Frank Bolte's journey: From cultural experience to cultural agency
When Chinese Martial Arts became a pop cultural icon, images of Bruce Lee, 李小龙, was beamed to television sets all over the world. The kicks, punches, and sparring styles entertained and in some cases inspired excited audiences.
One of these inspired audiences is Frank Bolte, the future Sifo Frank Lau of Manila Lau Family Hung Kuen Association，菲律宾刘家洪拳会. His interest in Chinese Martial arts probably shaped his future and offered unexpected twists and turns in his life.
Frank was a young German boy when he watched Bruce Lee’s Kungfu movies in his living room. Excited and inspired by these movies, he began learning Judo and Karate.
When he was about 14, he took Chinese Martial Arts lessons from a Malaysian Chinese Sifo in Germany. This was the start of a 10-year training journey and offered him the opportunity to learn from different Chinese martial arts Sifos.
Frank’s enthusiasm and diligence was recognized when he became a member of the German Wushu Team. Wushu is another term for Chinese Martial Arts. In 1991, he won the Grand Champion title in the Dacascos All European Championships.
Later, Frank was exposed to the Tiger and Crane fist and it sparked his interest in Hung Gar Kuen. This new interest brought Frank to Hong Kong to pursue higher levels of training.
Frank became the student of British martial arts Sifo, Mark Houghton. Sifo Mark was the disciple of Sifo Lau Kar Leung, 刘家良, a well-known martial arts expert in Hong Kong. Sifo Lau’s martial arts lineage included the Late Qing hero Wong Fei Hung, 黄飞鸿.
With this illustrious lineage, Frank was able to improve and to refine his martial arts training and experience. Frank acquired martial arts skills as well as a wide range of knowledge related to martial arts training such as lion dance, 舞狮, and some knowledge of traditional Chinese Medicine such as the traditional method to produce Chinese herbal recipes for treatment muscular injuries sustained during training.
In 2006, Frank relocated to Manila, Philippines. Shortly afterwards, he obtain permission form his teachers to initiate the founding of Manila Lau Family Hung Kuen Association菲律宾刘家洪拳会 in Manila Chinatown.
His school opened the world of Chinese martial arts to Filipinos and Tsinoys in Manila. See interview with his student, Mr. Garchitorena Michael S., a Tsinoy in Manila Chinatown and Mr. Jay Kalaw a Filipino.
From his first contact via the television, Frank’s journey from Europe to Asia also transformed him from participating in a cross-cultural experience to become a cultural agent transmitting traditional Chinese martial arts to non traditional audiences.