Author Topic: A tragic loss to the Martial Arts Community  (Read 2275 times)

Offline MARK GERRY

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A tragic loss to the Martial Arts Community
« on: August 12, 2003, 12:09:38 AM »
FAMILY,

I PICKED UP GRANDMASTER CHUCK NORRIS AND GRANDMASTER BOB WALL FROM SFO AIRPORT,WE HAD LUNCH IN SAN FRANCISCO WITH GRANDMASTER BOB MASCHMEIER. WE THEN ATTENDED THE MEMORIAL SERVICES FOR ALEX GONG.

Alex Gong was a first rate Martial Artist and a first rate human being. It's a sad day and a horrible tragedy that such a valuable person is lost to our Martial Arts community. Our love and condolences go out to his family.

Update:
Memorial Services for Alex Gong was held on Thursday August 7, 2003, at Dugan’s Serra Mortuary, located at:
500 Westlake Ave.
Daily City, CA 94014
(650) 756-4500

The San Francisco gate reported on Friday, Aug. 2, 2003:

A world champion Thai-style kickboxer was shot to death in the middle of a busy San Francisco street Friday after he chased down a hit-and-run driver who had slammed into his parked car minutes earlier.

Alex Gong, 30, was pronounced dead at the scene on Fifth Street near Harrison Street. Witnesses said he was shot at point-blank range when he confronted the driver, who apparently waited for a traffic signal to turn green before opening fire and speeding away.

Gong, who had been working out at the South of Market training gym he runs at 444 Clementina St., was wearing yellow boxing gloves and boxing trunks when he was killed.

Police had not released a description of the gunman or his vehicle Friday night. But witnesses described him as a Caucasian between 155 and 165 pounds who was driving a green Jeep Cherokee.

The slaying came one day after San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and other officials announced the start of a campaign to crack down on hit-and-run driving.

The 4:30 p.m. incident began outside Gong's Fairtex gym when his car, also a Jeep Cherokee, was hit by a passing car. Enraged, Gong gave chase on foot, going a block east on Clementina, then a block and a half south on Fifth Street. At that point, Gong confronted the driver, who had been forced to stop as traffic backed up near the Bay Bridge on-ramp.

''The victim put his arm out to stop the driver, the driver pushed him back and then shot him -- point blank," said Marilyn Moore, a witness who was riding in a car on Fifth Street.

'I JUST COULDN'T BELIEVE IT'

"The victim grabbed himself and fell backward," she said. "The driver backed up, put the car in drive and drove off. He turned right on Harrison.

"I just couldn't believe it, I've never seen nothing like that in my life," Moore said.

Brian Lam, 26, an instructor at Fairtex, said members of the gym saw the initial fender-bender through an open garage door. Gong, who was inside training, took off barefoot after the man, said Lam, who grabbed a camera and followed.

"As I was running up, I see Alex arguing with the guy," Lam said. "The light turned green, the guy popped him. He definitely waited for the light to turn green."

Lam said he tried to take a picture of the fleeing Cherokee, but was in a rush to help his mortally wounded friend. "I just yelled for people to help," he said.

A motorcycle officer on the way to the Hall of Justice nearby stopped, and he and Lam both attempted to resuscitate Gong.

"Last year, Alex paid for my CPR certification," Lam said. "I was giving him mouth-to-mouth, the officer was giving him chest compressions."

Lam said a single bullet struck Gong just above the heart.

"I thought he was dead maybe 10 seconds after he was shot," Lam said.

S.F. RESIDENT

Gong, a resident of San Francisco, was born and raised in New England, and lived for a time in Central Asia before returning to the East Coast. He later moved to California and graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in business.

Long interested in judo and tae kwon do, Gong discovered Muay Thai, a form of kickboxing and the national sport of Thailand, in 1994. He once said in an interview that he was drawn to the sport by the fluid movement and careful balance it requires.


He had a natural affinity for the sport and racked up an impressive array of championships in the middleweight and welterweight classes. He appeared regularly on HBO and ESPN and headlined fights at the MGM Grand and the Mirage in Las Vegas. He was a dedicated competitor who trained tirelessly, often waking at dawn to run five miles and perform scores of sit-ups, push-ups and other exercises before going to work.

Gong worked equally hard as a businessman who introduced Muay Thai to California when in 1996 he opened a San Francisco branch of Fairtex Combat Sports Camp -- founded in Bangkok in 1976. It wasn't long before the firm employed 20 instructors and included more than 600 students. It is, according to the company's Web site, the nation's top Muay Thai training facility and the only one recognized by the World Muay Thai Council, which is under the authority of the Thai government.

AN AMAZING GUY

Under Gong's leadership, Fairtex opened another facility in Daly City in 2000.

As Gong's body lay in the middle of Fifth Street, wrapped in a yellow tarp, and police interviewed witnesses, students gathered at Fairtex. They were stunned and spoke with admiration for Gong.

Lam said Gong was a mentor and a leader.

"Alex was an amazing guy," Lam said. "He was the owner, but he was kind of like a big brother. It was a family environment.

"He was a fighter to the end. He was arguing with this guy to get him to pull over -- all he had to do was get his plate, but he had to get into it with him," Lam said.


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do

Kempo-Sensei

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Re:A tragic loss to the Martial Arts Community
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2003, 09:12:21 AM »
Times like this we must realize that our actions can have devistating results.  Alex Gong ran 2 1/2 blocks, barefoot (and only that far because the traffic was heavy) and still in his boxing gear, to chase down and confront this driver.  No, he didn't deserve to get shot, but had he just called the police he would still be alive.

Martial arts should teach us self-defense, patience, self-control, etc..  It should not teach us to chase after trouble.  I can't count the number of times I have told my students not to chase after people because you never know if they have a weapon.

It is sad that Alex Gong was shot and killed.  However, we all must accept that he is partially at fault.

What if the driver didn't have a gun or any kind of weapon?  Would Alex have just pulled him out of the car and beat on him?  Witnesses say he was "enraged".

Let's also think about the friend who grabbed his camera.  I am guessing he thought this was going to be something they were all going to sit around and watch later.  Maybe for a good laugh.  But that didn't happen.  Instead a young man was killed over a traffic accident.

I can only hope that the martial arts community sees this as a wake-up call.  We can't stop bullets and we can't predict the outcome of every encounter.  We can only train so we hopefully make the right decisions when we need to.



May Peace Prevail on Earth!