Saving Sifu

Sifu Eric Ling has fallen gravely ill. A life-long practitioner and preserver of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts, Sifu Ling has dedicated his life to this...saving that which is in danger of dying...the culture and art. He has worked tirelessly to this end, working with dozens of fiercely private and evasive Master's. Ironically, he now faces that same possible fate of fading away. 100% Fuzhou, Sifu Ling is an overseas Chinese born in Singapore, now residing and working in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. He has touched my life profoundly with his teachings, and the lives of many others. World renowned for his abilities and exhaustive knowledge in Fuzhou Crane, I have been working with him personally in this endeavor for the last 10 years. I am one of his senior disciples; his senior-most disciple in the U.S. It's been difficult to watch this powerful man, a true warrior, ravaged with multiple illnesses: a debilitating back condition, emergency back surgery to save nerve and leg function, post surgical life threatening bacterial infection, months of hospital visits, weeks of IV antibiotic infusions (3 times per day), post IV UTI's, and now, a crippling knee condition. He's broken physically and financially with mountains of debt to deal with in recovery. To get through this and continue his work of saving the dying culture and arts; to continue his teaching, he needs our help. So I'm turning to you who are reading this. Anything helps. Even passing it on and sharing. Continue reading below for more detail on his incredible situation and his incredible work.
(Sifu Ling and me after Bai Si (Entering the Door/Tea Ceremony))

More Detail on Saving Sifu Ling:

Early this year, Sifu began to have pain in his back and legs. He tried to down play it, ignoring those signals...this is the old way. He quietly suffered. Unfortunately, the pain turned into weakness. The pain increased. Then the weakness turned into muscle failure...the pain exploded. Sifu still maintained composure and tried to hide his ailment; again, this is the old way. Things progressed to the point where he could not stand, falling in public as his legs would totally give out. This, he could not hide. Sifu was seen by a back doctor. Emergency surgery was ordered as he was in danger of permanent disability. His vertebrae had grown bone spurs that were crushing his nerves, along with herniated disc material. The emergency surgery was successful. The doctor was able to remove damaging bone and disc material, and no fusion or metal screws and plates were required. The surgery left him broke financially, and in debt. Unfortunately, despite the financial devastation, what was a brief celebration turned into another, even more, desperate situation. During the surgery, Sifu contracted a life threatening bacterial infection. The short of it is, he spent several months in and out of the hospital, in between, needing three infusions per day of IV antibiotics. Many veins were burned out due to less than proper administration. Finally, it appeared the worst of it was over. With his body so broken down by the surgery, the infections, and the many different medications used to save his life, other areas of his body began to give in. UTI's attacked...once again, antibiotics, medications, tests and more doctor visits. We're not exactly sure what's causing these infections, but he is being treated for OAB (Overactive Bladder); again, cause unknown. The lack of sleep and restricted regiment began to take its toll mentally. For those of you that have seen this type of drawn out battle and affliction, you're not surprised to hear this. Where he lives, there's no help in that area at all. He's responding to the OAB treatment; but now a lingering knee problem has become so severe, he once  again lost his ability to even stand...just about's like playing Whac-O-Mol. More doctor visits, tests and bills, all the while, mountains of debt piling high. Turns out to be severe Osteoarthritis, bone on bone, requiring knee replacement. His leg is locking out and cannot bend past 25 degrees from straight, and the pain is smothering. Friends, this is not possible...another surgery with risk of infection, potential rejection of artificial material in the bad knee, along with the $50,000 plus price way. Sifu found a doctor to try dealing with it through a combination of medicines, and a series of gel injections into the knee. All of this has brought him and his family to the brink of absolute ruin. There are no safety nets in the country. Despite the best efforts of family, students and friends, the total financial hit is so far beyond the collective ability, I am turning to you who are reading this. Daily living is taxing enough, and many go without what you and I take for granted.
(Family time in the jungle)

As I stated earlier, I have had the pleasure of personally training with Sifu Ling for the last 10 years and am one of his senior disciples. Many martial artists from around the world seek audience with Sifu Ling for his seemingly inexhaustible knowledge in the area of TCMA's (Traditional Chinese Martial Arts); most notably, Fuzhou Whooping Crane, Saolim Lohan, Tai Chor (Grand Ancestor boxing) and Zhou Jia. He has all the poems and writings for the Fuzhou arts, thousands of other texts and manuscripts from his primary studied arts(some original), thousands of original pictures, and years of video archives. Singapore was a hotbed of unadulterated TCMA's, untouched by the obliteration of Mao Zedong, along with many other areas in the whole of SE Asia. Regarding the Crane, he is the world authority on the Fuzhou Crane Arts. He has also worked intimately with over 22 Master's throughout Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia to document their arts. Most of these Master's have no successors, some don't even teach. Then there is his movement...I tell you, totally unmatched in the world of the Cranes. His mission is not complete. His imprint has not been fully left. These series of illnesses and afflictions struck suddenly and did their damage

 If you value TCMA's (Traditional Chinee Martial Arts), the culture, language and history behind it; if you value those who work tirelessly to preserve it, without thanks or fanfare, and keep it alive, this is your opportunity to help. Anything will help. Even if you're a doctor with experience in these areas. Or even if you just pass it on to all your friends. But to save Sifu, and all he embodies, your financial generosity will be tantamount. Regardless of recovery, he needs youthful energy to begin helping to keep him moving forward. Ever true to himself, and those who came before him, he will never forget those who taught him, invested in him, and now, those of you who would help...this, at his darkest hour. I will be creating a list of all who contribute, no matter how large or small. Your names will be placed in the various archives that publicly house Sifu Ling's work. It is now our chance to help be a part of saving and giving back.
I leave you with two old Chinese proverbs:

"When you drink the water, never forget the source."


"In the Yangtze River, the new waves push the old waves"

(Picture with Sifu, The Seniors and "Family" in Kuching)
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Richard Dean
Colorado, CO

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