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In Memory Of
Earlier today I sent an e-mail out to associates in Kickboxing as well as Martial Arts about the loss of Alex Gong (See story below) and the senseless shock of his death. Several of those who received it called me and said it made them think about the tragedy in a different way and requested I post it on the news page for all to read. So I made a few changes and here are the thoughts...
What hits home is the fact that Alex did what any of us would have done, chase after a guy for harming our property. And I stress again, ANY of us would have, under the same circumstances, done exactly what he did... That could be any of us laying under that yellow blanket, ANY of us! However it's not. It is someone else. But not a stranger to us, not some random shooting, not a gang related killing. This was someone we all knew, which brings the circumstances of this story close to our hearts and forces us to reconsider our future actions more than we did a few days ago.
It makes you think deeply about letting things such as this go, something none of us would have thought to do before... A Terrible but convincing way to learn a valued lesson for all of us, but a different lesson than most would think. You see, to many of us, Alex did not do anything "Wrong", and I will never agree with those who claim this to be an act of "Road Rage". This was very different. I mean where is the line drawn as to "Protecting what is ours" and "Acting upon something that will result in our death?" What a hard line to determine. This was just a reaction of a man.
As a martial artist we are taught to "React" upon an "Action". We are also taught to determine in a split second in our minds the consequences of our reaction and conclude before we react that we will be justified as well as content with the outcome. Those of us who have trained in Martial Arts learned this in our training and I am sure many, if not all of us continue this same thought process in our daily lives in other areas, not just fighting. However, I honestly cannot believe that any of us, especially in our field of work and more so, our skill of mental and physical self, would have come to the conclusion in our minds that we would, or could, be shot to death by this guy. Instead, we all would have been thinking instead, how well prepared we felt we were as we reacted to the situation.
Alex, as all of us would have, just reacted upon his conclusion (Mentally) of his self judgement of the circumstance. He felt he needed to stop this guy rather than let him get away. If someone broke into our home, it would have been no different. We would have tried to stop the guy from getting away. It's hard to accept what has happened here to Alex but an even bigger picture has been drawn here for all in the Martial Arts.
Does this tragedy now give us all the message that when faced with such a situation, to now stop and do nothing? Sure, we are taught that if we have to use our hands and feet, we didn't use our head. HOWEVER, from what we have been told, Alex wasn't "Attacking" the guy. Sources have told us that he was trying to stop him from getting away. Some have said he was shot through the guys window while another story says he was reaching in the window for the guys keys. Time will tell soon which is correct.
ALL of us know Alex was taught to control a situation as others have who have Martial Arts training and this appears to be what he was doing. Sure, "HINDSIGHT" is 20/20. Anyone can say he should have just got the guys license plate. But those saying this, I would bet money on, that in the heat of the moment, they would have done exactly what Alex did. Chased the guy to try and control the situation, to stop him now so the police would not be looking for him as they still are today.
One witness had a camera, yet he was in such shock, he couldn't snap a picture. Is this a mistake of his or a reaction? Didn't he too react upon the situation? Hindsight says "Why didn't the guy snap a quick photo of the guys car?" But we were not there, it didn't happen to us, and these things all happen so fast, as did Alex's reaction to it all. A picture would have been helpful now, but in the moment, he choose to try and save Alex's life instead. Something all of us would have chosen to do.
In the heat of the moment, things change inside us. The moment has a way of changing our mind on the street far more than a prepared ring fight where we expect what could happen and know the limits of what will not, such as a gun in our face. The reality of all this is Alex made a logical as well as justified decision that under normal circumstances, (If there is such a thing) would have been the rational and expected thing to do. The outcome here has left us all forever questioning our future decisions... This tragedy has made us all stop to think about the world around us. Strange how tragedy has a way to bring us all together in our line of work and in our sport.
Let us all never forget this.
Gods Champion Now!"
Alex Gong was always a story just waiting to be told,
but no one expected that story would end with him dead on the street at 32.
He was also a notorious prankster. "When you walked
into this gym," said one regular yesterday, "you were either
going to get sprayed with a lot of water or get your shorts pulled down."
And he was a devoted role model and surrogate parent to CJ, the son of
his girlfriend, Mai Tran.
"When Mai (his girlfriend) called me,
she said there had been an accident," Gong's mother, Nita
Tomaszewski, said Monday, eyes welling up once again. "I thought he
might be hurt. And I said I could deal with that. Because I knew he was
Wearing boxing gloves and trunks, Gong chased the Jeep down the street. Loyce is sure he was just trying to get some information, not start a fight. When Gong caught up with the car at a red light, he reached for the driver, who pushed him away, then fired a shot into Gong. He died almost immediately.
TRUTH, JUSTICE THING
Everyone had an image of Alex Gong yesterday, from the
publicity shot on the gym wall, the attack fighter nicknamed "F-14,"
to the old softie who just bought CJ a new bike.
Loyce remembers Gong's playfulness. "He was like the dorky brother I never had," Loyce said. "There was a lot of little kid humor, like burping. Somewhere, I know Alex is looking down, happy that I told everyone he was burping at workouts."
A TOUGH CHILDHOOD
"I'm from New Hampshire," she said. "I
thought, this is a big city. Maybe this happens all the time. But this is my
baby." As it happened, Tran and Gong's mother came
back to San Francisco together.
San Francisco, CA, USA: Prepare yourselves fight fans for what I (Steve Fossum) am about to share with you has hit those of us in the Kickboxing World very hard today. Sitting here working late on a Friday night, K-1 USA Promoter Scott Coker called me at about 6:30 PM to inform me of a very tragic loss to the Kickboxing world. Here is what we know so far from the sources we have attained information from.
At around 4:35 PM (PST) a car hit another car at the Fairtex Training Center in San Francisco with the driver pulling away without stopping. The person who's car was hit gave chase after the car and caught up with and confronted him. When done so, the driver of the hit and run car pulled out a gun and shot the chaser through his window in the chest. The victim fell back and bled to death within 10 minutes in the middle of the street.
Today kickboxing has lost a
San Francisco's TV CBS Channel 5 Reported: A road rage incident
may have led to a deadly shooting South of Market in San Francisco during the
Friday afternoon commute. Investigators say there was a minor traffic off 5th
St. in the South of Market area, and that the victim of the homicide apparently
chased the suspect's car. Witnesses say the victim confronted the suspect at 5th
and Clara. "It appears that it was a traffic accident dispute,"
said Maria Oropeza of the San Francisco Police Department. "The
victim chased the suspect, and upon contact, the suspect shot the victim."
Witnesses say after he shot Gong the driver sped away towards the Bay Bridge but not before several of Gong's students caught the make of the car and his license plate number. The students tried to revive Gong who was actually in his gym working out at the time of the hit and run but were obviously not successful. Once informed, the Police shut down streets near the Bay Bridge but no word on whether the shooter has been caught yet.
"This is a sad day for martial arts." Said Scott Coker, (L) who was responsible for much of Gong's publicized success as a fighter on the StrikeForce Events in San Jose, California shown on ESPN Worldwide. "He did so many great things for MuayThai and the martial arts community, keeping MuayThai alive in America through his spirit and his gym."
We here at the IKF knew Alex since his amateur career and watched him become a successful martial artist and World Champion. It's sad that a loss such as this makes you take a step back and think about what our lives are really worth. How meaningless our little troubles and problems are when compared to such an action. That a single gunshot from an unknown stranger can change the course and lives of so many.
Excuse me if I am short on words here as to what to offer or say to those much closer to Alex. No words can ease the loss of anyone and no story will either. We can only say we are here for you if you need anything from us, and I believe all in kickboxing feel the same.
Alex started training at the Fairtex Camp in 1994 with head trainer Phicheat Arunlueng "Ganyao". He has also trained with Master Apideh Sit Hirun (named Muay Thai Fighter of the century by the King of Thailand). Apideh is the head trainer of Fairtex Thailand. Prior to Fairtex, Alex trained with Paul Meteyo. Kru Mateyo inspired Alex to continue his Muay Thai and martial arts training. Before Muay Thai, Alex trained in the Seido Kai kan karate for three years under Shihan Edwards in the US and at the Seido head quarters in Osaka Japan, the K1 organization. Alex also trained in Tae Kwan Do for six years and several various martial arts including Aikido and Judo. His record as a fighter was 27 wins, 2 loses with 13 of his wins coming by TKO/KO. His accomplishments are many and include:
To follow-up on updated news to this story go to
Memorial Services For
FROM A funeral will be held Thursday afternoon in Daly City for Alex Gong, (Right) a San Francisco martial arts instructor and kickboxing champion who was killed last week after confronting a hit-and-run driver. The services will be at Duggan's Serra Mortuary at 500 Westlake Ave. in Daly City. Public viewing will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday, with a Buddhist ceremony for family and friends from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Burial will be in New Hampshire.
Gong, 32, saw a green Jeep Cherokee strike his vehicle parked outside the South of Market gym where he taught Muay Thai-style kickboxing. When the Jeep fled, Gong pursued it on foot, catching up to the vehicle at Fifth and Harrison streets. Police say the driver was an ex-con driving a stolen Jeep and wanted for parole violations. Determined not to return to jail, police said he shot Gong and fled.
Later the driver abandoned the Jeep in Millbrae after the shooting, was tracked to a South San Francisco motel Monday. After a 12-hour standoff with police, he shot himself in the head as SWAT team members began to turn over a mattress under which he was hiding, according to South San Francisco police. South San Francisco police said the shooter had left no suicide note. But San Francisco investigators said the ex-con had told his girlfriend he would not be taken alive.
San Francisco police and state parole officials say he was a Missouri native with a history of arrests in Arkansas for receiving stolen property and resisting arrest, and in California for weapons violations and auto theft. He had failed to comply with his parole requirements since his last release from state prison in July 2002, state officials said. For the past year, San Francisco police said, he has been part of a loose ring of San Mateo County methamphetamine users and identity thieves. A computer hard drive he allegedly used in those identity crimes was recovered in the South San Francisco Travelodge where he died, San Francisco homicide Inspector Michael Johnson said. It had been destroyed.
Police say there are still unanswered questions in the case, including the identities of two women reported to have taken items from the stolen Jeep after it was abandoned and the shooters history, such as his claim that his family had been killed in a car accident in Texas and that he had shot a police officer in that state. However, Johnson said, while they are still awaiting a ballistics test of the gun that killed Gong and the one the shooter used on himself, police are confident that Gong's homicide is solved.
Dugan's Serra Mortuary
Immediately following the funeral we will gather at Fairtex in
San Francisco to celebrate Alex's life. 444 Clementina Street San Francisco,
CA. While we understand that everyone would like to pay their respects, we
politely request that no one attend the family viewing unless invited by Alex's
Buddhist Monks Lead Rites
Friends, family members and those who once trained with world champion kickboxer Alex Gong, 32, formerly of Sanbornton, gathered Wednesday to say good-bye to him. Gong was shot and killed outside his gymnasium in San Francisco on Aug. 1 by a man who struck his parked vehicle and fled the scene. Three days later the gunman killed himself in a motel room after a 12-hour standoff with South San Francisco police.
Three Buddhist monks from the Dolma Ling center Lebanon celebrated Gong's life with a traditional ceremony which included prayers accompanied by a drum, bells and symbols. Celebrating the service were the Venerable Gesha Gaylon, the Venerable Jigme Rapten and the Venerable Pama Dori, all members of the Gaden Jangtse Tsawa Khangtsen monastery in Mundgod, India.
Center director Jane Dvorak Compton told the 60 people at the service which was held at Smart Memorial Home that the Buddhists believe in reincarnation. "The prayers must be said in time so there is no delay in his rebirth. The priests are highly honored to be here. Alex will be well taken care of," Dvorak Compton said.
A similar service was held in Daly City, Calif., just outside of San Francisco last Thursday. Mourners at the service were greeted by his mother Nita Tomaszewski and her husband, Lee Hammond. The casket spray featured a bouquet flowers with a pair of boxing gloves attached to it. On either side of the casket were collages of photographs which told the story of his life. They included photographs of him as a toddler, his early and late school days, many of him and his mother and grandparents, some with his fiancee Mia Tran and her son, CJ, and several of him in training or in a kickboxing match. A separate collage showed him with his teammates on the World Team USA Muay Thai kickboxing team.
Gong's life reads like a story from a novel. His mother and father divorced when he was a young child. He was kidnapped by his father when he was just 8 years old and taken to Asia and left in a school in India. Three years later he showed up at the American Embassy in Katmandu and said he wanted to go home. A few days later he was reunited with his mother. He attended schools in Sanbornton, Franklin and Tilton and eventually dropped out of high school. However, he later earned his high school diploma and went on to earn in business degree at San Francisco State University. He moved out west and studied Muay Thai, kickboxing. He owned and operated training centers in San Francisco and Daly City. He was in the process of opening a center in New York City. He was a successful businessman and world champion kickboxer. He was featured on HBO and ESPN and fought in Las Vegas.
He is survived by his mother Nita Tomaszewski and step-father, Lee Hammond, his father James Gong of Santa Clara, Calif., his fiancee, Man Tran and her son CJ, his uncle Andrew Tomaszewski of Franklin and his great-aunt Jane Hutchinson of Rye. A private burial will be held at a later date in the Webster Place Cemetery in Franklin near to where he and his mother once lived.
From the Kickboxing Merssage Board - Eastern Times Noted
Alexander J. Gong, SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO - Alexander "Alex" James Gong, 32, formerly of Sanbornton, died suddenly Aug. 1. He was born in Boston and raised in Sanbornton. He moved to California in 1991. He attended Sanbornton Central School, Sant Bani in Sanbronton, Winnisquam Regional High School in Tilton and Franklin High School. He earned a degree in business from San Francisco State College. He was a world champion kickboxer and martial arts competitor, mainly in Muay Thai, for 25 years. He competed in middleweight and welterweight Muay Thai. He appeared on the television show Walker, Texas Ranger and on ESPN, the Learning Channel and HBO.
Gong opened the San Francisco branch of the Bangkok-based Fairtex Combat Sports Camp in 1996 and opened a branch in Daly City, Calif.. He was a Buddhist. Survivors include his mother and stepfather, Nita Tomaszewski and Lee Hammond of Sanbornton; his father, James Gong of Santa Clara, Calif.; his fiancee, Mai Tran of San Francisco, Calif.; aunts and uncles, including Andrew Tomaszewski of Franklin; and a great-aunt, Jane Hutchinson of Rye.
Calling hours will be held tomorrow from 1 to 3 p.m. at William F. Smart Sr. Memorial Home, Franklin-Tilton Road, Tilton. A Buddhist service will follow at 3 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be held privately at a later date at Webster Place Cemetery in Franklin. Memorial donations may be made to the Alex Gong Memorial Fund, Wells Fargo Bank of California, Acct. 3443012574, c/o Nita Tomaszewski, 754 Sanborn Road, Sanbornton 03269. William F. Smart Sr. Memorial Home in Tilton is in charge of the arrangements.
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