Sifu Ho Kam Ming 何金銘 – A Wing Chun Pioneer
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This month, we pay tribute to the late Sifu Ho Kam Ming, student of Grandmaster Yip Man, and early pioneer of Wing Chun in Macau. His contributions to the Wing Chun system and impact on the community will be forever embedded in history.
The Early Years
Sifu Ho Kam Ming was born in Macau in 1925.
He grew up and attended school in Macau. After World War II, Ho Kam Ming moved to Hong Kong to work at a British Navy Yard. Hong Kong was a safe place for many refugees looking to avoid the violence and civil unrest in Mainland China due to the Second Sino-Japanese war (July 7, 1937, to September 2, 1945).
The relocation of refugees from Mainland China to Hong Kong created a new home for many martial artists. During the 1930s and 1940s Hong Kong became an epicenter for Traditional Chinese Martial Arts. It was during this time that Ho Kam Ming met Grandmaster Yip Man through a mutual friend. His classes were held at the Lei Cheng UK Estate.
Training with a Grandmaster
Ho Kam Ming trained privately with Grandmaster Yip Man everyday for several years before assisting with classes and senior students. It was during this time that he learned the most advanced skills. Wing Chun requires years of physical and mental training to achieve high competency. Ho Kam Ming possessed an exceptional capacity for both, which led him to the path of teaching. With blessings from his Sifu, Ho Kam Ming began to share his knowledge and guide other students.
Wing Chun in Macau
The British Navy Yard eventually closed their doors in Hong Kong to relocate 2,581 kilometers away in Singapore. It was then that Ho Kam Ming was forced to find an alternative for income. He opened his first kwoon in 1962 in Happy Valley, Hong Kong. This was the beginning his lifelong career as a martial arts teacher.
Although his kwoon in Hong Kong was successful, Ho Kam Ming longed to return to his hometown and family in Macau. In 1966 he made the decision to open a facility in Macau. Soliciting the help of his good friend, Lee Can, Ho Kam Ming founded the Overseas Macau Wing Chun Fitness Academy. It was this very endeavor that started the movement of Wing Chun in Macau. It was located in the Lai Un Building on the Travessa Do Almirante Coast Cabral, and would become a thriving training institute with a large number of committed students.
Due to the popularity of martial arts in Macau, Sifu Ho Kam Ming’s training institute began to develop a large student base who were devoted to learning the Wing Chun system. Eventually, Sifu Ho Kam Ming began to transfer all of his teaching from Hong Kong to Macau permanently, all the while keeping touch with Grandmaster Yip Man. In the last years of his life, Yip Man would visit Sifu Ho Kam Ming’s school and provide thoughtful, valuable guidance and insight. Students would fill the kwoon every time Grandmaster Yip Man came to visit, packing the rooftop and narrow staircase.
Over the years, many students and classmates made Sifu Ho Kam Ming’s training hall their home. Everyone tried to perform at their best when Grandmaster Yip Man visited Macau.
A Life of Dedication
Sifu Ho Kam Ming continued a lifelong dedication to the cultivation of Wing Chun, and to his teacher. He migrated to Canada in 1990 and founded the World Ho Kam Ming Wing Chun Association in Toronto. In 2011 he began teaching in Zhuhai, a city on the west bank of the Pearl River Delta on the central coast of southern Guangdong province in China. He remained active, teaching well into his 80’s. On April 9th, 2020 Sifu Ho Kam Ming passed away at the age of 95. He left behind a robust legacy that was not only the result of his contribution to the Wing Chun community, but also his efforts in pioneering a new path for future generations in the traditional Chinese martial arts.
Information and Contact
Want To Learn More About Sifu Ho Kam Ming’s Legacy? Visit the following pages and links for more info: 世界何金銘詠春總會 World Ho Kam Ming Wing Chun General Association, 澳門詠春拳擊學會 Macau Wing Chun Combat Society, Fong’s Wing Chun, Lui Ming Fai. You can also watch the full length documentary about the rich history of Macau Wing Chun, 澳門詠春拳之源流 Origins of Macau Wing Chun below. Directed by Daniel Mak and co-directed by Alex Jung.
WORKS CITED: MACAU WING CHUN CHINESE MARTIAL FEDERATION
AUTHOR/LAYOUT/DESIGN: CRAIG ALLEN
PHOTOS: MACAU WING CHUN CHINESE MARTIAL FEDERATION
PORTRAIT PAINTINGS OF HO KAM MING: THOMAS JOYCE
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