Grand-Master Henry Poo Yee founder of CKFA - Kung Fu southern Praying Mantis Academy

Grand-Master Henry Poo Yee

Grand-Master Henry Poo Yee (1939 – 2018) founded the Chinese Kung Fu Academy (CKFA) of Southern Praying Mantis Federation U.S.A. in 1982. Currently, the federation has members and branch schools all over the world. Grand-Master Yee was born in 1939 and raised in the Toisan county region of Guangdong Province, south-east China. As a young teenager, he later moved to Hong Kong, before leaving for the United States to become a 3rd generation Chinese-American. He completed high school in New York City and later earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering. Grand-Master Yee was an active member of the Chinese community. He and his hingdai participated in the New York Chinatown youth athletic clubs and later recruited others to form the New York Chinatown Vikings Athletic Club in 1958. Within two years, the Vikings membership had grown to one hundred. Activities included Kung Fu, volleyball, basketball, and academics. By the early 1960s, the majority of the club's members had enrolled in almost every major university in the eastern part of the United States. The volleyball team dominated the North American Chinese communities for about ten years starting in 1959. Volleyball tournaments are now the largest annual sports events in North America's major Chinatowns. Kung fu activities included the yearly Chinese New Year lion dancing celebrations and Kung Fu exhibitions in New York Chinatown. Grand-Master Yee began his Kung Fu training in 1947 with the southern styles of Hung Tau - Choy May, Bak Hok (White Crane), and Bak Mei (White Eyebrow) both in China and Hong Kong. He first encountered Southern Mantis Kung Fu in 1955 when he had immigrated to the US to join his family in New York City. Grand-Master Yee was sixteen when he first met the Great Grand-Master of Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai, Lam Sang (Lam Wing Fay), who was then teaching at the New York Chinatown Hip Sing Tong. This was the beginning of the lifelong relationship between the two.
In 1966, Great Grand-Master Lam Sang retired from teaching at New York Hip Sing Tong and later moved to Taiwan in 1969. With this, Grand-Master Yee turned to one of his Sifu Lam Sang's Kung Fu brothers and roommate, Sifu Chang Peng, to mutually inspire and share knowledge about this style of Kung Fu called Nam Tong Long. After Sifu Chang Peng's death, Sifu Yee would turn to a famous Bak Mei Pai Sifu Chan Fung Ho, who helped Sifu Yee further understand the in close range Fat Gain. In 1980, Grand-Master Yee was involved in a devastating automobile collision and sustained massive injuries, including partial paralysis. When western medicine failed, he reunited with his sifu, Great Grand-Master Lam Sang, who began treating him with a combination of traditional Dit Da medicine treatment and Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai Fut Sao Mui Fa Ting Sing Kung for blood circulation (Won Hay) rehabilitation (the soft Chi Kung of the system). From the practice of Ting Sing Kung, this would lead Grand-Master Lam Sang See to teach Sifu Henry Poo Yee his Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai internal Yeul Kung form "Say Moon Lok Hop Sao" (Four Gates and Six Harmonies Hands). Furthermore this would lead into the Shiem Kuen Tuo Lo system (Long Fist forms), and the Sop Bot Dim Kuen (18 Points fist) pressure point hitting techniques that the late Grand-Master Lam Sang See called Da Huit Tau (stop the blood flow), with the Sop Bot Bin Sao Fat (18 changing hand methods); this would be the beginning of Grand-Master Henry Poo Yee's era of intensive retraining. With some of the suggestions of the Late Sifu Chang Peng, and the Late Sifu Chan Fung Ho, this would reshape Grand-Master Henry Poo Yee's hands into the Kung Fu he developed from that point on. After Grand-Master Yee regained his health, Great Grand-Master Lam Sang encouraged him to openly teach this system of Kung Fu to the general public. Hence, the organization known as the Chinese Kung Fu Academy (CKFA) of Southern Praying Mantis Federation was born. At his sifu's behest, Grand-Master Yee began publishing articles and doing public demonstrations to promote the system throughout the 80's. In 1984, Great Grand-Master Lam Sang See appointed his disciple Henry to the position of "Yee-Fong" in the lineage of Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai and presented him with the altar of Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai as the fourth generation Yee Fong heir, and with this he also left complete instructions concerning the care of the altar, and Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai Dit Da prescriptions and healing techniques. In 2014, Grand-Master Henry accepted the following people as his formal disciples and the forebearers of the system for the next generation: Sapir Tal, Peter Goulbourne, Tommy Quan, Eddie Urbistondo, Alfonso Sailinas, Pete Scheers, Paul Dermody and Abraham (Abe) Chu. Among these 8 people, Tommy was appointed the ‘head-branch disciple’, Paul as the ‘second-branch disciple’, and Abraham as the ‘third-branch disciple’.

A partial list of Grand-Master Henry Poo Yee's Appointments and Achievements since the 1980s:

  • Founder and Head Instructor of C.K.F.A. Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu International Federation
  • Advisor to East Coast U.S.A. Chan Tai San Lama Pai
  • Advisor to United States Wushu Kung Fu Federation
  • Lifetime Membership of Hong Kong Kowloon Herbalistic Medical Association
  • Board Director To United Kung Fu Federation of North America
  • Original Member of American Traditional Chinese Medical Traumatology Association
  • Honorary Advisor of Kwong Tung Toisan China Wushu Association
  • Honarary Advisor to International Lee Koon Hung Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu Association
  • Board Director To the United States Traditional Kung Fu Wushu Federation
  • Overseas Advisor to the Hong Kong New Martial Hero Magazine
  • Honorary Chairman of Hong Kong Shandong Mantis Boxing Association
  • Advisor to United States Hung Fut Kung Fu Federation
  • Honorary Chairman to Houston Chin Woo Association
  • Honorary Chairman to Austrailia Bai Mei Martial Art Association