Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Donald Wong, A man on determination. (Part One)

Donald Wong, a third generation American and State Rep for Saugus, teaches Kung Fu and Chi Gung at Ultimate Fitness in Chinatown. I recently saw a Facebook post that he had taken a Disciple, Bill Lewitt, for the Southern Praying Mantis Style (one of the many styles Donald practices). I have seen Donald in Chinatown for years, shaken hands, said “Hi”, that sort of thing, but I didn’t really know him. I thought that this story of a Sifu doing a traditional tea ceremony in a modern Kung Fu gym in Chinatown would be an interesting story for the blog. But this post will actually be more about Donald’s family and what perceive to be his vision for Kung Fu in Chinatown. Not to jump into this story myself, but here I go. From my background, these traditional ceremonies chi gung practices, teet da, and the old school Kung Fu type stuff were things my Sifu did because he was from China, didn’t speak English and wanted to carry on that tradition. Even younger people from Mainland China or Hong Kong, found these old traditions, restrictive and at odds with the modern world and progress. (Taiwan people tend to be simultaneously more traditional and more modern finding nothing clashing there.) So to see these traditions carried out in a Chinese American way is new and inspiring to me. To return to Donald’s family history, his Grandfather came to the states, to Saugus specifically and opened up a restaurant called Mandarin House. His English was not great, but already he jumped right into to the American dream and American Social networks. He was a Chinese Freemason (Hung Mun) but he was also a Freemason... The western organization, and a Shriner as well. Donald’s mother was one of the first women to sell life insurance and won an award for being the top saleswoman. Donald’s parents bought the Mandarin House and changed the name to Kowloon. In fact it is still registered as the Mandarin House, doing business as Kowloon. I see the Kowloon all the time from the highway. I just didn’t realize it had been around for that long. “All the hard work was really my grandfather and my parents. Now we are just keeping it afloat.” Donald said humbly. But there is a lot of work that Donald has been doing through Qigong and Kung Fu that is inspirational to me, as a Kung Fu teacher.
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