In memory of Grandmaster Yam-Man ‘Raymond’ Chung (鍾蔭民 1913-2018)
Grandmaster Yam-Man ‘Raymond’ Chung (鍾蔭民; Mandarin—Zhong Yinmin) was born March 7, 1913 in Guangzhou (Canton), Guangdong Province, China—just one year after the abdication of the throne by the ‘Last Emperor.’
On January 14, 1962, at age 49, he became one of the first Chinese-born taijiquan masters to emigrate to Canada; it would be 17 years before he could bring his family to join him. His students called him either ‘Master Chung,’ ‘Sifu,’ or by his anglicized name ‘Raymond’ (‘Yam-Man’ sounds somewhat like ‘Raymond’).
At age twenty-one, several years before the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), Grandmaster Chung joined the Guangzhou Air Force Academy (Zhonghua Mingguo Kongjun Guanxiao 中華民國空軍官校) and received two years of training as a pursuit fighter pilot. He fought as a pilot in the war, destroying Japanese bombers, until its conclusion, eventually achieving the rank of Colonel (Shangxiao 上校).
He did not like talking about the war and once he related soberly that all his friends had been killed in Nanjing during the six-week massacre that began in December of 1937. In March 1988, fifty-four years after he first joined the airforce, Grandmaster Chung and his wife Helen saw the unveiling of the Guangdong Province Aviation Monument (Guangdong Dongsheng Hangkong Jinianbei 广东省航空纪念碑), upon which is inscribed the words “Aviation Saved The Nation” (Hangkong Jiuguo 航空救國).
The memorial is engraved with the names of 266 pilots who lost their lives in the anti-Japanese war. Grandmaster Chung once stated that of his 200-plus airforce academy classmates only he and one other are known to have survived the war. In connection with the aviation memorial, he and his wife were invited to Guangzhou by the Guangdong Aviators Association (Guangdongsheng Hangkong Jieyihui 广东省航空眹谊会)) to be part of a discourse about aviation history in the region.
Grandmaster Chung had many devoted students including my first Taijiquan teacher master Brien W. Gallagher. On September 19, 1971, Brien was certified by Master Chung as ‘Yang Tai-chi High-class Rank’ (taijiquan bangaojizu 太極拳班高級組) and officially allowed, as a master, to teach students and promote the art as taught by Master Chung. The certificate is written in English and in Chinese. Master Chung sinicized Brien’s name as Jia Bairen (加百仁) which means something like ‘Canadian of 100 Benevolences.’ Master Chung also appointed Brien as ‘Push-hands Research Assistant’ of the club.
Sometime after issuing the certificate, Grandmaster Chung had Brien go to a Vancouver Chinatown jeweller to be sized for a gold signet ring with the yin-yang symbol enamelled onto it—identical to the one that Chung himself wore. This was intended to demonstrate Brien’s status as the senior student or 'research assistant in the school.
In 1985, after my own intensive training with Grandmaster Chung in preparation for the First World Wushu Invitational Tournament held in Xi’an China, Grandmaster Chung told Brien that he’d arranged for the jeweller to make for me the same ring that he and Brien wore.
Brien explained to me that this had great significance in terms of Master Chung’s school and lineage and that I now had a responsibility to represent Master Chung and his body of knowledge to my utmost ability.
The traditional Yang-style Tajiquan component of the Masich Internal Arts Method is based largely on the teachings of Grandmaster Chung.