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
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Randy Fung's Story
|I am Randy Fung, a direct disciple of master Kuo Lien Ying and given permission by him to teach.
This is my story:
I was born in the year of the dog, 1946 in San Francisco. My family imigrated to this country in the 1890’s and I am forth generation Chinese American. My family moved down to San Mateo, a suburb of San Francisco when I was four. From 1st grade through 6th grade we had to go to Chinese school for two hours every day after regular school. This was to teach us how to speak and write catonese and the values of Chinese culture.
In the forth grade, we had a man who had studied with the Chinese Opera. He loved the opera and martial arts and during recess, would teach us what he called Chinese shadow boxing.
This was my first exposure to gung fu. As kids it was hard to relate to, because we didn’t understand what this was about. It hurt to stand in those stances for so long. He was a fierce man, and I even remember his chasing one of my best friends with a chair over his head to scare him into behaving.
I was a small skinny kid when I was young, but most of the kids at school didn’t pick on me because I had a huge german sherpard, and they would have to walk home after school by my house. I got into lifting weights because of all those ads about people kicking sand in your face at the back of the comics, but didn’t gain any weight. But i got pretty strong for my size, and in the 7th grade won a competition for situps. That was my first big moment at any physical contest.
In high school I wasn’t big enough for most sports, but I found that I could try out for wrestling.
I was only 90 pounds soaking wet. My first contest was with a blind school. I thought that was stupid because I would have such an advantage. I was pinned in less than a minute and learned one of my biggest lessons in life. Do not underestimate your opponent! That ended up only being one of the few times I was pinned.
In my senior year, I met the state champion at our local match. All my team mates wanted me to avoid getting pinned, but somehow i ended up beating him. We met again and he beat me by points. At the league finals, we both worked our way up through the qualifications, and met for a final encounter in the finals. He went up to my parents and told them he was going to kick my behind. As we fought, I could hear my dad yelling above the crowd, “Kill him! “ That was the only time I remember hearing my father break his stoic nature and yell out something like that. I ended up beating him by points and won the championship.
But what I got from wrestling was far greater than the championship. It was a practice that I had, and I had learned how to learn and become in tune with what my body was telling me. Although I was strong for my size, it was a vary unusual style that I have created. They called me the “rubber man” because not only was I incredibly flexible, I used relaxation as part of my techniques. Instead of resisting, I would just let go as the opponent trying apply leverage force and then regrapse when he was in a vunerable position. Looking back, you could really call this some sort of Tai Chi wrestling. Always flowing with the direction of force and using relaxed power over strength. So even at this young age, I had learned the power of being relaxed in combat.
At 14 my brother and I started Kenpo lessons in a tough area of San Francisco by the city college. It was part of the Tracy brothers system. The instructor was a stocky guy with broad shoulders and little legs. He was so strong, he could put his arm out and have both me and my older brother hang from it. I liked it because we did free sparring and learned lots of self defense and basic techniques. Harry like us so much, he let us go for free. But I only worked my way up through purple belt before we left. But I had learned all the usual kicks, punches and blocks of basic martial arts.
to be continued: Meeting master Kuo: