To quote a famous saying…”why can’t we just get a long”. Pak Mei practitioners should be together. As an older teacher, I remember this happening. As my teacher said years ago “if our style becomes more well known, more people will claim it.” This certainly seems to be the case. I would like to make it clear that we are not connected in an official capacity to anyone in the U.S. There is only one person who is in the U.S. and that is Mr. John Wenniger, as a friend. I have seen people on the internet claiming an official connection to Pak Mei and are extremely suspicious of many of them. There is no connection of Pak Mei to white tiger or white anything. There is only our cousin style, Loung ying from Lam U Quai, stemming from Cheung Lai-Chun. Anyone other than that, is using our name to elevate themselves. So, now that that is out of the way, let’s get on with it.
There are some who claim to be one of us, that even know the right names, that are suspect. My experience in Vancouver has been positive when it comes to others in my style. We could get together without the politics. The one thing that always tells me about a teacher is the quality of the student, as it is a reflection. One of the hardest things, seems to be to teach someone with no experience in an art. Pak Mei is not a hard style, as some people think. It’s the subtle movement that appears to be the hardest for a beginner to pick up. The ability to learn to combine body movements that require an understanding of ging, for even the experienced, isn’t easy. In Pak Mei, one needs to meet not only a criteria of personal development, but understand the human body. The process of learning new ideas and unlearning many mistaken ideas, takes patience, some of which comes as an example from doing two man sets. Types of training, that require the constant, repetitive moves of a two man set, does not train one for combat. Combat is not constant, it is the exact opposite. I will not go into the way in which we use our moves…that is for our tode to learn. However, I will say this…it is functional based on how one should learn in order to deal with reality. What I mean is we do not do one-sided forms. We do not do sets for exercise. We believe that a form needs to be useful and can work the way it is done. Weapons are not reserved only for the advanced, but can be taught to beginners, as hand forms are the important ones to learn. It is the hand forms that are practical since they can apply to everything, even a chair. It is fun to do a weapon form and it sometimes breaks up the routine, but it is the hand sets that are the most practical.
As an example, when my sifu was teaching me, there was a group of young Chinese men who hung around a practitioner of Choy Li Fut. He was about six feet tall and was trying to talk my teacher into teaching them. He made a reference to the fact that I was not Chinese and wanted to know why he was teaching me and not them. My sifu got angry and told them that first, it was none of their business and second, their behavior was like that of children. He told them that he did not teach children. At this, the six footer challenged my sifu, who was only 5 foot 6. While my teacher was getting out of a jacket, he struck my sifu in the face. This was his undoing. The fight lasted about as long as it took the Choi Li Fut practitioner to run backwards 15 feet while yelling at my sifu to “please stop”. He was then told, in no uncertain terms, where to go and he left with his tail between his legs! Seeing this was the final, convincible evidence and was all I ever needed to know that Pak Mei was real. That still means that it’s not magic, except in the hands of a hard working student. We use no blocking and like to be in close. This makes it very practical, since in most situations, close is the way it is! However, unlike some in-close methods, we are not static, but are in constant motion. We do know that the best defense is a good offense and also to not have pre-conceived notions. Our training methods are designed by sifus of the past, who had experience in real combat that could have ended up in their deaths! We do nothing that is just exercise…all techniques are practical. I would like to invite any teacher or practitioner to see us and it doesn’t matter if they see things my way or not…they are welcome. As a matter of fact, we do accept a lot of people to our seminars that are not practitioners of my style.
Pak Mei Pai