The truth, the brutal point blank truth…

26 Nov

I am one of the senior disciples of the late Chan Tai-San. I spent 16 years training with him, was adopted in the formal “baai si” ceremony, taught his “public classes” for the first four years and was his main translator when he traveled the country. I met Chan Tai-San in 1986. If you don’t believe me, you could look at what Chan Tai San wrote in his own handwriting.


Maybe hand written letters in foreign languages isn’t your style. Maybe you can’t read Chinese. The other thing I have going for me is the instructor’s certificate that the North American Chinese Martial Arts Federation (NACMAF) gave me after they asked Chan Tai-San to verify I was in fact what I said I was. It was issued in 1994 and says I had eight years of training with Chan Tai-San.


Anyone who trained with Chan Tai-San prior to 1990 trained either on Henry Street or at the Chan Family Association. The Henry street location burned down.


Above is a picture of the Chan Family Association which had a Mo Gwoon on the top floor.


Above is a picture of Chan Tai-San with Stephan Laurette (who introduced me to Chan Tai San), “Gil” who was a student at Hong Luck in Toronto and was there to visit, Steve Ventura and myself. The last guy is named Juan. If anyone ever tells you they trained with Chan Tai San prior to 1990, ask them to show you pictures of the Chan Family Association.


In the October 1989 issue of Inside Kung Fu Magazine, Laurette and I co-authored an article on Chan Tai-San and his lineage of Lama Pai. This is just a time frame issue, but you’ll notice that only Vetura, Laurette and myself are listed. People like Michael Parella, Stephen Innocenzi and Chris Jurak of course appeared in later articles and are legitimate Chan Tai San disciples. But as a matter of fact, they all joined the group after 1989.


In order to write the 1989 article, Laurrette and I had to ask Chan Tai-San all sorts of things. We wanted to know WHERE he had studied. So he wrote the name of the monastery in the dirt with a stick. Chinese isn’t easy, especially for foreigners teaching themselves! We mis-read the character as “green” but it was a mistake and we figured it out later looking at the MANY things Chan Tai San later wrote like the writing above. There never was any “green cloud” it was always “clear cloud” and we have hundreds of examples of Chan Tai San’s writing as evidence of this.


Chan Tai San did NOT teach beginners. This is what the public classes were for. The public classes were held on Lafayette street and there are a large number of photos taken at that location. I was the chief instructor of the public classes so people who wanted to train with Chan Tai-San first became my student and if they passed muster then were accepted by Chan Tai-San.


In the 1990’s there were over 50 articles about Chan Tai-San and Lama Pai published in various martial arts magazines. Almost all of them were written by me and I appear in them. However, you will note that when Chan Tai San was given the “cover story” for Inside Kung Fu, Stephen Innocenzi co-wrote that piece with me.


I can tell you who studied with Chan Tai-San directly, and who didn’t. I can tell you what they learned and how well they learned it. One obvious point is that Chan Tai San SPOKE NO ENGLISH. So anyone who starts telling you Chan Tai San stories had better have a pretty good conversational Cantonese.


For a very long time, I have been interested only in my version of Chan Tai San’s teachings and in teaching the way I wanted to. However, with the growing amount of crap and lies being put out there, it may very well be time to correct all this.


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