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Lai was born in Hong Kong and eventually became a disciple of the Seven Star Praying Mantis Gung Fu Grandmaster Wong Hon-Fun after studying that system for many years. In 1961, Lai came to the United States to attend college, and in his spare time, he worked very diligently to improve his skills. In 1967, he started teaching the Seven Star Praying Mantis Kung-Fu system.
In the late 1970s, he and his wife opened up a martial arts supply store in San Francisco, CA, one of the first of its kind in the U.S.
In 1992 he formed the International Northern Praying-Mantis Federation and became its chairman.
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