Ancient training manuals from the Kuan Yin monastery

Talk about both the ancient Chinese and modern American historical roots of San Soo...

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Ancient training manuals from the Kuan Yin monastery

Postby San Soo Sifu » Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:17 pm

Ryan wrote:Posted: April 7, 2008 8:25 A.M.

Not long ago I read, Kung Fu San Soo: Secret Art of the Fighting Monks by Master Ron Gatewood. In it, he makes reference to the original Kung-Fu San Soo manuals that Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo?s ancestor took from the Qwan Yem (Kuan Yin) monastery. Apparently, the Woo family have these manuals; but will not release them to the Kung-Fu San Soo community. Personally, I feel that these manuals containing the original 108 forms would be something that all of Kung-Fu San Soo could benefit from. They hold the true forms of Kung-Fu San Soo; and true practitioners would literally be giving up limbs just to get a look at them. Should the family release the manuals? Or, should we "just keep on trucking;" and strive to perfect what Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo bestowed upon us?
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Why are the books not public?

Postby San Soo Sifu » Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:22 pm

Jordan Goldman wrote:From: JordanGold 2/12/2001 3:06 pm
To: ALL (1 of 86)
19.1

I have heard a lot of stories about the original Kung-Fu San Soo scrolls, from the monasteries, that were passed down through generations in Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo's family; finally ending up with his widow Bernice Chin Woo. I have heard that Bernice Chin Woo is unwilling to make these books accessible to the Kung-Fu San Soo community, and that she has turned down many offers to preserve the books in some kind of decent condition before they crumble all together. I do not understand how keeping the contents of these books secret is beneficial to the Kung-Fu San Soo community, that Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo created? I also do not understand why the books are not receiving the sort of archival treatment that 2,000 year old books certainly must require? I wonder if they wouldn't just crumble to dust if somebody opened them up! I am not trying to start a flame war; I am just trying to understand. Can anyone tell me why these books are so off limits?
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Not who you think it is...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:26 pm

San Soo Sifu wrote:From: San Soo Sifu (SanSooSifu) 2/12/2001 7:26 pm
To: JordanGold (2 of 86)
19.2 in reply to 19.1

I think I can only add a couple of things here. First, there is no way the books are 2,000 years old. How old exactly? Hopefully, Master Ron Gatewood will stop keeping the rest of us in suspense, and share with us what Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo told him. I can also share this with everyone: the books are NOT in the possession of either Bernice Chin Woo or James Paul King. That only leaves one other individual. Most of the old timers will know who this is.
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...no way the books are 2,000 years old.

Postby San Soo Sifu » Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:35 pm

Bob Shores wrote:From: BobShores 2/12/2001 9:16 pm
To: San Soo Sifu (SanSooSifu) (3 of 86)
19.3 in reply to 19.2

San Soo Sifu,
Not doubting your word on this, but I am just curious about your information source. I am pretty sure there is only one master that Bernice Chin Woo would trust that much. How did you find out that J.P. King did not have them? Did this come from Bernice? I agree there is no way the books are 2,000 years old. The first book to be bound in codex form was the Bible in the third century A.D. It would have taken quite a while for this to become a common method throughout the world when you consider the lack of speedy travel and communication. I, too, would like to know Ron Gatewood's opinion on this topic, and any information that he received directly from Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo, as well. There are a lot of rumors circulating on this particular topic; doubts as to whether the books are authentic, and so on. I really haven't got a clue. It really is a moot point without them being translated, and the information made available. This is something I sadly doubt will ever happen. However, this would not be nearly as tragic if the tapes that Ron Gatewood has, were made available. It seems to me if the expense of transfering them to DVD is the hold up, then there are plenty of us to pitch in on such a project. Sorry, if that put you on the spot Ron. I just believe that, that information can go a long way to preserving Kung-Fu San Soo for the future. Okay, just maybe I would love to have copies of them too! Don't hate me for that; I am human, and I just can't help myself!
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...specially trained...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:49 pm

Ron Gatewood wrote:From: RonGatewood 2/12/2001 9:55 pm
To: San Soo Sifu (SanSooSifu) (4 of 86)
19.4 in reply to 19.2

I am going to answer on this thread, in order to kill two posts with one stone. What I will say about the books is from my memory; and I reserve the right to change this information when I digitize my tapes, and there is new information, then I will update. As I recall, his estimate was between 400 years old and 700 years old. So, I think more than 500 years old would be closest to the truth. When he started reading them, he had to go to the library to look up many old Chinese characters, which he did not know. I called Clyde Coad tonight to see what he remembered, he did not know how old the books are. Clyde Coad is the only man I know who held, and looked into the books; he said they were old and weather-worn. The pages felt dusty or powdery; he did not think they were paper, maybe a parchment. Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo would read those books while they worked out, and suddenly they would hear him say "Ah." They would all rush over to see what he had learned; he sometimes showed them different pressure points. J.P. King stated that we will never see those books; we already know everything that is in them, they were only important to the family. I find his statement interesting, since he does not speak or read Chinese. In the old days before the San Soo Journal, I used to write articles for Bernice Chin Woo's newsletter, and when we were talking to her at her kitchen table, from her body language, I could tell she did not have the books. To explain further, I have been specially trained in interview and interrogation, and specialize in body language, using these skills to solve many crimes; including murder. So, I asked some more questions closely watching her responses. She finally said, "Well, they are in the hands of the family." I believe they may not know where the books are, as Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo told one student that he was going to hide them. The thing that does not make sense to me is that Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo said he made three copies for his family. Maybe his son Warren Woo has a copy, but I don't think they were on close terms. I attempted to have Tim Cartmell and Dan Hoffman meet with Bernice Chin Woo, to translate the books; especially, the dates or lineage portion, which could answer many questions. She would have no part of it. They think they own Kung-Fu San Soo, and at one time were going to attempt to stop all of us from using the name; unless we were sanctioned by them.
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Even if they had the books,

Postby San Soo Sifu » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:03 pm

Ron Gatewood wrote:From: RonGatewood 2/13/2001 12:17 am
To: JordanGold (10 of 86)
19.10 in reply to 19.1

Jordan, I did not really want to open up this can of worms; but you asked a serious question, and it deserves an answer. To sum it up quickly I can think of two words: control and greed. Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo's senior students have the knowledge of Kung-Fu San Soo. However, there is a big difference between knowing the Art, and knowing some techniques. J.P. King has the knowledge of a very young master, as he was trained with us. I have seen his progress; and it is not a question of good or bad, but rather depth. The last time I saw Bernice Chin Woo train it was probably in the early 1970s, with mostly technique knowledge. They know of Jimmy's "home life," but not his "studio life;" which he shared with us. We have been trying to pass on the knowledge to any who want to listen. When the money from the sales dry up, so will they. Even if they had the books, they could care less about us. There is much more, but we will save it for later.
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Evelyn Haw King has the "Books"

Postby San Soo Sifu » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:11 pm

San Soo Sifu wrote:From: San Soo Sifu (SanSooSifu) 2/13/2001 6:03 pm
To: JordanGold (21 of 86)
19.21 in reply to 19.1

The person who has the books is Evelyn Haw King (Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo's daughter). I thought some people might have been able to figure out who I was hinting at, a couple of posts ago within this thread.
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Chinese cook books?

Postby San Soo Sifu » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:24 pm

Chris McCune wrote:From: Fight4it 2/13/2001 6:37 pm
To: San Soo Sifu (SanSooSifu) (22 of 86)
19.22 in reply to 19.21

There are a lot of Kung-Fu San Soo practitioners who think that the books are just a set of Chinese cook books; with nothing to do with San Soo, or fighting. Bernice Chin Woo has allowed this type of conjecture to propagate; by not allowing a public viewing, or translation, or professional help at preserving them.
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...other relatives?

Postby San Soo Sifu » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:34 pm

Chris McCune wrote:From: Fight4it 2/13/2001 10:30 pm
To: San Soo Sifu (SanSooSifu) (28 of 86)
19.28 in reply to 19.21

The real problem is that the location of the books are still in doubt. One could choose to accept the most logical, Evelyn Haw King; but the evasiveness of Bernice Chin Woo, and J.P. King, still leaves that up in the air. Do they actually know where the books are? Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo had relatives in the San Francisco Bay area too.
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...change of heart?

Postby San Soo Sifu » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:46 pm

Kevin Closson wrote:From: KClosson 2/13/2001 11:16 pm
To: Fight4it (31 of 86)
19.31 in reply to 19.22


There are a lot of Kung-Fu San Soo practitioners who think that the books are just a set of Chinese cook books; with nothing to do with San Soo, or fighting. Bernice Chin Woo has allowed this type of conjecture to propagate; by not allowing a public viewing, or translation, or professional help at preserving them.


I agree! This situation is like what happened with the Dead Sea scrolls years ago, when manuscripts were not made available. So, all sorts of rumors and conspiracy theories started. Even more so with the Kung-Fu San Soo books. The sad thing is that these days, it would be really easy to preserve whatever is in them, by just using a digital camera. Just take pictues of all the pages; and put the books away for good, if they like. You really have to question what their motives are for holding back something valuable like this. We may already know all of the information in them (I doubt it). It could raise more questions than answers, but that is the whole fun of doing research into something we love so much! It would just be nice to know. The other thing is that the family could actually make money out of it, by selling any potential translations of it. Here we are, ten years after the death of the one who brought the Art to the United States of America; and I am questioning the motives of the family. Sad really, but we can only hope for a change of heart on this.
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...loss of credibility...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:59 pm

Chris McCune wrote:From: Fight4it 2/14/2001 9:21 am
To: KClosson (38 of 86)
19.38 in reply to 19.31


Here we are, ten years after the death of the one who brought the Art to the United States of America; and I am questioning the motives of the family. Sad really, but we can only hope for a change of heart on this.


I highly doubt that anything in the books would radically change anything at all, that I teach my guys. We may learn a thing or two, but who can say? The motives of said people are clearly in question here. With the Dead Sea scrolls at least a fuzzy picture or two was taken. I think it possible that they (the family) does not have the books, and do not wish to admit it to the Kung-Fu San Soo community. Or more appropriately, they wish us to believe that they have the books. So, as to appear the real hub of the San Soo community. Whatever happens, there is a substantial loss of credibility there.
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Old and New

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:07 am

Larry Wikel wrote:From: MasterWikel 2/15/2001 11:25 am
To: RonGatewood (51 of 86)
19.51 in reply to 19.10

Hi Ron, from my notes (and as I recall) Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo said the large book was 300 years old, and the small book was 200 years old. They were like what we would refer to as the Old Testament, and the New Testament.
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It's on tape (somewhere)!

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:18 am

Ron Gatewood wrote:From: RonGatewood 2/15/2001 12:19 pm
To: MasterWikel (52 of 86)
19.52 in reply to 19.51

Hi Larry, good to hear from you. That figure was out of my head, so I cannot say for 100%; until I find it on video tape. I did not want to look foolish (of course, that would be nothing new); so I called Juan Meza, Brian Taylor, Rick Insley, and Clyde Coad; and we mostly agreed between four and eight, with five to seven being the most logical. Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo said that each generation of monks would put the new information into the books. Depending on how long each generation waited to have children, 200 hundred years would almost be used up in Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo's family lineage; which would mean the books would have been written shortly before they left the Temple. If he did not count the family time, and he told you 200 + 200 (family time)= 400; then we would still be in the same ball park figure. I am starting a project to digitize the audio tapes & video tapes, and we should soon have information that we have all forgotten. Get on here, and help get the information to these new guys. Someone said that you have the information on the top of your head (or in one of the corners) on linking the forms together. I remember the big cross, and the little crosses; and I thought it took at least five or six little crosses to make the form. I am also not sure of the directional sequence of the little crosses. Please help fill in the holes as it will be awhile before I can find it.
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A few words from JPK...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:28 am

Jeffrey P. Cornelius, Sr. wrote:From: JuJiffSoo
To: IKFSSA
Sent: Monday, August 13, 2001 6:27 AM
Subject: Books

I am a student of Master Chuck Cory. I have seen pictures of Master Chuck Cory with Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo. The picture that interests me the most is the one where Grand Master Woo is holding a large book. I have spoken with Master Cory about the book, and he said that there are two of them, and they are the original San Soo techniques. Are these books still used today in the teaching of San Soo?


James Paul King wrote:From: James P. King
Date: Monday, August 13, 2001 9:14 PM
Subject: Re: Books

Hello, James P. King here. First of all, thank you for your question. You have asked a common question, but a good one just the same.

"Are the manuscripts being used to teach from?"

If you are talking about the "Books" (I think you are talking about them). Then the answer would be a firm "NO." The reason? Well, I know that the manuscripts that I have are 133 years old, and are so weak and worn out that the paper itself cannot hold its own weight without falling apart. They were copied 100 years before I was born, almost to the day. My family had to have them rewritten every so often (about a 100 years ago or so) to keep from losing the information all together due to wear and tear.

My Grandfather taught Master Russell Williams & Master Carl Lorenzen for 10 years privately, so they could make what we call the "Black Belt Books." These books where supposed to be used by any San Soo person who had at least a Black Belt (rank of a teacher) so they could properly teach without losing any of the proper information. My Grandfather basically translated the manuscripts for us through Carl Lorenzen and Russell Williams. Kind of nice of him, huh?

The problem we have now has many faces. To start with, many teachers do not know the art as well as the "First Generation Masters." And even they had a hard time with the books (not to mention the art itself, back when they had only been in the art for 4 to 8 years or so). Second, the Black Belt Books are someone else's notes and are not easy to read, let alone teach from. So, most instructors stop teaching from the books after a while if they tried at all. And of course, with each generation that problem gets worse and worse. And last, if a student that has not been taught by a teacher who teaches from the books, and (the student) tries to use them for teaching, they will find it nearly impossible. The main reason for that would be that there are "mistakes" (misspelling, grammar, technical, and so on) that we have know about for years but have decided to leave in so every Tom, Dick, and Harry would not be able to pick up a book and learn the art. Or at least try to. My Grandfather did not want people attempting to side step the instructors. So in other words, you would have to know the art very well to decipher the Black Belt Books.

So, I have decided to do my version of the Books, so instructors would have a easy to use teaching tool. They will be meant for second, third, (and so on) generation students who would like to teach. This is a costly & lengthy project and I will keep you up to date as to my progress.
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Dan Hoffman offers to help out...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:47 am

Dan Hoffman wrote:From: Dan Hoffman
To: IKFSSA
Date: Wednesday, August 15, 2001 2:56 AM
Subject: Re: Books

I hope this gets to you. I am very interested in the terminology used during that period. I am a graduate in Chinese Language and Literature, with four years experience in Taiwan and China (University study). Well, I know it is a lot to ask, but if I could get some copies of lessons, as they were written in Chinese, I would be eternally grateful. If this is not all right with you, then I will understand. However, as a literature and history student, I would cherish the opportunity. And, thanks again for what your family has all ready given to all of us.
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Open letter to J.P. King

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:09 am

Ron Gatewood wrote:From: RonGatewood 8/16/2001 2:14 pm
To: San Soo Sifu (SanSooSifu) (76 of 86)
19.76 in reply to 19.75

Open letter to J.P. King

James Paul King posted on his web site, and someone sent me a copy. It contained several things that needed to be addressed.

James Paul King,
During your training with your Grandfather, we were there; and we know how and what you learned, and there were many things you did not learn. If you remember after Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo died, I offered to come up to teach you some of these things. Some of what you are now saying is after the fact justifications to explain things, which are far from reality. Stories are emerging about Master Carl Lorenzen and Master Russell Williams being inner door students. Your Grandfather told me they got the same lessons, but in the garage or home. He went on to say he taught them there because it was convenient, and neither was very limber, and he felt neither could make it out on the school floor. I am sorry Carl Lorenzen and Russell Williams, but it is the truth; and I have it on tape. So what you see in the books are Carl Lorenzen?s notes that he took for himself to remember those lessons, which later became the 5 books. If it was for Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo's use why did almost every page contain Carl Lorenzen?s initials? The notes were for himself, and that is why it may be difficult to understand, do not try to make some type of mystical plot that only those in the know could understand. When I told Carl Lorenzen that Bernice Chin Woo had copyrighted his books, he could not believe it. He told me he had an agreement with Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo so he could sell the books, but he had no agreement with Bernice Chin Woo. Since Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo read very little English, I am sure he did not go through the books word by word; but he trusted Carl Lorenzen?s ability, and sold the books. If it were an altruistic effort, why were the books so much ($50 each), because it was a way to make some income. If you really want to help Kung Fu San Soo, if you have the books (or even a copy, which Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo said he made 3 copies) go to a professional that could stabilize the books, then share a couple of things, the lineage, a real form, not just the broken little pieces, and history portion. I have thousands of techniques, but our history is lacking. Master Tim Cartmell and Dan Hoffman are both capable of translating those books (they have done others), they could do it in front of you, and it would not cost you anything. Don't you care to get to the truth, or have you gone to the Bernice Chin Woo way of thinking of let us squeeze every dime out of these guys, and give them nothing in return. She knows very little of Kung Fu San Soo, and is not in a position to tell us anything. I know you have had many problems, and we have hoped you will grow up, and come to the people who know what your Grandfather taught, the family is going to screw around so long that when they decide to help there will be nothing to come back to.
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San Soo is that special!

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:12 am

nino67 wrote:From: nino67 8/16/2001 3:29 pm
To: San Soo Sifu (SanSooSifu) (78 of 86)
19.78 in reply to 19.77

I never had the privilege to meet Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo. I have heard wonderful stories about him. Anybody who teaches something for no reason (other than to teach) is a wonderful person (I know because my Mother was a high school teacher). Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo was teaching all of you because he wanted you to teach all of us. I am completely sure that he did not want those books to be kept a secret. I am sure he wanted those books to be shown, and to be used to teach; otherwise, why did he decide to teach? It was not because any of us were that special. It's because San Soo is that special!
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...make a difference...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:30 am

Jeff Geller wrote:08/16/01 05:33 PM

Obviously, Master Ron Gatewood has more information on his letter subject than me. However, if they are holding some stuff back for any reason I, for one, would like to see it. If money is indeed an issue, I am sure that a reasonable fee is acceptable and understood. I do not know James Paul King; he is in a unique situation, and really could make a difference if he wanted to, and was willing to include those masters of my teachers, and Ron Gatewood?s "first generation." If not, then a general feeling of "I have been in this art longer than you have been alive," and "your Grandpa was my teacher," would build a permanent wall. What do you think Mr. James Paul King?
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...equal to the temple books.

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:34 am

Ron Gatewood wrote:08/16/01 06:43 PM

Jeff Geller,
The information you are searching for lives with the elder Masters, the family could add to our history. The masters are willing to work with James Paul King or Evelyn Haw King, but Bernice Chin Woo is another story. We do not need to be controlled by someone who knows less than us. It looks like James Paul King is going to rewrite Carl Lorenzen?s lessons, and consider that equal to the temple books. I like James Paul King, but I cannot allow inaccuracies to be passed on as fact. We all wrote those same lessons for ourselves, they are not unique.
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...arcane dialect...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:37 am

Craig R. Bohart wrote:08/18/01 03:52 AM

The "Books" are old Chinese books written in an arcane dialect and writing style (at least the two large ones). Although they have historical interest, they will do none of us (James Paul King included) any Kung-Fu San Soo good.
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...Chinese cook books.

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:41 am

Chris McCune wrote:08/18/01 12:47 PM

Craig R. Bohart,
I agree. Not only that, but it would not make a bit of difference, one way or the other; except for the historical aspect. In jest, I made a lot of people mad when I suggested that, maybe, they were just a set of old Chinese cook books.
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History...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:45 am

Ron Gatewood wrote:08/18/01 02:43 PM

Craig R. Bohart,
History first and foremost; but Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo left out a lot of the classical training, chopped up the forms, did not go into the health aspects, which were in those books. Sure we have techniques, but there is probably 60% of classical Kung Fu missing, and a master should know more. We know many ways of fighting, but meet a couple of Masters, say from the Shaolin temple, and see that they have in-depth knowledge about all aspects, and you will soon see what is missing; been there, done that. If you are satisfied as a master where you are, then no matter what is said, you will go no farther. I have seen a whole world of things to learn out there, and those books have much of it. It is embarrassing how little many masters know, as the limitations of their knowledge base are techniques.
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What are you saying, exactly?

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:48 am

Ed Bielfelt, Ph.D. wrote:08/18/01 03:06 PM

Craig R. Bohart,
Let me see if I understand you correctly. Are you saying that every thing in Kung-Fu San Soo has already been extracted; and therefore, we have everything there was, and is, to know about San Soo? Or, are you saying that simply because they are old, and readable only to a few, that we should not bother with translation? I hope you are not saying that. After all, if this is the mainstream thinking, where would we be? No one would have bothered with the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Scrolls of Hammurabi, the works of Plato, Aristotle, etc. We would still be in the dark ages; after all they were arcane, using your logic. Or, are you saying that we should not hold our breath for any new information from these books and continue to explore what we already know? Since the odds are we will never see a translation? I hope that you do not mean the former, as in my opinion that does not bode well for Kung Fu San Soo, humanity, and thinking people all over the world.
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Should they be revealed?

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:53 am

Chris McCune wrote:08/18/01 05:12 PM

After all, if this is the mainstream thinking where would we be? No one would have bothered with the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Scrolls of Hammurabi, the works of Plato, Aristotle, etc.


Well, also, if translated it is how those works are applied for the benefit of all, or for the control of all. Regardless of the work, it will be how it is handled and translated that make the difference. It is possible that the books may reveal things that are contrary to how we were taught, i.e. even as Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo taught it, Kung-Fu San Soo is really not taught in a traditional manner. Hypothetically if the books hold more of the "classic" internal and health Kung Fu would you (or any of us) radically change what we have done to comply with an aspect that Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo for the most part chose not to convey. Ultimately, the books revealed may cause more problems than they solve. Should they be revealed? Sure, but I think every one should be prepared for those probabilities.
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Let us see what the books have to say.

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:56 am

Ed Bielfelt, Ph.D. wrote:08/18/01 07:17 PM

Chris McCune,
It is difficult for me to say what I would do if information were to come from the books. The authors and contributors to the books had reasons for putting whatever information they did in them. Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo had whatever his reasons were for teaching what he taught. I do not think there is a right or wrong. I, for one, would like to know what is in them, even if for only academic reasons. Let us say for debate sake, there was something that proved to have a huge impact on what we do, is that by itself necessarily bad? Who is to know until such an endeavor was to bear fruit, it is all fodder for debate anyway. I am with you, let us see what the books have to say.
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That is my point.

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:01 am

Craig R. Bohart wrote:08/19/01 09:51 PM

Ed Bielfelt,
To expand, many people put a considerable amount of time into conjecture on the books. The only one that knew the content to any degree that was contemporaneous with any of us was Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo, and he had difficulty with them. They were old when they were taken away to be used for teaching other than monks. One who was not schooled in the dialect, the script, and the "culture" from whence they came, would be in way over their heads. Perhaps you would not (and I have some linear B for you). Your Greek references are not similar to this challenge as a thousand years of scholarship preceded much research on the works you reference. The Sanskrit is another matter entirely, of course. The reality is that no person is going to lay hands on these books in the foreseeable future. Large blocks of time, invested in fantastic wonderings on them is time misspent. Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo taught us what he thought was appropriate during his time with us. None of us has gotten that right, as of yet. Time spent in this area, is time better spent. That is my point.
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Xerox

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:03 am

Paul H. Borisoff wrote:08/19/01 09:59 PM

Craig R. Bohart,
It would be nice if James Paul King would Xerox a couple sample pages, and pass them around. Like any holy writing, it would be fun to at least take a gander.
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WTF?

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:11 am

Ed Bielfelt, Ph.D. wrote:08/20/01 00:52 AM

Well, sorry Craig R. Bohart, but in this case I do not think you could be further from the truth.

The only one that knew the content to any degree that was contemporaneous with any of us was Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo, and he had difficulty with them.


I am not going to offer conjecture on why Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo struggled, but there are many bright, talented, educated people in the world that could translate these books.

Perhaps you would not (and I have some linear B for you).


First off, this sounds a bit insulting, I trust that was not your intent? You know what though, I would have no difficulty with the books whatsoever, because I would seek out experts in the field, and people who have a proven track record, like Master Tim Cartmell?

Secondly:
(and I have some linear B for you).


WTF?

Bye the way, my two Greek references were right on the money, and your Sanskrit (the proper spelling) reference missed by a mile. Even though it is an ancient Indian language, it is not lost or arcane.

Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo taught us what he thought was appropriate during his time with us. None of us has gotten that right, as of yet.


Once again, I do not know your intent, but you would have to try very hard to be any more insulting to Kung Fu San Soo students, Masters, and our culture. I have all the respect possible for who Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo was. The man was not omnipotent, nor did he have some grand master plan he was working out. He did the best he could, he made mistakes, he learned, and he changed like the rest of us.

Now as far as the dialogue in reference to the books in concerned, what is the harm? No real time and energy is invested in it. And if you choose not to engage in the conversation, more power to you. Have fun doing what you are doing.
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...I have only scratched the surface.

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:20 am

Craig R. Bohart wrote:08/20/01 04:29 AM

Ed Bielfelt,
I was not really trying to be insulting, although I would have thought that you had a thicker skin. Your response to me was patronizing, but I thought it was in fun, and for effect. Let me clean up a bit. Sorry for the Sanskrit reference rather than the 2300 BC Babylonian reference I intended. (Do we get points for catching typos?) The correct reference was to highlight the effort expended in translating the clay tablets containing the script that contained not only the ?code? you referenced, but the myriad other items from land records to various stories with morals attached thereto. I disagree that the Greek references were right on as they pertain to a volume of literary and philosophical works that when translated from the original Greek, have echoes throughout Western culture and can be related to thereby. The "Books" need expertise in the language of the age during which the writings were codified and a similar grip on the "script" of the day and its nuances. More importantly, the person having the requisite two skills above must not only be very versed in Kung Fu San Soo, but must be so versed from that culture that spawned the language, the script, and the art. Otherwise, there will be an inevitable gulf between what may be contained in the writings and what is put down as translated from them. Remember the camel and the needle? For want of understanding that one word meant the animal and the other (written the same, but for an inflection mark) meant a camel hair yarn. Readers of King James translation over the ages have inferred that to be rich is to be condemned. The linear B reference was clear, unless it has been broken and I have neglected to learn about it. And what group of Kung Fu San Soo students and masters did I insult by stating the fact that what Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo gave to us, none of us have gotten yet? He told me ten life times were not enough to get hold of it. Those I work with feel the same. If you feel you have mastered it all, I envy you. As for me, I still go after it from the position that I have only scratched the surface. As for Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo I guess I knew him differently than you did, though I also would not ascribe to him an omnipotent master plan. Of course, I did not do that in my post either. It does seem to me that these postings are taken for more worth by some than I would assign to them. For me they are an occasional distraction. If they are more for you, I apologize for stepping on your toes. Such is never my intent.
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Perhaps...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:23 am

Paul H. Borisoff wrote:08/20/01 10:15 AM

Craig R. Bohart,
Regardless of whether they can be translated, it seems to me that persons who spend a life time, give our best to the system and the man, have paid our dues to be a part of sharing a gander at the very books, which have recorded our art. If I go to a temple, I can look at the Torah, certainly a more important book than the Kung Fu San Soo ones. There is a problem with the reluctance to allow us to see them, though. Because they are cryptic, is all the more reason to at least make copies available for viewing. You see, no one outside the art will benefit from them, as it will be difficult for us to appreciate their knowledge for the reasons you state. Perhaps we are not to eat from the tree of Kung Fu San Soo knowledge?
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Kung Fu San Soo...is not "that" complicated.

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:26 am

Ed Bielfelt, Ph.D. wrote:08/20/01 12:11 PM

Craig R. Bohart,
Where do I begin? I apologize for the patronizing tone of my first post, as it was not my intent, but merely to try and understand where you are coming from. I have never spoken with you directly, and therefore I sometimes struggle to get your meaning. I more clearly understand your ancient language reference now; however, I would still kindly disagree. In that with the Chinese language books we have all manner of reference, and I do not believe that a specific understanding of Kung Fu San Soo is a prerequisite. Your eye of the needle reference is not bad, and for clarification, the needle was the reference to the fortified gate entrance to the city. It was designed as such, that cargo caravans had to remove their loads from the camels in order to pass through the gates. Otherwise, they would not fit. While I see you point here, I do not know that the books Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo had are (were) that obscure? As for the ?getting it? comment. One could read that because we are the western barbarians that we could not possibly understand anything so complicated as Kung Fu. Believe me, this type of attitude still exist between our cultures, just a scratch below the surface. But apparently that was not your reference. Now if we talk about the art as a whole, including that which we did not get, I would probably agree with you. But as for what Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo did give us, I have a little difficulty with the 10 life times thing here. In fact, not to over state, but Kung Fu San Soo in the context of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts (TCMA) is not "that" complicated. Do not misunderstand, I not saying it is a breeze. I just believe that what ?is? complicated is trying to find the pieces of the puzzle Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo left out of the picture, so we can see it clearly. I, as you, like to have fun here in the forum. I also enjoy a good debate. It is just that some of us have difficulty understanding your positions and references. Perhaps if we were to speak directly sometime, I, for one, might have a better understanding of you and your style. Not hurt, not insulted, just trying to get you, as it were.
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Not the panacea...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:31 am

Craig R. Bohart wrote:08/20/01 10:55 PM

Paul H. Borisoff,
I believe that the Kung Fu San Soo we have is not inferior to the material in the "Books." Two of them are codifications, and the little one is the equivalent of student notes. When a student asked Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo why he insisted that a student write his lessons down, he said that the student would then have material from which to teach later on. When he was pressed on it a little further, he said that was how Kung Fu San Soo was passed down to his family when it cam out of the Kwan Yin monastery. (The little book of his great, great, great, great, grandfather.) Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo said for years that his intention was to bequeath the books to the East-West museum when he was gone. His wishes were either changed, or someone did not follow through. So Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo did not feel that they were essential for the survival or development of Kung Fu San Soo. Many people do think so. This is not based upon first hand knowledge, but conjecture of what the books contain. I just think that time is not unlimited, and is better spent on concrete issues and matters at hand, like practicing Kung Fu San Soo. My position has never changed in this area, and people who have known me for a long time can attest to that. That is not to say that I shun the esoteric, I am just not a conspiratist. The study of the books as an academic endeavor is laudable, but as a search for the hidden secrets of Kung Fu San Soo, misdirected. Having the books available to be admired as the works of art and history that they are is a reasonable quest. But, I do not believe that they are the panacea people expect.
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The "Books" do not contain the secrets...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:35 am

Craig R. Bohart wrote:08/20/01 11:21 PM

Ed Bielfelt,
I have always tried to be straight forward in these posts, but have found that what is sometime clear to me and some others, is not very clear to the third and forth parties. In addition, the third and fourth parties vary according to topic and frame of reference. This is to my mind a good thing as the cognitive dissonance created gives me an opportunity to better know my mind and those of others. On the original topic, my opinion has been basically unchanged. The ?Books? do not contain the secrets withheld from us regarding Kung Fu San Soo. An interest in them for what they are, is better than an interest for what they are not, and that undue time expended on the ?truth is out there? aspects of the ?Books? is probably not going to bear fruit. I also believe that Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo did not leave much out. But like any real human endeavor, it is a life process, not a destination. Like music or science, our teachers give us the tools and processes and we must "create." Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo said this many times in reference to the students expressing Kung Fu San Soo through their "own element." That is why we call it an art. The better you get at an art, the more you realize you still have to learn. The ten life times reference was a direct quote, and others use this same reference because they also got it from the same source. Maybe it is only two life times. But I guess its like the "40 days and 40 nights" reference meaning a heck of a long time. (Since we have delved into the antique Sumerian and Aramaic of late.) But since I am "round eye" to the core, no cultural reference was even fleeting through my mind. Ethnicity does not give an edge in such things and has been proven so. As for the needle, people have conjectured that it referred to that city gate (which was not alone as a trade control device in ancient cities) to try to redefine the meaning of that parable. But the Greek from which it came was from a culture that could instantly visualize the reference to that camel hair yarn being threaded into a needle (carpets, etc.). It could be done, but only with the highest degree of attention and concentration. Any distraction would result in an unthreaded needle. Thus being rich requires much more attention to the Kingdom of God issues because being rich holds more distractions. My use was to illustrate how a small mistake in translation can result in huge misdirection. That is as straight forward as I can get, and I bet it is as straight as a line to me and as straight as the Mississippi River to many others.
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The hope for the future of the art,

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:38 am

Paul H. Borisoff wrote:08/21/01 01:22 AM

Craig R. Bohart,
Does it disturb you that we are discussing whether something is worth seeing, but it has been determined that we cannot see it? The hope for the future of the art, with a thousand years of accumulated experience, cannot see the ?holy books.? Again, if they are indecipherable, then seeing them will be an artistic curiosity. If they can be read, then access will have to be on a need to know basis. I find it frustrating, to say the least.
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We are not looking for "secrets,"

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:40 am

Ron Gatewood wrote:08/21/01 02:36 AM

Craig R. Bohart,
Using your same rationale, one could imagine the 12 disciples sitting at the foot of the cross, discussing what to do next. Then one says "you got to meet Jesus, do not worry about the Old Testament, it is old and worthless, you would not understand it anyway." I am not attempting to equate our situation with religion or Christianity, but I can equate the ridiculousness of the statements that have been made. We are not looking for "secrets," only real and complete forms, and the other things that Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo chose to leave out of our training. One book contained medical treatments and health issues, I never learned them. One can stay in the 12th grade and practice over and over, but I want to go to college. I did not want to enter this discussion, and to me it is a waste of time to debate, but some of the statements have made little sense to me.
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...pondering one's own navel,

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:42 am

Craig R. Bohart wrote:08/23/01 11:44 AM

Paul H. Borisoff,
I am not disturbed by anyone?s interests. My point was, has been, and is that undue interest piled in the direction of the "Books" inevitably piles into conjecture and conspiracy. This distracts from what can be done quite effectively without these particular books. Whenever this topic pops up, the discussion goes far and long and becomes impassioned, and over what? If anyone wants to wish and wonder at length on this topic, it is their own business. I just believe it is akin to pondering one?s own navel, that is all.
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...left chucks out...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:45 am

Craig R. Bohart wrote:08/23/01 12:00 PM

Ron Gatewood,
One might think that you believe that nothing we do now has anything to do with what is contained in the three books. Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo said that he took from them when he taught us, and I have no reason to doubt his word. And Ron, try as I might, I can find no one close to Jimmy that can tell me he told them that the books contained medical treatments and the like. I would like to know from where you garnered that bit of information? And why do you assume that the forms you have are truncated? It is true Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo said that the books contained "mostly form," and that one would invariably expand their form repertoire from the books. But are you saying that you practice forms so intensely that you have exhausted all of your available form sets? If so, I am proud of you. And why do you assume that Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo left chunks out of the Kung Fu San Soo he gave us? Please expand on the logic and proofs that you have utilized to develop this conclusion. I would be very interested in that. You assume here that by acquiring the books one would become privy to some special or extra information that has been previously withheld from us. That by getting this information, one would then be elevated to some higher Kung Fu San Soo level. And you are very sure of it. But nothing Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo ever said alludes to that. In fact, everything he said alludes to the fact that the books just contain more of the same material he gave to us. If the precept that ?he who dies with the most techniques wins? is valid, then such additional material would do what you propose. I just do not subscribe to that precept. In the end, discussion on this topic gets out in the area of angels and pinheads. And that is, and was, my entire point.
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...we totally disagree on this.

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:47 am

Ron Gatewood wrote:08/23/01 02:45 PM

Craig R. Bohart,
This is time consuming, and I am not going to post back and forth as I have what he said, and I guess most did not ask or listen. I spent the time recording the information, now everyone says he did not say that. One book has things like herbs, acupuncture, and forms. The smaller book has techniques. He took the first 6 moves from a previous form (Jung How), gave the next movements from the book (broken off from the large complete form), then added the last one to three moves on the close, depending how the form ended. The first forms went in each different directions and were much more classical looking; however, the last 10 or 12 years the pattern changed little and was basically the same base form with different hand moves. Do you guys think I am making these things up, just look. I get tired reading these ridiculous debates and I am getting frustrated with trying to get out the information and some just want to argue. I think the Masters were owed a real complete form (two hundred or so moves that do not repeat). The classical portion of the art that was not passed on, my opinion is that the only thing Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo pulled from those books was the combat portion as he was not a scholar and did not spend the time translating the rest of the texts. Nothing are in those texts that are so unique that does not exist in other temple texts. Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo shared more of the combat portions, which is exactly what he said he would do. I do not know what masters you asked, but if they did not know these simple facts I would look for a better source of information. Let us not be angry, but it is clear we totally disagree on this.
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My source was...Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:54 am

Craig R. Bohart wrote:09/05/01 11:50 PM

Ron Gatewood,
My source was not anyone but Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo himself. For several years I attended the 12:00 noon to 2:30 PM class, and then "hung around" until the 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM class. You did not spend that much time around Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo without him talking your ear off, eating clams and garlic, and having him deal seconds, thirds, and fourths to you. He told me that the small book was the notebook of his great, great, great, great, grandfather. It was in his hand and contained techniques. The other two large books were the monastery books and contain techniques, but mostly "form." I handled all of these at his little El Monte, California house before going to breakfast with him one morning (Stocks on Valley). I would be very interested in hearing the recordings wherein Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo said that the books contained herbal and medical information and 200 move forms. As he never told me of these things, it would be most illuminating to me to hear him say it. I did check with others who spent decades with Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo, several days a week. Surely Jimmy did not entrust "secrets" to you alone? Perhaps he said similar things to others? I just could not find someone who heard similarly to your recollections. I listen very carefully to what you say, and I only question the items that are directly contrary to what Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo said directly to me. I think that its a reasonable thing, and is not a slap to you. But you do put out things, and state that you have recorded these things. It stands to reason that I (or someone else) might ask that you "show your hand." If such requests are bothersome to you, I think that you may be bothered quite a bit during the course of putting out the word on those things you wish to say. I am of course not challenging a single word from you. But you did put the post up in public for all to see, and sometimes, inquiring minds want to know. But in the end, Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo gave to us just what he said he would give to us, techniques. That which he did give can command a lifetime of work and study. I, personally, have no desire to receive a 200 move non-repeating forms, nor ancient medical information. Others may burn for it. Additionally, I do not believe that you are too hurt as you have my email address, have used it often, and would certainly call me to task if I got out of line, but here we are in public. Time and the public will tell.
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I think San Soo Sifu was right about you!

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:58 am

Ron Gatewood wrote:09/06/01 12:03 AM

Craig R. Bohart,
I do not know what your problem is, other than being a pompous jerk, but when I find the tape I will let you know. They are still packed away. I think San Soo Sifu was right about you! What you are arguing about is common knowledge, ask around. When you mentioned the third book and I believed you, but on second thought since you are the ONLY one to ever tell that story (including the family), show us YOUR proof. Make your caustic remarks, but I am tired of forum games and I am not going to respond. You will have to impress someone else.
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...other's fantasy,

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:39 am

Craig R. Bohart wrote:09/06/01 02:39 PM

It might be thought by some readers that I may be talking off the top of my head when I make reference to El Monte, California or Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo. I would like to clarify that I am very careful to repeat only what I was told, at the time. For three years I would go to the 12:00 noon - 2:30 PM class, and then just hang out until the 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM class. During that time I heard a lot of stories from Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo and talked about a load of things. As a result, when I later moved close by I would go to breakfast with him and visit at the little house in El Monte, California. So I had ample opportunity to acquire a bit of information from Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo over the years, and I try my best to not embellish. If this fact gets in the way of other's fantasy, I am sorry. I never intend to insult.
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Re: That is my point.

Postby Timothy » Wed Apr 09, 2008 10:48 am

Craig R. Bohart wrote:
08/19/01 09:51 PM

Ed Bielfelt,
To expand, many people put a considerable amount of time into conjecture on the books. The only one that knew the content to any degree that was contemporaneous with any of us was Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo, and he had difficulty with them. They were old when they were taken away to be used for teaching other than monks. One who was not schooled in the dialect, the script, and the "culture" from whence they came, would be in way over their heads. Perhaps you would not (and I have some linear B for you). Your Greek references are not similar to this challenge as a thousand years of scholarship preceded much research on the works you reference. The Sanskrit is another matter entirely, of course. The reality is that no person is going to lay hands on these books in the foreseeable future. Large blocks of time, invested in fantastic wonderings on them is time misspent. Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo taught us what he thought was appropriate during his time with us. None of us has gotten that right, as of yet. Time spent in this area, is time better spent. That is my point.
http://www.americansansoo.net/Forum/vie ... ?p=778#778



Yeah right! A Chinese philologist could decipher these text books in a heart beat. These texts are less than a 1,000 years old. It is a simple task for a master of Chinese philology.

What is a Philologist?
A philologist is a type of linguist, though the exact meaning of the term has changed over the years. Philology literally means "love of words," and the field often deals with literature more than other branches of linguistics do. In the modern academic world, philology is usually understood to mean the study of written texts, usually ancient ones.

It was much more common in the 19th century than it is today for a linguist to be called a philologist. Philology was the precursor to today's linguistics, which has changed to favor spoken data over written data. Comparative linguistics and historical linguistics, in which words from different languages are compared and contrasted to determine the current or historical relationships between languages, have their roots in 19th century philology.

In an earlier era, a philologist focused his or her study on language as it pertains to literature and culture. Individual words, their history, and the common history of words in different languages were also of interest to the philologist. Literary interpretations and the study of language went hand in hand; in this respect, the modern field of comparative literature can also be seen as having its roots in philology.

Today, philology is no longer concerned with literary interpretation. Rather, it is concerned with deciphering texts and with understanding language through texts ? not understanding literary texts through language. A philologist may work with little understood languages that are no longer spoken, for example when a textual record is all that is known of the language.

The modern methods of philology also began in the 19th century, notably with the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone in 1822, which paved the way for the translation of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Deciphering ancient texts is complicated by the poor physical quality of many records and the lack of consistency in the spelling and writing styles of many ancient authors and scribes. Work is ongoing on some writing systems, such as those of the ancient Mayans and the Etruscans, and some, like the notorious Linear A of the ancient Minoans, remain a complete mystery.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-philologist.htm
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copied and rebound

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:20 pm

Eric Thomson wrote:From: eric_thomson 6/28/2002 7:16 pm
To: San Soo Sifu (SanSooSifu) [3 of 8]
15.3 in reply to 15.1

The books could be less than a hundred years old; depending on how often they are used, and how well they are cared for. At the outside, I would guess that they could be about 400 years old, because that is when the Chinese started binding books like that. Now, the information in the books could be much older, if they are transcriptions of earlier texts. However, I am going to assume that Kung-Fu San Soo was under constant refinement by monks, and the Chin Family; and that the books are about 150 years old. In one of the message threads on J.P. King's IKFSSA Yahoo group, he stated that Grandpa Jimmy said the books would get old and worn out, from time to time. So, about every 100 to 150 years they would be copied and / or rebound.
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The Free Fighting Style of Kung-Fu...SAN SOO

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:56 pm

San Soo Sifu wrote:From: San Soo Sifu (SanSooSifu) 10/18/2002 6:11 am
To: ALL (1 of 6)
242.1


Inside Kung Fu magazine: August 1977 (volume 4, number 6)

The Free Fighting Style of Kung-Fu...SAN SOO

Photos by: Nancy Nishioka (Author Unknown)


Jimmy H. Woo is one of the best known and enduring kung-fu practitioners in the country. Yet age is not a characteristic easily associated with Jimmy H. Woo. His rippling muscles and sharp-featured face make him look twenty-years younger.

Although he has about 28 affiliated martial arts studios, he cannot be thought of as a ?fast buck? martial artist. For the last 43 years Jimmy H. Woo has been teaching a special kind of kung-fu (San Soo) which was handed down from his great-great grandfather and during the annual festivities in (Los Angeles) Chinatown, Woo has been granted a one-hour demonstration time for the last 17 years.

According to Woo, San Soo is not a sport, but rather a ?fighting technique.? It is based on a combination of punches, kicks, strikes, and blocking, in perfect unison directed to vital points of the human body. These techniques can be changed instantly to suit the situation and do not necessarily follow a set pattern.

The utilization of highly scientific principles of physics, leverage, concentration, and controlled breathing released at the moment of impact gives the exponent extreme power. Agility, balance, co-ordination, humility, and respect are also emphasized in San Soo.

Since the Chinese keep much of their knowledge of the art to themselves, its origin and development are very obscure. Kung-fu underwent many changes during thousands of years of evolution by many brilliant minds. About 400 years ago, it was introduced to Okinawa (Okinawa-te) and many other parts of the Far East.

It underwent a radial change, intermingling with native forms of unarmed defense, and changing from natural circular forms found in Southern China (Num Pi) to hard forms, consisting of theatrical poses like those seen more frequently in karate today.

In 1917, it again underwent another change when it came to Japan and was adapted to the Japanese culture and personality.

The art has been practiced by Jimmy H. Woo?s family for five generations beginning with his great-great grandfather who was taken in as an orphan by a monastery in China. It was there about 150 years ago, the young gung-fu practitioner obtained a book with all the secrets of San Soo. The book was then passed down to his first son, then to Woo?s grandfather?s first son, then to Jimmy H. Woo. Jimmy had the book photocopied and given to each of his brothers.

?The book,? explains Woo, ?is more or less like a law book. When you go to law school you learn from law books which are passed down to you. And the lawmakers make the law. The monks made this book and it has been passed down for generations who learn from it.?

Jimmy H. Woo is a man with a flamboyant and sometimes a violent past. He fought often and well in his younger days ? sometimes too often and too well. He says that is was a part of his life he is not proud of; a time when he was ruled by the wild feelings of his youth.

Today he says that if someone tries to tempt him into a fight, he just gives them the biggest smile and turns the other cheek. He says that he has the confidence to defend himself, if necessary, but now he has too much respect for human life to abuse and injure his fellow man with needless fighting which today he finds ?ugly.?

?Let them call me a coward,? says Woo. ?Let them call me yellow. I know I?m not. There is no need to hurt someone just to prove them a liar. But even so, if a man tries to actually fight me, I will have to act though I do not like to do so.?

What brought about the change in Woo?s attitude? ?Basically I have more confidence in myself. I began to realize that if I continued doing what I was doing I might really hurt somebody and plus I didn?t want to spend time in jail either. I began to like myself a lot better. I became older and more mature, and my outlook on life changed. My family could not believe it, I changed so much.?

Woo takes the San Soo art of fighting very seriously and does not see a place for it in sport. ?For example, say I hit you and it is a foul. I have made contact with a clean blow, but it goes against me. That is not fighting. When we fight, there are no fouls or rules; we just fight the best we know how. In China, you never have two men shake hands and walk away. One man dies or is ruined for life.?

Of San Soo, Woo makes this analogy. ?If you go to school to be a doctor, you read books which talk about medicine. You can take kung-fu all of your life, but until you?ve taken San Soo, you will not be a fighter. A lot of young people come to me to learn to be a killer, but then they train with me for about six months and their character changes completely. They become warmer and have more respect for others.?

Woo believes that the teacher is very important and admits that he is a much better teacher than he was years ago when he did not feel that way. ?Fifty years ago a couple of guys shoved an airplane down a hill because they wanted to fly. Now we go to other planets and it all came from the same basic idea. If I was smarter today in teaching my students I could teach them better. As a teacher I want to give something of value. Maybe I don?t make a person the best fighter in the world, but I give him confidence, a new outlook on life, and to me that is something of value.?

Woo feels it is very important to know the background of your instructor. During the kung-fu fad, many studios were opened by instructors who didn?t have the slightest notion of what they were doing. In his own case, five generations of kung-fu practitioners testify to Woo?s right to teach the art.

For the last eighteen years in El Monte, California, Woo has been doing just that and obviously quite effectively. Probably the most irrefutable piece of evidence is practicing what you preach. And Jimmy H. Woo, a fit, trim, muscular sixty-three year-old gentleman who has not been sick since he was nine years old, is living proof.
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HOLY GUACAMOLE!

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:05 pm

Jordan Goldman wrote:From: JordanGold 10/18/2002 12:22 pm
To: San Soo Sifu (SanSooSifu) (2 of 6)
242.2 in reply to 242.1

HOLY GUACAMOLE! I didn't know that Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo had any brothers. How many did he have, and where do they live? If he actually did photocopy the books, then we do not have to worry about them crumbling to dust any more. Let them crumble, as long as the photocopies are okay. Could we contact a brother, and see the books? Before I get too carried away by all of this; I had better take a step back and ask, can we trust that the information in this article, is correct?

The book was then passed down to his first son, then to Woo?s grandfather?s first son, then to Jimmy H. Woo. Jimmy had the book photocopied and given to each of his brothers.
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Brothers-in-law of Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:16 pm

Jason Wolfe wrote:From: ssgwolfe 4/5/2003 3:04 pm
To: JordanGold (6 of 6)
242.6 in reply to 242.2


I didn't know that Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo had any brothers. How many did he have, and where do they live?


Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo actually had two brothers-in-law (through marriage), and promoted each of them to master over 30 years ago.
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...someone outside of the family?

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:26 pm

Jeffrey P. Cornelius, Sr. wrote:From: jujiffsoo (jiffy4126) 5/2/2003 6:43 am
To: eric_thomson [4 of 8]
15.4 in reply to 15.3

From the looks of the binding that hold the books together, they are old. How old? Only the family knows for certain. I am just curious, what happened to the books? Were they entrusted to someone outside of the family?
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...he made five copies...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:18 pm

Ron Gatewood wrote:Excerpt from the...
San Soo Journal
Volume 5 Issue 4
Summer 1999
Page 6

Grand Master Woo told me he made five copies of the books and gave them to various family members.
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2 big 1 small

Postby San Soo Sifu » Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:23 am

Craig R. Bohart wrote:From: mastercraig 7/21/2000 9:13 pm
To: Sean at TMI (SeanScott1) (16 of 21)
83.16 in reply to 83.1

...the use of language in the old books (2 big 1 small) is from a time and culture long gone. ...
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...three books.

Postby San Soo Sifu » Thu Jun 12, 2008 11:24 pm

I saw only pictures of the books; and was told they were 400 years old, that is why they were sequestered. I was also told that there were three books. One about hand-to-hand combat. One about forms. One about philosophy or culture, including medicinal arts.
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Two different offers to translate the books.

Postby San Soo Sifu » Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:10 pm

Tim Cartmell wrote:Sunday, January 22, 2006; 12:13 a.m.

Like most people, I have only ever seen the picture of Jimmy H. Woo with the two books; I have never actually seen them. When I returned to the United States of America, I offered to translate some of the information in the books; but Bernice Chin Woo declined the offer.


Dan Hoffman wrote:Sunday, January 22, 2006; 10:34 p.m.

After Jimmy H. Woo died, I also offered to translate the books. Bernice Chin Woo said they were in "ancient Chinese." I wrote back informing her that I was currently (at that time) in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature, doing my degree in Chinese Literature; and I could actually do the translation as a special study class with the help of my Professor. I never heard back from her. I saw J.P. King recently, and I seem to remember him saying that he does not have access to the books.
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Translate the books?

Postby San Soo Sifu » Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:50 pm

Duong Dai Vu wrote:Friday, July 28, 2000; 04:50 p.m.

Bob Shores,
On your website it stated that Jimmy H. Woo had two original books taken from the temple. Who has them now? Did anybody think of translating them? Looking over the books we could discover how Kung-Fu San Soo being taught today; differs from the source. It would be a great comparative study.


Bob Shores wrote:Friday, July 28, 2000; 05:50 p.m.

Tim Cartmell offered to translate them, but they would not allow him to even look at the books. I find this truly sad. You are absolutely right though; the books would clear up all questions in regards to how the art is taught. Maybe someday they will make the books available, but right now it doesn't look very hopeful.
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I remember seeing the Books...

Postby San Soo Sifu » Sun Jun 22, 2008 12:33 am

Terrance Emerson wrote:1963 was the year I started with Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo in El Monte, California; when I was 16 years old. When I started, I only remember one Black Belt other than Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo; and that was Frank Woolsey. I left just before 1970. So, I only know a little bit about what Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo taught in those early days; and I had gained a modest base in the practice of the art. I, personally, remember seeing the "Books;" looking over Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo's shoulder, at the pages, as he studied them. So, I know they exist, and that they contained martial arts information.
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750 year old family teaching "Books"

Postby San Soo Sifu » Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:57 pm

Ben G. Casarez wrote:In the 1960s, Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo's great uncle Chin Siu Hung sent the 750 year old family teaching "Books" to him; since he was the rightful heir to the family lineage of Chin, and the surviving Master of the art of Kung-Fu San Soo.
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Training manuals that are over 400 years old;

Postby San Soo Sifu » Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:22 pm

Lo Sifu Chin Siu Dek (Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo) taught from Kung-Fu San Soo training manuals that are over 400 years old; and were smuggled out of China after World War II.
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Re: Ancient training manuals from the Kuan Yin monastery

Postby San Soo Sifu » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:13 pm

Richard Dinsmore wrote:Wednesday, July 13, 2011 5:46 PM

It is well known that Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo was in possession of some very old books of kung fu knowledge that came from an ancient temple in China. No one knows for sure what has become of the books but they are naturally of great interest to martial artists and historians, notably the Choy Lay Fut Museum.

These books were written in an antique style of Chinese calligraphy that can today be read by only a relative handful of scholars and historians. Even then, a direct translation would reveal something like the following, taken from an equally old Shaolin text...

The iron buffalo plows the field, and fists fly around freely.
Long rapid steps, the hand catches the tiger's eye,
the body turns like a wheeling horse and circular foot
a blue dragon wags its tail immediately.
Rush like an avalanche, rain blows like a flail upon the tiger's eye.
The heart of your feet is in your possession, the tiger and dragon of your body move freely.


Even an expert translation has little value to the martial artist, since converting this into what we know as 'a lesson' requires a thorough knowledge of the references, many of which are not only cultural, but unique to an era that is completely lost making accurate interpretation impossible. For instance in modern English " to run like a deer" means to run as fast as you can, it does mean to imitate a deer's movements. To "fight like a tiger" means to fight furiously, not to make a tiger's motions. "Mad as a hornet", "kick like a mule", "fly like a bird" or "like a bat out of hell" and others come to mind.

What did it mean to 'catch the tigers eye'? To get it's attention, or to pluck it out? We can imagine that a buffalo made of iron would walk heavily, but is that what this means? Maybe an iron buffalo is not moving at all. Turning like a wheeling horse while rotating your foot can be made sense of, but what does a wagging dragon tail refer to, and why is the dragon blue? If this passage means to stand motionless, then move quickly, distract the opponent with your hands, then a quick spinning back kick then rush in punching like mad to the eye....is that correct? What is it supposed to look like? Maybe a blue dragon has no tail, or has two, then the strike is something else. Is the rain blowing upon the tiger's eye or are the blows raining upon it? Is the tiger crying after being hit in the eye? Rush where? At the tiger, or run away? In possession of the heart of your feet could mean that you are running, or that you are now calm. Your own tiger and dragon moving freely could refer to your energies being restored to order, and now we have suddenly switched from external to internal and then whose tiger eye was caught, yours or theirs?

Perhaps the books were only mnemonic memory aids, like a cipher, useful only to those who already knew the lessons.

Without Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo having been taught to make sense of the books in his possession, none of us would have what we know as San Soo, or least not those parts that came from the books. Even so, Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo told me that he had only been through the first half of the first book, and that he struggled with the calligraphy much of the time. Even today in China people from neighboring provinces speak different dialects and will argue about what an example of writing really means and how it should be pronounced.

Imagine the problems when reaching across centuries into highly specialized manuals.
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Richard Dinsmore is no Grandmaster!

Postby RonG » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:43 pm

This is a small piece of information that I know, and have been told about Richard Dinsmore. He and a group of the Chula Vista guys signed up for both promotions in the 1980s, so they tricked Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo into giving them 2 Black Belts in one year, they attended classes on a very irregular basis. Then, I was told by an El Monte student that they tired of the trip, so they somehow decided that they got together, and promoted themselves up to Master.

Now Richard Dinsmore has promoted himself to Grandmaster, which I (and I hope no one else) will honor. He writes as if he were Jimmy H. Woo's best friend. Of course, when you are a "Grandmaster" I guess you can believe your own B.S.

Everyone should be careful of who, and what, you believe about our Art. You cannot buy Honor.
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Re: Ancient training manuals from the Kuan Yin monastery

Postby San Soo Sifu » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:18 pm

Chris McCune wrote:From: Fight4it
To: San Soo Sifu
2/14/01


Hey Guys,
The number 150 years, or 200 years, or whatever, it is a ball park figure. You are right though, I did not count the sixth and seventh generations.

As to the honor of the dead...

Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo was not there with MONK CHIN LEOUNG KICK. Perhaps, that story was passed from father to son to ... well, nephew. The stories tend to become enlarged and embellished over time.

I have worked with Chinese, and two of my black belts work with Chinese nationals on a daily basis. Tim Cartmell can verify this statement...

To save face and hold the greatest prestige, Chinese very often embellish their origins. Even to the point of fantastic improbability. If they say they are the Principal of a school, then you can think to yourself they are probably the janitor. However, being a polite American you just take their word. Well surprise, they probably are the janitor! (A scenario outlined to me by Tim Cartmell.)

I am not questioning Jimmy H. Woo's honor, but anyone can make any statement they want that is unverifiable, and stand by it. Example, Frank Dux and Bloodsport, is it truth, or just a story? See.

Any history that is accepted is usually researched and verified by many people; not just one. And even still, large groups of so-called "experts" can get it wrong.

I, personally, believe five generations back from Jimmy H. Woo is reasonable. As to the age of the books, an expert could come very close. Though, as Ron Gatewood alluded to, Jimmy H. Woo had a guess as to how old they were, and he was not an expert in the field of book dating.

J.P. King even said that Jimmy told many different stories to different family members regarding his early life, for reasons of protecting the family. What does that mean? So, for all of us not as close to Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo as his family, which story did he tell us?

Except for the 1st generation living masters (who cannot agree either on the early history, by the way); and what we all have seen unfold over the years, our history is sketchy, at best.

As to the overall age of Kung-Fu San Soo? Wow! As little as 200 years old, or as old as 2500 years old? Who knows? Not I.

Chris McCune
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Re: Ancient training manuals from the Kuan Yin monastery

Postby Ron G » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:24 am

I don't know the purpose of this post at this time, it is old news, maybe some think that what was said then is different from what is said now and it is. I believed everything I was told, kind of like you knowing what a fight is all about until you experience a few, your beliefs change. This was before I interviewed people like Warren Woo, other family and current Chinese students (interviewed by Amar). To me the books are no longer an issue, no one has heard of Leoung Kick along with other issues. I believe we squeezed the orange and there is very little juice left. Unless there are new facts revealed, I am closing my research on the origins of Kung-Fu San Soo. Time would be better spent by reviewing many of the long forgotten lessons that remain in a few of the First Generation Masters notes, I have found many I had forgotten.
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Re: Ancient training manuals from the Kuan Yin monastery

Postby San Soo Sifu » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:04 am

The purpose was italicized and highlighted in red. It has everything to do with what has been discovered and researched.

It is apropos what Chris McCune typed over 13 years ago.
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Re: Ancient training manuals from the Kuan Yin monastery

Postby Ron G » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:22 am

I see. As I said, I do not feel there was anything devious, but they were marketing ideas. Chan Sai Mo said that Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo was in the family martial school for 3 to 4 years, and if Jimmy H. Woo only had that much official Choy Lee Fut training, then Jimmy was an even greater genius than what we felt that he was. If Jimmy would have told us that Chan Yuen Woo was the family monk who was involved, then we would have discovered that we were from Choy Lee Fut, and that information Jimmy did not want publicly known. I am not sure if Chan Yuen Woo was out of the Kuan Yin monastery, which I doubt. Jimmy did not think Americans would stay with the Art for that long. When Clyde Coad asked Jimmy H. Woo what we would learn after Aikido's and Jujitsu's; Jimmy said, "that's it, you will be finished."
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Okay, the books?

Postby masterJeff » Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:29 pm

Yes, unlike other martial arts, Kung-Fu San Soo was supposed to be taught out of a set of books? Were the books real? Jack Sera told me they were; he had seen them.
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Re: Ancient training manuals from the Kuan Yin monastery

Postby Ron G » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:52 pm

The books were real, he had them, it is what they contained is the problem. Don't you think the family could increase their believability if they showed them. Do you really believe the books that Jimmy showed turned to dust in this short time. Do you believe that it is secret Monk code and no one can read them because they are so old. Ask Jack if he saw inside of them, one was in Chinese one was not. Let me clearly say Bernie and J.P. are lying to us because the story sells. Since we are from Choy Li Fut told us by his Cousin, he knew nothing else but Choy Li Fut when he left China, his first Art was Choy Li Fut. So go to the Choy Li Fut museum in China to see the books there, and that is what we originally stemmed from. I would equate finding a Leprechaun's pot of gold to finding those San Soo books.
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The mysterious "books"

Postby Dedicated Villain » Thu May 04, 2017 8:36 pm

I don't believe they ever existed. I'll give a list why...

They wouldn't allow Tim Cartmell to translate them.
They kept making ridiculous excuses (stored in a controlled temperature room, the commies will try to get them.)
And why won't Jimmy's son chime in on all this?

Also above all else, most Americans can't read Chinese, specially back then. People say they've seen the books, but the books could've been anything. They could've been Chinese cook books or poetry books. None would've been the wiser.

Why do people in the San Soo community still cling to this?
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Re: Ancient training manuals from the Kuan Yin monastery

Postby bigpappa » Fri May 05, 2017 4:11 pm

Because some people have "seen books" that Jimmy was looking at in person. I know people who have personally seen Jimmy with a book, and tell people that those were the training manuals.

The only problem is nobody knows what was actually in those books, where they came from, or how old they were. They could have been Chinese cookbooks for all that anybody knows.

So it is hard to let the myth go, because so many have seen them and believed what was said.
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