WONG TING FONG
Master Wong Ting Fong was born in Toyson city, a village near Canton, in Kwangtung Province, China. At the age of 8, he began his kung fu training in his family's school, run by Wong Ying Gor and Wong Lai Way. The style taught at the school at this time was Hung Gar / Toy Gar , a blend of Hung Gar and Toy Gar kung fu.
The school was rooted in the traditions of the Shaolin Temple, having employed a heavy emphasis on horse stance training. Before Master Wong even saw his masters for the first time, he had spent the first six months of this hard training practicing only the horse stances and fundamental blocking, punching and kicking techniques of the system. Only after showing a proficiency in these basic techniques was he able to begin learning the more advanced techniques based on the five animals of the Shaolin art, namely: the dragon, tiger, crane, snake, and leopard.
Eight years later, after having becoming an accomplished martial artist, Master Wong Ting Fong had the honor of training under the great master, Leong Tin Chee. The Wong family in San Francisco, having heard of his abilities, hired Leong Tin Chee to coach at the school run by Wong Ying Gor and Wong Lai Way in China. It was at this time that Fut Gar was introduced to the school.
Now, having had the privilege and honor of training under three kung fu masters, Master Wong become an expert in the open handed techniques of the animals, and Chinese weapons. These weapons included the staff, tiger fork, kwando, spear and single and double swords. Not only had Master Wong mastered fighting techniques, but he was also an expert in Ni gung, the source of internal power, and in the use of Chinese herbal medicines.
Master Wong came to America with no intention of teaching kung fu. However, when he arrived in Buffalo, there was only one martial arts school, World Fighting Arts, which taught the Okinawan style of Ishhin Ryu Karate. Upon hearing of Master Wong's unique skills from the Chinese people of the area, the head instructor at this school, Captain Angus Reynolds, United States Marine Corps (USMC), wanted to observe for himself what talents were possessed by Master Wong. He contacted Master Wong and asked for a demonstration at his Dojo. Master Wong accepted, and demonstrated his skills in self-defense and weapons. In one of the self-defense demonstrations, Master Wong successfully defended himself against three attackers, with one of the attackers being the head instructor. For his weapon demonstration, Master Wong, using a bo staff provided by the Dojo, performed the movement "One Drop of Water." To the astonishment of those in attendance, this movement, which is, in effect, a single snapping upward motion, broke the bo. This demo was so impressive, Captain Reynolds asked Master Wong to teach kung fu at his Dojo.
Master Wong remained at this Dojo for approximately one year before establishing his own school in 1966, which he called "The Golden Dragon Kung-Fu Society." This, however, was not without controversy. Many of the Chinese people in the area were upset, because they regarded Kung Fu as a secret art form, which should not be revealed to non-Chinese. Master Wong, completely opposed to this theory, consented to teach all people, regardless of race or creed, as long as they were, and proved themselves to be of good character. In doing so, Master Wong became one of the pioneers in opening kung fu to the west.
At first, business for the school was very slow, with Master Wong teaching classes of as few as four or five students. Gradually, however, the school grew as his students exhibited their excellent skills in both local and regional tournaments.
Master Wong, however, did not fall into the trap of commercialism, which the success of a school could lead to. The only adaptation he made from the Chinese way of doing things was the adaptation of the Americanized belt ranking system for the purpose of attending tournaments. In true kung fu, there are no belt rankings, as a martial artist place in his school is judged on his talent and experience. True to his saying, "Nothing for nothing," Master Wong adhered patiently and loyally to his traditional roots in Kung Fu. He taught not only the hard horse stances, animal movements, forms, two man sets, and weapons, but also Chinese culture, philosophy and the Lion's Dance.
The "true" art of his style is based on vicious ripping and tearing hand techniques, such as the tiger claw. However, Master Wong also taught sparring techniques that would be viable for tournaments. Proof of the effectiveness of these techniques can be seen in the success of his students in the various tournaments. Not only were there individual successes within Master Wong's school, but the students who attended these tournaments consistently won the team trophy which was awarded for the greatest number of individual trophies won during a competition. At times, the school was asked to demonstrate the Lion's dance to open the tournaments. Also, at these tournaments, Master Wong was frequently called on to administer his herbal medicine to help heal internal and external injuries, which occurred during the course of events. In addition to all of this, Master Wong would perform Ni Gung breaking demonstrations, one of which included his drilling his finger into a masonry brick.
Master Wong closed his doors in 1975 after teaching kung fu in Buffalo for 15 years. He passed away on May 25, 1992.
Master Wong showing Spar Action with Tiger Claws
Master Wong demonstrates brick breaking
Master Wong teaching rattan staff play