Cheung Bing Faat / Tang Cho Tak lineage - UK Branch.
Profile on Tang Sifu Cho Tak:
It was during this time, that Tang Sifu was approached by some of the local Chinese residents of London’s Chinatown and was asked to begin teaching and promoting Pak Mei Kung Fu.
During the time when Sifu Tang was teaching, Si Gung Cheung Beng Faat – 3rd Eldest son of Sijo Cheung Lai Chuen, visited London on a number of occasions before his early death in 1988.
Before Si Gung’s death, Sifu Tang was given the official title of UK representative of Pak Mei Kung Fu and responsible for teaching, promoting and developing Pak Mei Kung Fu in London and around the United Kingdom.
Tang Sifu’s 1st generation students were predominantly Chinese when during this time their training in the Pak Mei art was hard and intense. Tang Sifu’s reputation rapidly grew in London Chinatown as one of the high-level martial arts teachers and his expertise was shown through his high level students performance of their kung fu skill and lion dance, during the Chinese New Year and Mid Autumn festivals.
Towards the late 70’s early 80’s, Sifu Tang began to open his up to some westerners fortunate enough to realise that what was being taught, was a very rare and valuable authentic system of Chinese martial arts.
There were a few other Sifu’s from other authentic systems; that had come over from Hong Kong around the same time or just after to teach in London. These Sifu’s were: the late Ho Sifu Kung Wah (Dit Ngau Tong Long – Iron Ox Preying Mantis), Jung Sifu Hon Chiu (Lung Ying Morr Kiu – Dragon Sign Boxing), Kan Sifu Victor (Wing Chun), Ip Sifu Chee Keung (Chow Gar Tong Long – Chow Family Preying Mantis) and Han Sifu Kim Sen (Ng Chorr Kuen – 5 Ancestors Fist) to name but a few.
Through the 1980’s and 90’s, Sifu Tang and his Pak Mei schools reputation had grew to become known within London’s Chinatown as one of the best authentic Chinese martial systems in London. Subsequently, enjoying this status by being the first school to be on stage, to perform Kung Fu during Chinese New Year and Mid Autumn festivals closely followed by our sister system Lung Ying Morr Kiu (Dragon Sign Kung Fu).
In the mid 1990’s, Sifu Tang retired from teaching Pak Mei Kung Fu and lion dance and returned back to Hong Kong. Though the Pak Mei school carried on in the absence of Sifu Tang, he still had an active input into the training and lion dancing that were being performed in his name.
Profile on Dave Stevens (Sifu): - Click here to see lineage and official schools under Sifu Dave Stevens
I first started my martial arts training at the age of 13 years studying Shotokan Karate for about 3years. However, I personally felt that 'Karate' didn't feel quite right for me - it never really suited my body shape and most of all temperament. So after moving away from the Japanese systems of martial arts, I found myself exploring the traditional Chinese systems.
I began instruction under Han Sifu (Ng Chor Kuen - 5 Ancestors & Wushu) as well as in the Hung Gar based Southern style of Chinese kung fu under another master where I stayed for about 5 years. During the late 80's, after leaving the other two styles I began training for a short time of about 1 year, under the late Ho Kung Wah Sifu, in Dit Ngau Tong Long (Iron Ox Preying Mantis) where unfortunately the class was stopped.
Fortunately for me, at this time there was another traditional kung fu style that caught my eye, that was being taught at the same venue as Dit Ngau Tong Long, which was Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) kung fu. Like so many other prospective students, I viewed the class in complete awe and amazement. After viewing the class twice, I knew instinctively that I had found the style that was for me!
I've been training in Pak Mei Kung Fu since the early 90's, under the direct tutelage of Tang Sifu. When I first began, I was luckily enough to have developed a strong foundation in my stances and footwork from practicing the Hung Gar system, as well as having a basic understanding of the triangular stance from Dit Ngau Tong Long.
During the late 90's, I began to help instruct the juniors in our full time Balham class directly under the watchful eye of Tang Sifu. From this time onwards, the training was pretty intense where I was helping instruct Pak Mei Kung Fu and Lion Dance, as well as participate in my own training 4 days a week.
Since beginning my practice in Pak Mei Kung Fu in the early 90's, I've never looked back. The system has everything that I was looking for in an 'authentic' Chinese system of martial arts; an excellent lineage, traditional body conditioning, qi (hei) gung, self defence, philosophy, lion dance and the traditional healing aspect of Chinese martial arts - Dit Da Jow (Iron Strike Wine), Tui Na An Mo (Chinese massage).
In January 2005, after spending 2 months working in Mainland China in the acupuncture and tuina massage out-patients departments at 2 hospitals in Beijing and Nanjing respectively. I travelled into Hong Kong on the final leg of my journey. I was invited to Cheung Beng Faat's memorial dinner to celebrate the memory of the Grand Master.
Over 100 Pak Mei masters and students showed their respects at the dinner, as through out the evening, each Sifu including myself was invited to demonstrate their prowess in honour of Cheung Beng Faat's memory and in front of the guest honour; Si Bak Gung Cheung Beng Lum and his disciples.
A couple of days later, my Sifu received a phone call from the Si Bak Gung asking him to bring me to his Kwoon in Tsim Sha Tsui in the evening. I was then to perform another display behind closed doors in front of Cheung Beng Lum and a selection of his disciples. After I had given an account of my skills, I was invited to become an 'indoor disciple of the Clan' and to which I was given the honour of having official permission to teach, promote and develop Pak Mei Kung Fu back in London and the UK.
My aim is to teach Pak Mei and traditional lion dance from a traditional standpoint and maintaining it's core principles, concepts and values to students of good character. The training is traditional, methodical and can sometimes be very hard but as the traditional saying goes "You must first taste the bitterness, before savouring the sweetness" which simply means that the more you put into the training from the beginning, the more you'll get out of the system as you progress.
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