Dr. John Cheng, the heroic figure who sacrificed himself to stop a mass shooting at a Southern California church on Sunday, was a well known and highly regarded figure within the traditional Chinese martial arts world who appeared on several occasions within the pages of Black Belt. An expert in the seven stars praying mantis system, Cheng had a network of kung fu schools in Orange County but closed all but one to focus on his family and medical practice.
Cheng was taking his mother to church Sunday when David Wenwei Chou allegedly opened fire on the congregation. According to reports, Cheng immediately moved to tackle the shooter attempting to disarm him. Though he was shot and killed in the effort, his actions gave other parishioners time to subdue the gunman.
Dr. Mark Cheng (no relation), a contributing editor for Black Belt who was close friends with John Cheng and had written about him in the magazine, said he was shocked to hear of his friend's passing and inspired by his heroism.
"Lots of martial artists and tactical personnel talk a big game about what they'd do in a life-or-death situation. John didn't freeze, flee, or fawn. He fought. May his dedication to his principles and courage guide us all when it matters most," he said.
John Cheng was 52. He leaves behind a wife, Elise, and two children Ashley and Austin.
Here is a GoFundMe to to support John Cheng's widow & children.
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