My Father

By Katy Cheng


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My father had multiple talents: he was a poet, calligrapher, painter, martial arts practitioner, and a Chinese medical doctor. He grasped every opportunity to learn and linked all those different kinds of knowledge together with intricate understanding. He excelled on every subject. My countrymen called him “An Elder with Five Excellencies’”. (Poetry, calligraphy, painting, martial arts, and medicine).

My father was well versed in Chinese Traditional medicine. He was a student of then famous Dr. Sung You-an. He studied the subject intensely, finishing in only two summers.

He often treated the indigent free of charge, and even paid for their herbal medicine. He served the Chinese Army as a volunteer doctor. He was so good in medicine that people dubbed him “One dose Cheng” ; “When the medicine comes, the sickness is gone” I well remember several big wooden plaques that people carried on their shoulders to our house, to honor his medical benefits to others, including one painted by the famous artist Mr. Wu Chang-shuo entitled “Skill with Kindness”.

About his famous martial arts, Tai Chi Chuan: My father treated Yang Chen Fu’s wife who had been sick for a while . She recovered well and Mr. Yang was very grateful. Now Mr. Yang was of Yang’s lineage, a renowned Tai Chi family. He accepted my father as his “House disciple” and taught him all of the principles of Tai Chi.

My father, realizing Tai Chi’s health benefits, did not want to keep the secrets to himself. He promoted the martial arts, as a way toward physical fitness, publicly and widely, aiming to make all of China stronger by teaching everybody to practice Tai chi. He taught us, his children, concentration, moderation, and perseverance through Tai Chi. When he went to France to display his paintings, he took the opportunity to introduce Tai Chi, “The Pearl of the Eastern Culture” to the West. He did it with his universal love to mankind. He continued expanding the martial arts in America, making it a world-wide undertaking.

On community service: he was a good, law-abiding citizen. His whole life he was altruistic, promoted principles, and took part in community services, intent on helping all of mankind. On the nationwide political field, he declined a senatorial offering, merely accepting an assemblyman’s position.

He loved my mother with all his heart. He was so sweet and tender to her! In poetry or in conversation he praised my mother: her virtue, her beauty, her elegance, her wisdom, her self-taught knowledge, her foresight, and her aloofness from worldly success. He really thanked Heaven for giving him such a heavenly companion. He was devoted until they were parted by death. He loved his children, loved his friends, loved the people, and loved God who created the Universe.

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