I was invited to attend the 30th anniversary of Sifu Anthony “Moy Tung” Dandridge’s first-school opening. I went there as a reporter, as well as one of the speakers. The other speakers were my sifu, Sifu Nelson Chan, and my sisooks (young uncles) Sisook Lester Lau, Sisook Douglas Lee, Sisook Julian Cordero, Sisook Dr. John Moy, Sisook Pete Pajil, Sisook Richard Andino, and special guest Sisook William Moy, the son of Grandmaster Moy Yat. Other speakers included my sidais (young brothers/cousins) Sidai Barry O’Brian and Sidai Aaron Vyvial. Other special guests who did not take stage were Simo Helen Moy (wife of GM Moy Yat) and Miguel Hernandez, another member of SSA (Special Student Association) from GM Moy Yat’s lineage.
Anthony Dandridge was given the name Moy Tung by Grandmaster Moy Yat when he became a disciple. This follows traditional martial arts culture, whereby, the disciple takes on the family name of the master. Tung, meaning East, was given to Anthony to reflect his dedication to the way of the East. He trained under GM Moy Yat from 1980 until his grandmaster’s passing in 2001. He opened up his first school in 1988, and now has 25 branches throughout the USA, with over one thousand students practicing Moy Yat Ving Tsun system under him.
The anniversary/convention began on Friday May 4, 2018 at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Richmond, Virginia; and concluded on Sunday, May 6. There were over two hundred attendees from various parts of the USA and other countries. In a span of two and half days, several gongfu masters gave talks on the finer details of Ving Tsun. Professionally produced videos for the full event are available for sale at http://www.kungfuhq.com/dvd/. The videos presented in this report are just candid videos shot by me and one of my sidais, Colin Wong.
The first lecture was conducted by Sifu Barry O’Brian, the most senior student of Grandmaster Moy Tung, and the owner of the Richmond West End Academy of Kung Fu branch. He was also the organizer and MC for the event.
He demonstrated on how to fight multiple opponents,
and how to defend against neck chokes from behind.
Between the stage lectures, sifus from various schools helped answer questions from the attendees. Sifu Aaron Vyvial, who runs the Austin, Houston, and Georgia branches showed how easy it was to take an opponent down by twisting the head and neck.
Sifu Dr. John Moy, a direct student of GM Moy Yat, from Orlando demonstrated why it is not necessary to match your Centerline to the opponent’s perpendicularly, the importance of the Yijikim Yeungma and the fundamentals. of Wing Chun. Dr. John Moy then went on stage to further explain the relationship between the Yijikim Yeung Ma and the Qi (Chi) within our bodies. He showed how an improper Yijikim Yeungma would weaken the clamping of the thumb and the ring finger.
Next on stage was my Sisook (Young Uncle), Lester Lau, from New York. He is know as Moy Yee (Moy Two). He was the second person to be inducted in Moy Yat’s Special Student Association (SSA) which GM Moy Yat began when he migrated from Hong Kong to New York in 1973. Sisook Lau no longer practices or teaches Ving Tsun, but dedicates his time researching the historical and current development of the system. By profession, he is a professor of architecture; thus, uses the principles of architecture to discover the architecture of Ving Tsun. I’ve known Sisook Lau since early 2009, when he accompanied me to Lijiang, Yunnan in China, to trace the history of Ving Tsun, as told by Great-Grandmaster Ip Man. We’ve been in contact regularly since, and he has been one of the most influential sources in my Ving Tsun development.
On stage, Sisook Lau introduced a new concept of the Mukyan Jong (Woodman Post) that he had designed, which actually stems from the original design … pre-Hong-Kong Ip-Man wall-mount design. The original Mukyan Jong was buried partially into the ground. Because of the apartment dwelling lifestyle of Hong Kong, GGM Ip Man designed the suspended wall-mount dummy that Sisook Lau calls the Air Jong. “It has limitation,” stated Sisook Lau, “It is good for training against an opponent 150 lbs or less. The Ground Jong has no limitations.”
The Ground Jong displayed on stage was built by Lee DiJoseph, a professional carpenter in Richmond. He’s a Ving Tsun practitioner of eleven years, and a grand-student of Moy Tung. The blueprint was provided to him by Sisook Lau.
The concept of the Ground Jong came to Sisook’s mind after his visit to Lijiang, where the land is hilly, the air is thin, and the women ruled over men. Sisook Lau concluded that Abbess Ng Mui must have trained Yim Ving Tsun by placing her at high altitude, on the lower slope of the hill (Mui on the higher level) to develop her energy and strength. Also, the regional matriarchal society would have given Yim Ving Tsun the inspiration to defeat the warlord who was trying to force her into marrying him.
Sisook Lau said that practicing the dummy form on a sloped Ground Jong would take the practitioner to a much higher level than on the Air Jong. On the invitation of Sisook Lau, Sifu Julian Cordero and Sifu Brian O’Brien did the dummy form on it.
Sisook Lau then introduced me to speak about my theory of the origins of Ving Tsun system. GGM Ip Man had stated that Abbess Ng Mui, after the destruction of the Shaolin Temple by the Manchurian army, had escaped to the foothills of Daliang Mountain in Yunnan. Yim Ving Tsun’s father, who was accused of a crime he hadn’t committed, also escaped to Yunnan, taking Ving Tsun with him. That’s where Yim Ving Tsun met Ng Mui. Historically, Lijiang has been a trading hub where traders in caravans from bordering countries, such as Tibet, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam, and Thailand, gathered to trade. It is part of the famous Tea Route. China, beside the Han majority–considered pure “Chinese,” houses 55 minority ethnic groups. They are distinguished by the differences in languages, attire, culture, and cuisines. All 55 ethnic groups are concentrated in Southwest China, where Sichuan and Yunnan provinces are located. Amongst these ethnic groups, there are several that have a matriarchal culture, where women are the heads of the villages and heads of the households; where women inherit properties, and choose men for partners. Certainly, these matriarchal villages must have had to defend their villages against marauding males that wanted to rape and occupy their villages. They must have had very skillful women to fight the attempts. I don’t believe that Ng Mui could have formed a fighting method overnight from seeing a snake and crane fight; there must have already existed a fantastic women’s fighting method that had been developed from several generations. Ng Mui must have witnessed that in Yunnan, and brought Yim Ving Tsun to train with these women. The fight against the warlord could have been anywhere in the foothills of Daliang Mountain; however, Lijiang seems to be the most logical place because of its geographical position. It is the largest and oldest town in the region. It had a bustling commerce where Yim Ving Tsun and her father could sell their tofus. The surrounding villages were too small and inactive for anything to happen. Also, it wouldn’t have been a good hideout for Ng Mui or the Yims, as their presence would have been too obvious.
In my lecture, I offered to be the guide and host for anyone wishing to visit Lijiang on August of 2019.
My talk was followed up by Sifu Nelson Chan’s lecture. Apart from Simo Helen Moy, he was the most senior Moy Yat Ving Tsun Family member amongst the 250 that attended the event, He had started learning Ving Tsun in Hong Kong from Grandmaster Moy Yat in 1969. He migrated to Canada in 1972, Vasco Texiera and I were his first students. Both of us had already started Ving Tsun two years prior to his arrival to Canada from Sifu Wong Siu Leung (not to be mistaken for Wong Shun Leung), who was also a senior student of GM Moy Yat when he was in Hong Kong.
Sifu Chan has been a major influence in my Ving Tsun growth and development. He is not only a knowledgeable and skillful martial artist, but a very caring, kind, and wonderful person. I’ll forever be grateful for his teachings and friendship.
Sifu Chan’s lecture was focused on Ving Tsun’s connection with the Chinese culture and language. He explained the four stages of Ving Tsun development, 古 (Gu), 靈 (Ling), 精 (Jing), 怪 (Guai). Gu literally means Ancient, Tradition, Classic, or Basic. Therefore, in the Ving Tsun studying level, it is the first stage of learning the basics and fundamentals. The student then advances to the Ling stage, where he becomes Fluid, Swift, Skillful. Jing can mean Essence, Vitality, Energy, Proficient, or Refined. At this stage, the practitioner gets the essence of Ving Tsun, and has refined ability and energy. He can be considered an Expert in the art. Finally, he arrives at the stage of Guai, which is the level of Bewilderment or Extraordinaire. Using his student, Jason Lau, Sifu Chan then demonstrated the difference between the Gu, Ling, Jing, and Guai stages of the Paksau drills.
Sifu Chan’s stage presence was followed by Douglas Lee Moy San (No, 3 Special Student), who also focused on the Chinese culture. He explained and demonstrated the traditional ceremony of Bai Si or Honoring of the Teacher. He explained how, in China in the ancient days before the coming of public schools, a father would have had to seek out a private tutor to educate his children. The father was usually unable to educate them because he was too tied up with government work or running a business. Therefore, the tutor became not only a teacher, but a father figure also; thus the term, Sifu.
In the ancient days, only the sons were educated. Depending on the status of the family, the sons were educated in literature, crafts, or martial arts. No matter what the education was, the induction of the Sifu into the family, and the induction of the student into the Sifu’s family was honored with a Bai Si ceremony, whereby, a gift (normally money in a red envelope) was bestowed upon him after the student kowtows and serves him tea. This tradition has been kept up in some martial arts circles, particularly when a practitioner is moved up from the “student” status to the “disciple” status, after he had proven his loyalty to the Sifu, the family, and the art.
The Bai Si in this event was conducted by Lee Moy San’s grand student, who was honoring his master (who is Lee Moy San’s student).
On a personal note and caveat for the Westerners and westernized Chinese carrying on the Bai Si tradition … the act of Kowtow was done on a daily basis by the ancient (and some current but traditional) Chinese to their parents and ancestors. By the time one kowtowed to a Sifu, he had already kowtowed to his parents and ancestors thousands of times. In other words, the Sifu is second to one’s own parents and ancestors. So, before you kowtow to a sifu, you must have kowtowed to your parents; if not, go home and do that before you Bai Si your Sifu. For those who believe in God, you must kowtow to Him before you kowtow to another man. So, if you want to follow tradition, then follow it fully.
Sifu Julian Cordero of Palm Springs then gave a talk on the Siu Lim Tao form, of the themes behind each sections, and how they developed a practitioner. He kept the audience well informed and humoured.
Sifu Richard Andino then demonstrated how to apply techniques learned in Chisau in a practical manner.
Finally, came the treat from Sifu William Moy, the son of Grandmaster Moy Yat, who demonstrated the finer details of Chisau.
This event was energetic and exciting for the Moy Yat clan. One could sense the family unity and bond in the room. It was well organized and well hosted. The videos that I’ve included in this report are just previews of them. Those of you who missed the event or would like to view the full professionally produced videos can buy the 3-set downloadable videos or DVDs at http://www.kungfuhq.com/dvd/.