His name is also romanized as: Brendan Lai/Li Da Sung/Lai Dat Chung/Lai Tat Chong.
Shifu Li Da Chong was born in Hong Kong in 1942. As a young child, he was bright and a good student but was physically weak and often sick. As such, he decided that he should take up martial arts to strengthen his body. While a teenager, he happened across the studio of the famed “Mantis King” of Hong Kong, shifu Huang Han Xun, and began his studies with him. Shifu Li Da Chong learnt at shifu Huang Han Xun own school (not through the Jing Wu Association).
Shifu Li Da Chong was certified by shifu Huang Han Xun while the latter was still alive. He received either or both of the following two items :
- A graduation certificate from shifu Huang Han Xun school
- A calligraphy scroll handwritten by shifu Huang Han Xun.
Shifu Li Da Chong moved to the USA in the early 60’s and is considered to many to be one of the most knowledgeable praying mantis instructors in North America. Opening his first school in San Francisco, California, in 1967; shifu Li Da Chong was also one of the first Chinese masters to open his schools to western students and also owned a martial arts supply shop.
Since the 80’s shifu Li Da Chong started teaching at the Golden Gate Pan Handle, and he taught for over 20 years.
Known both for his blazing speed and skill as a fighter and his international diplomacy in the world of martial arts, shifu Li Da Chong was twice inducted into Inside Kung Fu’s “Hall of Fame”, the first in 1982 as “Kung Fu Instructor of the Year” and again in 1990 as “Man of the Year”. He was also inducted into Black Belt Magazine’s “Hall of Fame” in 1984 as “Kung Fu Artist of the Year”. Shifu Li Da Chong taught seminars and was featured in magazines, video and books throughout Europe, the Americas, and Asia. He has graced the covers of over 100 publications worldwide, and was named one of the 100 Most Influential Martial Artists.
In 1990 shifu Li Da Chong became the first person ever to receive a Ph.D. in Martials Arts, awarded by the Eurotechnical Research University, and was appointed Dean of the Department of Chinese Studies at the University. Shifu Li Da Chong also taught at San Francisco State University for many years. In addition, he was named a Kentucky Colonel by the State of Kentucky for outstanding service to the public. In 1992, Dr. Lai formed the International Praying Mantis Federation and became its chairman.
Shifu Li Da Chong suffered a stroke in the early 90’s but he emphasized the practise of 18 Luo Han Qi Gong and he fully recovered and continued teaching praying mantis boxing.
Shifu Li Da Chong passed away September 23,2002 from complications of a kidney condition caused by adult onset diabetes. Shifu Li Da Chong is survived by his wife, son and daughter in San Francisco, California, and his legacy and lineage continues in his students who can be found teaching in USA and Brazil.