What is Honor and the true Spirit behind a true Kung Fu Master?

~based on my personal learning experience, Sifu Billy Lau


I first would like to give thanks to Sifu Grandmaster Garrett Gee for a wonderful training session on Wednesday morning August 28th, 2013 this past week as we trained rigorously for several hours at the St. Mary’s Square park near San Francisco Chinatown in California. I am personally extremely grateful and appreciate the dedication coming from an authentic Grandmaster offering this type of personalized old Kung Fu tradition of Hou Cheun Sun Sou passing on the art of Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen. While we continued to train, I had the fortunate opportunity to have met Richard Ng who was just walking through the park and happens to be an old timer acquaintance of Sifu Gee. Richard Ng had practiced nearly 30+ years in the art of Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu and has known Sifu Gee back in the 1970’s when Sifu Gee first taught in the Chinatown location. Richard Ng ended up sparring with me while we were practicing and even though he was much taller than I with better physique, I was able to utilize the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu Jeet Kiu and Sam Ton Dai Gai on three range interceptions against his Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu. So suddenly I realized the beauty once again of the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu System of how clear it is that no matter what type of martial arts people learn for extended periods of time, once they utilize outside the box concepts in combat, they violate the true harmony of nature’s Time Space and Energy existence and fall into the category of power, muscle and speed training maneuvering in and out trying to land a lucky punch or strike against me. The advantages we uphold with the unique Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu structure, Sup Ming Dim, Bai Jong, Jeet Kiu and Sam Ton Dai Gai including 3 range execution of Jun Ging and Ton Ging was enough for me to mitigate all incoming blows while kicking him once in the knee knocking him unstable and pushing him back several times with Ng Mui Ying Jong Faat. Richard was a good sport and even though he has trained more than 30+ years ago and has met Sifu Gee back in the 1970‘s, he never had the opportunity to experience Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu in the past. It is his “Fate”, that after he experienced the sparring match today and personally seeing how Sifu Gee trains me privately, he strongly identify the uniqueness of the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu System and even though he has 30 something years of experience under his belt from another Kung Fu Style, he requested to train with Sifu Gee and I every Wednesdays and learn the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu System.

Despite Sifu Gee’s already busy schedule, he continues to find time on every Wednesday morning to continue teaching and training with me unconditionally. On another note, Sifu Gee is one of the few person’s that you can call him any hour of the day whether it’s 11:30pm, 3:00a.m. or 9:00a.m. in the morning. Sifu Gee would not be mad and always answers the phone with a welcoming voice through all these years that I’ve known Sifu Gee. Also it is well known from the internal realm of students that Sifu Gee on many occasions would wake up at 3:00a.m. to start his Kung Fu training and teachings. This also reminds me of the time when Sifu Gee along with Sovannaroth Kruich and a few other Kung Fu Tong members traveled the world on a special private project. Sifu Gee spent more than 175 hours in one small week’s time under private training wholeheartedly without any questions as to his own personal rest time and endure past physical limitations. To me, anyone without Great Commitment to Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu would not be able to perform such high standard feats and showing us what a true Kung Fu Warrior‘s Spirit is all about.

After our training, we went and had lunch together along with Richard Ng. When Sifu Gee was eating lunch outside, Sifu Gee is never able to finish his lunch because Sifu Gee always end up giving his own lunch to the pigeon‘s surrounding Chinatown. On several witnessed accounts, Sifu Gee had to end up purchasing 2 lunches because he would offer his own lunch first to feeding other animals before he finishes eating for himself. In my perspective, this act of selflessness shows great Compassion.

After lunch, all three of us ended up passing by an art gallery. While exploring the paintings, Sifu Gee bumped into yet another old timer acquaintance by the name of Gary Lau, a renowned artist in Chinese Calligraphy Art along with Wu Mo who was the Art Gallery owner. We had an on the spot gathering which Gary Lau, Sifu Gee along with Richard Ng shared some remarkable historical events with me, that happened at this same art gallery location back in the 1980’s as they all witnessed one of the artists called Nancy Song who was also Sifu Gee’s Si Jea passed on a message to Sifu Gee from our Sigung Dr. Wang Ming telling Sifu Gee about his Naturalization and moving situation. I had the luxury to witness also many accounts of Sifu Gee in real street fighting combat in the earlier days while teaching in the Chinatown Circuit. In the early days from 1975 thru the 1980’s it was not that simple being a Kung Fu Instructor. There were constant challenges weather on the street or in the studio or Kwoon. Richard Ng started sharing of actual events involving Sifu Garrett Gee. One such event was personally witnessed by Richard Ng himself in front of the parking lot of Lion’s restaurant by which Sifu Gee along with only one other student single-handedly took on 10 guys as self-defense and defeated all 10 guys to the ground. On another incident, it was also told that Sifu Gee to have defeated one of the Martial Arts Leading Instructor’s in front of a clan of about 30 Martial Artists and practitioners when Sifu Gee was being challenged to Chi Sao. The important highlight of this afternoon isn’t about hearing how Sifu Gee defeated all the following individuals in such incidents, or defeating this individual Martial Arts Leading Instructor, but rather how during the time Sifu Gee knocked him backwards and was about to fall on the floor, Sifu Gee grabbed him and pulled him back as to not allow this instructor to lose face in front of all his students and through great Kung Fu Honor and Compassion to develop the kind of respect for a Kung Fu Man. Many stories were told and collaborated as I heard one story at a time of real life street combat situations recollected from actual people and events that really occurred. From one event or story to the next I had a much more clear understanding of the character and person that Sifu Grandmaster Garrett Gee was. He is truly a very compassionate person and that being a Kung Fu Sifu isn’t a simple matter in those days and must require you to be ready for combat in any given moment of time.

From these stories and accounts of recollected information, this also triggers a lot of things besides just having another special training day. Through such experience and art exchange discussions, I had the opportunity to perform our Siu Nim Tao form to Gary Lau and in return, he decided to offer me a free painting of his art as a gift exchange, drawn in front of me on the spot, as highlighted in the picture attached to this article below.

Grandmaster Garrett Gee started training many well-known family Kung Fu styles at the age of 5 and is currently one of the very few individual Grandmasters that carry over 40 full Kung Fu forms, styles and systems in depth with an emphasis in our Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu System. Sifu Grandmaster Garrett Gee’s also the 33 generational descendant of one of the most important philosophers from the Song dynasty in China history called Zhu Xi. His ancestral bloodline traces directly back to Zhu Xi which according to Life Magazine in a publication to have announced Zhu Xi as one of the 45th most important and influential persons to have existed in the last one thousand years. Spanning from Zhu Xi’s teachings from over 100 written books and publications which have influenced the world‘s cultural developments around the globe. Sifu Gee recalls from his grandfather’s times where his grandfather had 4 bodyguards everywhere he goes, and has lots of money and wealth. Sifu Gee’s father Grandmaster Peter Kim Ho Chu was also a famous and well respected Wu Dang master and instructor with 40 years teaching experience. During the pre-1975’s, before Sifu Gee’s family came to America, Grandmaster Peter Kim Ho Chu was asked by a famous Hong Kong film producer to sign a contract to join the Hong Kong film industry and to film Peter Chu’s Wu Dang Kung Fu style in movies. However, due to deciding to come to the United States, Peter Chu declined the deal. That’s why in Hong Kong film industry you can only see Director Lau Kar Leung’s Hung Kuen and Jackie Chan’s films which influenced the flourish of Kung Fu films to the modern day. Otherwise, we might see more Wu Dang style influence into Hong Kong’s film cinema. This was after Bruce Lee’s death and before Jackie Chan was even famous. After coming to America, we can see the strong friendship ties between the Bruce Lee family and Sifu Garrett Gee’s family. On many occasions, even Bruce Lee’s mother Gracie Lee is a very good friend of Peter Chu. She has always admired Peter Chu’s Wu Tang Kung Fu, she even said when her grandson Brandon Lee grows older she’d like Brandon to learn from Sifu Gee’s Father Peter Chu. Every time Gracie Lee comes over from Seattle to visit San Francisco, they would make a special trip to meet with Sifu Gee’s family and Peter Chu.

We go from very famous family backgrounds and ties to the modern day Grandmaster Garrett Gee, who lives very humbly merging himself into society without the fortune and fame that he could have gotten. To Sifu Gee, that form of thriving for only money and fame has no meaning in itself and is a very low form of spirituality. But rather the highest form of Spirit of a Lineage Holder is to preserve the core essence of such unique kung fu system and pass it on completely to a few genuine and true disciples who will carry on the same missions sworn oath of the legacy that in which we call the “Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu System”. Looking back in 1975 when our Grandmaster Sifu Garrett Gee was teaching in the Chinatown Circuit, he had already identified early on what it means to be a Lineage Holder. The highest Spirit that encompasses the requirement and responsibility is to not be corrupted by fame and fortune selling out the art to anyone who wishes to purchase it. In Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu we have what we call Hou Cheun Sun Sow, meaning the art must be passed through one on one through the word of the mouth and experienced through the daily training of the body karma passed on to someone who is genuine and does not utilize Kung Fu as a “Get-Rich-Scheme” to scam others for profit. As I look around in the martial arts realm of many masters and grandmasters of many different arts or disciplines, the primary objective of such so called grandmasters is for them chasing after money, fame, and produce massive dvd collections of their so called masterpiece or art. I know for a fact that after learning 22 years of collective Wing Chun experience that it is silly for anyone who believes they can learn such sophisticated art such as Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun through a video tape or DVD recording. You must have professional guidance and teachings from an authentic grandmaster.

Also back in the mid 1970’s, a wealthy Chinese Businessman by the name of H. Chan tried to offer Sifu Grandmaster Garrett Gee 50,000 dollars just for a recording of the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu System. In that time period 50,000 dollars was a lot of money and alot of people was very surprised why Sifu Gee did not sell to this wealthy Chinese Businessman H. Chan. He wanted to produce video tapes and offer to make Sifu Gee rich and famous. But Sifu Gee turned down the offer. Sifu Gee believes that money is only secondary and that upholding the Lineage is of the first priority. It’s about the true art and true lineage that he must protect. If Sifu Gee wants to make money he can do it long time ago, but Sifu Gee is only interested in preserving and passing on the art to people who are genuine and who possess true qualities of Commitment, Compassion and Contribution to society and community. Money cannot buy such exquisite art, it depends on “Fate” and true dedication. Ever since the first day I met Sifu Grandmaster Garrett Gee approximately 11.5 years ago back in March 2002, I felt the spiritual strength and ancestral support was extremely powerful from the first moment I entered the Hung Fa Kwoon in San Francisco. From my learning experience, Sifu Gee is of the utmost genuine martial artist that exist today protecting the invaluable information and guarding the essence and quality with his own life for many years. As I understand it, there are two tracks of learning. One track is for regular folks passing through the school learning only the outer layers of skills. And the second track is for internal disciples who truly can pass the tests of time expressing true unsurpassed genuine interests to learning and protecting the art by which will be passed down to only a few individuals. Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Tin Yan Dei Sam Ton Dai Gai is not much you can learn from a book, and not much you can learn from a video. In order for you to really understand, you must get the personal empowerment from your Sifu with oral personal training. And only Grandmaster Garrett Gee can unlock such information through daily “Hou Cheun Sun Sou” cultivation. As a Tantric Buddhist Cultivator, the methodology is parallel to our empowerment when we learn secret sutras or mantras and there’s a lot of truth behind this process weather it‘s Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu or Tantric Buddhism.

How come we come from such strong old traditional sense of culture? We know Sifu Garrett Gee even up to modern day today still will not sell out the art or have any such DVD‘s produced. That money is a by-product, and money cannot buy the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu System. The old tradition is that the grandmaster must teach you personally through Oral teachings and a lot of detail must go through a lot of season of hard training to harness the true skills through time. Through a small step like feeding animals and the duty to protect the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu System from the Greedy Businessmen, I can identify that Sifu Gee has great compassion, commitment and contribution to the Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kung Fu System teachings. Even in just an ordinary day of training, I can witness that Sifu Gee himself has shown us what it truly means to execute the 3 C’s (Compassion, Commitment and Contribution) on a daily basis through his own actions and as students we must follow in his footsteps and continue such meaningful kung fu tradition and legacy.

While watching many Samurai movies in the past I’ve always admired the warrior’s Spirit of Japanese Samurai’s in which during their martial arts training, they can carry out cultural emphasis of “Honor” to the extreme. Many people do not know that a lot of such cultural spirit of Honor was heavily influenced by Chinese Kung Fu Culture and Philosophy when many of the Japanese martial arts points back to Shaolin origins. On the flip side, it is also with disgust when observing the Chinese Kung Fu Culture of many so called Sifus or Grandmasters in modern society today that the only motive in which that drives their continued expansion of martial arts teaching is “Money” and “Greed“ and lack of the true Spirit and Honor in which should govern the bindings between “Discipleship” and “Teacher-hood“. Priority is never about money or fame in Kung Fu Culture. Priority is Honor to the Lineage and pay Respect back to the Ancestors. Never is it about personal gain. One of the very old Chinese Cultural proverbs is “Yum Sir See Yuen”. Meaning when you’re drinking water, you must appreciate and think about where the source of the water came from. And thus same in Chinese Traditional Kung Fu Culture, we must give Honor and Respect back to the Ancestors of the Lineage.

~Sifu Billy Lau













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