Jow Ga full instructors - First Generation

aka Hung Tau Choi Mei

Jow Ga full instructors - First Generation

Postby dc_jowga » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:09 pm

Sifu Chin only recognized a small handful of "Full Instructors" in his lifetime. His teaching time in DC lasted 16 years, and the last 3 - 4 years of that time he was only occasionally teaching formal classes. We rarely hear about the Full Instructors, which is surprising, because not only are they part of our history and lineage, these brothers had skill far above what we normally see in Kung Fu today. The bar was set high and those who met it were obvious among those who did not. I have some video I'd like to put to youtube and when you see it you will agree that Jow Ga of the early days was * very * strong.

1. Hoy Lee - Hoy is recognized as our senior, because Sifu had always honored him as the first student. He was also one of the best. When I learned from him I remember him giving me his interpretation of Jow Ga techniques for fighting, and I use his philosophy today. I was not fortunate to ever see him do any kung fu when he was young, but I know from what everyone said about him he was extremely good and an excellent kicker. He created the Stepping form (aka "Stance Training form") with Deric Mims.

2. Paul Adkins - I use to call him "Black Superman" when I was a kid. He was very strong and fast, and from what I remember of his classes, a great technician. Out of all the instructors and assistant instructors he taught the best fighting strategy, along with Tehran Brighthapt and Lemuel Talley. I can't rank my opinion of him above Bright or Talley because I didn't train with him as often as them, but I remember that Paul's classes did not involve any boxing or wing chun (Sifu taught wing chun occasionally)--but did have some Moo Doo Kwan if I remember correctly. I once asked him what form he liked the most for fighting, he said "perfect form". I was about 12 or 13 and it stayed with me all these years.

3. Hon Lee - I believe he started right around the same time Hoy started, so he is our second in command. Hon was a Marine, I believe, so you know he was a beast. When I joined, Hon was in China studying, and occasionally came back to the U.S., and fortunately I was one of the folks who got to learn from him. Hon reminded me of Sifu in that he taught fighting technique directly from the form. While we always learned applications from the form, when Hon taught he taught those same techniques as fighting techniques. I remember practicing a technique for about an hour while he called cadence, and after about 20 minutes or so he showed us how the technique looked in the form. In the form??? It was eye-opening, and I always respected him for that. At that time, I was seeing forms as just that--forms. But he opened my eyes to the potential of our kung fu. I didn't spend a lot of time with him, and only had a few conversations as an adult, but he is a very wise man and every Jow Ga student should at least meet him.

4. Deric Mims - He was our forms specialist. Deric had a great eye for detail, and his skill embodied what Jow Ga was all about. He was a great combination of Northern and Southern, which few of us had (I believe we leaned perhaps too much towards southern style), and if you stayed under him long enough you ended up with flawless form. One thing I remember from watching Deric's Tues-Thurs crew was that all of his regulars were championship material. There was a "Deric Mims" look to everything he did, and everyone (including me) who learned from him showed it. This is just my opinion, but his three top students were Stephanie Dea, Troy, and DJ. I once heard someone say that Deric was Mims' Tiger, Troy was his Leopard, and Stephanie was his Crane. This was a pretty accurate description, Deric for strength, Troy for speed and Stephanie for gracefulness. Deric was also our business manager, and he kept Jow Ga a professional run organization, and certainly was responsible for keeping our lights on.

5. Raymond Wong - I think I wrote enough of him on the "History" thread. This was the guy I stuck to when I joined. A story: When my brother and I first came to Jow Ga, Sifu told my mother we were too young. We left, visited a few schools and didn't like any of them. Mind you, I had not seen any of Jow Ga's skill, just the office. But something attracted me. I had called once and John Chin answered and helped me with a project I was doing for school (I was in the 6th grade) "What I want to be when I grow up" (Martial Arts teacher). We were going to Wah Hsing and I convinced my family to go back to Jow Ga. When we came in, Sifu was starting to kick us out again, and Raymond stopped us and talked to us. We signed up, and John Chin taught my first class, Rahim Muhammad taught my second class. When I started learning from Sifu himself, he told me to stick close to Raymond and I did. He is, in my opinion, the spitting image of Sifu in the way he taught and treated his Kung Fu. Raymond was known by most of the students as "the Lion Dance" guy because it was the only they saw him. He did not come to the school during the week, he was almost never seen doing kung fu and when he taught it was often hours after leaving the club. But his kung fu was top notch, as is evidenced by his students. In the old days Raymond had three top students who followed him as well--Moo and San Wong (his nephews) and me.

6. Randy Bennett - I didn't know him well so I can't say much about his kung fu. But from what everyone says about Randy, his Kung Fu was certainly very good and typical of a first generation DC Jow Ga person. I don't know if he has youtube clips of himself, but I've seen home movies and his technique was flawless--and I totally mean that. Even now at his age he is that good. He came to visit DC in the late 90s and everyone was in awe, especially those who had never seen any of the first generation Sifus.

7. Eugene Mackie - I know this brother VERY well. He and Craig Lee were the last of the Full Instructors on Sifu's watch and all I can say is most Kung Fu people have never seen skill this good. He had knee problems early on but would push it and train and demonstrate anyway. When Eugene gave, he gave 100% intensity. He had very strong hand technique, very clean hand technique, and when you saw him do a form, you could tell he could also fight with what he had. The video on youtube with all of us does him no justice, he was good but man you should have seen him back in the day. Because of his power, he was the Tiger to Craig Lee's Leopard. Of the crew he was second youngest.

8. Craig Lee - I know him well also. Almost everything on the 28-form list past Double Broadsword, I learned from Craig. Anyone who knew him will agree with this statement: Craig was our best forms specialist. I will put up a clip that he and I made in Chinatown right before Sifu Chin died, and you guys can see for yourself. Everything from the stances, to his execution to speed--whenever Craig performed he made all the older guys proud, and it made us young cats go in the classroom and train our asses off. He was Sifu Chin's youngest and last full instructor. He and Eugene were promoted in 79 or 80. Considering that Sifu died in 1984, these were honors he did not freely impart.

There were a few Assistant Instructors, and I'll post them later. But 8 Full Instructors in 16 years says a lot about why Jow Ga is the way it is now. I know of teachers who put out more than 8 Black Belt students a month. You didn't become a Sifu just because you knew forms, and you literally had to be the best of the best. One thing about our seniors in the system--they were all several heads above their peers in the martial arts community in skill and fighting ability. Our assistants from those days were Tigers: Rahim, Bright, Howard, etc. but those who were Full Instructors really stood out. They earned their place not just by being around long enough or learning the curriculum, but perfecting what they knew.
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Re: Jow Ga full instructors - First Generation

Postby waltor » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:12 pm

I can't wait to see those clips. :D
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Re: Jow Ga full instructors - First Generation

Postby Daifong » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:36 am

Sounds like an all-star lineup to me, great criteria and assessments!

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Re: Jow Ga full instructors - First Generation

Postby manofjow » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:00 am

Wow Mo that was a good trip "back down memory" lane. It is nice to get a first hand view of those Jow Ga people that I looked up to when I first joined back in '86.
I am looking forward to seeing you again when you come back to the east coast. Reviewing my forms with you for the techniques that Sifu Dean Chin taught you has inspired me to train like I did when I first joined.

Until I see you again....

Jow Peace
Last edited by manofjow on Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jow Ga full instructors - First Generation

Postby Tailik » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:43 am

Good stuff Mo!
Wuih Jeuih Tunhg Muhn Tuei Dunhg Chyun Tung Jau Ga Gung Fu!
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