Sifu John S.S. Leong, originally from Kwantung Province China, began his kung-fu training at the age of 12. Sifu Leong later went to Hong Kong and studied Hung Gar Kung-Fu under the late Master Wong Lee. In 1963, Sifu Leong began teaching in Seattle and established the Seattle Kung-Fu Club where he continues to pass on the tradition of Hung-Gar Kung-Fu.
The founder of Hung-Gar Kung-Fu, Hung Hei-Kwun, studied Kung-Fu at the Fukien Shaolin Temple. After the temples destruction by the Ching Dynasty Government, Hung Hei-Kwun fled to Kwantung province, China. He continued to spread the Shaolin teachings, but to avoid further persecution by the Ching Government he used the name Hung Gar Boxing in place of Shaolin. The Term Hung-Gar refers to the House of Hung-Mo Chu, the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty.
From this beginning, Hung Gar Kung-Fu has become known for its strong stances and moral virtue. Sifu Leong has continued to uphold the emphasis on the discipline, morality, honor and respect which characterize Hung-Gar Kung-Fu. He believes that he should be a mirror for his students, reflecting to them the ideals of morality that martial arts should represent.
Throughout the Seattle Kung-Fu Clubs long thirty-year history, Sifu Leong has instilled a strong respect and teaching of Chinese culture. When one enters the school, it is as though one has stepped into another time and place. Students treat each other as an extended family where senior students are referred to as older brothers and sisters.
Over the years, the Seattle Kung-Fu club has reached out to the community by organizing martial arts demonstrations and large-scale exhibitions. As early as 1968, Sifu Leong began building the reputation of the school for hosting Kung-Fu events that not only delighted audiences, but also drew in expert martial arts practitioners from around the world.
Almost every year, Sifu Leong has produced major Kung-fu / Martial Arts tournaments, many of which have toured other parts of the United states. All proceeds from these events have always been donated to charitable organizations. In 1973 and 1975, Sifu Leong hosted international Kung-Fu exhibitions at Hec Edmundson Pavilion that drew over 6000 spectators. In 1981, Sifu Leong hosted an international exhibition that was a covered in a featured article in Inside Kung-Fu magazine. In 1984, the Seattle Kung Fu club presented the All Masters Exhibition Tour in Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In 1986, Sifu Leong hosted the Beijing Wushu Team for a demonstration in Seattle. In 1987 and 1993, Sifu Leong presented the Can-Am Northwest Martial Arts Benefits, where proceeds were donated to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and other charities. In 1995, Sifu Leong continued the tradition by holding the first-ever United Kung-Fu Federation of North America International Tournament and Exhibition in Seattle. He continues to host world-renowned masters in Seattle, such as Chi Gung Master Hok Ting Chu, who returns to Seattle for the second time in 1998.
Sifu Leong has organized and taken part in a number of excursions to China, both as cultural exchange ventures and as educational endeavors for his students. In 1985 Sifu Leong and the Seattle Kung-Fu Club traveled to Hong Kong and took third place in Hong Kongs annual International Lion Dance competition. Later that same year, by invitation of the Chinese Wushu Association, Sifu Leong represented the United States as a member of the U.S. Kung-Fu Team at the International Chinese Wushu Invitational Championships in Xian, China. In 1989, Sifu Leong was invited by the Government of Kwantung Province, China, to participate in numerous ground breaking cerimonies and the opening of a new educational television station. Sifu Leong was presented a new lion head, and lion dance equipment by the Mayor of Tai Shan, China. Members of the Seattle Kung-Fu Club accompanied Sifu Leong and performed lion dance and kung-fu exhibitions as part of the celebrations.
As a result of Sifu Leongs strong ties to China he was able to organize, in conjunction with Sifu Chan Pui, a 1992 U.S. tour of Shaolin monks from China. This was the first time ever that Monks from the Shaolin temple have performed outside of their home country. It was a cultural exchange that benefited not only all those who were fortunate enough to be able to witness the event, but also the monks, who received financial as well as moral support which has formed the basis of a continuing relationship.
Sifu Leong has been featured in numerous martial arts publications. In 1982, he received honorable mention "Top Ten Instructor of the year" from Kung-Fu Magazine. In 1984, he was featured on the cover of Inside Kung-Fu magazine and in a feature article titled The Moral Power of Hung Gar. In 1988, Sifu Leong was honored as Humanitarian of the Year in Inside Kung-fu Yearbook.
With all of his accomplishments you might think that Sifu Leong would boast of his achievements and tout his reputation. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact he represents the consummate example of humility, honor, healthfulness and respect which are such important aspects of Martial Arts practice. In this spirit, the students of the Seattle Kung-Fu Club endeavor to follow his lofty example and lead the life of a true Martial Artist, respecting self and others and living a healthy life.
The Seattle Kung-Fu Club has several branch schools around Seattle, including at the University of Washington and along the West Coast. Sifu Leong has also spread the teachings of Hung Gar Kung-fu in print. In 1976, Real Kung-Fu magazine featured an article called Five Elements and Five Figures, Ten Patterns form of Hung Gar. In 1984, Sifu Leong authored a book called Beginning Shaolin Hung-Gar Kung-Fu.