In Kung Fu, Sifu Ng Wah Sum’s first love was Hung Ga. It was Hung Ga’s exaggerated movements that he particularly enjoyed. It was a very physical style that was dramatic to watch.
After Sifu Ng Wah Sum had studied Hung Ga for a few years, he faced a beimo (a skill comparison, which usually took place in an alley or rooftop) that led to a change of his life. During the beimo, Sifu Ng Wah Sum lunged to attack into his opponent, however, before he could strike, his opponent landed several punches on his chest. Sifu Ng Wah Sum was stung by these swift punches, both physically and mentally. When Sifu Ng Wah Sum next saw Sifu Lam Fei Hung, he asked why this opponent was able to punch him several times before he could do anything.
Several months later, Sifu Ng Wah Sum spotted the opponent who was also a guest while attending a friend’s banquet. His friend introduced him and found that the opponent practiced Wing Chun under Leung Sheung, who was a disciple of the legendary Yip Man. At that time, most people did not know much about Wing Chun and it was commonly regarded as women’s style. After some conversation with the opponent, Sifu Ng Wah Sum discovered he was hit by the Wing Chun’s chain punches easily. Although the beimo was long over, Sifu Ng Wah Sum still felt the sting of those punches and became skeptical of Hung Ga’s techniques. After a couple of months, through his friend, Ho Gay, Sifu Ng Wah Sum visited Leung Sheung’s school (in fact, Sifu Leung Sheung had been expecting him). The school was located at 10 Liberty Road in Kowloon. The visit went well. Thus, Sifu Ng Wah Sum began to study Wing Chun under Leung Sheung in 1961.
For Ng Wah Sum, studying Wing Chun was not an easy task. Hung Ga’s training made Sifu Ng Wah Sum very hard and stiff. He had to change his style from the hard physical Hung Ga to the soft feminine Wing Chun. Sifu Leung Sheung told him to relax and gently shaked his wrists every day in order to make himself softer.
At that time, Wing Chun was still a “small family”. Sifu Ng Wah Sum was able to practise with the Yip Man’s other disciples. Afterwards, Sifu Ng Wah Sum joined them to watch or participate in beimos.
Sifu Ng Wah Sum’s school was opened in 1967 and was only two blocks away from Yip Man’s residence. When Yip Man was semi-retired, he dropped by Sifu Ng Wah Sum’s school a couple of times weekly to have tea with Sifu Ng Wah Sum. Sometimes, they would also play mahjong or go for a movie. Although he was a legend, Yip Man was always quiet and humble.
One evening, Yip Man and Ng Wah Sum took a stroll in the neighborhood, Ng Wah Sum was fascinated by a display in a store’s window. As he picked up his pace he saw three men approaching him and asking for money. Yip Man spoke calmly to the three men and said, “Why don’t you guys come back with some weapons, because just three of you guys are not enough to handle me”. The three men got scared and immediately ran away.
Sifu Ng Wah Sum took on many students, through the years. Among his very first disciples was Sifu Chung Kwok Chow.