Grandmaster Dr. Dato Jimmy Heow

The Beginning…

Grandmaster Jimmy Heow started learning Kung Fu when he was at the age of eight. All his family members practice Kung Fu, as Kung Fu was the talk of the town during that period of time. Everybody in the neighborhood practiced at least one form of Kung Fu.  GM Jimmy Heow’s uncle, Chin Lik Keong introduced him to a few masters around the neighborhood. That’s where his martial arts journey kicked off…

GM Jimmy Heow’s training begins with Master Len Gok, his neighbour. He taught the Plum Blossom 12 Points System(十二点梅花), a form of Phoenix Eye Kung Fu(凤眼功夫) that emphasize strikes on meridian points.  Master Len Gok learnt the art from Chen Teck Fook, where he learnt from Chai Yen Seong from China during the 1890s.

Other martial arts practiced by GM Jimmy Heow:-
• Chu Gar Gao (朱家教), under the tutelage of his other neighbor, Master Chin Yao Wan.
• Silk Reeling Staff (缫丝杖), under the tutelage of his another neighbor, Master Then Fatt
• Cai Mei Staff (采眉杖), under Master Lai
• San Gong (神功), under Master Sang Chee Chong
• Fung Yang Xing Yi Quan (凤阳形意拳), Ru Yi Bagua (如意八卦) and the Lee style(李家拳) under Master Lee Kim Chow.

Ru Yi Bagua (如意八卦) focused in controlling your opponent, while Fung Yang Xing Yi Quan (凤阳形意拳) is yielding and issuing energy (fa-jing, 发勁).

Brief background: Master Lee Kim Chow learnt the art from Chu Yin Cheong in China and he was the inheritor of Fung Yang Xing Yi Quan (凤阳形意拳), while he learnt Ru Yi Bagua (如意八卦) from Master Lee Tian Kim . After settling down in Malaya, he began to spread the art among the Chinese community here.  In addition, GM Jimmy Heow trained with his uncle, Chin Lik Keong to refine his skills from time to time. GM Jimmy Heow was also being taught and given some points by Master Lee Tian Kim on Ru Yi Bagua (如意八卦)

The Origin of I Liq Chuan

During those days in the 60-70’s, learning Kung Fu was no easy task. The Master won’t teach the students everything he knew. So, the students crossed train to share their knowledge and experience. It all started with a group of Master Lee Kim Chow’s students, practicing and researching on Fung Yang Xing Yi Quan (凤阳形意拳) and Ru Yi Bagua (如意八卦).  That’s how the formation of I Liq Chuan Association started when they decided to give a new name to Master Lee Kim Chow’s art.  I Liq Chuan Association was formed in the year 1976.   GM Jimmy Heow was the co-founder of the I Liq Chuan Association in Malaysia, at that time he was at the age of twenty three. He also created the 21 Movement Form as practiced worldwide today.

Fighting Years

Grandmaster Jimmy Heow’s first fight was with a Thai Boxer in the year 1974. This was the first time in the ring that they introduced rules with boxing gloves and the use of ointment. The fight didn’t proceed. They are not used to wearing gloves and the opponent are covered with oil.  Thereafter, they adapted and start to train with gloves, etc.

The most memorable fight happened in the year 1980. GM Jimmy Heow’s opponent is tall and he got long, strong arms. In Chinese kung fu, particularly in the external route, the determinant of success is a pair of strong forearms – “Kiu Sao” (桥手). GM Jimmy won the fight because his defense was strong.

Allocades & Achievements:

  • In 1975, he won the International Karate Open Championship.
  • In 1977, he won the Heavy Weight championship in the Kuala Lumpur / Selangor 2nd Chinese Martial Art Championship.
  • In 1978, in the First All Malaysian Chinese Wushu Tournament, he was the Heavy Weight runner-up.
  • In 1980, he was the second runner-up, Heavy Weight in the Fifth International Chinese Martial Arts Championship organized by the Malaysian Chinese Wushu Federation.
  • In the same year, he was the Champion in the Third Selangor KL Chinese Wushu Association Championship and was the First Runner Up in the Hong Kong Open Champion of Champions Tournament, Heavyweight Division.
  • In 1985, he was the Push Hand Champion in the KL Selangor Chinese Wushu Federation Tournament.
  • In the same year, he was the Champion in the Malaysia – Thailand Kickboxing Championship.
  • In 1986 to 1990, GM Jimmy Heow challenged in the media, any and all Tai Chi exponents in Malaysia and abroad to Push Hand competitions. Challengers representing all the known Tai Chi schools such as Chen and Yang styles came from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and as far as Hawaii. He was undefeated and widely known as the ‘Tai Chi ‘Subduer/Nemesis’ (太极克星).  At that time, popular newspapers & media were following this development story…as you can view in the photos section.

A New Era

Grandmaster Jimmy Heow stopped teaching in 1990 and went into business.  Also, that was the year his cousin brother, Sam Chin migrated to the United States.  After retiring in 2006, he decided to come out and spread the art again and set up the Jimmy Heow I Liq Chuan Academy Malaysia.  I Liq Chuan is a very unique art.  Even now, there are still people coming from overseas to learn and understand I Liq Chuan.
His focus and training now is on “Yi Dao” (意道). It is more towards the development of human potential using the mind – “Yi” (意) , Energy – “Hei” (气) and Power – Ging (勁). It is the understanding of human body mechanics – “Liq Hok” (力学).  Over the years, besides offering traditional martial arts classes, he also teaches sports push hands and Sanda with the focus on competition. In martial arts, GM Jimmy Heow always try to foster unity among the martial arts community and openly welcome practitioners from various backgrounds to join and train with the academy.

On I Liq Chuan System and “Liq Hok” (力学)

When Master Jimmy first started, training focus was more the hard styles as compared to the later years. The system – Fung Yang Xing Yi Quan (凤阳形意拳) and Ru Yi Bagua (如意八卦) taught them not to give their opponents any chance when they touch their hands.

“Once touch, either stick to the opponent’s hands, guarding him closely, or issue energy (fa-jing) causing the opponent to ‘fly off’.  Practitioners train differently back in the old days. Today, it is more sports oriented.”

Now, I Liq Chuan training is based on physical sensitivity and sensory-mind awareness, to build the natural instinct without thinking of any techniques for dealing with particular situations. It is an art of unifying the mind and body of an individual. There are sets of fundamental movements and only two forms in the I Liq Chuan system to cultivate ‘chi’ and for health preservation.

In addition, the students practice sticky / spinning hands for sensitivity and applications. GM Jimmy Heow emphasize on understanding of “Liq Hok” (力学) – the correct application of force using body mechanics to control the opponents.

1975 Champion GM Jimmy Heow in Black – International Karate Open Championship