan Nam is and where he comes from to understand Pan Nam’s Wing Chun as well as the timeframe that Pan Nam was teaching Wing Chun.
- a discussion on daan chi sau
- a discussion on seung chi sau
- a discussion on footwork
- an open discussion that ranged through several topics very quickly
- group photo
- After the group photo, members of John Kang’s group touched hands with members of the VTM group. Time was running out as some people were making plans to go to dim sum while others were going to stay in the park and discuss and play for a while longer.
Following the meeting, several participants joined Sifu Gee and the VTM group for dim sum and further discussions.
About twenty people came, representing several different lineages: Sifu Garrett Gee of Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun with two of his students; Ving Tsun Museum Curator Benny Meng, perennial chi sau champion Jeremy Roadruck, and two other guys (sorry, don’t remember their names) from the VT Museum (Moy Yat and HFY Wing Chun), Deji Akin (Ho Kam Min), Mike Mah (Leung Sheung), Tom Parker (Eddie Chong and Ken Chung), Marcel (Johny Jang), Kathleen and Daniel (Vince Lacey), and me, Edgar Chan, Tom Richards, Jasan Fujii, Antonio Carion, Rick Ha, Chris Quach, and Hiroe Hanazono (Lo Man Kam). In addition to the general invitation, I had also sent out personal invitations to three WT guys and a Francis Fong guy, but they didn’t come.
I arrived at about 9:45 to see the HFY guys already there and practicing. A few more people started trickling in, and engaged in discussion about WC. Since there was no structured format, we started off by comparing forms, starting around 10:15. I did LMK Siu Nin Tao, while one of the HFY guys did their version of the first form. Lots of differences, with different hand positions and structure, though it looked like the order of movements was essentially the same. Then, for the next hour, Sifu Gee discussed and demonstrated the logic of the HFY system. It was certainly very informative and interesting.
By 11:30, many of the other people wanted to go for Dim Sum. So we hastily took some pictures, and while everyone was signing a participant list, four of us (VT museum and LMK) had a chance to compare chi sau. I finally realized that paradigms and goals of chi sau really are different from lineage to lineage!
At noon, the main group went off for dim sum; anyone who went to that can report on what transpired. Another group of us remained behind, and got a chance to stick hands and compare. All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening experience; perhaps next time we will have more time to practice together!
Comments from Tom Parker:
A quick report on what happened in SF/Oakland. To start out I just wanted to state my lineage. I am from Ken Chungs lineage right now. I started under one of Eddie Chong's students and learned a little of the Pan Nam system, but mostly the Yip Man version. After my instructor left, I started with Ken Chung and have been there since. I arrived around 10:00am and found the HFY guys practicing there forms. I watched a bit and then saw a couple people sitting and talking. I took an educated guess and asked if they were from the mailing list. Sure enough they were. After the HFY guy finished their form, we all introduced ourselves. There were so many people I won't pretend to remember all their names.
Things were a little awkward at first. Nobody really knew what to do, so a form comparison was suggested. I was surprised to see Sifu Garrett Gee there. He was very gracious and open with his time. He explained many of his concepts and showed us how they were applied. Since he already meet me a few months back, he decided to use me as the dummy for several examples. Bare with me, I am typing slow due to the ice bandage... LOL. Just kidding. This time I asked him some questions about HFY and how they do certain things. The main thing I want to note about HFY is that it is not like any Wing Chun I have seen. It is not like my Wing Chun at all. I also want to say that Sifu Gee does have great skill in martial arts. HFY seems to be a more combat orientated Wing Chun. It is much stronger in structure and seems to flank muck more. They don't use the front stance almost at all. They like to disperse the opponent to the side rather than go up the middle. They have some interesting concepts like 5 line and their time and space theory. Don't ask me about time and space because I spent a greater portion of my time trying to understand the 5 lines concepts. But time and space is not what it sounds like, it is not about the physics model that people may think about. But it does include accounting for multiple dimensions.
I watch some people touch hands and there were some great exchanges of free form chi sau. I was pretty cool to see the HFY guys fight a little. All in all it looked like normal Wing Chun, but if you looked closely you could see many differences. I noted their footwork in particular. Soon we all got hungry and we went to lunch.
At lunch we talked a lot about different theories. I was lucky enough to sit right next to Sifu Gee and I had Benny Meng on my right side. I had fun and was able to ask many questions and discuss many topics. I found every one open and interesting. After lunch we sat discussing topics, complete with pens writing on the place mats and chops sticks as props. LOL. A great scene was when Gee Sifu started to show his theory at the table on one of the people there. Then he did the same to me. The waiters were all stopping to check out Gee Sifu demonstrating his kung fu at the table. LOL. It was pretty cool.
Discussing the Ving Tsun Museum with Linda Lee Caldwell and Shannon Lee
After dim sum, the VTM group continued on with Sifu Gee to spend an additional hour and a half training at this house. At 4:00, the VTM and HFY groups went to view the newly opened Bruce Lee Exhibit at the Chinese Cultural Center in San Francisco. At 6:30, both groups participated in the opening banquet to celebrate the exhibit. This was a great photo opportunity with Linda Lee and Shannon Lee along with members of the JKD Nucleus that were present. After taking several pictures, Mr. Steve Golden approached Sifu Gee and began to discuss martial arts. Sifu Gee discussed HFY with him, going so far as to touch hands. Two members of the HFY/VTM group, John Murphy and Mike Mathews also touched his hands while Jeremy Roadruck demonstrated the HFY SNT to Mr. Golden. Among the activities during the banquet were a raffle of Bruce Lee memorabilia, Linda Lee addressed the participants, and a never before seen documentary on Bruce Lee produced by John Little. After the banquet, members of the VTM and HFY group returned to the hotel to train for 3 hours covering paak sau progression and paak sau variations.
First thing Sunday morning was a review of the previous day’s activities and discussions focusing on paak sau progressions. Before breakfast, the VTM group met with students of Sifu Gee to train for an hour and a half on baai jong and paak sau. After training, everyone went to China Town for lunch and to discuss final thoughts on the trip’s activities and discussions. At 3:30, the VTM group boarded the plan to travel back to Ohio.
Group photo of VTM and HFY members
Sifu Meng, on behalf of his students and himself, would like to thank Sifu Gee and his students for the hospitality and training provided on this most recent visit to San Francisco. Sifu Meng would also like to thank John Kang and Tom Parker for taking the time out of their busy schedules to help organize and participate in an informal meeting in Oakland. Their friendship will not be forgotten and serves as a shining example of people with a genuine interest in this great martial art of Wing Chun. The VTM group averaged 4 hours of sleep a night while accomplishing many activities with the Hung Fa Yi family, a friendship gathering with members of the Wing Chun Mailing List and participation in a Bruce Lee exhibit and banquet. Overall it was a very productive and informative event.