Zhong Ding Martial Arts
Master Tan Swoh Theng
Master Tan Seow Theng is a master of Shaolin Fujian Yongchun Wuzuquan, also known as “The Fist of Five Ancestors” or “5 Ancestors boxing”. This traditional martial art is based on a combination of the Da Mo, Tai Zhu, White Crane, Monkey and Lady Immortal styles of Shaolin Boxing. Master Tan began his martial arts career studying first Shen Da (Spirit Boxing) and then White Crane Boxing. His enthusiasm for the art led him on to train with Master Gan He Chiang, a leading expert in 5 Ancestors Boxing. Recognising the talent of the young Seow Theng, Master Gan singled him out for special attention, initiating him as a disciple to learn not only martial arts but also traditional Chinese medicine. This was a singular honour and Master Tan dedicated himself to learning the recipes, remedies, formulas and treatments that had been handed down through the Gan family. Sadly Master Gan was killed in a car crash while still only in his forties and Master Tan showed his devotion by playing a key role at the funeral. After the mourning period was over he decided as a tribute to his teacher to “walk the rivers and lakes”, that is to become an itinerant medicine seller. This had long been a Gan family tradition and Gan He Chiang himself had done so when younger. Itinerant medicine sellers often faced danger and hardship because they were constantly infringing on the territory of the local triads in each area they visited. If they were not willing to pay protection money they would have to fight for the right to make their living. Master Tan proudly recounts that he never had to pay protection money. On returning from his year of travelling around Malaysia and Borneo Master Tan set up classes to teach his art in his hometown. Over his three decades of teaching experience Master Tan has established a reputation as a fine martial artist and he has a loyal cadre of senior disciples who now aid him in his teaching. Master Tan as well as serving as a senior technical adviser for the Zhong Ding Association is also a technical adviser for the Gan family’s martial arts association in Singapore. As well as teaching Shaolin 5 Ancestors Master Tan also teaches taijiquan and qigong in public classes.