The Ving Tsun Lineage
Every generation of Kung Fu masters has an abundance of stories and personalities. What follows is by no means an exhaustive or complete history of Ving Tsun Kung Fu. Rather it is an outline of the roots from which our Kung Fu draws its strength. Such a simple outline cannot hope to contain the complete history of the Ving Tsun System. What it can do is describe the connection between those training the style today and their Kung Fu ancestors, and acknowledge certain grandmasters whose legendary skill and dedication are responsible for the art we all enjoy making the journey from ancient China to our modern world through its full and rich history.
A Buddhist nun and one of the Five Grandmasters of Shaolin, Ng Moi was also Sifu to Yim Ving Tsun. It is said that one day Ng Moi saw a snake and a crane fighting. This event inspired her to develop the Kung Fu that she later taught to the young Ving Tsun, who asked Ng Moi’s help in stopping a bully from forcing her into a marriage. It has also been said that the Kung Fu Ng Moi taught to Yim Ving Tsun was a distillation of all the secrets of Shaolin Kung Fu as she and the other four grandmasters had devised it. Regardless of where the Kung Fu truly came from, it is agreed that Ng Moi was an incomparable master of Kung Fu, and the exploits and accomplishments of Yim Ving Tsun and her Kung Fu descendants are well known throughout the world.
Yim Ving Tsun
The honored founder of the Ving Tsun style, Yim Ving Tsun learned Kung Fu from the Buddhist nun, Ng Moi. As a young woman, Ving Tsun was going to be forced into a marriage to a local bully. She sought out Ng Moi and asked to learn her Kung Fu. The young Ving Tsun learned the system in an incredibly short amount of time, and soon she returned to her village and defeated her oppressor in single combat. Later, she married a man of her own choosing. She distilled the Kung Fu she had learned into the forms, Siu Nim Tao, Chum Kiu, Biu Gee, Muk Yan Jong, Luk Dim Poon Kwan, and Bot Chom Doa. She taught the complete system to her husband, Leung Pok Toa, and her followers named the style after her.
Leung Pok Toa
Leung Pok Toa was Yim Ving Tsun’s husband and, along with his honored wife, was one of the first grandmasters of the style. He taught the system to Wong Wah Po.
Wong Wah Po
Wong Wah Po learned the Ving Tsun Kung Fu System from Leung Pok Toa, who was Yim Ving Tsun’s husband and one of the first grandmasters of the style. His most famous students were Leung Lan Kwai, Leung Yee Tai, and Leung Tsun, who was Sifu to Chan Wah Shuen.
Leung Tsun was a disciple of Wong Wah Po, and contemporary of Leung Lan Kwai and Leung Yee Tai. He passed the Ving Tsun System down to Fung Wah, Leung Bik, and Chan Wah Sheun.
Chan Wah Shuen
Also known as “Wah, the Money Changer”, Chan Wah Shuen was a direct student of Leung Tsun and a contemporary of Fung Wah and Leung Bik. Chan Wah Shuen was the Ving Tsun Grandmaster who passed the system down to the late Grandmaster Yip Man.
Grandmaster Yip Man
Acknowledged as the man chiefly responsible for bringing Ving Tsun Kung Fu into the modern world, Grandmaster Yip Man was a disciple of Chan Wah Shuen. He grew up in the Fat Shan province of southern China, where he had the good fortune to train with his Sifu from a very young age. Grandmaster Yip brought the complete Ving Tsun System out of China when he immigrated to Hong Kong during the communist revolution. There, his family eventually became most famous for the peerless level of his Kung Fu.
Much is owed to Grandmaster Yip Man; he saved Kung Fu from being lost to history and his teachings brought the world many famous students (the most famous probably being Bruce Lee). Grandmaster Yip Man trained many famous Kung Fu masters, including William Chung, Victor Kan, Yip Ching, and Yip Chung. One of his close personal students, and the youngest Ving Tsun Sifu under Grandmaster Yip Man, was Grandmaster Moy Yat. Grandmaster Yip Man died in 1972 at the age of 81.
Grandmaster Moy Yat
Born in Toi Shan, in the province of Canton, Grandmaster Moy Yat moved to Hong Kong with his family in 1953. He began learning the Ving Tsun System in Hong Kong under Grandmaster Yip Man, who was chiefly responsible for Ving Tsun Kung Fu being brought into the modern world. At 24 years of age, Moy Yat became the youngest Ving Tsun Sifu under Grandmaster Yip Man.
After years of being a close student and frequent companion of his Sifu, Grandmastser Moy Yat came to the United States. He eventually established the Chinatown Headquarters in New York City where his son, Grandmaster William Moy continues to teach to this day. Grandmaster Moy Yat’s students and grandstudents number in the thousands and can be found throughout the world. Many are now sifus in their own right. Among those fortunate enough to call themselves his direct students and grandstudents, there are a number who joined his inner circles of special students (the SSA for his direct students, including Grandmaster Moy Tung and the GSS for his grandstudents, including Sifu Moy Yat Tung).
A true renaissance man, Grandmaster Moy Yat was a master of the arts of calligraphy, painting, and seal-making. He was also recognized as an expert in massage and acupuncture. Grandmaster Moy was known the world over as a leading expert in the field of Ving Tsun Kung Fu and published several books on different aspects of the system. He maintained an active teaching and lecturing schedule until his passing in January, 2001. His students, grandstudents, and great-grandstudents continue to teach the system as he taught it: passing it down unaltered through the generations.
Grandmaster Moy Tung
Grandmaster Anthony “Moy Tung” Dandridge has had a lifetime influenced by the martial arts from a very young age. Born in Richmond, Virginia, he grew up in New Jersey and Philadelphia when his childhood was not spent traveling to different military bases where his father was stationed throughout the United States and abroad. He achieved high ranking in certain martial arts and even became an instructor of Karate. In 1980, his continuing search for superior martial arts brought him to New York City and Grandmaster Moy Yat. During his first years of training at the Chinatown School in New York City, Moy Tung commuted from Philadelphia. After a very short time training, he was pleased and amazed to find the incredible power available in even the most basic of the Ving Tsun techniques he had learned. He noticed that sparring partners who had previously been formidable opponents could now be bested easily. Moy Tung realized that such a powerful system deserved and required his complete dedication. He became a student in the truest sense of the word, looking at this new martial art as a beginner despite his vast previous experiences in other martial arts. Within three years Moy Tung embraced the training of Ving Tsun Kung Fu as a full-time commitment.
Two of Moy Tung’s first six years of training were spent living with his Sifu as a close personal student, a practice carried out only by certain members of Moy Yat’s group of special students, the SSA. During this time he also maintained a residence in Philadelphia so as to be able to give his Sifu space and privacy when necessary. However, he spent the entire time living the Kung Fu life: training constantly and intensely, and being a devoted student and constant companion to his Sifu. This was a period of great personal effort and sacrifice on the part of Moy Tung. He made it a cornerstone of his training to spend as much time with his Sifu as possible while always being able to support himself and to take care of business and personal matters for his Sifu.
Upon deciding to dedicate himself to the study and teaching of Ving Tsun Kung Fu, Grandmaster Moy Tung realized that, in order to carry out this discipline faithfully with respect to his Sifu’s teachings and to maintain the purity of the Ving Tsun System, he must cease his teaching of other martial arts. He had done so early in his training, and at the end of this cycle of live-in training with Grandmaster Moy Yat he had planned to open a Moy Yat Ving Tsun Kung Fu school in northern New Jersey. However, after the death of his father, Garrett Randolph Bates, Moy Tung moved to Virginia to attend to family matters and to help support his mother, Ida Florence Dandridge-Bates. In this way, after six years of training, Moy Tung was able to open the Richmond, Virginia branch of the Moy Yat Ving Tsun Kung Fu Family Association.
His school grew quickly, with enrollment exceeding 50 students within the first year of being open. This was due, in no small part, to Grandmaster Moy Tung’s continued dedication to and constant contact with his Sifu. His efforts to make frequent visits back to the Chinatown headquarters and to support the greater Moy Yat Kung Fu Association were a testament to his dedication. Eventually Grandmaster Moy Tung opened an Inner Circle of his own, the MY3. After a time a number of these personal students of Grandmaster Moy Tung became members of the GSS, a special student organization for the grandstudents of Grandmaster Moy Yat. Grandmaster Moy Tung worked selflessly to establish this organization so that his students could have the same complete immersion in the Kung Fu culture of Grandmaster Moy Yat that Moy Tung had experienced. One of the senior students among this group was Robert “Moy Yat Tung” Squatrito, founder of the Iowa City Moy Yat Ving Tsun Kung Fu Academy, and Sigung of the Coralville Academy.
Today, Grandmaster Moy Tung oversees the training of hundreds of students, grandstudents, and great-grandstudents throughout the country. The training of these students is carried out at a number of existing Moy Yat Ving Tsun Kung Fu Schools, and now within a growing network of Moy Tung Ving Tsun Kung Fu Schools as well. He is a great believer in the saying, “Theory Teaches, Practice Proves,” making it a point to continuously practice Kung Fu and improve his own personal skills while maintaining an active schedule as a teacher and lecturer in the Ving Tsun System. Grandmaster Moy Tung is also a proponent of the system through his work as an author and producer of instructional materials on Ving Tsun Kung Fu. He continues to lead the Kung Fu Life he learned to live under his highly respected Sifu, applying Kung Fu principles to those things in life that are important to him. He is in frequent contact with his Sifu’s widow, Simo Helen Moy, as well as other members of his Sifu’s family and Kung Fu family. All of Grandmaster Moy Tung’s personal success has not changed his priorities. On the contrary: he attributes his success to the fact that the training and strengthening of the Moy Yat Kung Fu Family Association continues to be his foremost commitment.
Sifu Rob "Moy Yat Tung" Squatrito
Master Squatrito began his martial arts journey in Oakland, New Jersey where growing up he learned traditional karate and rose to the black belt level. In the 1980's he relocated to Richmond, Virginia to attend medical school. While in Richmond, he began teaching karate and soon one of his students told him about a local martial artist, Moy Tung, who taught a kung fu style called Ving Tsun. Master Squatrito decided to meet this Ving Tsun instructor and had the opportunity to "touch hands" with Moy Tung. Master Squatrito immediately felt the effectiveness of Ving Tsun and began training it that day. He suggested his other karate students follow him to Ving Tsun. As a sign of his devotion to the art, he burned his old black belt and became a member of Moy Tung's MY3 association of students dedicated to the art and education of Ving Tsun.
Master Squatrito trained hard while in Richmond and became one of Moy Tung's top students. His Sifu introduced him to Grandmaster Moy Yat, and Master Squatrito became a member of Moy Yat's GSS Grand Special Student association. Under the guidance of his Sifu, Master Squatrito spent time training and living the Kung Fu Life with Grandmaster Moy Yat. Eventually, Master Squatrito was given the Chinese name Moy Yat Tung.
Master Squatrito's medical career took him to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa to pursue a fellowship in oncology in 1992. While in Iowa, he began teaching the Moy Yat system of Ving Tsun and quickly established a dedicated group of students. Soon thereafter, he founded the Moy Yat Kung Fu Academy of Iowa City on South Dubuque Street, in June of 1993.
In 1995, Master Squatrito moved to Burlington, Vermont where he trained a small group of students and continued to oversee training in Iowa City. Shortly thereafter, Squatrito settled in Virginia Beach, Virginia where he is a partner at Virginia Oncology Associates. In 2001 he opened Virginia Beach Kung Fu and continues to instruct there along with his wife, Sifu Jennifer Squatrito. Master Squatrito's dedication to the art of Moy Yat Ving Tsun Kung Fu can be seen in the students he trains. His students oversee Ving Tsun schools around the country and continue to study the finer details of Ving Tsun under their highly respected Sifu, Moy Yat Tung.
Sifu Andrew Knapp
Finding a love for the martial arts early in life, Sifu Knapp briefly studied Tae Kwon Do before discovering the Ving Tsun Kung Fu System in 1998. At the end of his intro, he was convinced that Ving Tsun was the style for him and he has not looked back. After a brief period of study, Sifu Knapp became an Inner Circle Student of his Sifu, Dr. Rob "Moy Yat Tung" Squatrito, in order to further immerse himself in Ving Tsun training and Kung Fu Life. He began taking students in 2004 at the Iowa City Academy and opened the Coralville Academy in April of 2008. The past decade of study has given him a deep sense of gratitude to his Sifu and his Sigung, Grandmaster Moy Tung.
"The punch comes from the heart."