On September 4th, my teacher, Dr. Leung Kay-chi turns 80! Times files! I remember him when he was a spry 41 year old amazing kung-fu master. Here is a short story of how I met Dr. Leung.
I was learning Tai-Chi from Master T.T. Liang in Boston. Many times he told me I should learn Hsing-Yi and Pa- Kua. I asked him to teach me. He said had had forgotten, but that he would find a teacher for me. A few weeks later Master Liang said he arranged some private lessons with a teacher, Master B.P. Chan, who was teaching at Master Liang's classmate, Master William C.C. Chen's school. I went down and took four hours of private classes and received my first introduction into these two internal martial arts. When I was making arrangements to go for more lessons, Master Liang said he had a surprise for me. Not only was I to study with Master Chan's teacher, but my lessons would be right in Boston!
Master Liang told me that his Shao-Lin teacher, Master Han Chin-tang's son in law,who was B.P. Chan's teacher, was coming to visit Liang in Boston to pay respects. Liang had arranged for me to study Hsing-Yi and Pa-Kua from his friend, Dr. Leung Kay-chi!
When I met Dr Leung ( Liang Chi-tze in Mandarin), he was a trim, gym-teacher looking, martial arts teacher who was the personal body-guard of the president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos. He was in the United States visiting family and friends, and some students like Master B.P. Chan. I saw Leung demo Hsing-Yi for Master Liang, and then Liang had me demo Tai-Chi Sword and Saber. They talked in Chinese, laughed at me, and at the end set the time for my classes.
At the basketball courts in Fenway, I learned the Splitting Fist/P"i-Ch'uan element of Hsing-Yi and began the first set of 8 Palm Changes, lien huan chang. Dr. Leung demonstrated two complete sets of changes on the circle in the middle of the court. I was hooked! I arranged for more classes and got some of my classmates involved. We learned all 5 Elements and a set of 8 Palm changes before he returned to the Philippines. Dr. Leung was staying with relatives in New York, and I traveled there to learn from him as well.
Dr.Leung came back again for a visit the next year, and I arranged seminars, workshops, and many private classes for him. I got to learn a 2nd set of Pa-Kua Palm changes and began exploring Chen Style Tai-Chi, Northern Shao-Lin, ch'in-na, and weapons. I even got an introduction to the 9 Section Chain Whip.
In 1981 two big changes happened to my martial arts training. First, Master T.T. Liang announced he was retiring and moving to Minnesota, and second, he told me that Leung Kay-chi told him he wanted to immigrate to the U.S. and could I help. I stayed in Boston and hired an immigration lawyer, became a "business" that needed the best kung-fu teacher in the world, and the rest is history!
When Dr. Leung moved to the U.S. he came first and then his wife, Han Lin-lin, the daughter of the famous Han Chin-tang, and his two young daughters came later. I would travel to New York City with the Leung's on family visits, Lung-Chun Sword shopping expeditions, as well as dim sum and great Chinese food outings. I demonstrated with Dr Leung at Harvard, MIT, and many other locations around metro Boston. I also drove and assisted at seminars in Western Massachusetts at JR Roy's Martial Arts Academy in Greenfield.
One time Dr.Leung's teacher, Grandmaster Liu Yun-Ch'iao visited Boston and we got meet him and go to a banquet. Master Liu was the personal body guard of Chang Ching-kuo, the president of Taiwan. I got to meet with him privately and ask him questions. He told me, "Leung Shifu says you practice really hard." In those days I sure did!
I learned a lot from Dr. Leung Kay-chi. Here is a short list:
Chen Style Tai-Chi
8 Linking Palms
8 Yin Fu Palms
San Lu Pao- Chui
Lien Bu Ch;uan
Gung Li Ch'uan
Sze Lu Beng Da
General Yang Spear
Shih Tse Tan
Lo Han Shih Ba Shou
Monkey Staff Sing Jia Beng
Just to name a few! Dr. Leung studied with many famous masters. Here is another short list:
I also drank gallons of tea with Dr. Leung, talked about Chinese history, Outlaws of the Marsh, martial arts, Three Kingdoms, Lin Chong,and Chinese medicine. Some of my fondest memories are riding the subway to Chinatown on Saturdays after class, sipping coffee on the train with Dr. Leung, to go eat mountains of Chinese food!
HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY to my teacher, Dr. Leung Kay-chi!!