Biography of Master Ho Cheung (Second part)

The greatest regret in my father’s life was this: He did not pick up the Hung Sing Kwoon compilation book of kung fu and medicine left by his teacher Tong Sek.
Small bio of Master Tong Sek in the Hung Sing Kwoon
According to my father: Before leaving Futsan for Hong Kong, Master Tong Sek asked his wife to give my father the kung fu and medicine book that he had left at home, so she asked someone to call my father to come and pick it up. But my father was forced by the political backround of the time, (folk kung fu masters were persecuted).
He was concerned about implicating his family members and did not dare to go pick it up. Later, Mrs. Tong also left Futsan, and the kung fu book and the medicine book also disappeared.My father always thought a lot about this matter.After the opening and the reform*, he always tried by every means to find Mrs. Tong’s whereabouts.
For the celebration of the Hung Sing Kwoon 150th anniversary, my father contacted Fang Hong Keng, the son of Fang Mei, the last chairman of the board, prior to the dissolution of the Hung Sing Kwoon. Back then, his family and Master Tong Sek were neighbors.According to Fang Hong Keng, there were provided clues that Mrs. Tong in those years must have returned to Master Tong Sek’s village to live with her uncle in Panyu Shiqiao.

      Old pic of Panyu back in 1930-1940                                     
My father immediately wrote the biography of Master Tong Sek and sent a student to that area to find him. After searching many times and much effort from all parts, the student finally found the family of Master Tong’s nephew in Youji, Panyu.
They sent him a copy of the book for the 150th anniversary of the Hung Sing Kwoon, then they took a photo of Ms. Tong to give it to my father. At that moment, my father was very emotional and shed a few tears.But the student informed him: Perhaps Master Tong Sek’s family no longer wanted to get involved in martial arts again, he was told that there was no one in his village who practiced martial arts anymore and that they did not have any information or data.My father did not give up: Master Tong Sek had taught martial arts in his hometown for many years, there should be some disciple there. So he went personally with his student to do a second investigation. Heaven rewards people of great determination and finally fate made him find an old local man.That way he obtained the two parts, that year together with other students of Master Tong Sek they compiled the kung fu and medicine book.
My father got what he wanted.

My father had a deep affection for the Hung Sing Kwoon, in 1997 with great force he began to get support and help of Choy Lee Fut colleagues from abroad.

Without thinking of his age, my father bravely assumed great responsibilities to restore the Hung Sing Kwoon of Futsan, he rushed in all directions to help the leaders of the Culture Bureau to receive the companions from abroad and at the same time appoint students to contact other teachers and students to share their work together.
All work was successfully completed and on March 1, 1998 the Hung Sing Kwoon re-emerged.

Ho Cheung Sigung at the Hung Sing Kwoon
My father, a person of great virtue and prestige, was named “Eternal Headmaster”* of the Hung Sing Kwoon,
Every year after the Hung Sing Kwoon re-emerged, for the “Chong Yang Jie”*, (Double Nine Festival), my father always took his disciples to the kwoon to pay their respects to the ancestor masters. Until the year before his death, he celebrated this day. Without thinking about his serious illness my father insisted that his students took him to show their respect to the ancestor masters and told them that they should go every year to celebrate the “Chong Yang Jie” as part of the Hung Sing Kwoon tradition. We must pass on this tradition!

Leung Sifu and his disciples still celebrate the “Chong Yang Jie”
At the Tin Sing Kwoon we also celebrate the Chong Yang Jie as it was Ho Cheung Sigung wish

Look at my father’s life, he was always low profile and indifferent to fame ans wealth, but he spared no effort transmitting the teachings of the Hung Sing Kwoon. When Master Tong Sek was finally appointed as the director of the Futsan San Sing Kung Hung Sing Kwoon, my father was already working as an assistant instructor, helping to transmit the martial arts of the Hung Sing Kwoon.

Photo of the Hung Sing Kwoon masters taken in 1998 to celebrate the reopening of the Hung Sing Kwoon

My Sisok, Master Jim Gai, who is still alive recalled: “At that time there were dozens of beginners who had done the ‘bai shi’ * to Master Tong Sek, but in fact they were all taught by your father until Hong Sing Kwoon was shut down ”.

In 1961 my father started teaching martial arts at home. At first to my two brothers and my Si Hing Yeung Yun. Then other relatives and friends continued to join us.

After the reopening of Hung Sing Kwoon in 1998, regardless of his almost 80 years of age, my father insisted on going to the temple to teach the Hung Sing martial arts in person every night. Whether they were close or not, rich or poor, tall or short, as long as the students were of good character and a sincere will to learn, he taught them carefully, without reservation. More than a thousand disciples passed through his hands throughout his life.

In 1966, he knew that Master He Yi, a former generation Hung Sing Kwoon disciple (Wong Sei’s student, third generation of the Hung Sing Kwoon) was also accepting students at home. My father said: You can learn with me at any time but uncle Ho Yi is a master from an elder generation and you have the rare opportunity to be taught by him. Then he took me, my brothers, and Si Hing Yeung Yun to Uncle Ho Yi’s house so we could learn his art.

In 98 after the revival of the Hung Sing Kwoon, students were again designated to follow famous Hung Sing masters such as Tsui Gwong Yun from Hong Kong, Ho Hong Wing from Futsan and Ho Ming from Guang Xi so they could continue deepening in their studies.
Master Ho Cheung at the reopening of the Hung Sing Kwoon, at the left, Master Tsui Gwong Yun
At this moment thanks to the several decades that my father dedicated to preach with his example, the martial arts of the Hung Sing have: “Biu Ma of 24 movements”, “Che Kyun”, “Small Long Fist”, “Long Fist”, ” Ping Kuen “,” Kau Da Kuen “,” Fist of the Bloody Battle “,” Buddha Palm “,” Fist of the Drunken Buddha “,” The Fighting Drunk “,” Knife and Shield “,” Metal Whip “,” Umbrella ”,“ Hoe ”,“ Double-ended flat stick ”,“ Plum Blossom Lance ”,“ The Bat that throws itself at the wall ”,“ Hung Sing bench ”,“ The Trident that tames the Tiger ”, “Stick of the Monk that Tames the Demon”, “Fan of the Traveling Dragon”, “Stick of the Wolf Fang of Hung Sing”, “Fight for Couples”, “Double Knife against Spear”, “Knife and Shield against Trident that Tames the Tiger ”,“ Siu Jik Qing “, Eight Beginner’s Techniques “,”Fut Gar Sei Sap Kau Zi Kiu Fat” and so on.

When my father was already seriously ill, he repeatedly told us: Since the will of heaven has wanted us to hang up the Hung sing Kwoon sign, we cannot remove it again. We must carry out the Hung Sing Kwoon and transmit and preserve its martial arts. Hung Sing’s martial arts can´t be lost!At 9:56 pm on January 3, 2004, my father died at the age of 86. My father left us suddenly, but his spirit always remains here! On the occasion of the 160th anniversary of the Hung sing Kwoon, I wrote this article to comfort my father’s spirit in heaven: The Hung Sing Kwoon will certainly carry on, the martial arts of Hung Sing must be passed down from generation to generation!

Sifu Ho Choek Wah – November 2011
何焯华师傅 – 2011年9月
* “The opening and the reform” talks about the Chinese Reform and Opening-up (改革开放)  that took place in 1978, led by Deng Xiao Ping.
* “Headmaster” (馆长, Kwoon Cheung in cantonese, Guan Zhang in mandarin, pinyin) is the highest title within a martial arts school. “Eternal Headmaster” (永远馆长) it´s only given to very few masters that have been specially important for the kwoon.
* “Chong Yang Jie”, The Double Nine Festival
Translated by María Arias 何天萍 and Rubén Romero 何天成

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