Wednesday, May 07, 2014

IN MEMORY OF: Cheng Tin Hung (鄭天熊) (1930 - May 7, 2005)

Source photo:

9 years ago today, Cheng Tin Hung sifu passed away. His reputation was that of a Taiji practitioner who was able to use his art in a martial way. He won a championship as well as coached/taught his students who also went on to win full contact championships. His "internal" style of Taiji was able to beat "external" styles.

He was not as well-known in America as he was in the UK, which was only natural as Hong Kong back then was still under the Britain. However, he made a brief appearance in an oldschool Shaw Brothers movie called "The Shadow Boxer". The casual Shaw Brothers fan may not know this movie, and at one point, the full movie was posted to Youtube. You can see him in action from a vidclip as well as an animated GIF set I've made of him here:

Posting some notes on him as well as some vidclips of him in his memory.

Rest In Peace Cheng sifu

Excerpts from Requiem for a Bodyguard by Dan Docherty:

... he was also a voracious reader of history and philosophy and a writer of many books on Tai Chi Chuan, an amateur geomancer and fortune-teller, who changed his name of Cheng Ngar-man to the more propitious Cheng Tin-hung

... in his heyday from 1956 – 1980 he was the best known combat Tai Chi Chuan master in South East Asia ...

He first made his name in the 50s, a time when many Hong Kong residents took up Tai Chi as a cure for TB. ...

Then in 1956 teams from Hong Kong and Macau were annihilated in Taiwan in a three way international full contact competition. He was the only one to win, defeating the three times middleweight full contact champion of Taiwan. He then met and pushed with Cheng Man-ching and while impressed with his softness, didn’t rate him as a fighter. He never had too much time for the Kuomintang anyway.

Over the years he led his students to numerous victories over external martial artists.


... He said the Judo people could sometimes throw him if he wore a Gi, but not otherwise.

He began working with the Sport & Recreation Dept of the HK government in 1976 by providing teachers for morning classes set up in the housing estates to improve public health and well-being ... He then devised teacher training programmes for the government which run to this day.

Excerpts from Grandmaster Cheng Tin Hung by Ian Cameron:


His reputation was one of someone who knew Tai Chi Chuan as a martial art, having proved himself, not only as a Tai Chi body guard, but by competing in martial arts tournaments, defeating the Champion of Taiwan along the way.


He was also very well read in the Classics and Chinese History.

Classic footage of Chen Tin Hung teaching and practicing Wudang Tai Chi in Hong Kong.

Cheng Tin Hung Wudang hand form

Chen Tin Hung with students of Ian Cameron in Edinburgh, 1986.

A short clip of Cheng Tin Hung in Edinburgh 1986

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