Kung Fu Pioneer and Film Star Leo Fong Passes Away

Leo Fong
Martial arts film star, author and pioneer of Chinese martial arts in America, Leo Fong, passed away on Friday at the age of 93. Born in China, Fong relocated to America as a child settling in Arkansas. Initially an amateur boxer, he took up judo and Japanese jujutsu on moving to California to work as a Methodist minister. Fong went on to train in choy li fut and sil lum kung fu in San Francisco, as well as taekwondo and arnis.

It was during this period in the early 1960s he became friends and training partners with a young Bruce Lee. In an interview with the Martial Arts History Museum, Fong said it was after Lee encountered difficulty in his infamous fight with kung fu master Wong Jack Man that he suggested Lee rely less on his wing chun style. Shortly after this, Fong said, Lee unveiled his new method of jeet kune do.

Fong, too, went on to systematize the various styles he'd learned creating his own martial art of Wei Kuen Do. After making the cover of Black Belt in 1970, he broke into movies appearing in more than 30 martial arts films.

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