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Grandmaster Wong Cheung


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Sifu Wong Cheung called Kat Shun, was born in Panyu, Canton in 1902. At age 8, he started to learning "Sam Shin Tie Sin Kuen", the Iron Wire Form, from his grandfather. (This form is intended to harden the body making it more resistant to nerve and pressure strikes, as well as all kinds of other punishment.)

Unfortunately by the age of 10, Wong contracted small pox. Fortunately family friends knew a doctor that specialised in the treatment of small pox. Doctor Leung Shui Wing lived in Duck Kong Village, which was 50 miles away.  His clan hired three workers to carry him the 50 miles to Duk Kong Village where he stayed at Dr. Leung’s clinic for some months. Months later, he recovered and Dr. Leung became his adoptive father.

Besides being a doctor, Dr. Leung was also a martial arts expert.  Next to his clinic, there was a court yard where he had erected a 108 pins Mui Fa Chong (Plum Flower Dummy) and Gau Chi Mo Pun Chong (Nine Pines Grinder Dummy). Every morning at 5am, Dr Leung was up and training on the dummies. Master Wong Cheung had noticed this and was interested in the dummies. He asked Dr Leung if he would teach him. Finally Dr. Leung agreed. 

At the age of 14, Wong then travelled to Guangzhou with his uncle and worked in fruit wholesalers. At that time Sifu Fu Wun who was the brother of the famous Iron Palm Fu Zhen Song, was teaching Lung Yin Ba Gua Cheong (Dragon Ba Gua Palm) in the fruit wholesaler company.  Master Wong could not afford the tuition fees and so would secretly watch and imitate the movements. After one year, he could perform the form pretty well.  One of the workers noticed Master Wong imitating these movements and so told Sifu Fu Wun.  Sifu Fu Wun then called Wong Cheung and asked him to demonstrate the Lung Yin Ba Gua Cheong before him.  Sifu Fu Wun was impressed by Wong Cheung’s ability and formally started to teach him Lung Yin Ba Gua Cheong.  During this period, Wong Cheung learned all eight palms.

In 1920, at the age of 18, Wong then moved to Hong Kong where he got a job as a gardener for a wealthy British family at Bowen Road at the Peak on Hong Kong Island. Early in the morning and during breaks Wong would practice his Tie Sin Kuen, Chai Mei Kun, and Lung Yin Ba Gua Cheong. One day a co-worker saw Wong practicing with his staff and, borrowing it and imitating Wong's technique, broke it in two. It turned out that this co-worker, Fung Ping-Wai, was a monk who had returned to "worldly life." Fung had studied under a disciple of the founder of Black Tiger Kung Fu. Wong and Fung became good friends and started to practice together. Fung taught Wong the Black Tiger style for the next three years before they were parted when Fung went with the family back to Britain.

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During his early life Wong also studied under Kong Gang Son, a disciple of Wong Fei Hung. From Kong Gang Son he learnt Hung Kuen and Lee Gar Staff at Gau Yu Fong. He also studied staff from Lee Yi.  Learned Choy Li Fut from Cheung Loi  and studied weapons under Pun Fei SHan, learning to use the 18 standard weapons and a number of others.

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In 1928 Grandmaster Wong Chueng moved to the Central district on Hong Kong Island where he set up a gymnasium in Wellington Street. In 1930 at the age of 28 Master Wong was involved in a life or death situation. Local thugs had been demanding that Wong participate in their organisation for some time but he had always refused. Then one day as he was walking from the ferry point at Sai Ying Pun he was approached by two of the thugs. They started to make trouble as Wong again refused to take part in their organisation. Wong lost patience and pushed them away. Suddenly a gang of ten who rushed at him with various weapons surrounded him. Master Wong then took the initiative and a fierce battle commenced.
Due to Wong’s skill the gang were defeated but managed to escape. 

The site at Wellington Street was used for teaching Kung Fu until the Second World War. As the Japanese began to invade China, Grandmaster Wong moved back to his home town of Punyu, Canton. It was reputed that during this period Grandmaster Wong also learnt several high level secret aspects of Kung Fu as repayment for providing food and shelter to travelling masters who had been made refugees during the war.

Grandmaster Wong’s affluent life was brought to an end in 1949 when the Communist party came to power in China. Due to the Communist policy to persecute Kung Fu masters and people of certain standing, Grandmaster Wong was forced to flee Punyu with only the clothes on his back and once again returned to Hong Kong.

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In Hong Kong Grandmaster Wong found employment teaching Kung Fu to various restaurant and employees associations located at Pei Ho Street and Shanghai Street in Mong Kok. During the late 1950’s Wong was employed to train the railway workers association in Kung Fu. This position enabled him to set up his gym in a siding at Mong Kok railway station. In 1960 Wong formed the Yick Kwan Fa Pao Association, (a Cantonese traditional ceremony / game with fireworks to bring luck) which he ran and organised. During the 1960’s Wong used the siding at Mong Kok station in the day and various buildings during the evenings. From the early 1950’s Wong taught many different styles to different people depending on their abilities. 
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With the fame of Bruce Lee and explosion of people interested in learning Kung Fu, Wong’s students encouraged him to formally open the Black Tiger Association and set out a more rigid syllabus. This culminated in the official opening of the Wong Cheung Black Tiger Gymnasium in 1973, first at 332-334 Portland Street and then in 1974 at the current building in Bute Street, Mong Kok, with an official and well attended ceremony at a near by restaurant. This building became the official headquarters, but Wong still used the gym at the sidings at Mong Kok station until 1980 when this site was forced to close due to renovation of the area with the building of a large new shopping complex.

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It was during this period that due to Grandmaster Wong’s renowned skill and vast experience he was asked to be a martial arts consultant to several organisations such as the Taiwanese Sung Chung San Arts and Sports Association in 1970, the Hong Kong Gymnasium and Martial Arts Association in 1977, for a Hong Kong Kung Fu movie around 1979, a Choy Li Fut association in 1980 and the Hong Kong Martial Arts Association from 1983 to 85.

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On the eve of Chinese New Year, 1989, Grandmaster Wong Chueng passed away. Unfortunately he had not named a successor. Some students decided to stop training and the running of the association then passed onto a number of Grandmaster Wong’s most senior students. They also formed the Hak Fu Mun Wong Cheung Student Association who meet every year on the anniversary of his death. This association has maintained the gym / headquarters in Bute Street and have also met the costs to cover the utility bills. The general up keep of these premises has been conducted by a few old loyal students that also live close to the gym. Over the years many students that had continued with the Kung Fu training have since retired or passed away, until only two classes publicly taught Black Tiger in Hong Kong Eric Tsai taught from 2002 until 2007 in Hong Kong before then moving to Sydney, Australia where he set up a class. Alan Low had taken the class over from Franco Lok in 1997, and still currently teaches at North Point on Hong Kong Island on Sunday mornings.