Kung Fu sparring in the 70’s in Hong Kong – CST Wing Chun

This is footage that belongs to one of Master Chu’s oldest students Ping Tam (nicknamed Coconut) who moved to New York in the late 80s…

More About This Video From Nima King

Coconut was actually the man responsible for bringing the lineage’s chisau legend Akeung to Master Chu’s school. At the time Akeung was practicing Mui Thai for a similar amount of time that Coconut was practicing Wing Chun with CST. Akeung was no match for Coconut when they fought and so after he asked if he would introduce him to his Sifu. That’s how Akeung’s journey began with CST…

This footage was taken in the 70s. During this time, challenge fights and ring fighting was the norm at CST’s school so sparring session like these were the norm. If you didn’t do ring or challenge fights in those days, then you weren’t considered a serious student. Many of the students had some experience in other arts like western boxing, Thai boxing and other forms of Kung FU like Hung Kuen and Choy Lei Fut which were the 2 biggest forms of Kung Fu at the time before Wing Chun picked up momentum (thanks to Bruce Lee)

Master Chu himself used to strongly encourage his students to not only practice sparring, but to take challenge and ring fights as much as possible to gain better experience. Almost all of CST’s students in these days were working class and some even struggled to pay the monthly fees. A lot of them worked in construction which back then was a field that saw a lot of violent fighting.

The ref in these videos Mui Chung Chi (Joe Mui) was actually one of the top fighters of the lineage at the time – and some of his students were present in this footage – and so was the first person in the footage ‘Choi Tsi’ and they had many street fights at the time. I personally have had the pleasure of having many hours of practice with Choi Tsui and many of these old school legends of the lineage and have learned from their technical abilities which were still very impressive at their ages of late 60s. I have also had the privilege to pick their brains about their ideas of CST’s teachings in those days, heard many fighting and other stories of the time, and learned much about the underground Kung Fu culture of the 60s and 70s in Hong Kong.

In those days Kung Fu schools were packed with triads and learning Martial Arts was literally for life and death as getting stabbed, chopped up on the streets in gang wars was a very common occurrence (60s and 70s in HK) and it wasn’t uncommon for 30 vs. 30 ppl gang fights with machetes and bats in broad daylight. Having said this, Master Chu was clear that he didn’t allow triad members to join his school however a couple did slip under the radar according to some of the students from those years, one of them being very high up in a local triad gang. When Master Chu found out he asked him to leave but by then many of the students shown in this video were already acquainted with him and even though (to my knowledge) they never joined the triads, they were highly respected by them due to their street fighting ability.

I uploaded this old footage for the main reason of encouraging schools within the CST lineage to spar more as I know the vast majority of them do not, hence why I often say (with all due respect) that even though most as practicing aspects of what CST was teaching, if they don’t spar they are missing a big chunk of the system. So pad up brothers and sisters and get to work.

Mindful Wing Chun