Sifu Paul Eng
January 8, 1941 -- January 8, 2015
Sifu Eng began his martial arts training at the age of six in Hong Kong, his birthplace. Poor health was the reason his grandmother took him to Chin King Woon for training, where he studied the Choy Lee Fut style. At the age of 9, he emigrated to New York where he studied Yang style Tai Chi and Choy Gar with Chan Kwong Ming. He continued his studies in Fu Jow Pai (Tiger Claw System, Black Tiger), Northern Mi Jong (Lost Track Style) and Hung Gar (Tiger/Crane System) under Grandmaster Wong Moon Toy. Hearing about Sifu Wong Moon Toy and his expertise in kung fu, Sifu Eng went to Grandmaster Wong’s apartment with his brother Wai Hong and asked Wong to teach them as he had retired from teaching in Chinatown. At first, Wong just let them read comic books and would not teach them. Finally after seeing the dedication of the youngsters, he accepted them for nine years as his closed door disciples until his death in 1960. Ultimately, Sifu Eng became the Chief Instructor of the Fu Jow Pai Kung-Fu Federation in New York.
In 1963, Sifu Eng moved to San Francisco with his Uncle Kam Yuen, and attended Foothill College. He continued his martial art studies with Kam Yuen under Grandmaster Wong Jack Man who taught him Northern Shaolin (Siu Lum), Hsing Yi, Tai Chi Chuan, and Pa Kua.
From 1967-69 Sifu Eng served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, and was awarded two Purple Hearts, two commendations for bravery and was nominated for the Bronze Star. During this time he taught combat techniques as the chief instructor at the Red Catcher Combat Ranger training camp in Long Binh (2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry, 199th Infantry Brigade) and for the Military Police Battalion in Choloon.
Grandmaster Wong Jack Man had told him to seek out Grandmaster Chiu Chuk Kai, a famous Praying Mantis Master who was located in Vietnam. While serving in Vietnam, Sifu Eng was taught by Grandmaster Chiu, and then later when Chiu moved to Hong Kong. In 1969, Sifu Eng returned to the West Coast and resumed teaching and studying with Grandmaster Wong Jack Man and later learned Seven Star Praying Mantis from Sifu Yuen. In that same year, he, together with Sifu Raymond Wong (My Jung Law Horn), and Sifu Kam Yuen, who had also studied Tai Chi Praying Mantis under Grandmaster Chiu, formed the Tai Mantis Kung Fu Association. The three taught at several locations in the Bay Area, until Raymond Wong and Kam Yuen moved to Southern California in 1971. At that time, Sifu Eng became the sole representative of Tai Mantis in Northern California with his school on 8th St in San Jose. In 1973 he opened a Tai Mantis school in Palo Alto and then a school in 1974 on 4th St San Jose. In 1979, the school moved to Campbell where Sifu Eng continued to teach almost daily until his passing earlier this year.
Northern Shaolin, Hung Gar, Fu Jow Pai, Seven Star and Tai Chi Praying Mantis were his main styles. His dedication was primarily to Praying Mantis. Following Grandmaster Chu’s death in 1991, along with several other of Grandmaster Chiu’s 8th Generation disciples who had relocated to the U.S., Sifu Eng helped establish the U.S. Chuk Kai Tai Chi Praying Mantis Federation here. The Federation’s mission is to pass on the teachings of Grandmaster Chiu, and for 25 years has hosted annual Memorial Banquets in honor of Grandmaster Chiu, as well Kung Fu seminars and tournaments. Sifu Eng served as the President of the Federation for 10 years, and attended every annual meeting until his passing.
Over the years Sifu Eng taught at many locations in the Bay area including numerous community and cultural centers, businesses, the Palo Alto YMCA, DeAnza College, and even taught Tai Chi at Kaiser Hospital to the elderly.
Sifu Eng taught thousands of students over his career as an instructor, and selflessly devoted his life to exposing and carrying on the Chinese martial arts.