The Passing of Master Paul Eng

Master Paul Eng, Kung Fu teacher of great distinction, passed away January 8th, 2015.

pauleng1A few personal notes: Paul Eng was a well-known and respected martial artist as I was growing up in the San Jose area. He had a studio in Campbell and would also appear at the small school in San Jose run by Ron Lew. The first time I met Ron and talked about studying under him he took me into his house and showed me a film of Paul performing Fu Jow Pai. I can still remember the shape of his hands, the tension of this body and the distinctive Fu Jow rhythm. I was impressed then and still am.

When I got to meet him, many years later, it was after some discussion about how much he disliked interviews and such. But our interview was so successful that he spoke of it with pleasure. He immediately surprised me with his respectful attitude to my own teaching. We sat in his office, crowded, knee against table, Debbie hunched over the recording stuff and he told us about his life in Kung Fu which, on reflection I see as a life of deep appreciation in his art. There are those people in martial arts whom you would love to have experienced as teachers even if you never saw a single movement of their bodies, or a mere twirl of a weapon. Paul Eng was one of these. I learned some Fu style Bagua through a student of his and its dragon-like turning and back turning are still with me today. By the time I interviewed him, Paul Eng had stopped his practice of Bagua, concentrating on his Mantis and Tai Chi. But, I have the distinct feeling, he had lost none of his art, now as close to him as his skin.

 

He will be both missed and remembered by me, by Debbie and, I am certain, his many students who carry his teachings inside them.

eng1 Master Eng was born in Hong Kong in 1941. Initially poor health was a motive, and he began Choy Lee Fut and Fut styles under Chin King Woon. When he moved to New York, at age nine, he continued training in Yang Tai Chi, Choi Gar and Fu Jow Pai directly with Wong Moon Toy. After Wong’s death, Paul inherited the instructorship of the Fu Jow Pai system. At that time Master Eng moved to San Jose and continued his studies under Wang jack Man. He served In Viet Nam between 1967-9 where he was awarded two purple hearts. He was the chief instructor the Red Catcher Combat Ranger training camp at Long Binh and military Police at Choloon. It was here that he expanded his martial skills into Praying Mantis with Chiu Chuk Kai. When he returned to the West Coast Paul Eng, Raymond Wong and Kam Yuen formed the Tai Mantis Kung Fu Association with schools in Palo Alto, San Jose and Belmont. When Wong and Yuan moved to L.A. Master Eng became the major representative of the style in Northern California.

Outside of his school he also taught in venues such as Tai Chi at the Kaiser Hospital Physical Therapy Department in Santa Clara. He authored six books excellent books, and produced a DVD on his version of Mantis Boxing.

  • 1941: Born in Hong Kong.
  • 1947: Due to poor health, began training in the martial arts in Hong Kong under Master Chin King Woon (Choi Lee Fut and Fut styles).
  • 1949: Emigrated to New York city; continued training first under Master Leung Hung (Tai Chi, Yang style) and Master Chan Kwong Ming (Choi Gar style) and later under the Master of the Fu Jow Pai system, Wong Moon Toy.
  • 1959: After the death of Master Wong, became Chief Instructor of the Fu Jow Pai Kung-Fu Federation in New York.
  • 1965: Moved to California; began teaching in the San Jose area and studied under Sifu Wong Jack Man.
  • 1967-69: Served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. During this time he continued to teach kungfu as Chief Instructor of the Red Catcher Combat Ranger training camp at Long Binh (2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry, 199th Infantry Brigade) and of the Military Police Battalion at Choloon. During this time he also became a disciple of the Praying Mantis Master Chiu Chuk Kai, studying first in Saigon and later in Hong Kong.
  • 1969: Returned to the San Francisco area; together with Sifu Raymond Wong and Sifu Kam Yuen, formed the Tai Mantis Kungfu Association and opened schools in Palo Alto, San Jose, and Belmont.
  • 1971: Sifus Raymond Wong and Kam Yuen moved to the Los Angeles area; Sifu Eng remained to teach in the Bay area.
  • 1979: The Tai Mantis Kungfu Association moved to its present location in Campbell, California.

In addition to teaching at his own school, Sifu Eng has led classes at schools, colleges, YMCAs and community centers and has taught Tai Chi at the Kaiser Hospital Physical Therapy Department in Santa Clara. He has written four books, produced a DVD, and has plans to produce more in the series, in order to preserve and promote the techniques and applications of Praying Mantis Kungfu.

 

eng2Kungfu Lineage
Sifu Eng has studied with the following Masters, and acknowledges his deep indebtedness to them and appreciation for their teaching:

  • Sifu Chin King Woon (Hong Kong) – Choi Lee Fut and Fut styles
  • Sifu Chan Kwong Ming (New York) – Choi Gar style
  • Master Wong Moon Toy (New York) – Fu Jow Pai (Tiger Claw System); Northern Mai Jong (Lost Track Style) ; Hung Gar (Tiger/Crane System)
  • Sifu Wong Jack Man (San Francisco) – Tai Chi, Hsing-I, Pa Kua, Northern Shaolin, Shaolin Lo Han styles
  • Master Chiu Chuk Kai (Saigon; Hong Kong) – Tai Chi Praying Mantis style
  • Sifu Kam Yuen (Los Angeles) – Seven Star Praying Mantis style

 

Here is an excerpt from Paul Eng’s book on learning Kung Fu

11 Responses to “The Passing of Master Paul Eng”

  1. Patrick says:

    Sifu Eng. A true example of righteousness and honor.
    Sad at hearing of his passing.

  2. WoW, What A Big Loss to the CMA Family. In my contacts with Sifu Paul Eng,he was always Sharing his knowledge and Wisdom with Me. He Knew, I am Crazy about Seven-star praying mantis kung-fu. We wrote each other often. He will be missed. R.I.P. Big Brother P. Eng.Elliott.

  3. Ron Lew says:

    Sifu Ted. Thank you for writing a wonderful article on Sifu Paul Eng. Yes, he is one of kind. Gentle and very knowledgeable man. Lots of old stories about him. It was Dennis Futamase and myself that were honored to be his first students in California. We begged him to teach us. And only would charge us $5 per month. If we didn’t like it, then don’t pay. We’ll miss his skill and talent. He was truly a Master’s Master.

    Thanks again, Ted
    Be well my friend.

    Ron Lew

  4. Robert Eng says:

    On behalf of Paul Eng’s family, I would like to thank everyone for their condolences. Paul touched thousands of martial arts students in life, he will be missed.

    Robert Eng

  5. Sifu Paul Eng was an amazing martial artist.
    He will be greatly missed by all of his followers in the west coast and greatly missed by his fu Jow Pai family on the east coast. Fu Jow Pai world wide has lost their great uncle( Sisook) Paul Eng he will be deeply missed. I will truly miss my training sessions with him and gung fu talks as he was such a treasure of knowldge and wonderful human being. Thank you Sisook
    You will be miss greatly thank you for all of your time with me.

  6. Peter Yeung says:

    I had just sent an email to Sifu Eng…just to see how he is doing. Then a quick google search and I find that he has passed. A loss to the kung fu world. I met Sifu in high school and learned from him for a few years. He was a good man who had dedicated his life to kung fu. I always loved hanging out with him after class, chatting in his office, hearing his stories, watching demos on tape, sometimes movies and watching him practice sets. Very rarely did I see someone practice a set- that looked so graceful and beautiful. I will miss him.

  7. I first learn of Master Eng through my teacher Raymond Ly (Ming Loy).

    He shared How they met briefly and how he admired his his Fu Jow Pai.

    I had always followed his publications specially on the Praying Mantis Kung Fu.

    I have Great respect for Master Eng for staying true to traditional Martial arts.

    With great respect may he rest in peace.

    Sifu Torres

  8. Dave Shoff says:

    I was a former student of Sifu’s from 1976-1984. I learned a lot but eventually Mostly participated in his Tuesday night Tai Chi class – I cherish those nights to this day.
    When he learned I was moving out of the state, he made a Tai Chi video for me – such a thoughtful man.
    I am deeply saddened but glad I crossed paths with him in my lifetime.

  9. Guy Le Claire says:

    I live in Adelaide South Australia, i lived in HKG for 20 years had a stroke there 2 years ago, i use my kung fu (author of such book) to recovery.. borrowed Sifu Engs Kung Fu book from local library here and was hoping to say thanks to him for a good book, and now find he has passed on.
    Nam Myo Ho Reng Ge Kyo.

  10. Mr.Bobby Darrel Pearson says:

    I’m sorry to hear of Master: Paul Eng’s passing. I wish say much success in the martial arts industry. Mr. Bobby Darrell Pearson.

  11. I think of Sifu Paul Eng often.

    I miss his intense one-on-one personalized training style and our Sunday lunches. I am grateful for his trust in giving me a key to our school so that I could train more.

    His speed, precision, balance, efficiency of movement and fluidity were beyond my expectations. I’m deeply grateful to have taken classes there.

    If it weren’t for Sifu’s training, my Son would be dead.

    We’ve all met many people in our lives. But few have such a powerful impact on so many. Most of all, I miss the man.

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