Master Jimmy Heow of Chinese Hakka Kungfu, Malaysia
Master Jimmy Heow started learning Kung Fu when he was at the age of eight. All his family members practice Kung Fu, as Kung Fu was the talk of the town during that period of time.
Everybody in the his neighborhood practice at least a form of Kung Fu. Master Jimmy Heow’s uncle, Chin Lik Keong introduced him to a few masters around the neighborhood. That’s where his journey begins.
Master Jimmy Heow’s training begins with Master Len Gok, his neighbor. He taught the Plum Bosom 12 Points System (十二点梅花), a form of Phoenix Eye Kung Fu (凤眼功夫) that emphasized strikes on meridian points. Master Len Gok learnt the art from Chen Teck Fook, where he learnt from Chai Yen Seong from China during the 1890s.
Other martial arts he has learnt are:
- Chu Gar Gao (朱家教), under the tutelage of his other neighbor, Master Chin Yao Wan.
- Silk Reeling Staff (缫丝杖), under the tutelage of his another neighbor, Master Then Fatt
- Cai Mei Staff (采眉杖), under Master Lai
- San Gong (神功), under Master Sang Chee Chong
- Fung Yang Xing Yi Quan (凤阳形意拳), Ru Yi Bagua (如意八卦) and the Lee style(李家拳) under Master Lee Kim Chow.
Ru Yi Bagua (如意八卦) focused in controlling your opponent, while Fung Yang Xing Yi Quan (凤阳形意拳) is yielding and issuing energy (fa-jing, 发勁). Master Lee Kim Chow learnt the art from Chu Yin Cheong in China and he was the inheritor of Fung Yang Xing Yi Quan (凤阳形意拳), while he learnt Ru Yi Bagua (如意八卦) from Master Lee Tian Kim.
After settling down in Malaysia, he began to spread the art among the Chinese community here. In addition, Master Jimmy Heow trained with his uncle, Chin Lik Keong to refine his skills from time to time. Master Jimmy Heow was also being taught and given some points by Master Lee Tian Kim on Ru Yi Bagua (如意八卦).
His first fight was with a Thai Boxer in the year 1974. This was the first time in the ring that they introduced rules with boxing gloves and the use of ointment. The fight didn’t proceed. They are not used to wearing gloves and the opponent are covered with oil. Thereafter, they adapted and start to train with gloves, etc.
The most memorable fight happened in the year 1980. Master Jimmy Heow’s opponent is tall and he got long, strong arms. In Chinese kung fu, particularly in the external route, the determinant of success is a pair of strong forearms – “Kiu Sao” (桥手). Master Jimmy won the fight because his defense was strong.
Master Jimmy Heow (in black) in the International Karate Open Championship
- In 1975, he won the International Karate Open Championship Group B.
- In 1977, he won the Heavy Weight Group B championship in the Kuala Lumpur / Selangor 2nd Chinese Martial Art Championship.
- In 1978, in the First All Malaysian Chinese Wushu Tournament, he was the Heavy Weight Group B runner-up.
- In 1980, he was the second runner-up, Heavy Weight Group B, in the Fifth International Chinese Martial Arts Championship organized by the Malaysian Chinese Wushu Federation.
- In the same year, he was the Champion, Class B, in the Third Selangor KL Chinese Wushu Association Championship and was the First Runner Up in the Hong Kong Open Champion of Champions Tournament, Heavyweight Division.
- In 1985, he was the Push Hand Champion in the KL Selangor Chinese Wushu Federation Tournament.
- In the same year, he was the Champion in the Malaysia – Thailand Kickboxing Championship.
- In 1986 to 1990, Master Jimmy Heow challenged in the media, any and all Tai Chi exponents in Malaysia and abroad to Push Hand competitions. Challengers representing all the known Tai Chi schools such as Chen and Yang styles came from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and as far as Hawaii. He was undefeated.
A New Era
In those days, learning Kung Fu was not as easy as now. The Master won’t tell the students everything he knew. So, the students crossed train. It all started with a group of Master Lee Kim Chow’s students, practicing and researching on Fung Yang Xing Yi Quan (凤阳形意拳) and Ru Yi Bagua (如意八卦). That’s how the formation of I Liq Chuan Association started when they decided to give a new name to Master Lee Kim Chow’s art. I Liq Chuan Association was formed in the year 1976. Master Jimmy Heow was the co-founder of the I Liq Chuan Association in Malaysia, at that time he was at the age of twenty three.
Master Jimmy Heow stopped teaching in 1990 and went into business. Also, that was the year his cousin brother, Sam Chin migrated to the United States. In 2006, he decided to come out and spread the art again and set up the Jimmy Heow I Liq Chuan Academy Malaysia. I Liq Chuan is a very unique art. Even now, there are still people coming from overseas to learn and understand I Liq Chuan.
His focus and training now is on “Yi Dao” (意道). It is more towards the development of human potential using the mind – “Yi” (意) , Energy – “Hei” (气) and Ging (勁) “Power”. It is the understanding of human body mechanics – “Liq Hok” (力学).
As times have changed, besides offering traditional martial arts classes, he also teaches sports push hands and Sanda with the focus in competition. As for another group, He concentrate on the forms and some basic exercises for health preservation and improvement. Also, in martial arts, Master Jimmy Heow will always try to cultivate and foster unity among the martial arts community and welcome those who martial artists from various backgrounds to come and train with the academy.
When Master Jimmy first started, training is more like the hard styles as compared to the later years. The system Fung Yang Xing Yi Quan (凤阳形意拳) and Ru Yi Bagua (如意八卦) taught them not to give their opponents any chance when they touch their hands. “Once touch, either stick to the opponent’s hands, guarding him closely, or issue energy and that guy will fly off. People train differently back in the old days. Now, it is more sports oriented.”
Now, the training is based on physical sensitivity and sensorial mind awareness – not thinking of any techniques for dealing with particular situations. It is an art of unifying the mind and body of an individual. There are a set of basic movements and only two forms in the system to cultivate ‘chi’ and for health preservation. Other than that, the students practice sticky or spinning hands for sensitivity and applications. Master Jimmy Heow stressed on understanding of “Liq Hok” (力学) – the use of force using body mechanics to control the opponents.
A Pushing-Hand Technique demonstration by Coach Victor Yen
ONE circle technique demonstrated by Master Jimmy Heow