The world of martial arts is often characterized by discipline, perseverance, and the pursuit of excellence. In a remarkable story that exemplifies these virtues, Tony Bahia, a Brazilian immigrant, transcended barriers to achieve a resounding victory at the 4th Pan-American Kung Fu Championship held in Toronto.
In an inspiring journey marked by determination and passion, the podium not only symbolizes Tony’s personal triumph but also promotes the essence of Kung Fu and Tai Chi in the sporting world.
Armed with dedication and enthusiasm for Kung Fu, Tony owns a martial arts school in Toronto. He wears two hats: that of a Brazilian immigrant striving to make a name for himself in a new land and that of a Canadian athlete with aspirations that extend beyond his horizons.
In August 2023, Toronto hosted the 4th Pan-American Kung Fu Championship. This mega-event witnessed the convergence of 11 countries, with 757 athletes, more than 200 coaches, judges, and volunteers, and an audience that filled the main gym at the Pan American Center in Markham. Amid an electric atmosphere, Tony’s school stood out as the sole representative of Toronto.
At 45 years old, Tony took on the immense challenge of representing Canada in not one, but five different categories at the Pan-American Kung Fu Championship. The clock was relentless, giving him less than two months to prepare. Balancing his roles as a father, business owner, and athlete was a complex dance between completing his training, managing his school, instructing students, and caring for his young daughter during her school holidays.
In his endeavor, Tony knew he would face formidable opponents — experienced athletes immersed in intensive training month after month. Undeterred by the high level of competition, he took full advantage of his association with Grand Master Chiu Ping Lok, a revered figure in the martial arts community who introduced Kung Fu and Tai Chi to Brazil. This partnership not only strengthened Tony’s preparation but also marked the introduction of the Fei Hok Phai Kung Fu style — a Brazilian creation — on Canadian soil.
Tony’s efforts resulted in a triumph that reverberated throughout the Markham Pan American Center gymnasium. Against all odds, he secured podium positions in all five categories, winning two gold and three silver medals for Canada. His mastery extended to being crowned the Pan-American champion in both Kung Fu and Tai Chi — an honor that celebrated his skill, discipline, and determination.
Tony’s victory is a testament to Canada’s competence in the world of martial arts. His feat not only brings honor to the nation but also shines a light on the arts of Kung Fu and Tai Chi, enriching the country’s sporting scene.
Embracing the spirit of perseverance, Tony’s triumph embodies the essence of martial arts, in this case, Kung Fu — an ancient philosophy rooted in diligent practice. His story motivates individuals to overcome challenges, reaffirming that with tireless effort, everything is achievable.
Tony’s victory is also a gateway to introducing Fei Hok Phai Kung Fu to the vibrant city of Toronto. His school, born in Brazil, now thrives in Canada, carrying forward the legacy of a unique style of martial arts.
What is Fei Hok Phai Kung Fu Style?
Tony Bahia describes Fei Hok Phai Kung Fu as a style that combines techniques from the five main Kung Fu families of southern China (Hung Gar, Lao Gar, Choi Gar, Lei Gar, and Mo Gar). It was developed by a Chinese grandmaster, Chiu Ping Lok, on Brazilian soil and is characterized by a balanced approach. It incorporates both the grace and fluidity of the heron’s movements and the intensity and power of the tiger’s movements. This style is associated with the ethical discipline of martial art, aiming to prepare the practitioner for better social interaction. Master Chiu Ping Lok said that “a good martial artist must also be a good example of a citizen.”
In addition to fighting techniques, Fei Hok Phai Kung Fu also emphasizes physical and mental development, including improving flexibility, strength, balance, and focus. Like many styles of Kung Fu, it also incorporates philosophical principles that can positively influence practitioners’ everyday lives, promoting discipline, self-control, and respect. It’s important to note that different schools and masters may have variations in techniques and approaches to Fei Hok Phai Kung Fu due to individual interpretations and traditions passed down over time.
In the context of Tony’s story, Fei Hok Phai Kung Fu is particularly relevant because the Brazilian is a direct disciple of Grand Master Chiu Ping Lok, who is credited with introducing this style to Brazil. The practice of this style not only played a crucial role in preparing Tony for the championship but also added a deep cultural and historical dimension to his journey in the world of martial arts.
Tony takes pride in sharing his success and, in his own words, reminds us that “in the world of martial arts, the human spirit knows no bounds.”
South Style Martial Arts Academy – Toronto
It is a school of Chinese martial arts dedicated to the teachings of traditional Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Chinese boxing. It provides a safe and positive learning environment. Founded in 2016 by Shifu Tony Bahia, it has been serving Toronto with classes for all age groups and all levels of training.
Address: 180 Sudbury St Unit C7 Phone: +1 (416) 843 – 2352 Email: [email protected]