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The martial arts community has been greatly saddened when Grandmaster Lawrence Lee lost his battle with cancer on the 2nd of July.
Lawrence Lee was the founder of the kung fu system Tong Kune Do and was a foundation member of both the first kung fu organisation formed in Australia (NSW Kung Fu Association) and the first governing body for Chinese martial arts (Australian Kung Fu Federation Limited). Lawrence served as both President and Vice President of the AKF.
Rising to prominencein the early seventies with featured appearances in the record breaking documentaries ‘World of Kung Fu’ and ‘Kung Fu Killers’ Lawrence established a kung fu school network encompassing schools throughout every State and Territory in Australia as well as New Zealand, New Guinea and Malaysia. Even to this day it is the largest chain of kung fu schools to ever be established in the world.
Lawrence was one of the kung fu teachers responsible for the conduct of the first official kung fu tournament to be conducted in Australia, at Wisemans Ferry in 1974, but perhaps his most notable achievement was when he became the first Chinese instructor to openly teach Non Chinese students – his courageous and principled stand broke down the centuries old racial barriers that typified the teaching of kung fu, his public comment that “the difference between a racist and a fool is exactly nothing” quickly quietened his critics from the traditional Chinese kung fu community.
Lawrence has been nominated for a posthumous Life Time Achievement award.
A more detailed feature on Lawrence is currently being prepared.