Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong Interview
Fighting Stars Magazine
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Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong engaged in I-Chuan push hands with Madame Min Ou-Yang, circa 1984.
Fighting Stars: So in I Chuan you want to learn to absorb that energy and bounce away from you opponent as part of your training?
Doc-Fai Wong: Yes, I train the student to become like a Qi shield. To project a shield outside and around the body so that they will receive that energy and have a bouncing reaction rather than have the energy go into the person. Or, I can focus the Qi so that it will pass through the personís body without hurting the person.
Fighting Stars: That is very interesting. Now, grandmaster Wong your son Jason has successfully followed in your footsteps and he has achieved recognition as a highly skilled Kung Fu master. What were some of the challenges that you faced in teaching your son?
Doc-Fai Wong: The biggest challenge was when he was very young. As a father we always expect a lot from the son. We expect them to do better than everybody else. But, the son always thinks Oh, it is always there. Maybe I can learn that next time. So eventually I had to have my staff and senior instructors to teach and work with my son until he can build up his foundation. Then I can teach him myself once he gets to a certain level. Once he is mature enough that I can teach him and he will listen.
Fighting Stars: So that may be good advice for other martial arts instructors.
Doc-Fai Wong: Yes, donít treat your own children right away. Let them join in and fun first until they really want to learn and gain the knowledge. Just like with professor Yu. After I studied with him for a while and after class if I wanted to learn more he was glad to help me and answer my questions. So the knowledge was not so freely given. You had to work hard and earn it. It was hard, but it had to be that way with my son also.
Fighting Stars: Well, it is very inspiring to see a family doing martial arts together for a lot of our martial arts families out there.
Doc-Fai Wong: Yes, I am very happy that my son that he has enjoyed the Choy Li Fut system and Tai Chi. Hopefully, my grandson will also be that way.
Fighting Stars: Oh, you have a grandson also.
Doc-Fai Wong: Well, no not yet. But I am hopeful.
Fighting Stars: Grandmaster Wong this next fact I think is rather amazing I understand you have 70 schools worldwide.
Doc-Fai Wong: Well actually, I think it is more than that now. Today we have more than 100 schools. We have expanded our school into Asia and the Middle East. Now we have a student who started studying by video tape and we have a student in Egypt and parts of the Middle East. So it started with one person and then it spread out where now his students are now teaching in other parts of the Middle East. Also, in the Philippines. After about ten years or so these students now have their own students teaching in about a dozen more locations.
Fighting Stars: Now do these students come to your school and study from time to time with you?
Doc-Fai Wong: Yes, most of the people from Europe and Asia come and study with me from time to time or else I travel over to there and teach seminars. Also, I take the time to teach the students private lessons so they can improve their level. But, there are some countries like Iran and Egypt and other third world countries they can not come to America so easily so I give them video tapes and then I go over to there to correct them later on.
Doc-Fai Wong performing the Chinese broadsword with exacting precision, circa 1977.
Fighting Stars: You travel to see them?
Doc-Fai Wong: Oh yeah, in fact I am going to Egypt next February. This guy has been studying from my tapes for over ten years and finally he said that he would like me to go over there and even thought their income is very low but, enough students put together enough money that they will pay my way to go there.
Fighting Stars: Well that is an incredible story and I would like to hear more about your travels there and hopefully we can keep in touch and maybe do a follow up story.
Doc-Fai Wong: Sure that would be fine.
Fighting Stars: The other thing I would like to discuss since you are talking about traveling around the world and I know that during the cultural revolution in China many of the Kung Fu masters were not allowed to teach the true art under the communist regime. As a result much of the knowledge of the martial arts was either lost or watered down. Have you been able to travel to China and help some of the masters there renew their martial art if they were not able to learn a complete system from their instructor as a result of the governmentís older more restrictive policy?
Doc-Fai Wong: Yes, in fact over the past few years a lot of the martial arts organizations in China have invited me to teach so for example the Choy Li Fut association in Jiang Men they have helped me to go there and give seminars. Because many of them had heard about Choy Li Fut, but they never actually had the chance to see it. So I went there to give seminars. Including other parts of Northern China and Beijing. The Wu Shu association hired me to go there and give a lecture on the traditional Yang style Tai Chi also.
Fighting Stars: Thatís fantastic. Well Grandmaster Wong I really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us this evening and I look forward to hearing about your future adventures.
Doc-Fai Wong: Absolutely, you are welcome. Now you keep in touch as well.
Fighting Stars: Thanks, and goodnight.