In the Beginning: Chong began Wing Chun training under the tutelage of Kenneth Chung in 1968. Kenneth Chung is a direct disciple of Leung Sheung. Leung Sheung was Yip Man’s first student. It was under the direct tutelage of Kenneth Chung that Eddie Chong mastered the Yip Man style of Wing Chun. Later on, while living in the West, Chong observed that the fighting art taught at many Wing Chun schools varied, sometimes dramatically. Although a highly effective martial art, he recognized that the system had been modified, and therefore resolved to trace back and find as original a form of Wing Chun as possible. Obviously, the closer he could get to the system's founder, the more pure the art would become. Eddie Chong realized the possibility existed that a practitioner might still be living who had been trained by one of the early masters. With China now open to travel, Sifu Chong decided to seek him out.
Sifu Eddie Chong Grand Master Pan Nam: On a trip to his Singapore school, Chong took an excursion to Foshan, the traditional home of Wing Chun. While in Foshan, his inquires regarding local Wing Chun instructors brought information about 81 year old Master Pan Nam, the last known disciple on Painted Face Kam's branch of the family tree. Chong learned that Pan Nam had ceased teaching in 1990 and had, in fact, "closed the door" to his gymnasium. Unknown to Chong, Pan had delayed officially retiring, which involved certain formal rituals because he had a premonition that someone, his final student, was coming.
In Foshan, Chong met Pan Nam and was accepted by Pan Nam as one of his closed door students and became his last disciple. Mr. Chong went through the traditional Chinese ceremony of kneeling and giving a cup of tea to the old Master, asking to be accepted as his disciple. This was followed by a special meal. Afterwards, Pan took out his family tree and entered Eddie Chong's name as his closed-door student, the last he would ever accept.
Having fulfilled his desire to train a successor, Pan Nam officially hung out the scrolls that proclaimed his retirement when Eddie Chong left Foshan in late Spring of 1992. Chong returned to visit Pan Nam every year until Pan Nam's death in 1996.
Aside from Pan Nam teaching Eddie Chong the Foshan branch of Wing Chun, Pan Nam also taught him Five Petal Plum Blossom Qigong, which Master Pan Nam considered the lost treasure of Shaolin training. Pan Nam was a direct descendant of Shaolin Kung Fu otherwise known as Shàolínquán. Pan Nam's style of Wing Chun is the original Shaolin Wing Chun system.
Eddie Chong Bak Mei: While training at Foshan with Pan Nam, Chong also met an aquantance of Pan Nam's, a Bak Mei (White Eyebrow) kung fu master who sought Pan Nam's expertise in Five Petal Qigong as a method of healing his internal organs damaged as a result of extremely vicious and deadly altercations with other masters. For purposes of anonymity we will conveniently call the Bak Mei master "Li". Li saught the advice of a local physician due to his suffering from chronic hematuria (blood in one's urin). The physician informed the Bak Mei master that he did not have long to live.
The Bak Mei master heard of Pan Nam and the healing ability of Pan Nam's Five Petal Qigong. In almost fifty years of teaching Shaolin Wing Chun, Pan Nam taught fewer than a dozen students Qigong. Li appealed to Pan Nam to save his life. Pan Nam told him that he must leave off all alcoholic drinks, sexual intercorse and smoking during his Qigong training. Pan Nam required that Li must meet him every morning just before dawn for one hundred days straight. Li was cured after sixty days of Qigong training and vowed to follow Pan Nam where-ever he went to protect him with his life.
When Eddie Chong saw Li's Foshan Bak Mei, he felt Li's style of Bak Mei complemented his Wing Chun and could take his Wing Chun to new heights of technicality and aggressiveness. Chong asked Master Li if he would teach him Bak Mei. Li decided to take Chong under his tutelage because of Pan Nam accepting Eddie Chong as his disciple and trained him intensely from 1990-1996. Li never accepted anyone as his student who was an outsider of Foshan besides Eddie Chong.
Bak Mei is characterized by its emphasis on powerful close range hand strikes. Within Bak Mei can be found the four principles of Fou (Float), Chum (Sink), Tun (Swallow), and Tou (Spit) common in the Southern Chinese martial arts. Unique to Bak Mei is it’s classification of the following six powers: biu (thrusting), chum (sinking), tan (springing), fa (neutralizing), tung, and chuk. Bak Mei emphasizes the movements of the Tiger, but Bak Mei also uses the other four animal styles associated with the Henan Shaolin Temple as well such as the Crane, the Leopard, the Snake and the Dragon. Together they are known as the Five Animals. One other animal style is used in Bak Mei, called the Phoenix Eye.
Eddie Chong today: Today, Chong teaches the Yip Man style of Wing Chun, the Pan Nam style of Wing Chun and Foshan Bak Mei as well. Only Chong's closed door students are taught Bak Mei and only by his invitation. There are three treasure forms in Foshan Bak Mei, only the most dedicated of his closed door students may learn those forms and their applications.
Chong is fulfilling his lifelong desire to master all aspects of Chinese martial arts, including the health benefits of Five Petal Qigong and meditation. Five Petal Qigong channels one's life energy to enhance the body’s ability for self-healing, regeneration and internal power.
Chong has been the subject of feature articles in several martial arts magazines including BLACKBELT MAGAZINE (May 1982 issue) and featured in INSIDE KUNG FU magazine on many different occasions through out the 1980's to our present time in the twentyfirst century. Sifu Chong has also been featured in newspapers in the cities where his schools are located