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Master Chee Kim Thong

Master Chee was born in Putian, Xing Hua District, Fujian Province, China and began his kung fu training at the age of 5 under the guidance of his grandmother, Madam Khor Si, in Monkey Style Kung Fu. He was later introduced to Master Lam Yen (Lin Zin) of the Southern Shaolin Temple who taught him Wu Zu Chuan. Master Chee also learned Wu Zing palm from Master Yeung Yeuk and Wu Ji (believed to be the predecessor to Tai Chi) from Reverend monk Yit Sim. After the 2nd World War, Master Chee left China for Singapore and thereafter Kuala Dungun - an east coastal mining town in Terengganu, East Malaya. He was happy to live a life of obscurity and be incognito. He made his living by working as a Chinese sinseh excelling in herbal medications and bone-setting techniques. At the same time, he was also involved in some small businesses. He was very much an entrepreneur in a very astute way. In 1989 he was declared a National Treasure by the Chinese government. Because of the services he rendered to the community at large in Malaysia as a Sifu and an acupuncturist, Master Chee was conferred the title of Dato by His Royal Highness, the Sultan of Terengganu, Malaysia, in 1995. Master Chee was the founder of the Chee Kim Thong Pugilistic and Health Society in 1968, Kuala Lumpur. I was part of the founding committee and the assistant chief instructor. He was also a leading figure in the following organisations. 1. President - of the Hokkien Association of Dungun 2. President - the Rumah Berhala Hong Thian Tiang Temple, Dungun 3. Honorary Chairman - The Federation of the Heng Ann Association of Malaysia 4. Honorary Chairman - The International Southern Shaolin Wu Zhu Body, which include participating countries like Malaysia, China, Singapore, Taiwan and Philippines. His fame reached USA, UK, Switzerland, France, and Australia where aspiring and eager students who came to Malaysia to learn from him are now propagating his art of  Wu Chu and Wu Ji. Throughout his life, Master Chee was well known for his skills in Shaolin Kung Fu and healing abilities. The history of this remarkable man is revealed in the page on the history of Ngor Chor Kun as he played a pivotal role in imparting the art of Wu Chu Chuan to various parts of the World. THE EARLY YEARS Master Chee, at the age of 6, was taught Tai Chor (a ‘hard’ style) by his paternal grandmother, Madam Khor Si. By the time he was 10 years old and coming from a poor family, he worked as a page boy and companion to the son of a rich family in Xia Men. There, he met the very famous boxer, Master Toh Yit Choon, a martial art expert from the Northern School of Shaolin. Master Choon was once one of the bodyguards to Dr Sun Yat Sen (Founder of the Republic of China). MASTER CHEE & HIS TEACHERS When Master Chee was 12 years old, it was one incident that Master Lam Yin witnessed the young Master Chee using his martial art skills to subdue a bully (it was actually his young ‘master/boss’ who was jealous of him) effectively. Master Lam was impressed and invited him to be his disciple. This was a very important turning point in young Master Chee’s life. It turned out that Master Lam was a great exponent of the Shaolin style of Wu Chu Chuan. Such was his ability that he could use his internal energy to warm the cup of tea in his hand. Through Master Lam, young Chee trained and became a great exponent of Wu Chu Chuan. When Master Lam travelled extensively, his granddaughter Madam Lam Yit Leong continued to help young Chee to enhance his Wu Chu skills. Thereafter, Chee was recommended to study with Master Yeung Yuk by his grandmother who was a good friend of this Master. Master Yeung was a top-notch exponent of the art of Wu Xing Palm (Five Elements). He earned the reputation that no one can get within striking distance of “five steps” amongst his peers in the Chinese Wu Shu world. Young Chee trained diligently with Master Yeung. At about the same time Master Chee’s reputation became known to the most Reverend monk Yit Sim of the Lam Por Thor Temple in Putian. Reverend Yit Sim sent one of his senior disciples to test Master Chee’s ability. When convinced by his disciple’s positive report, Reverend Yit Sim invited Master Chee to train under him. Reverend Yit Sim specialized in Lohan Ru Yi Chuan, Wu Ji Chuan, and other Shaolin martial arts. He was also a master in Buddhist teachings and meditation. Master Chee spent some fruitful years with Reverend Yit Sim. Master Chee was a natural talent in martial arts. At the age of 18, he competed in the pugilistic tournament organized by the Chinese government held in Xia-men and became the champion in the middleweight category. Thereafter, he assisted the Chinese government in training the military in martial art. When the Japanese Imperial army occupied China during WWII, Master Chee was actually a wanted man. According to Sifu, this prompted him to escape to Kuala Dungun, Malaysia. Apparently Master Chee had a disciple in China who was a rickshaw puller (Disciple A for easy reference) and there was this Japanese soldier who was a frequent passenger. Over time, the two became good friends. One day, they witnessed a street fight and the soldier noticed how Disciple A was sneering at the fighters’ techniques. He then asked Disciple A whether he knew martial art. Disciple A finally admitted that he had learnt from a great master when the soldier persisted. Disciple A then took the soldier to meet Master Chee. The Japanese soldier did not know who Master Chee was then. He drew his sword and challenged Master Chee. Master Chee had a kwang-Do at that time and by slamming it to the floor, Master Chee was able to deflect the incoming force of the sword and send it flying. After the incident, Master Chee was wary of adverse impending consequences and felt it was imperative for him to leave his motherland with his family for a more secluded place in South East Asia. And that turned out to be Kuala Dungun in Malaysia. He then became a businessman and was happy to lead a relatively secluded lifestyle.
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徐 金 棟 Departed April 2001, Age 83