Real Life Fighting Experience
In Master William Ho’s 55 odd years of martial arts practice, he encountered many real life dramas where he used his martial arts skills as the last resort to protect himself. Luckily he did not sustain any injuries during the attacks but ironically had injured himself many times during practice. Injuries during practice had prepared him to avoid serious injuries during real life situations. The following are some of the encounters by Master Ho.
In 1967, before the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the society was in total disarray, the red army supporting the idea of non-social class finds people who are teaching Tai Chi to be unlawful and must be re-educated in a remote land. Master Ho’s family was involved in such conflict. In order to make a living and survive, Master Ho’s family must continue to teach in the city and cannot go to the remote land. Therefore, the red army tried to catch Master Ho, but using his softness skills from Tai Chi, the red army was unable to catch him. The red army later used weapons and Master Ho was able to defend using Ba Gua steps and broad sword, the Ba Gua broad sword form is one of the most effect techniques in broad sword. Later, Master Ho incorporated the Ba Gua broad sword skills into the Tai Cho broad sword form.
In July 1967, after failing to catch Master Ho using weapons, they decide to use guns. Master Ho heard the news from the neighbors and decided to leave to Hong Kong in September. Master Ho was caught on the way to Hong Kong and was to be sent back to Canton. In the mean while, he was placed in a house along with other people to be sent back. The house had a four meters high wall and glass chippings on top. Master Ho decided to escape, so after dinner, he used the mattress as a rope and threw one end to the top of the wall with glass chippings. Using the rebound energy, he flung himself up just like that in the movies. He landed on the other side of the wall and ran into the sugar cane farm, soldiers started firing, but it was too late. Having such light movements is one of the results practicing Wu Dang martial arts.
In September 1968 dusk, after finishing work in a wig factory in Hong Kong, and catching a bus to have dinner with friends. When getting off the fully loaded bus, Master Ho instructed people who want to get on the bus must wait for the people to get off first. But one of the man getting on the bus refused, so Master Ho have to force his way out, in doing so, bumped into the man. The man was very unhappy and kicked Master Ho as he was getting off, Master Ho luckily had on hand grabbing by the door and as he swung back, he grabbed the man by the shirt and did not let go. Master Ho wanted him to get off the bus and settle the dispute outside. But the man wanted to get on. So the bus drive had to get both of them out of the bus as it is delaying the rest of the passenger. Eventually, both of them got off the bus and the man was very angry. The man straight way threw punches and kicks which show that the man have previously practiced Karate. Master Ho persuaded him to stop many times but he refused. Master Ho was wearing a suit, leather shoes and his newly bought expensive watch. He first used Ba Gua steps to avoid the fierce attack and had time to take off his new watch and unbutton his jacket. The man was very strong, powerful and reacting like a mad person. Suddenly the man punched with a right hand, Master Ho then used his left hand to thread through the punch, the man then followed with a kick, Master Ho slide side ways and punched his lower abdomen with his right hand. The man covered his lower abdomen and tries to catch his breath. Master Ho asked him whether he wants to continue to fight or talk, the man ran off knowing that he sustained a direct hit after Master Ho’s first attack.
In March 1969, Master Ho was visiting friends on a Saturday night. As he was leaving his friends place around 11pm, turning around the street for the bus stop, he discovered he was followed by two people with knifes. They threatened with their knifes and ask for personal valuables from Master Ho. Master Ho followed their instructions and gave away his wallet and watch. One of the thieves continues to body search Master Ho for processions by giving his knife to his other accomplice. As they start to leave, Master Ho kicked the thief with his sharp headed shoe, and the thief laid on the ground moaning. The other thief leaped forward and Master Ho dodge side ways and getting ready to kick the thief again, Master Ho threaten that police will arrive very soon as the neighbors would have alerted the police by now. So the other thief stopped and ran way in panic. Master Ho told the injured thief to quickly seek medical attention for the wound.
In August 1969, one Saturday night, one of Master Ho’s student/friend was going out with his girlfriend and was taking a walk in a quiet park. Then at around 10 o’clock, three people suddenly appeared out of the shadow under a tree and demanded money. The girlfriend was very scared and started crying. The boyfriend had to follow the thieves demand and handed over hundreds of dollars of valuables to the thieves. Later after Master Ho and his group of students found out, they decided to catch the thieves the Saturday night. They managed to find the three thieves responsible and demanded them to return back the stolen valuables. The thieves retaliated with knife, so Master instructed the students to stay back and surround them to avoid them escaping. Master later used Ba Gua to catch the weapon and injured one of the attackers arm, the rest of the thieve decided to give up and hand over the remaining valuable that they have, as they have already sold most to the valuable. Master Ho and his students decided this is all they can do, so did not carry the matter further.
In March 1983, Master Ho was working as a representative for Chinese in an industrial company. That day, he was in a hurry and was hungry, so decided to have a quick lunch in a restaurant, while he was eating his food, he noticed his brief case was moving. When he life his head up, he realized a young man is trying to snatch his brief case, so Master Ho jumped from his chair and slide across the floor using his metal plated under sole of his leather shoes. As his slide, his shoe reached the young man’s ankle and made him off balance and fell over. Master Ho got back his brief case and finished off his lunch. The restaurant waiter then said to Master Ho, there are a lot of thieves in Canton, you should be careful. Master Ho then replied, the thief is unlucky that he encountered someone who knows martial arts.
In January 1988, Master Ho was in Taiwan for no more than a month. One day, he was in a park and saw some people was doing Tai Chi push hands. Master Ho then wanted to try the push hand in Taiwan, so they introduced to one another. A man in his thirties was doing push hands with Master Ho. During the push hand, this man suddenly moved forward one step and gave a big push, Master Ho was push back for a few meters. Then next time, as the man uses the same move, Master Ho leaned back and kicked his lower body. The man said it is not fair to use kicks, so Master Ho then used another move to off balance his knees as he move forward. The man had to retrieve as he cannot push when he is off balance.
In January 1990, Master Ho was working as a night club manager in Taiwan. On the first opening day of the night club, all the security guard was carrying baseball bats in case of emergency. Master Ho said weapons are not allowed and he would teach them self defense skills. On the second days, a drunken man was causing trouble and he was punching anyone who comes close. Master Ho saw this on the security camera and come out to resolve the problem. This drunken man is very strong and seems to know martial arts. As Master Ho got close to the man, the man threw several punches towards Master Ho’s face. Master Ho climbed into the punches and close into the man. With one hand grabbing the man’s shirt and the other pushing into the throat, the man suddenly relax and fall down. Master Ho asked the security guards to laid him down on a couch and give him something to drink to subdue the alcohol. Later, the security guard was puzzled as to how the man was subdue as everything happened very quickly. Master Ho then explained to the about what he did and how to use it for self defense.
In February 1990, the newly opened night club was very busy and had a lot of customers. The majority of the customers are very popular or from underworld gangs. One night at around 11pm, two of the gangs was having a quarrel and eventually turned more physical. There are about eight to ten people in each gang and each gang had a leader. Master Ho realized this and quickly carried a bottle of brandy to settle the dispute. Master Ho was asking the leaders to relax and take a drink and have fun. Suddenly, one of the gang members tried to strike Master Ho in the head from behind with an old style mobile phone. Master Ho realized a dark shadow as striking towards his head, and there is no time to move, he had only managed to move his head a little side ways. The mobile phone managed to scratch his head and was bleeding fast. People urge to call the ambulance, but Master Ho said it’s not necessary, it just a minor cut. This mobile was made of metal and would have caused serious injury or even death if hit directly on the head. The man striking Master Ho later realized he have hit an innocent person, he was a little drunk and thought Master Ho was threatening his leader so the struck. He later apologized and Master Ho forgave him and asked everyone to relax and have fun. Later, the gang leader realized Master Ho was a very good martial artist, so invite him to teach his followers. Master Ho was reluctant to agree and disagree. To disagree would make the leader unhappy and to agree will make the other gang unhappy. So Master Ho later decide to quit the night club business altogether and follow his mother’s advice to migrate to Australia to have a simple life.
In early 1995, Master migrated to Australia and lives in Parrammatta. One day, as he was going to central by train and was walking across Belmore Park, he saw a group of people practicing Tai Chi. Master Ho stopped and had a look and saw an old teacher teaching a group of students. Master Ho was very interested so decided to practice his Tai Chi in another area. When the group of people finished their Tai Chi exercise, they came greeted Master Ho and discuss about Tai Chi. One of the man ask whether he can teach him Tai Chi, he was willing to pay for a lesson. Another lady also wanted to learn. Master Ho was not sure because his work is still not settled and can only teach in his spared time. But he finally agreed, because he always practices Tai Chi in the morning anyway. Master Ho later established the Tai Chi Ba Gua Association. The news of Master Ho living in Sydney had traveled fast. One of the Tai Chi practitioner from Melbourne was very interested and came all the way from Melbourne just to do some push hand with Master Ho. Master Ho one day meet his person and agreed to do some push hands with him. After five minutes of push hands, this practitioner admit that he is unable to push Master Ho over, because he is unable find the point to push. Master Ho explained to him that his is in the state of non-action and his Chi is continuously moving in his body, so he is unable to find the point to push. At least twenty years of practice is required to get to this stage. Later that day, they went for a Yum Cha lunch together and agreed that the practitioner can start his own class in Melbourne barring the name of the Tai Chi Ba Gua Association. Master Ho also gave him a video to learn about non-action. After a few years, his students participated in push hands and sparring competition and was award third place.
In June 1996, Master Ho extended his classes and teaches in a park in Parrammatta, at the time, there were a few Tai Chi Ba Gua enthusiasts who already had more than ten years experience. One day, there was a Tai Chi Master who had just migrated to Australia, he also wanted to have some students in the park. He saw Master Ho teaching push hands, so he wanted to try out his skills. After a few rounds of push hands, Master Ho moved to tangle his front leg, the other Master then try to resist and suddenly sink down and kick with his front leg. Master then jumped back a few meters to avoid injury. Master Ho realized that he using a Shoaling move because it is action by force. In Tai Chi, one must be passive in generating the energy and use softness to redirect the opponent’s power. According to Master Ho, the other Master didn’t have to use such move, he should wait for the opponent and not panic in attack. One could have turned the waist and use the knee or hand to counteract when Master Ho was trying to tangle his front leg. At the same time, when the other Master sink down, Master Ho could have moved front and push toward his chest to make him off balance. But such move would have caused injury especially when his was older than Master Ho at the time.
In a morning of July 1996, as Master Ho was teaching Tai Chi in Belmore park, suddenly, a woman was yelling. Master Ho discovered that a young man had just snatched the woman’s hand bag and running to was Surry Hills. Master Ho asked his students to call the police and he chased after the thief. After about 200 meters of running, the thief was exhausted and Master Ho had just caught up with him. The thief trying to push Master Ho away and was deflected by Master Ho. The second time he push again and Master Ho used his Tai Chi skills to flung him onto the ground. The thief got up again and tried to throw a punch but Master Ho using Ba Gua and block and twist his arm, the thief landed on the ground again. Eventually after around ten minutes, the police arrived and took the thief away to the police station.