Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Macau’s grand master returns home to set up shop

Posted by Kimberly on October 8, 2008

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
October 08, 2008 (1,015 words)

The thing you wonder when you meet Carter Wong for the first time is that he couldn’t possibly be the 61 years he claims.
This, he attributes to several things, not least of which is his training in Wudang Chi-kung, a teaching similar to that of Tai Chi, which is said to prolong life expectancy, strengthen the immune system and improve vitality and youth.
The Macau-born and raised grand master is perhaps best known in the general public for having starred alongside Kurt Russell in ‘Big Trouble in Little China’. Carter played the character of Thunder, a henchman working for the sorcerer Lo Pan.
Having acted in well over 100  films during the course of his career, Carter even worked with Golden Harvest, a dominant film production company that had helped produce Bruce Lee’s ‘Enter the Dragon’. Not to mention providing fight choreography lessons to the likes of Matt Damon as well as William Shatner during Star Trek.
Fast forward 20-odd years and and Wong’s resume could impress even the most cynical of martial arts followers: World Muay-Thai champion, 7th Dan black belt Go-Ju-Ryu Karate-Do Seitokukai, 8th Dan International Martial Arts Federation, Kung-Fu Master.
Carter was, in fact, the first person to teach karate in Macau, back in 1968.
Then there’s the numerous positions he’s taken up  all over the world, teaching his skills, including being chief instructor for the Royal Hong Kong Police Force (Karate), Master instructor for the US Marine Corp (Muay-Thai) and Master instructor for the NY State Police Force (Muay-Thai).
These days Carter’s International Chung Hop Kuen World Federation is represented in 36 countries, producing several world, European and country champions in mixed martial arts, muay-thai, kung-fu and kick boxing.
Chop Hop Kuen is considered a mix based on Shaolin kung-fu and Wudang chi-kung and incorporates essences of karate, muay-thai, taekwondo and hapkido.
Carter explains that one of his students has even opened the first Shaolin temple in Hungary.
With his mark well and truly made on the world, Carter is looking homeward, and is considering returning to Macau to set up workshops on Chi-kung.
With three schools in Paris alone, Carter could be teaching tai chi, kung-fu or something else, all in the one day. He teaches Chi-kung mainly to those over 40, to help relieve stress and nerves. The style is divided into two streams, a ‘moving’ style and a ‘silent’ style.
In the old days, both streams were referred to as ‘Daoyin’, meaning exercise that directed energy and blood to the body in a harmonious state by adjusting the way we breathe and by making limbs soft yet strong through stretching.
Tai Chi, it should be noted, is learnt from Wudang Chi-Kung.
To begin with, Carter intends to have a class for each stream and expects to have it up and running in about a month.
“I’d like to start with about 5-6 students first to garner interest and then start to open up,” he says.
He points out that the idea of exercise for most only seems to cater to the external, but ignores what’s happening inside.
“There will be eight lessons, of two hours each, in order to teach the whole thing,” Carter explains, adding “then I’ll create a video so they can take it home to help them remember.”
There would not be more than 12 people in a class as he “really wants [his] students to learn and know the postures.”
Carter stresses that Chi-Kung is for everybody, saying that “some people think it’s boring as they want to fight,” but adds “it will teach you how to use your mind and protect yourself.”
In his opinion, there are many “sifus” (teachers), but Carter says, “they don’t know how to teach. They may be a good fighter but not a good instructor, or can tech well but not fight well.”
He gives the example of breathing, some we are born with the ability to do.
“When you’re moving slow, your breathing should be slow and vice versa.
“You see people in gardens doing [tai chi] movements, but they don’t know the meaning.”
Yet his classes are only one reason Carter is looking to return to this side of the world, suggesting that he is also considering creating a company in Shenzhen “to train bodyguards within the next 2-3 months,” says Carter, adding that these would mostly tend to be army recruits from the big camps in Canton, which he intends to train up and send them to work in private companies.
“Security is about defence not offence. So I’ll teach them techniques where even one small bit can help them with their job,” he says.
He points out that Macau has so many casinos and many security guards but no real way of training them. “You don’t need a security guard to fight people, just to watch over you and to protect when necessary,” says Carter.
He explains that even an instrument such as an umbrella or jacket sleeve, can be used by an individual to defend themselves.
“You don’t always need to have a weapon,” he adds.
Asked why he decided to return to Macau, Carter simply responds that “I was born here. I lived in the US for over 20 years. Now I’m seeing so many new things in Macau. I need to spend some time here to get to know people again and they, me,” he says.
He laughingly explains that those who know him in Macau, namely his previous students, are now well over 45 with his visits back here usually ending up as an opportunity to recollect and bring back fond memories.
Asked what impressed him the most about the changes in Macau, Carter admits it’s the expansion of the SAR’s buildings.
“It feels a little strange. There should still be places for parks and trees,” he says, but adds that he believes the government has “done a great job since the handover.
“It’s a nicer place for people to live in. It’s much smaller, so it’s easier for people to get together,” he says smilingly.

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7 Responses to “Macau’s grand master returns home to set up shop”

  1. I was a friend of Carter Wong in the 1990’s. I am living now in Thailand and would like to pass on my email to him.

    Kuka@iKuka.com

    thank you

  2. Carter Wong is a great actor of some Kung Fu Movies in USA…
    Congratulations!

  3. yes grandmaster gong-fu school is on lizzbanard street in new york,s chinatown , and he is a wonderful. man as well. when I had the great honor of kmowing him in 1985,

  4. I was Sifu Wongs 100th Disciple; and I suppose that I still am – though I have not seen Carter Wong since 1991. I ran into Phillip Mestas one of the students that I was training while acting as an instructor for Grandmaster Wong. Phillip told me Carter was trying to get in contact with me. Could you pass this along to Sifu Wong? He could have one of his assistance contact me or contact me direct on facebook The photo on my page is from 1980! I look a bit different now! MarkRossmeisl

  5. […] from the interview with Master Wong by Kimberly Johans for the Macau Daily Times, October 8th […]

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  7. Macau Jobs said

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