To make things clear for everyone, what is our connection with a similar sounding Iron Buffalo Style on our Belgian soil?
Long time ago, in the summer of 1991 I came to know Man Y.T. at a meeting in the Chinatown from Antwerpen Belgium. This meeting was organized through a mutual friend named Mr. Mak, and with the purpose to create friendship in between myself (Kong H.L.) and Man Y.T.. That arrangement came forth out of some old Chinese martial art tradition. I wanted to open a kung fu school (mow kwoon) in the Chinatown from Antwerpen and therefore I had to pay respect to the local master by getting on good terms with him.
We joined together in the Full Sing restaurant (currently Fong Mei) and after sharing a meal we established friendship. In December of that year I did the official openings ceremony of my Chinatown school . Man Y.T. came to look and congratulated me with the official opening and said that very shortly he would pass by. After some time he came on a Saturday afternoon. He asked me if he could use the mow kwoon from time to time if he needed to train with his students. I told him that this was possible. A few months later he came by and asked me if I could provide him with two kung fu staffs. Since we had quite a lot of them, I gave him two Chinese hardwood staffs of good quality. He was quite happy for that and told me that if I was interested I could learn his kung fu.
Two weeks later I met him by coincidence in the Chinatown and he proposed me to have some small eating if I had the time to do so. I accepted his invitation and we went to the “GB-Quick” on the Astrid square to eat some hamburger. :o)
It was there that I received my first lesson from him! The goose palm and the stabbing fingers. Sometime later on a Saturday afternoon he came back to my mow kwoon and asked me to cross hands with him and give my best kung fu to him. It was then that I received another important lesson from him. Unfortunatly it was the last time. One day on a Wednesday afternoon in 1996 I met Wong M. in the Chinatown, I still remembered him from my first meeting with Man Y.T. in the Full Sing, where at that particular time he accompanied his teacher. He told me that three weeks ago Man Y.T. had passed away in Hong Kong at the age of 65. Too soon! Wong M. said to me: my sifu told me that in case something should happen to him I must teach “kwai chai” (white boy, my nickname given by him) everything I know. So if you want that, I will come every week to you until you know it all. And so he did; every week he came about two times until he told me that I had learned everything Man Y.T. taught him.
Only one drawback; he stated to regret that he himself hadn’t been able to learn the staff skills from his sifu and that therefore he couldn’t teach me that knowledge. He returned to his busy life as a restaurant keeper/cook and I went on with my life, teaching my students, spreading and further developing the art of Tith Ngaw. Afterwards we kept contact since we both learned from Man Y.T. before Wong M. himself taught me, I could call him my Kung-Fu brother, in a "certain" way he was my teacher too. But mostly I considered him just as my friend.
The knowledge I received from them was secondary to that of my Sifu Chung Kang Yau, official heir from our style, recognized as such by my Si-gung Chung Tjong Wah, and in those days many people in Hong Kong knew him in that position and used to say: Chung Kang Yau knows the most about the Tith Ngaw art. Through him and my kung fu uncle Chung Fat Hing I was able to learn the reputed staff form from our art. The day that I possessed this knowledge I went happily to propose this to Wong M. to study and practice together, but he showed no interest in doing so. Maybe because he didn’t accept another lineage, or too busy? Doesn’t matter about that. In fact it was Chung Kang Yau who taught Man Y.T. in Hong Kong. This happened under the instruction of his sifu Chung Tjong Wah. Man Y.T.’s attention towards Tith Ngaw was drawn on the evening that my si-gung Chung Tjong Wah and sifu Chung Kang Yau were invited by the Ping Che villagers to give some demonstration from Tith Ngaw. This happened in their club house. A lantern was hung up to show that some activity was going on. About thirty villagers came. My si-gung asked my sifu to perform the Tith Ngaw kune. Man Y.T. who was there shouted: how you can fight the people with that. My si-gung asked my sifu to cross hands with him and he answered the simultaneous hand and leg attack with a counter movement which controlled Man Y.T. and made him loose balance and fall to the ground. He left the clubhouse, but the day after he met my kung fu uncle while they were fishing, he asked for an introduction to his sifu. My kung fu uncle went to my sifu and told him that. My sifu asked my Si-gung, he said all right Kang, you can teach him, but not too much, he learns fast and will easily use our kung fu. Therefore Man Y.T. couldn't learn everything from our art. In 1957 on old year's eve, my Sifu emigrated to England (see 'history'). Only a few months later Man Y.T. went also to England. Immediately he went to look for my Sifu and asked him to learn more about our Tith Ngaw art. Chung Kang Yau refused him and said that this was in the past now, and that he focused on building up his new life in England. Man Y.T. still came to visit Chung Kang Yau one more time before he moved to Holland and asked again to teach him the Tith Ngaw art. But; my Sifu said that "he already forgot plenty" 🙂 and couldn't teach him anymore. Later on Man Y.T. lived in Holland at first and worked in a Chinese restaurant from the Chung-family before he moved to Belgium.
He finally created his own version of martial art based on his experiences from different sources.
Nevertheless, what they did learn or didn’t learn doesn’t matter, this is all in the past now, some people will go the left way, others will go the right way.
In the martial world, there is place for everyone and everybody needs to fill their own bowl of rice to have a living.
Unfortunately, due to unfair happenings like creating bad gossip, falsehoods, and most of all giving confusing information to the general public, we have decided to dissociate ourselves from individuals or groups that are using martial arts to create negativity and giving the Tith Ngaw art or other martial arts a bad name. We strongly believe that a kung fu education is not there to create hate towards others, but on the contrary to create happiness in life.
Remember the Chinese martial saying:
“In between the four seas everyone is a friend”.
Good luck belongs to all of the martial art families.
Kong Han Lei