Blog

Aug 6, 2018

The Guardians of the Chinese Hells


Another side of things.  Judge not that ye be judged.

Posted by: Dan

On camp in France this year I told the story of my Tai Chi younger brother, Cheng Kam [he was 24 years older and same Chinese zodiac creature]. Cheng had made a success as a penniless immigrant from China, coming to Hong Kong and setting up a cooked food stall in Taikoktsui, near our Sifu's studio in Mongkok. Later in life, he took up Tai Chi and loved it, though he was not good at it and built up something of a following. He loved above all to demonstrate - especially taking punches to show he had Nei Kung.
Cheng Tin-hung did not like him much. Though we sometimes went to his stall for dinner.
Cheng Kam travelled with Sifu, Tong Chi-kin and me as part of our Hong Kong Tai Chi Lei Tai Team in 1980 in Malaysia. To Penang, to Seremban, to Ipoh and ultimate triumph in Kuala Lumpur. He later wrote of this in his foreword in one of my books.
I came to Hong Kong in 1991 for an International TCC Push Hands competition. Cheng Tin-hung came up to me just before Cheng Kam went on to demonstrate at the event. He told me that Cheng Kam needed a lesson and asked me to volunteer to hit Cheng Kam with my best shot.
It was a no win situation, if my punch didn't knock Cheng Kam, my old friend and Tai Chi brother down, it meant I had no Kung fu. If I hurt Cheng I'd be a cruel white demon.
I refused.
My relations with Sifu changed in 1984 after I had done 9 hard years in the Royal Hong Kong Police. I had to fulfil my mission of becoming a TCC teacher. His health had been destroyed by diabetes for years and he saw me young and fit. Also I was deserting him. People were attacking me behind my back.
But as we say in Glasgow, 'Sauve qui peut'.
It is difficult to judge a man even for the horse-faced and ox-headed guardians of the Chinese Hells.
Glad I disobeyed for once.

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