this period of Wu Shu training, Wai-Po was also learning some Wing
Chun and other Kung Fu techniques from Peter Lok (his employer)
and other associates.
These sessions were informal and private, normally at the back yard
of the Chinese take away, where Wai-Po worked part time.
part time wages was just enough to cover the expenses of travelling
and costs to learn Kung Fu. But he endured hardship without support
from the family. He sacraficed social life, and other youth activities
for a strict and tough self-inflicted training regime.
was around 1979/80 that Wai-Po saw an advertisement in the Richmond
Upon Thames College - someone advertising a new Wing Chun class
stating he was Bruce Lee's colleague.
went along to the introductory session and watched this master making
extraordinary claims, which certainly impressed Wai-Po at the time.
These claims of the master were that he could fight better than
Bruce Lee, able to kick a person off the air at the length of a
basketball court, and would challenge anyone including 'Sugar Ray
Leonard, Thomas Hearnes, Marvin Hagler (they were some of the greatest
a naive child, Wai-Po bought the whole lot and adopted the eastern
cultural behaviour of 'Don't question the master just obey'. Wai-Po
will not name this so-called master and refers to him as 'X' in
the following passage.
trained diligently in Wing Chun for two years, and then became an
instructor. He opened up his first school in Hounslow, Middlesex
in 1983 at the request of Master 'X'.
was what you call 'jumping into the deep end', it is the typical
situation of drown or survive analogy. Wai-Po had no formal or informal
training on how to teach, but his former instructor 'X' just told
him to do so. Hence, more membership money for 'X' and increase
size of his organisation.
Wai-Po turned out to be the best instructor very quickly. Thus,
it ended up with master X copying Wai-Po's teaching methods and
training skills. Wai-Po succesfully increased the reputation of
X's headquarters and its the satellite clubs. Although, Wai-Po took
no credit for this until now, he was always seen as the torch for
his colleagues in those days.
reputation was so strong that he was selected to perform for a BBC
martial arts documentary 'The Way of The Warrior' in 1983. Also,
featured in a medical documentary 'The Living Body' in 1984.
the showing of the BBC's Warrior, his former master X received tremendous
amount of challenge-fights. This was due to master X's poor performance,
and excessive bragging. This culminated into a very troublesome
was young and naive, and he was persuaded and manipulated by his
former master X to engaged in some extremely brutal street fights
with other martial artists- troublemakers.
was during these trouble times that Wai-Po began to question his
own training methodologies. He was amazed that the techniques he
had learnt so diligently, did not really work. Wai-Po won all his
fights predominantly by determination, aggression, and natural instinctive
simple movements. He was disillusioned by this fact. Hence, Wai-Po
became a self taught and a research student.
Wai-Po was still loyal to master X, he had to research secretly.
the trouble was cleared, Wai-Po and his colleague never even got
a thank you from this former 'x' master. Instead, his former master
took all the prowess and glory, and yet did none of the fighting.
Master X lied to everyone of his great achievements, at the same
time verbally humiliated Wai-Po's and his colleague to make himself
believed strongly in loyalty and he had tolerated unbearable treatments
(being talked down to, and ridicule Wai-Po's teachings in front
the class, and subjected him to mental bullying on daily basis)
by his former master for 2-3 years. But it got to the extent where
loyalty was seriously questioned and Wai-Po believed it was misplaced.
Wai-Po broke away from such an unpleasent relationship and moved
onto great heights. A new chapter of his martial life, Wai-Po decided
to go it alone.
were continuous and it produced great revelations. At the same time
Wai-Po attempted to break into the film industry.
1986, the blockbuster movie, 'The Last Emperor' was in the pre-production
stage. Casting director for the movie was Lucy Boulting but later
changed. Wai-Po was selected
for the possible lead role of the emperor. Hence, acting teacher
Joan Washington, and agent Neil Toland, casting director Mary Selway
assisted Wai-Po to accomplish this goal.
it was a very demanding and long haul project, and Wai-Po did not
fulfil his intentions. Then he moved town and started a health food
business as well as a full time martial art gym in the south coast
Wai-Po Tang founded the Martial Art Institute in 1986. Master Tang
continued learn and research different disciplines. He tested his
research and skills in the Far East, fighting in Thailand, Hong
Kong and China. Master Tang came in contact with many prominent
martial arts Masters and was very grateful to all those whom generously
1987, Master Tang went to Foshan, China where he met Great Grandmaster
Yui Kil. Master Tang formally became a research student of Foshan
Grandmaster Yui Kil since 1987.
was introduced to Grandmaster Yui Kil by Grandmaster Ip Chun. Wai-Po
recalled Master Ip Chun as a very generous and knowledgeable man,
and Wai-Po enjoyed his company during the trip to Foshan.
Tang received the highest traditional Kung Fu honour in 1988, awarded
by Foshan Grandmaster Yui Kil. The rest just gets better and interesting.
The integration of Foshan Wing Chun and Master Tang's development
has brought about a brilliant unique approach to contemporary Wing
Tang's system and philosophy has stood the test of time, producing
excellent artists, fighters, sport-fighters and successful recreational
classes around the world.
Tang is now a renowned Kung Fu master, recognised as one of the
best in the world. His teachings are innovative and sets the trends
that others follow.
can read more about the happenings on the other pages.