Sifu Garry’s Blog
William Cheung and David Cheung Split.
I started my wing chun kung fu training in mid 1986. In Melbourne's China Town, two of the foremost wing chun masters in the world would at my disposal. William Cheung Sifu and David Cheung Sifu.
Several times a week I would train with William Cgeung and the other times I would have David Cheung for my wing chun tutorials.
In 1989, two of the World’s foremost masters on wing chun kung fu, William Cheung and David Cheung became embroiled in such a comprehensive argument that William Cheung disowned David as his Brother.
As I was walking to China town one Thursday afternoon, going to my wing chun kung fu class at 3pm, I thought what a glorious day it is today.
I owned and operated a Courier business down at Spencer Street and China town was about a 20 minute walk to the other side of the City.
When I entered the Kwon on that day, I could sense a strange mood, something I had not encountered before. I was good at sensing energies.
The 3 pm class was due to start and David Cheung was not around, so a senior student took charge and started the class.
William's office was down stairs and the training hall was upstairs.
I could hear some commotion down stairs, but wasn’t sure what the noise was.
Shortly after, David came storming into the training hall, went to his little office and started to throw objects over the wall into the training area.
There weren’t too many students there but we were all bewildered and stunned, totally.
Not long afterwards, David stormed out never to be seen again at William's school.
As time transpired, I learnt that William was not happy with David’s teachings, stating that he was modifying and changing the system too much. Their personalities were clashing too much, at this stage in their lives.
David Cheung had been teaching wing chun for William since 1981 and now in 1989 it was time for David to move on and find his own identity.
David rang me the following week and asked me to come and train with him.
As I worked in Town and David would continue to teach in Town I was only too happy to support him.
David Cheung started teaching at the WYCA in Elizabeth St and then at the Art Centre in St Kilda Road. Eventually, David moved out of town, so I lost contact with him, even though he rang me periodically, to inspire me to come and train with him.
During this period, I still stayed loyal to William and became one of his senior students, eventually starting a morning class for beginners and a class for overseas students, at his first Flinders St School, just around the corner from Elizabeth Street.
In 1991, the City school hears that David Cheung was teaching again on Thursday evening at William's school in Dandenong. That was 30 kms away from Melbourne city. Every Thursday I would take my wife and Joe Sayer, to Dandenong after our 4.30pm class.
We had 90mins to get to Dandenong as the class started at 6pm.
David only stayed at Dandenong for several months.
David opened a school in mid 1992 in Elizabeth St. Initially I would sneak up and train with David Sifu, after working for William in the mornings.
Eventually, I got caught out and William gave me the option – “you cannot work for me and train with my Brother”.
So, I had the dilemma of deciding how my future would transpire, with William Cheung or David Cheung.
As William was not teaching full time, anymore, I decided to support David, as I wanted direct tuition from a wing chun master.
That was June 1992.
During my training at the David Cheung Academy, I was instrumental in organising Lion Dance training and performances and was also head organiser with our Demo team.
After Lion Dancing, David and I would do random sparring or chi sao in the streets surrounded by chanting spectators. Those times were so good.
I trained with David Cheung, full time, for the next four years. This completed my 10 years training in traditional wing chun kung fu.
The first six years with William Cheung and David Cheung, the last two years, full time, and then four years full time with David Cheung.
Around early 1995, there was trouble brewing "in the camp" with the Cheung brothers. With my conversations with David, at the time, I was led to believe things would culminate with William and David having a challenge match.
Later in the year, William organised a kung fu tournament and of course his brother David had to attend with a contingent of fighters, for Honour alone.
I also had a chance to enter some of my students, especially my Son.
I said to David, in class one day, "please don't use me as a guinea pig in front of your Brother"
He reassured me he wouldn't.
Well, on the day of the tournament, during an intermission, David Cheung grabbed the microphone and put out a challenge to the entire audience for anybody to come and do some chi sao with him.
You could have heard a pin drop. I thought it was a pretty classy thing to do.
No one took up the challenge. So I hid behind a pillar, because I knew what was coming.
Shortly, over the PA, I heard my name being called out. Garry, Garry, where are you, being uttered by David.
My wife Sifu Linda saw me hiding and pointed me out.
David made a joke about me hiding.
So, I had to do random chi sao with David, my sifu, in front of William Cheung, several other wing chun dignitaries and about 400 spectators.
I believe, David was hoping his Brother would accept his proposition.
It was a great experience, even though I pleaded with David not to use me.
Ha Ha. The good times.
Our school did very well in the tournament with two firsts, four seconds and two third places.