SHIFU ALAN M TINNION

MASTER OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE FIGHTING ARTS


 

The Formative Effect Of Wartime Experiences Upon The Later Years Of Grandmaster Chee

 
 

At this point in the account of Shizu Chee’s experiences, it should be understood that the perils and suffering he endured during the Second World War were clearly instrumental in turning a legendary Gong Fu fighter into a man of contemplation, and were decisive contributing factors to the establishment of his very great repute as a gifted and dedicated Traditional Chinese physician, in years yet to come.

 
 

These dark times, and the horrors Master Chee directly experienced (facing death more than once; being captured by the enemy on two separate occasions, and through tenacity and ingenuity escaping; living the life of a hunted fugitive, cut off from open communication with his family), were only spoken of later in his life with very great reticence.  They contained genuinely heroic exploits, but never once did he boast of them, preferring instead to movingly express his sorrow about the stupidity of the wanton cruelty exhibited by the enemy. 

It was largely due to his own harsh Gong Fu training by severe, traditional masters that he survived at all.  For friends and ordinary prisoners of the enemy there was only horrific torture and torment leading to a death that was ultimately more welcome than continuation of life in such appalling circumstances.

 
 

On a related note, one of Master Chee’s most close and dear friends, was Mr Tan Kay Ngee (an honorary disciple of the Grandmaster), who endured appalling torture during the years of the Japanese occupation. 

The bond between Grandmaster Chee and Mr Tan, originally built upon the appalling experiences both suffered during the war years, remained ever deep to the end of both their days.

 
 
 
 

A dark inference of the extent of the suffering such prisoners endured, and the impact their pain and anguish had on this very Spiritual man (exceptional fighter though he was) may be seen in the following example.  Master Chee in later life would never eat anything – such as oranges – that had a skin remaining on it. 

This was due to a personal, solemn Vow he made to The Buddha on witnessing  a fellow prisoner having the skin stripped off all of his body, rubbed with salt and strung up to dry.  He interceded with the commandant to request that the victim’s life be spared, only to be told that he would be treated the same if he persisted in his request.  It was at this point that Master Chee made his vow, and incredible to relate, the man lived!  In thankfulness Master Chee maintained his vow to the end of his days.