Master Robert Yeung was born in Kowloon, Hong Kong in 1938. He had his first martial arts experience when he joined a Japanese judo school at 16. Robert liked grappling and stayed with the school for four years, rising to the senior brown belt rank. He recalled that there were only a few kung fu schools in his area. Unfortunately, the ones he visited lacked the discipline and the regimental training found in traditional Japanese judo training. “I recommend judo training for teenagers before they learn kung fu,” he says.
At 21, Robert joined the police auxiliary and attended drafting school while working part-time. One day, his childhood friend, Shak Chun Wah, told him about a kung fu system called Wing Chun. It was useful in street situations occurring in Hong Kong. Shak demonstrated Wing Chun by moving inside Master Yeung’s arms, delivering several punches, changing his stance, then trapping one arm over the other with a downward pressing palm maneuver. The two friends talked extensively about the system’s unique arm-trapping and leg-jamming techniques. After their meeting, Shak took Master Yeung to see Master Wong Long. Mentored by Si-Gung Wong Long, Robert began his Wing Chun training at 24.
Robert learned quickly and became Wong Long’s close assistant and sparring partner. He trained for just over four years. To expand his Wing Chun knowledge, Robert sought instruction from Wong Chok. For two years, Wong Chok imparted to Robert the two coveted Wing Chun weapons and taught the system’s tactical footwork traps and jams. Robert established himself as a skilled and aggressive fighter, earning him the name Yeung Biu (Note: “Biu” is a special Chinese name for Tiger.).
Later on, Master Wong Chok took Robert to meet Grandmaster (G.M.) Yip Man. G.M. Yip Man gave his approval for Robert to open his own school and teach students. Robert stayed in Hong Kong for two more years before marrying his now-wife and moving to Hawaii in 1971. He faced many hardships as an immigrant, but despite the rough transition, he opened his first Wing Chun school in 1973. As he gained more students, he moved his school from Rex Ravell’s gym in Honolulu to the Armed Forces YMCA. This new location became the home of Wing Chun in Hawaii for the next 12 years when the building was sold. Master Yeung’s school relocated again in 1987 to the Chinese Cultural Plaza in Honolulu’s Chinatown.
Today, his school is still open and has become one of the oldest traditional Wing Chun schools operating outside of Hong Kong.
Master Yeung has retired from work to spend more time enjoying what he loves: teaching at his school. His two children, a son and daughter, are already grown, so he plans to travel more during his retirement. He says there are many promising young students in his school, adding: “If they can diligently pursue their Wing Chun training, they will become our next generation of Wing Chun teachers.”
Over the past 24 years, hundreds of Wing Chun practitioners have come through Master Yeung’s program. Dozens of his students have even finished the Mook Jong (Wooden Man) techniques. In addition, 11 of his graduates have established their own schools, while many others are teaching small groups nationwide and worldwide. Although Master Yeung never mentions his successes, he is arguably one of the most successful Wing Chun teachers in the US.
Sadly, Master Yeung passed away on September 3, 2009. This website is dedicated to him, his many graduates, and his numerous followers. He is dearly missed.