As a child, Ken Wu was exposed to Kung Fu in Vietnam.
His village was known to have the most aggressive people
whom would challenge Kung Fu schools who wished to pass
to the other side to perform Lion Dance. Because martial arts
intrigues Ken, he and his brother Vay, would climb onto
the roof of various Kung fu clubs to watch the experts during training times.
After exposed to such fascination, Ken then started learning Kung Fu
behind closed doors from a Chow Gar Sifu. Each lesson with this sifu would
involved horse stance. And for each horse stand where he stood up higher
than anticipated, he was caned.
Years later, Ken and family moved to Australia to start a new live.
When he migrated to Australia, his father and brothers also taught him
Kung Fu and at the same time, introduced him to different Kung Fu Masters.
Ken joined two Kung Fu Schools in Perth and helped to establish them.
But eventually Ken left after realising
that the Sifus had greed for money. Knowing that these sorts of schools
were not the type to achieve the real meaning of Chinese Martial Arts and culture,
Sifu Ken decided to start another club with the support of family and friends
as well as three others. Thus, the Yaolin Kung Fu School came into existence in 1995.
Because Ken was opening a Kung Fu School, he found he was limited with the amount
of Kung Fu he learnt. With this in mind, he decided to travel back to Vietnam to seek a master.
He studied under a famous Sifu called Chan Kao, who taught him the Chow Gar style,
Tai Chi Mantis and his famous Monkey style. While in Vietnam, Ken also went back to his
first teacher who taught him behind the closed doors. Sifu Fong and his Si-Hing
(older Kung Fu brother), Sifu Wu Bart Gkin both taught him the Chow Gar style.
Ken then learnt the Wing Chun Kung Fu from Sifu Gee Kong Hon,
who learnt the Wing Chun system from a student of Yip Man (Bruce Lee's master).
Ken's trip included China. He went to a small city in China near the border of Vietnam
called Tung Hing. His father had told him his Uncle, Ng Sey Cheung, was also a Kung Fu
master and had never been defeated in a fight. He suggested that Ken should go and learn
from his uncle. 67 years of age, Ng Sey Cheung demonstrated push-ups on the tips of his two fingers.
Amazed by the demonstration, Ken learned the Ou Gar two finger style. His uncle also
introduced a Kung Fu master to Ken - Sifu Chan Yee Fatt, who learnt from many great masters.
Sifu Chan taught 18 forms to Ken, including weapons and hand forms from 6 different styles:
Hung Gar, Lau Gar, Lee Gar, Choy Gar, Mok Gar and 18-Lo-Hon style.
Vietnam 1999 - Meeting a Pak Mei Master
Aside from all these great learnings, the style Ken wanted to accomplished
most was the style, Pak Mei. Much was heard about its terrible history
and its deadly techniques, however, the practice was so secret that
not many people had seen it. After two years of searching, Ken's
brother in-law in Vietnam finally found a master. When this Pak Mei
master meet Ken, he had no interest in teaching him, but after
much pleading, the Pak Mei Master finally gave Ken a chance and
to give face to his friend. 62 year old Sifu Wong Shun Yao tested
Ken on his first lesson to make sure he was fit enough. To master Wong's much astonishment,
Ken was more than what he'd expected. Before Ken left Vietnam,
Sifu Wong Shun Yao accepted Ken as his first disciple.
Sydney 2000 - Sifu Chau Phu
For another two years, Ken returned to Vietnam to complete the Pak Mei system.
Finally, Sifu Wong handed over flags and banners to Ken and advised him to open the
first Pak Mei Kung Fu School in Perth. Due to work commitments, Ken was transferred to
Sydney, Australia in late 2000. It was here he met Andy Truong, with whom he exchanged
Pak Mei Kung Fu and other styles.
During a demonstration in public, in which Sifu Ken was performing a
Pak Mei form, Ken met Andy's Pak Mei master. Sifu Chau Phu who first started learning the Pak Mei Kung
Fu in Vietnam by privately hiring Grand Master Yip Gok Leong (Ken's Grand Master). After master Chau migrated to
Australia he took a trip to Hong Kong in 1988 and went to learn from Cheung Bing Lam (second son of Cheung Lai Chun).
Sifu Chau Phu taught Ken for a number of years and in 2002 Ken discontinued all other styles and now specialises Pak Mei Kung Fu.
Hong Kong 2007 - Meeting the Chief of the Pak Mei Clan (5th Generation Cheung Bing Lam)
In 2007, a Pak Mei friend of Sifu Ken Wu invited him to Hong Kong for the Cheung Lai Ching Anniversary
and into the Pak Mei Lai Chuen Martial Arts Sports Association. It was the first time Sifu Ken went to Hong Kong and,
on the second day, he and his friend went to the kwoon to meet the 5th Generation Chueng Bing Lam Chief
of the Pak Mei Clan and disciples. It was quite a welcoming experience. Cheung Bing Lam's disciples asked Ken to
show them the first Pak Mei Kung Fu set "Gik Bo Biu Tze" and, in turn, taught him. They were so impressed with Sifu Ken's memory and dedication
they invited him back to training and to dinner. In four lessons, Sifu Ken relearned three genuine Pak Mei forms and demonstrated one of them at the anniversary.
The chief and his disciples praised Sifu Ken for his performance and asked him to come back often and join the Global Pak Mei Martial Arts
Association, which he did.
Video: Chief Cheung Bing Lam demonstrating on Sifu Ken Wu how strong his arm still is at the age of 82
Hong Kong 2008 - Becoming a discilpe to 6th Generation Master Poon
Sifu Ken Wu returned to Hong Kong to learn and master his Pak Mei Kung Fu skills. While having dinner at a restaurant with all the masters after a training session, Chung (disciple of Chief Cheung Bing Lum) explained to Ken that there was a limit to what they could teach him and since Ken is so dedicated they did not want to waste the time and faith that brought them together. So, he suggested that Ken become the disciple of his Si-Hing (elder Kung Fu brother).
Ken did not hesitate, but was concerned Master Poon would say no, as the latter had mentioned a week ago that he would not be accepting any disciples. It never crossed Ken's mind that he would ever be a part of the Cheung Bing Lum legacy and was already honoured they open their doors to him last year.
To Ken's surprise, Master Poon agreed but with one condition: Ken must first ask permission from his Vietnam Master, Master Wong, which he did the following day. Master Wong congratulated Ken and wished him success in learning the Pak Mei Style.
On an auspisious day, a traditional disciple acceptance tea ceremony was held at the Pak Mei Cheung Lai Ching Association. Many close Pak Mei disciples were invited to witness the special occassion. Food was offered to the ancestors, an oath was signed and read, tea was offered to Si-kung Cheung Bing Lum, Sifu Poon and Si-Mo, red packets was given and received, paper money was burnt and photos were taken. Then it was off to the restaurant to celebrate!
Ken Wu is now a 7th Generation Pak Mei Master from the Cheung Bing Lam lineage.