Wah Lum Temple student Hiep Dang shares his thoughts on the movie.
Once you’ve watched Pui Chan: Kung Fu Pioneer, you will start to pick up on some underlying themes within the documentary that will resonate with you, such as the story of the American dream, entrepreneurship, love without borders, the will to persevere, and many more.
The one that called out to me the most, however, was Grandmaster Chan’s tremendous positive influence on the people within his proximity. The direct influence is obvious with the dozens of schools worldwide and the tens of thousands of students who have attended those schools. Indirectly, Grandmaster Chan has touched so many of our lives through his lead-by-example approach and the philosophies in his teachings.
I started my training at the Wah Lum Temple in Orlando in 1992. Through the years, I have had the distinct pleasure of being taught by many of Grandmaster Chan’s direct students (Sifu Mimi Chan, Sifu George Kee, Sifu Tu Truong, Sifu Marcus Chinfatt, and Sifu Bob Rosen, just to name a few). Although they each have their own personal styles and strengths, they all teach one fundamental principle that stems from Grandmaster Chan himself, which is to always practice your basics. No matter your age, not matter your years of experience, no matter how many forms or weapons you know, you must always practice your basics.
In 2006, I made the difficult decision to move to Portland, Oregon to pursue my professional career. It was difficult because Wah Lum had been such an integral part of my life. The Wah Lum Temple had always been my sanctuary to escape from and cope with the stress of school, work, and personal life. I was now thousands of miles from the nearest Wah Lum Kung Fu school and for a while I struggled with the idea of not being able to regularly train at the level I did when living in Orlando. With my hectic work, travel, and graduate school schedule, I found it difficult to find the time and open space needed to practice Wah Lum forms and weapons.
However, with the guidance of Sifu Mimi, I was reminded that I did not need to be near a Wah Lum Kung Fu school to keep up with my training. All I needed was space equivalent to a hotel room (which is where I’ve spent most of my time the last 7 years) so I could practice my Kung Fu basics (breathing & stretching exercises and the basic stances, punches, and kicks). I came to the realization that no matter where in the world I was traveling to, no matter the time of day, no matter how much open space I had, no matter how busy I thought I was, I could still always practice Kung Fu. I keep my Wah Lum Handbook in my bag and it goes with me wherever I go in the world. In doing so, I keep with me not only Grandmaster Chan’s Kung Fu training, but also his philosophical teachings of hard work, perseverance, and humility. The Handbook is a constant reminder for me that Wah Lum’s teachings are always with me no matter where I go, no matter what I do in life.