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A Meeting with Sifu LO Man Kam
By Roberts, smith
Taipei my conjure up for some a mystical Asian city, where everyone except the tax man is a martial arts master. Well, you'd be in for a surprise.

ˇ@Taiwan, The Rising Dragon, follows in the footsteps of the Rising Sun--Japan.The Rising Dragon is rising close to the sun. As the economic Dragon soars to reach for the sun the traditions are left behind in the valleys. Opportunists aye leaping forward in their cherished material world and Western philosophies are surpassing more traditional concepts in the minds of the youth. Modem Chinese have little time for traditions that stand in the way of rapid progressˇI

ˇ@Despite this negative attitude towards the martial arts, Kung Fu is alive and well. Masters can still be found teaching in the vibrant parks and streets. The number of students has decreased in recent years but enthusiasm is still as apparent as ever.

ˇ@Such a Master, one whose face glows with enthusiasm when Kung Fu is mentioned, is Sifu Lo Man Kam.

ˇ@The small frame and humble demeanour only deceive you of his ability to inflict harm in a split second. Over thirty-nine years of Wing Chun practice have perfected his art. Sifu Lo's first contact with Kung Fu was at the age of thirteen, in Fasthan(China), where he studied a number of different styles. Then in 1950 his uncle, the late Grand-master Yip Man, began to teach him the art of Wing Chun. Sifu Lo, like his former classmate, Bruce Lee, is also an innovator. He continuously looks for ways to improve the art and his teaching methods.

ˇ@ Sifu Lo teaches in his home and his adapted roof-top gym.The roof is full of unique devices designed by him to strengthen and sensitise techniques.There are no uniforms in Sifu Lo's gym, merely great respect for each other'sability.Students come from Europe, Asia, and the Americas to train under this prestigious Master. Through a haze of sweat, *hey work out in Kung-Fu pants or shorts; it could be a scene from aˇ¦ Rocky' movie.

ˇ@Sifu Lo teaches all his students individually as a boxing coach would. He. maintains: "Teaching one to one is the only way to enhance the ability of the individual to find his own way.

ˇ@"Practising in chorus or pre-arranged pair work only separates a block from a punch, and restricts the use of feeling".

ˇ@Sifu Lo refers to his teaching methods as learning a language.

ˇ@ "Iˇ¦ll teach you the alphabet and some words and grammar. You use your feeling to make sentences. I'll teach you to punch and block and guide you in the right way, but how to use them is deter-mined by you.ˇ¨

ˇ@ Basics are taught through the forms. The Wing Chun system, taught by Sifu Lo, is made up of three hand and leg forms, wooden dummy, long pole and butterfly knife forms.

ˇ@The first form introduces Wing Chun's basic techniques and concepts. The second form deals with distancing andˇ¦ bridging the gap' to find contact. In the third form, the show of fingers emphasizes speed and the use of all the arm. right to the finger tips.

Sifu Lo Man Kam training on a Wing Chun 'Wooden Dummy'