Among the practitioners of Chinese Martial Arts in the western hemisphere, it is fair to say Mark Houghton's achievements over the past two decades have set an unprecedented level for fellow Europeans to emulate.

After interviewing Mark, it is clear he has reached a point where simple self appraisals bear little relevance to his successes. My reason for carrying out this interview, is to mainly show my respect for Mark's achievements in the world of Martial Arts. It's also so young people like myself, who are also practitioners of martial arts, will realize that self impetus plays a major role in any goal or planned objective to achieve success.

Mark's attempts to become the student of the illustrious Lau Kar Leung (Liu Chia Liang) were made without a hint of self elevation, or desire for fame. It is this characteristic that should elevate him in the eyes of fellow practitioners seeking to penetrate the inner circle of Chinese martial arts themselves in an Asian environment that still bears elements of prejudice towards students from the west.

{Mark Houghton is a practitioner of Hung Gar Kung Fu and is a now a kung fu descendant of the Lau family of martial arts instructors, which makes him a kung fu descendent of the great Wong Fei Hung. This is a remarkable achievement for any westerner of this time.}

I'd like to thank my good friend Frank for his help in acquiring this interview, and also extend my thanks to Mark Houghton for giving us this exclusive insight into his audable career.



Mark Houghton Interview




Where were you born and what is your present age?

I was born in England / Nuneaton…Warwickshire I'm 42.


What interested you in learning martial arts and what age did you start?

I think it was the Bruce Lee movies... just like everybody else. I started when I was 14.


How is it you got to be taught by the legendary Lau Kar Leung himself?
Back then in England I was a bodyguard for a Chinese guy, he knew Lau Kar Leung and introduced me to him.




How did you meet the GREAT Lau Kar Leung?

I've met him in Hong Kong. I was on holidays and had the possibility to meet him through this Chinese guy I mentioned before. I told him that he was the reason I wanted to learn the Hung Gar style. He asked me to demonstrate some kung fu, so I showed him a very old Hung Gar form 'Tiger coming out of the cave.' He said I was pretty good for a westerner. He offered me a little role in Aces go places 5...after that he took me as a student ...I never left HK again.




Did he personally teach you, or were you in a class?

He always taught me personally. He didn't have such thing as a class. He always taught at film sets or in private. After Fu-Sheng's death he stopped teaching for a long time. I was his second or third student when he started teaching again.



Was it difficult training or was it fairly easy in the beginning?

Difficult? hmm… not really, I was 27 when I became Lau Kar Leung's student and I already trained Hung Gar for 9 years. I've learned the old system first in Malaysia. Its difficult in a sense of what he demands from his students. He's got a high standard.



Did Lau Kar Leung teach you his Lau Family Monkey style?

The Lau monkey style was made up for the movies. He took some parts from the traditional form and made up the rest. So in a sense there's a Lau Family monkey style, but he choreographed it himself. And yes I learned it.




What would you say was your best experience learning from Lau Kar Leung?

The best experience was his knowledge, it's unbelievable and seeing him practicing. Did you know that he taught some Hung Gar to Bruce Lee and he in return taught Lau some Cha cha?





When did you consider trying for an acting career in Hong Kong?

I never considered a career as an actor, I just slipped into it. I went to HK for the Kung Fu and nothing else.

Was it difficult to start your acting career?

No, I had very good connections through my Sifu and other people I knew.




Did you have to do your own stunts?

I didn't have to, but I wanted to. You see it doesn't matter how good your Kung Fu is. If you don't do your own stunts, as a westerner, they'll look down at you.



Was it difficult to start your acting career?

No, I had very good connections through my Sifu and other people I knew.




Did you have to do your own stunts?

I didn't have to, but I wanted to. You see it doesn't matter how good your Kung Fu is. If you don't do your own stunts, as a westerner, they'll look down at you.



Did any accidents happen during your film career?

Yeah, I broke my ankle and had several bruises. At one occasion I smashed my knee really bad. I jumped from a third floor and fell on my knee. It took me out for a long time.



We have a record of movies you appeared in as approximately 25 movies.

I made about 60 films but I cant remember all the titles….I just collected the money at the end of the day. I didn't care too much about the films.



We couldn't help notice you appeared along side Tsui Siu Ming, who made the classic BUDDHIST FIST, in a movie called Angels Project staring Moon Lee. I noticed some spectacular moves and techniques in this movie, were they the GREAT Lau Family techniques being displayed?

Most of the times I choreographed my fight techniques myself or with Lau Kar Yung... then it was Hung Gar…not in particular Lau style.




Which one the movies you appeared in was a particular favorite of yours?

I don't really have a particular favorite. I don't like to watch myself.


Have you managed to learn the Chinese language and which dialect, Mandarin, Cantonese or both?

I speak about 30% of the mandarin language. I actually learned mandarin first when I lived in Malaysia. But now I speak fluently Cantonese and haven't spoken mandarin for about 15 years.


I understand you are a Master, and you actually teach the famous Lau Family style is that correct?

The word master is used too easy. If someone sees me as a master I'm fine with that, but I don't really care. You can learn Kung Fu for 25 – 30 years and you are still a beginner. If you want to learn to fight in a short time 1 -2 years then learn tai boxing or some other martial art, kung fu takes a life time.



How many students do you teach at this moment and are they graded by the Lau family or by you?

You see in the traditional Kung Fu is no such thing as a grading system and levels. That was made up to rip the money out of the students. When the Sifu says you are good you are good.


We hear you're very close to the younger member of the family Master Jimmy Lau is this correct?

Yes. but he calls him self Sammy Lau now..




Master Jimmy Lau is a dynamic movie star and practitioner himself, has he ever taught you martial arts or is he a fellow student under Master Lau Gar Leung?

He actually learned from his mother. Later on, he learned from his uncle at the film sets .He's from the same family and under the same lineage. We exchange techniques and give seminars together. We also choreograph together and put different ideas together. He's my older Kung Fu brother.

We as lovers of Kung Fu movies want to know, what is a training day like with the great Lau Kar Leung and briefly what's involved?

Stance training. Arm conditioning ,Forms – then the break down of forms to understand the applications.

Lau Kar Leung seems to be an intense individual, I mean very serious about his martial arts, would you agree or disagree?

He is in real life exactly the same as in the movies.



Is the Lau Family system very popular in China/Hong Kong?

It's famous because of the movies. He didn't teach too many and is very picky. So yes, it's very popular, but mainly because of the movies.

You are a true descendant of the great Lau Kar Leung, who is a descendant of The famous Wong Fei Hung, does that mean you are also a descendant of the famous Wong Fei Hung also?

He's my grand-grand-grand master.....



You are the only westerner to have reach this level in the martial arts scene today, how do you feel about this?

I don't care too much about things like that...like I said before there are no levels. But I feel happy about it if people in the west think like that.



Does anyone back in your home town rally behind your great achievements in the martial arts scene?

I don't think that anybody knows.




I personally do not think westerners are given much credibility when it comes to their achievements in Hong Kong cinema, what do you think?

Chinese people won't admit if a westerner is better than them. You see western people and Chinese people are different from the physique. So the Chinese stuntmen and martial artists are pretty good in doing crazy stunts. But a good martial artist from the west kicks the shit out of 90% of the Chinese martial artists or stuntmen.





Have you any advice to people like me of the younger generation who are practitioners of kung fu?

Practice and don't give a shit about what other people say… go for your own expectations.

I thank you truly for the chance to interview you and your permission to go ahead with our tribute page in regards to a great career in martial arts.

You are welcome and thank you for the support!!!



Interview Carried Out By: Frank Bolte, Flashlegs Pete Jr

Designed By: flkcinema Design Team

Edited By: Linn Haynes




Back to Home

Mark Houghton

Cantonese:
Ho Mak that's my name in my HK ID card

Filmography

Actor


Actor City Cops (1989)

Final Run (1989)

Princess Madam (1989)

Killing Angels (1989)

Angel Enforcers (1989)

Aces Go Places V (1989)

Live Hard (1989)

Tiger on the Beat 2 (1990)

The Outlaw Brothers (1990)

Point of No Return (1990)

Fire Phoenix (1990)

Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon (1990)

She Shoots Straight (1990)

Money Maker (1991)

Fury in Red (1991)

Bloody Hero (1991)

Will of Iron (1991)

Red Lips (1991)

To Be Number One (1991)

Action in Border (1991)

Feud Within the Truth (1991)

Legend of the Brothers (1991)

Red Fists (1991)

Wizard's Curse (1992)

Angel Terminators (1992)

Fight Back to School II (1992)

Cheetah on Fire (1992)

Mission of Justice (1992)

Mad Mad Ghost (1992)

The Big Deal (1992)

Yesterday Once More (1992)

China Heat (1992)

Angel's Project (1993)

Angel's Project (1993)

Shaolin Popey (1994)

Drunken Master II (1994)

Oh! Yes Sir!!! (1994)

Shaolin Popey II Messy Temple (1994)

In the Heat of Summer (1994)

Power Connection (1995)

China Dragon (1995)

Angel on Fire (1995)

Love, Guns & Glass (1995)

How to Meet the Lucky Stars (1996)

Special Action Force (1997)

Knock Off (1998)

Back to Home