A site honoring the teachings of Kuo Lien Ying and the magical time that we were able to learn from Si Fu

Portsmouth Square 1965-1985

Kimo Le Pree's Bio
Sifu had another exercise that we needed to perfect.  We called it “chin to toe”.  I was able to put my chin to my toe within 90 days on my right side.  It took me a year and half on my left side.  At that time I didn’t know that it was called the 100 day stretch. Had I known, I would have killed myself trying to get chin to toe on my left side.  As it was I ripped many muscles trying to reach my goal.  Now I can put chin to toe anytime on my right side but I have to warm up really well before attempting it on my left side.

Every day, when I was learning the form, Sifu always told me to shave my head. When I discussed this with my trusted friend, Carl Mack, he suggested that I try it; that if I didn’t like it I could let my hair grow back.  It would also get Sifu off my back.  With Carl’s encouragement, I decided to shave my head once I completed learning the set.  That evening, I asked my neighbor if he would do the honors.  He wanted me to be sure since he knew how much I loved my hair.  There would be no turning back.  I was sure.  He started down the center of my head.  It was parallel to the birth of my training in Tai Chi.  When I began Tai Chi, it started in the center of my soul.  When Sifu came out the next morning, it was shock and awe.  He was so surprised and pleased, he showed me off as students arrived to class.  He pointed to my head and would say “beautiful”.  Like practicing my Tai Chi, I have not missed a day of shaving my head in 36 years.

For many years Sifu tried to convince me to teach Tai Chi.  Even though I had many friends who encouraged me and stated they would be my student, I refused.  I always told Sifu I did not want to teach and only practiced Tai Chi for myself.  One day I broke down and agreed to teach.  I told him I would teach for ten years and stop teaching for ten years.  I wanted to see if I would like teaching.  I would compare the two.  I taught for 11 years and quit teaching for 5 years.  I have been back teaching for 11 years.  I have been teaching for 22 years now.  To this day, none of the people who stated they would be my student have shown up.  They realized it would be too much hard work and commitment.

Sifu had a saying written on his black board “PRACTICE WITHOUT THINKING IS NO GOOD AND THINKING WITHOUT PRACTICE IS NO GOOD”.  I also say if one does both their practice will improve.  When you practice every waking hour, your art will become the “Grand Ultimate”.  Over the years I have been a body guard and I am currently employed in that capacity.  I have been a school teacher, a bouncer, and a bounty hunter.  Needless to say, I have had numerous opportunities to put my training to use.  It has never failed me. 

            I have been fortunate enough to have had three great teachers in my Chinese martial arts:   Sifu Kuo, Master S.T. Ying who taught me Ba Qua, Xing Yi and Mr. & Mrs. Yu who taught me Yi Quan.  Sifu Kuo and Master S.T. Ying were both born in Mongolia.  I had been studying Ba Qua for about 8 months when Sifu approached me and asked if I was studying Ba Qua.  I thought to myself that he was upset I was studying with another teacher. I wondered how he knew. I told him yes and he smiled and said “good” (with thumbs up). He paused for a moment and asked me how much he chargee. I told him 1 dollar a week. He frowned and shook his head and said not enough. Then he walked away. It was some years later, when I discovered that they were friends and had high regards for each other. Mr. & Mrs. Yu studied Yiquan with the same master Wang Xiangzhai. Sifu studied with Wang Xiangzhai for 10 years before Mr. & Mrs. Yu. That Mr. And Mrs. Yu were friends with Sifu and that they also had high regards for each other.  For all martial artists we know that there are many Sifus, but for those of us who had the privilege to have studied with The Great Master Kuo Lien Ying know that there will always be only ‘ONE SIFU’