William Cheung

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William Cheung
William Cheung 2011.jpg
Cheung in 2011
Born (1940-10-10) October 10, 1940 (age 82)
Hong Kong
Other names張卓慶, Cheung Cheuk-hing
ResidenceVictoria, Australia
StyleTraditional Wing Chun (TWC) Kung Fu
Teacher(s)Ip Man
Notable studentsEric Oram[1]
Anthony Arnett[2][better source needed]

William Cheung or Cheung Cheuk-hing (張卓慶, pinyin: Zhāng Zhuóqìng)[3] (born October 10, 1940) is a Hong Kong Wing Chun kung fu practitioner and currently the Grandmaster of his lineage of Wing Chun, entitled Traditional Wing Chun (TWC). He also heads the sanctioning body of TWC, the Global Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu Association (GTWCKFA).[4] He is the recipient of a Masters Award for lifetime achievement in Kung Fu from Martial Arts Australia.[5]

Cheung is responsible for introducing Bruce Lee to his master Ip Man when they were teenagers in Hong Kong.[6][7][8]


In the 1950s, Cheung grew up in Kowloon, where fighting skills were considered a measure of self-worth and pride. At age 11, Cheung's challenge matches were on the school playground, and his fighting style was Tai Chi Chuan, which was not sufficient to elevate him among the youth of Hong Kong. This fighting was a concern and was frowned upon by his father, who was a police inspector; hence, Cheung avoided becoming involved in gangs. By his teenage years however the challenge fights continued, and—as they are inextricably linked to extortion rackets of secret societies—Cheung's high-achieving family saw him as a source of embarrassment.[6]

Circa 1954[9] was a turning point in Cheung's life was when a gang leader who was undefeated in combat challenged an old man who was rumored to fight in a little–known Kung Fu style of a woman. Cheung witnessed the challenge and watched as the thin old man who was Ip Man quickly defeated the gang leader. Impressed by the old man's skill, Cheung visited Ip Man and became his student. Over the next few months Cheung became a live–in student for 3 years, before leaving Hong Kong.[6]

Friendship with Bruce Lee[edit]

Cheung and Lee in Hong Kong.[dubious ] (Photo of Cheung pasted over a cropped photo of Lee.[10])

During his time living with Ip Man, Cheung introduced a then 15-year–old famous child actor, Bruce Lee,[4] whom he first met at Lee's 9th birthday to Ip Man.[11] Originally Ip Man had rejected Bruce the right to learn Wing Chun Kung Fu under him because of the long standing rule in the Chinese Martial Arts world to not teach foreigners. His one quarter German background from his mother's side would be an initial obstacle towards his Wing Chun training. However Cheung would speak on his behalf and Lee was accepted into the school.[12]

Cheung and Lee became friends and training partners. After several months of daily training, they both became more involved in street challenge fights, until one day Cheung fought a triad leader and seriously wounded him. This prompted Cheung's father to send him away from Hong Kong to put him out of harm's way; however, the problems followed him, and he and his family decided that it was better for his safety to migrate to Australia to begin a new life.[6][13]

Later life[edit]

Cheung left Hong Kong to move to Canberra in Australia to study economics at the Australian National University.[4] In 1965, Cheung founded the first wingchun kungfu club at his university. After graduating in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in economics, Cheung fully immersed himself in Wingchun theory and practice with a group of dedicated students.

In 1973 he founded a martial arts school in Melbourne, Australia and in 1976 he was elected president of the Australian Kung Fu Federation.[4][better source needed] Since 1979, William Cheung and some of his students have directed programs for special groups of the US military and other countries.

In September 1986, William Cheung was attacked by a 24-year old Emin Boztepe, a WingTsun practitioner from EWTO, while holding a seminar in Cologne, West Germany.[14][15] William Cheung was pulled down in front of some persons, this episode was filmed on video, and subsequently used by representatives of the EWTO and IWTA for propaganda purposes.


Teaching traditional Wing Chun[edit]

Cheung in 1990.

After moving to Melbourne, Australia to teach Traditional Wing Chun professionally in 1973, Cheung established his Wing Chun studio in Melbourne's CBD. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, his studio attracts hundreds of new students each year.[11] Early in 1976 Cheung participated in the formation of the Australian National Kung Fu Federation and became its president.[16] The federation ran the Australasian Kung Fu Championships from circa 1977/1978. These were the earliest Australian full contact tournaments open to all styles of martial arts.[17]

Cheung trained students in the US as well, including some who became successful in their martial arts careers, such as Eric Oram who went on to train Robert Downey Jr. and Christian Bale in preparation for their Hollywood movie roles.[18][19][1]

He also trained Anthony Arnett who has been winning martial arts tournaments since 1974 and has won grand champion multiple times some of which were for 3 years and 6 years running in different tournament circuits.[2]

Cheung taught unarmed combat to the U.S. marines of the Seventh Fleet based in Yokosuka, Japan.[20]

Martial arts[edit]

Cheung was acknowledged as one of Yip Man’s disciples who helped to firmly establish Wing Chun’s reputation as a fighting art through the challenge matches in Hong Kong.[21][11]

In 1984 Cheung set a world speed punching record of 8.3 punches per second at Harvard University in Boston.[22]


  • Black Belt Hall of Fame Award - Kung Fu Artist of the year 1983[6]
  • Inside Kung Fu Hall of Fame Award – Instructor of the year 1989[6]

Magazine front covers[edit]

Over a 28-year period Cheung has been featured on the front cover of 35 magazines between 1982 and 2010, the first being Inside Kung Fu in October 1982 and the most recent Martial Arts Illustrated in April 2010.[23]


Cheung attained a Bachelor of Economics from the Australian National University, after graduating from secondary school in Hong Kong. Cheung is a certified Doctor of Chinese Medicine under the Chinese Medicine Registration Board of Victoria, and a member of the Australian Chinese Traditional Orthopaedics Association Inc. He has also been invited as a Guest Professor to Foshan Sports University (China), and as a Senior Research Professor of the Bone Research Department to Beijing Chinese Medical University (China).[4]


  • Cheung, William (1983). Wing Chun Bil Jee, the Deadly Art of Thrusting Fingers. Unique Publications. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-86568-045-6.
  • Cheung, William (1986). Kung Fu: Butterfly Swords. Ohara Publications Inc. pp. 223. ISBN 0-89750-125-X
  • Cheung, William; Mike Lee (1986). How to Develop Chi Power. Black Belt Communications. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-89750-110-1.
  • Cheung, William; Mike Lee (1989). Kung Fu Dragon Pole. Black Belt Communications. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-89750-107-1.
  • Cheung, William; Mike Lee (1988). Advanced Wing Chun. Black Belt Communications. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-89750-118-7.
  • Cheung, William; Ted Wong (1990). Wing Chun Kung Fu/Jeet Kune Do: a Comparison Volume 1. Black Belt Communications. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-89750-124-8.
  • Cheung, William (1989). My Life with Wing Chun (second edition). pp. 192.
  • Cheung, William (2007). Wing Chun: Advanced Training and Applications. Black Belt Communications LLC. pp. 175. ISBN 0-89750-157-8. ISBN 978-0-89750-157-6.
  • Cheung, William (2005). City of Dragons: Ah Hing – The Dragon Warrior. Healthworld Enterprises Pty. Ltd. pp. 118.
  • Cheung, William (1994). CMT: Cheung's Meridian Therapy. Cheung's Better Life. pp. 388.


Cheung has produced a number of videos, including;

  • The Wing Chun Way
  • Tao of Wing Chun
  • My Life with Wing Chun
  • Wing Chun – Advanced Training and Applications
  • City of Dragons
  • CMT – Cheung's Meridian Therapy
  • PRO-TEKT: A Personal Protection Program


  1. ^ a b "Kung Fu Masters and Celebrity Students". Gamer Guide to Kung Fu. No. Online. 2015 ‐ 2017 Mark Media Corp. 24 June 2015. Archived from the original on 8 January 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b Diaz, Raquel (9 June 2016). "Continua la jornada de éxitos en la academia". Latin Australian Times. No. National print edition.
  3. ^ Chu, Robert; Ritchie, Rene; Wu, Y. (2015). The Definitive Guide to Wing Chun's History and Tradition. Tuttle Publishing. p. 124. ISBN 978-1-4629-1753-2.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Kaleidoscope Chinese Kungfu". cultural-china.com. 2007-2014 cultural-china.com. Archived from the original on 26 December 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  5. ^ "MAA Awards Presentation". martialartsaustralia.com.au. Martial Arts Australia. Retrieved 2 January 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d e f De Roche, Everett (June 1989). "William Cheung Scene one... Take One". Australasian Blitz Magazine. No. Print edition Vol.3 No.3. Blitz Publishers ISSN 0818-9595. Gordon and Gotch Ltd. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  7. ^ Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit, Frog Books, 1994, page 307-308, ISBN 9781883319250
  8. ^ "Who taught Bruce Lee kung fu? He was born to be a fighter, but the martial arts superstar also trained with the best". South China Morning Post. 25 July 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2023. Lee found a sifu, or master, through a street-gang member called William Cheung, who took him to a wing chun school run by Ip Man, who had begun teaching the style in Hong Kong around 1950.
  9. ^ Thomas, Bruce (1994). Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit. Blue Snake Books. ISBN 9780283070815. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  10. ^ https://archive.ph/Rjric Archived TinEye results for uncropped Lee family photo.
  11. ^ a b c Lallo, Michael (20 January 2011). "All the right moves". The Sydney Morning Herald. No. onliine. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  12. ^ Chen, Edwin (5 January 2016). "Bruce Lee Was an Anchor Baby". asamnews.com. No. Online. AsAmNews. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  13. ^ Shun-leung, Wong (1978). Reminiscence of Bruce Lee (Print ed.). Hong Kong, China: Wong Shun-leung. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  14. ^ Jim Coleman (interview conducted by) (1987). The Wing Chun Challange Match; William Cheung tells his side of the fight in West Germany (Black Belt Magazine, March 1987). p. 29. Last September in Cologne, West Germany, noted wing chun expert William Cheung was assaulted by a 24-year old wing chun student while conducting seminar. The man was a member of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association, headed by Leung Ting, a bitter wing chun rival of Cheung.
  15. ^ Black Belt Magazine, June 1995, Page 52. "... the line forms behind Emin Boztepe. Boztepe, a wing tsun kung fu stylist who, until recently, was known ignominously for little more than his thuggish pummeling of wing chun kung fu instructor William Cheung at a 1986 seminar in West Germany..."
  16. ^ Stewart, Alan (19 December 1976). "Kung Fu Duel – Let's fight challenge from School boss". The Sunday Observer.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ "1st Australasian Kung Fu Championships". Australasian Fighting Arts. 3, Num1: 22–24. 1977.
  18. ^ "ROBERT DOWNEY JR. Martial Arts Master Says KUNG FU A KEY TO SOBRIETY". TMZ. No. online. 2016 EHM PRODUCTIONS. 25 December 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  19. ^ John, Citrone (5 June 2003). "Fight Club: Kung Fu Master Anthony Arnett delivers street justice with an open heart and closed fist". Folio Weekly news magazine. No. Print edition front cover. Folio Weekly. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  20. ^ Ted Wong, William Cheung (1 December 1990). Wing Chun Kung Fu / Jeet Kune Do: A comparison (Paperback ed.). United States of America: Ohara publications Inc. ISBN 0-89750-124-1.
  21. ^ Ritchie, Rene (15 June 1998). Complete Wing Chun: The Definitive Guide to Wing Chun's History and Traditions (Print paper back ed.). Tuttle Publishing. p. 8.
  22. ^ William, Cheung (1988). Advanced Wing Chun (1 ed.). USA: Ohara Publications. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-89750-118-7.
  23. ^ "Resource for Martial Arts Magazines". Ma-mags.com. Ma-mags. Retrieved 26 December 2016.