2014 HUANG FEIHUNG INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT
by Donald Hamby and Jessica Lee
Since 1999 I have been making regular trips to Hong Kong to replenish my knowledge of Lam family Hung Kuen under the watchful eye of Grandmaster Lam Chun Fai. In February 2012 I returned to Hong Kong to pay my respects to Great Grandmaster Lam Cho shortly before he passed away in March 2012 and to film the final part of the PBS documentary, The Black Kung Fu Experience, in which Grandmaster Lam Chun Fai plays a major role.
After three months of arduous training and conditioning in the hot California summer, Hamby’s Hung Gar Tiger/Crane School was ready to vie with the best in the Huang Feihong International Tournament. On November 17, 2014, my students and I boarded a plane from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, China. We had been invited along with Calvin Chan’s Hung Gar Gung Fu Academy and Frank Yee’s Hung Gar Gung Fu Academy to represent the United States of America. This first Huang Fei Hong international competition would bring Hung Gar masters and student practitioners from around the world together to compete in an event unprecedented in the annals of Hung Gar martial arts history.
We arrived in Hong Kong on November 18 after an exhausting fifteen-hour flight. The next day we met with Grandmaster Lam Chun Fai (along with fellow Hung Gar masters and students) to celebrate the launching of his new book, Hung Kuen Chin Cheung. At the restaurant where the book signing was to take place, Grandmaster Lam Chun Fai greeted us with a warm infectious smile, and we greeted him in turn with the traditional martial arts salute. The new book is unique to the Lam Family Hung Kuen system and is the second book published by Lam Chun Fai and Hing Chao. The first book is entitled Hung Kuen Fundamentals, Gung Gee Fok Fu.
Hung Gar has a legacy that can be traced back to the Shaolin Temple. Its family tree begins with Abbott Zi Sin and percolates all the way down to Lam Chun Fai. The lineage is as follows: Abbot Zi Sin – Luk Ah Choy – Wong Ti – Wong Kai Ying – Huang Feihong (a.k.a. Wong Fei Hung) – Lam Sai Wing – Lam Cho – Lam Chun Fai. Hung Gar has played a very important role in promoting traditional Chinese martial arts throughout the four corners of the world and has become synonymous with Southern Shaolin.
The 2014 Huang Feihong First World’s Cup International Hung Kuen Competition was held on November 22 and 23, 2014, in Xiqiao, China, a small peaceful, rustic town surrounded by tall mountains and lush vegetation. The competition took place in the newly built National Arts Studio with a huge beautiful edifice overlooking a spacious courtyard with brightly colored buildings inside. The structure was most impressive with surrounding high walls, nestled in a dense mountainous terrain. Just being there made us feel as though we had traveled back in time to ancient China. It was truly a sight to behold.
Hamby’s Tiger Crane School, Calvin Chin’s Kung Fu Academy, and Yee’s Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy represented Hung Kuen from America. Hamby’s school brought their best performers consisting of Rose Trenado, Jessica Lee, Shawn Fuqua, and Kevin Sterlin. There were many countries represented in the competition, such as Brazil, Greece, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States of America. It was an inspiring experience to be among so many well-known Hung Gar masters, sifus and outstanding Hung Gar practitioners from around the world.
The competitors were grouped by age. The youngest competitor was six years old and the oldest was sixty-six. There was an array of Hung Gar schools from various lineages of the Hung Gar family tree. Our lineage is from Lam Cho, the last of the great masters of his time. He broadened the Hung Gar curriculum by creating the famous two-man Tiger and Crane set, the Sword versus Spear set, and many more that were demonstrated by some of the competitors in the tournament. He was the nephew of the world-renowned Hung Gar Master Lam Sai Wing and spent his entire life spreading the Lam family traditional Hung Kuen across the globe.
While most of the competitors stayed at Xijiao Mountain Hotel, some stayed at the lavish National Arts Resort Hotel. Built to impress the rich and famous, it has a beautiful white marble interior from floor to ceiling, with a huge lobby and spacious rooms with black marble floors. Upon our arrival at the National Arts Hotel for dinner, we were greeted and welcomed with a compilation of lion dances followed by an opening ceremony in honor of Wong Feiheung and dignitaries who worked tirelessly for many months to make the event possible.
The Kung Fu village provided food, lodging and transportation for all the competitors and assigned volunteers to assist us as needed. We were proud to be invited to compete against some of the best Hung Gar practitioners in the world.
All the competitors were put into groups according to the country they represented and marched into the stadium much like the athletes’ procession in the Olympics Games. Above the huge competition stage, a gigantic traditional lion’s head stared down upon the competitors as if to say, “I am king.” After the national anthem, competitors departed the stage and were assigned to groups according to their ages and the Kung Fu form they were going to demonstrate. The most revered Tiger Crane form, created by Huang Feihong, was very popular and performed by many competitors. Also performed were the three pillar sets of traditional Hung Kuen: Gung Gee Fok Fu, Fu Hok Sueng Yin Kuen and Tit Sin Kuen. Advanced practitioners demonstrated the famous Sup Ying Kuen form, which Wong Fei Hung created later as a precursor for learning the Tit Sin Kuen.
Preceding the competition was a traditional lion dance, with the clang of cymbals, thunder of drums and crackle of fire crackers to bless the tournament and scare away evil spirits, according to the Chinese belief.
The competition began with a large group of children performing a martial arts routine that was well organized and exciting to watch. A masters demonstration followed, featuring some top Hung Gar masters. Each competitor performed with great effort and physical prowess and everyone enjoyed the intense competition. I’m proud to announce that Rose Trenado won the gold medal for her powerful display of the Tiger and Crane set. Kevin Sterlin won Silver for performingSup Ying Kuen and Jessica Lee along with Rose Trenado won Bronze for the Sword versus Spear two-man set.
The competition ended with the announcement of the winning competitors from their respective groups. They all took the stage to receive their winning medals. Pictures were taken and news media was present to interview the winners of the Huang Feihong overall prize. The venue of lavish hotels and beautiful palace where the competition took place left an indelible impression on all who took part in this unprecedented event. The next competition is scheduled for 2016 and will include continuous fighting. Hope to see you there.