#28ChineseMemories Day 24: My Dad’s Love for Kung Fu

My dad when he got his U.S. citizenship in the 80s.
My dad when he got his U.S. citizenship in the 80s.

My dad started learning kung fu when he was a kid in China. He fell in love with the martial art and took his training very seriously. When my oldest brother was born, my dad gave him a name that meant “the best in kung fu” since he also wanted my brother to excel in kung fu.

Well, my brother did not end up pursuing kung fu; he pursued economics and finance instead yet excelled greatly at those strengths of his. None of us five kids took after our dad in his love for kung fu: we all dabbled in learning a few moves from our dad when we were growing up, but sadly none of us are well versed in our dad’s style of kung fu.

(Video of my dad performing kung fu and breaking cinder blocks from 2008)

I attempted to learn kung fu from my dad when I was staying in Virginia for a few months in 2011 (before moving out to Denver). However, I injured myself and my mom scolded my dad for training me too hard, so after that, my dad taught me a tai chi sequence, which was much gentler for me.

Throughout my childhood, I remember my dad teaching his kung fu students in the back parking lot of our family restaurant after business hours. My dad worked our family restaurant as a means of necessity and providing for the family; his passion was truly with kung fu though, teaching these late-night classes to eager students who afterwards were treated to a late night snack cooked by my dad. As far as I know, my dad never took payment for these classes; he taught because he wanted to teach his passion to others. He didn’t do it for the money.

(Video above is of my dad doing kung fu demonstrations with his “grand students” and his student)

Even now, in his retirement, my dad volunteers at one of his student’s martial arts studios once a week, teaching his “grand students” his style of kung fu. Every year around Chinese New Year, my dad participates in a kung fu show in Virginia. For my dad, kung fu will always stay with him, no matter his age.

Today, my dad turned 65 years old and he’s still vibrant and healthy. Happy birthday to my dad; may his love for kung fu shine on!