About Sifu Brendan Lai:

     Sifu Brendan Tat-Chung Lai was born in Hong Kong during the Second World War. Because of deprivation of food and nutrition in wartime, he was born weak. Like many other Chinese youngsters, he studied Kung Fu in his childhood and was fortunate enough to be taught by the famous Master Wong Hon-Fan, head of the Northern Praying Mantis System. This was the start of his health recovery, and more notably, the birth of his martial arts life. Before emigrating to the U.S. for university in 1961, Brendan had become of the select few to earn permission from his sifu to teach the system.

Settled in San Francisco, Brendan spent the next few years researching deep into his system while going to university. In 1968, he began teaching Kung Fu part-time while working as a computer programmer. Unlike older, more traditionally minded teachers of those early days, Sifu Lai did not exclude non-Chinese persons, which was a practice, albeit a fading one. His first proper school was located on Clement Street, but he was not above taking his students to a secluded area of Golden Gate Park for long- weapons “controlled combat”. By 1972, Sifu Lai began devoting his full time teaching Kung Fu at his new location on California Street, and within a few years Sifu Lai’s school was one of the largest in San Francisco.


In 1978 Sifu Lai established Brendan Lai’s Supply Co., a martial arts supply store devoted to the needs of practitioners of Kung Fu and many other art forms, including Karate, Judo, and Taekwondo.

Sifu Lai performed many times all over the U.S. and served as a judge in various tournaments. Throughout his career he received numerous awards and accolades. Sifu Lai is most remembered by a certain generation of the general public for his promotion of several martial arts exhibitions in the Bay Area in the ’70s and ‘80s, in which a vast array of Eastern and traditional martial arts were demonstrated live. For many westerners, these epic presentations introduced them to a world they’ve only seen in the movies or heard about, but rarely up close.


In addition to his regular students, Sifu Lai would go on to teach Kung Fu and Chi-Na courses at San Francisco State University in the 1990s. He received numerous invitations to teach seminars throughout the world, including China, Italy, Brazil, and South Africa, to name a few.

Sifu Brendan Lai passed away in 2002 from complications arising from Diabetes.

(1942 - 2002)