Greg Jones wrote:History, at best, can only be known with a high degree of probability.
I know for some people, no amount of "evidence" will be enough for them.
"A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still."
However, be that as it may...
Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo
(Lo Si Fu Chin Siu Dek; Sei-yap or Toisanese)
(Lau Si Fu Chan Sau Zoek; Cantonese)
(Lao Shi Fu Chen Shou Jue; Mandarin)
...spoke often of his great uncle Chin Siu Hung (Sei-yap or Toisanese) - Chan Shui Hung (Cantonese; Hong Kong) - Chen Shou Xiong (Mandarin; Beijing).
Great uncle Chin Siu Hung was Jimmy H. Woo's (Chin Siu Dek's) primary instructor when Jimmy was growing up (although not his *only* instructor; other family members assisted too).
This article was first written in 1982 by Sam Silva. I have a Xerox, hard copy of the original article.
Sam Silva wrote:"Fight to Live" ... The Legacy of Jimmy H. Woo
By Master Sam Silva
?You can take my life, but not my confidence.?--- Jimmy H. Woo
In recent years because of media exposure, the words ?Kung Fu? have become a familiar household term indicative of Chinese Self Defense. However, this exposure through television and movies has caused misinformation and misconception. Unlike many people believe, Kung Fu is not one specific method of self defense. In China there are many different styles of Kung Fu. For that reason distinct terms differentiate the various kinds. Among all the styles, Kung Fu ?San Soo? stands alone and is unique because it deals solely with fighting. Literally translated it means ?a man learned, articulate and active in the use of his hands in combat with another man.? On viewing the techniques of San Soo, people frequently provide a more contemporary description of San Soo as ?a scientific method of street fighting.?
San Soo began at a Quan Yem monastery in Hoy Song, Canton many centuries ago. The priests (monks) of that monastery went throughout the countryside sharing their religious teachings and conducting religious services in surrounding towns and villages.
The people presented offerings to the priests to take back to their monastery in appreciation for their teachings. Those offerings contributed to the priests survival because they did not work the land as the ?common man? did. Whether the offerings consisted of food, clothing or money, the priests being able to deliver those goods was paramount to the survival of the monastery. Throughout the land it was common knowledge these Quan Yem priests traveled unarmed and unprotected while carrying valuables to the monastery. Knowing this, bandits often lay in wait, targeting the priests for robbery and often death.
Outside the towns and villages there was no law to depend on. No one whom the priests could call for help. Many of the priest fell prey to these bandits. Obviously they faced a dilemma:
The only way they could survive depended on the offerings reaching the monastery. The only way they could get the offerings to their monastery would be to overcome their attackers. The Quan Yem priests came to a certain understanding: ?They had to fight to live!?
Because their religion did not allow them to carry weapons, they knew their only effective tool lay in the use of their body. The monks knew if they were to rely on their bodies, they must develop and organize a method of unarmed combat. Their attackers would have no pity on them. Combat would often be to the death. It would boil down to ?my life or yours.? Therefore movements had to be fast and swift; deadly or immediately incapacitating despite the attackers size or number of opponents. Experience showed the priests would fight both armed and unarmed multiple attackers. Often they would be alone when attacked. Help would not be available. Common sense dictated offensive and not defensive fighting would be the norm . Literally hundreds of monks over many generations trained continuously toward perfection of that goal. Together, hundreds of men training every day throughout their lifetime provided the result known today as Kung Fu San Soo.
As the art was being perfected, its teachings were kept exclusively in the monastery and taught to all new priests for their protection. One day, about five generations ago, one priest left the monastery. Returning to the ?outside? world, he took with him the training and experience he had gained as a fighter. Additionally, he took two very thick, hand written books from the monastery. Books containing an unimaginable wealth of information dealing with all aspects of the art of San Soo.
(Authors Note -- I once asked Jimmy how his relative came into possession of the books? Because of their value and the fact he had taken them from the monastery, I asked if they were stolen? Jimmy was noncommital. Shrugging his shoulders he stated, ?Maybe, I don?t know. Could be.? The books are still in the family?s possession today.)
When the priest left the monastery, he returned to his family. Knowing the power of the weapon he possessed by knowing this art, he decided to keep the art secret. He taught only members of his family, after swearing them to secrecy. They in turn passed down the art within the family from generation to generation, from father to son, uncle to nephew and cousin to cousin.
Finally, a man and his wife belonging to this family made a vow. They promised that their second born son would dedicate his life to the continuance of the art. This son was later born and he followed his preplanned destiny.
As the great-great grandson of the priest who originally left the monastery, this boy began his formal training when he was seven years old. Now, grown into manhood, he has been actively involved in the Art for more than 50 years.
We know this man in the United States as Jimmy H. Woo.
The following are excerpts from stories told to this author by Jimmy H. Woo. Many incidents are placed in chronological order for easy understanding by the reader.
?When I was about five or six years old, my relatives used to teach me little ?tricks? about fighting, but nothing really big.
I was seven years old when my formal training began. Initially, I learned body form movements. We called them ?form.? A form consists of a series of movements done to teach stepping, striking, kicking, balance and body movement. I remember as a little guy, I used to go to the marketplace of my village and do form for entertainment to earn pennies from onlookers to buy sweets with. As I got older, I was taught fighting techniques. My little uncle . . . I called him that because he was a couple of years younger than me . . . and I used to train together. Not only did we train together, we also fought with each other continually as kids. If I didn?t have a black eye . . . he did. If I didn?t have a bloody nose then he did. Believe it or not we were best friends. When trouble met up with one of us, the other always came to help.
That guy, I really liked him. When we grew up, he stayed in China and became the leader of a village. During World War II the Japanese invaded his village. They tried to push him around and he got into a fight with one of the Japanese soldiers. He killed the soldier with his bare hands. When he did, he was shot down by some other soldiers. My great-uncle, Chin Sue Hung, taught me most of what I know. He was the head of what you call an ?organized gang? in the area we lived. He also taught the family Art to my relatives and me.
Over in China, the only tournaments they had were fights where the loser was killed or crippled. A man would post a notice of challenge in the town square. It would read something like ?My life or yours!? Anyone who accepted the challenge would write on the notice ?I accept? and list his name, time and date for the fight.
A stage would be built in the town square and at the specified time, the opponents would meet. No bowing, no referee, they just began fighting. Within 10 seconds the winner would walk away and the loser would be carried away.
My uncle fought many of these matches. He was known for having killed many men in this time.
One of the many things my uncle taught me was offensive psychology. He was a fighter and that was how he trained me. When I was a kid, he always had me fighting. He would see some kid standing around and say to me, ?Don?t let that kid look at you like that . . . go get him.? It didn?t matter if the kid were bigger or stronger, my uncle would push me into the fight. Much of the time he was pitting me against much older boys. I used to get hurt a lot and when I?d approach my uncle crying, he?d say, ?Stop crying . . . you?re not hurt.? As time went on, I learned not to expect sympathy from him. As I was growing up, I was fighting every day. I?d fight anyone, anytime at the drop of a hat. My grandmother told me when I was about nine years old if I could go one week without a black eye, cut lip, bloody nose or any marks from a fight, she?d buy me ?anything.? Anything in the world I wanted she would buy me. No matter how expensive I could have anything, she promised. When I left China, I was about 21 years old and I still hadn?t got my grandmothers? present.
While still in China, as time passed, I became my uncle?s favorite. He spent a lot of time perfecting my training. Of course, the country I grew up in wasn?t like here in the United States. It was a different culture with different values.
People there respected force and fear. My uncle made sure I was extremely proficient in each.
I trained week long in the art and in perfecting my body. When I was 20 years old, I stood five feet, eight inches tall, weighed 185 pounds and had a 25-inch waist. (At the time of this story, Jimmy had the physique of a man 25 years younger.)
Not being too smart, I used to fight all the time. Fists, feet, knives, clubs, one person, several people, I didn?t care how many or what they had, I?d fight all the time. I had so much confidence. I thought nothing could hurt me.
Lots of time I?d get arrested for fighting and taken to jail. My family was so powerful, so influential, that I was never kept there. The police would take me in the front door and walk me directly out the back. For all the wildness I got in, and all the confidence I had, I was rebellious to my father. I refused to go to school and things like that. In the end, my father sent me to the United States to get rid of me. Some of my family was living in the Chinatown section of Los Angeles and that?s how I settled here.
After coming here I continued to fight. I didn?t have any money and couldn?t get a job. I used to wander the streets doing things a person in that situation usually does. I was such a trouble maker, fighting all the time. If I saw one of my relatives walking toward me on the sidewalk, once they saw me, they usually crossed the street so they wouldn?t be seen with me.
I finally got a job washing dishes. I worked hard, long hours and began getting other small jobs. There were times I would work two full time jobs a day. As time went on I held a variety of jobs and even owned a couple of restaurants.
I also got into selling produce to restaurants and that?s how I got this (pointing to a deep scar on his forearm). I went into the kitchen of a restaurant one time and asked to see the owner to try and sell some of my produce. The cook refused to let me see the owner and began saying bad things to me for no reason. All of a sudden, he picked up a meat clever and tried to hit me with it. I had to block quick to keep it from splitting my head. It cut into my forearm and left this scar. I hit him with an upper cut to the throat and he spun around and fell face first into a vat of boiling deep fry grease.
It later turned out the cook was wanted (by the law) in several states for a murder and several stabbings. I spend a lot of hours on an operating table so they could save my arm. But it was either that or let him kill me.
Because this art isn?t taught nationwide yet, not many people know about it. Actually, in a way, its still what you could call a secret art.
This style is based on combination techniques. These combinations can be changed instantly to suit a situation. They don?t follow a set routine. The combinations consist of punches, strikes, kicks and leverage moves; all done to the many weak spots of the human body.
These spots are classified as nerve points and pass points. Nerve points are temporarily incapacitating or can result in broken/dislocated bones. Pass points result in death or permanent crippling. No matter how big or strong a person is, these are vulnerable points. Points that cannot be protected by body mass or muscle.
If I poke you in the eyes, I don?t care how tough you are. It?s going to blind you. If you can?t see me, you can?t hurt me. There are many spots like this on the human body, not just a couple.
In this art we have no rules or regulations. In a street fight there are no judges or referees. Anything goes ... my life or yours. We don?t go into a stance before we fight or imitate any animals. You move from any position you?re in. Go into a stance and you waste time. Time that could have been spent hitting your attacker and ending the fight. Go into a stance and there is no question that you are going to fight, you lose the element of surprise.
Using a combination of proper breath control and body movement, your power is increased greatly. You continually step in on your opponent. Don?t give him a chance to recover. Strike until he goes down and if need be, follow up while he is on the ground. If you allow him to get up, he will not hesitate to try and hurt you. If you go down he will not give you a chance to get up.
This style is a pure fighting art. For fighting only and nothing else. What you call ?street fighting.?
This is not for tournament or sport, it is for survival.
So many people ask me about tournaments. Too many people think of fighting as something romantic. Something to play at and receive trophies for. This style is for fighting, nothing else. A fight is ugly. A man gets hurt, he bleeds, screams in pain, goes into convulsions, all sorts of things.
I remember back in the late 1950's. I received an invitation to a tournament in San Francisco. The sponsors said all proceeds would go to a United Nations Children?s Benefit. My English was still bad and the only tournaments I knew were the death matches in China. I decided to go because of what they said about the children.
The tournament was in a large gym with four rings in action all the time. I got called up and faced some black belt. The referee said ?GO!? and my opponent stepped back into a karate stance. As he did, I stepped up and to the side. I roundhouse kicked him in the kidney and then backhanded him to the nose. He went down and blood was flying everywhere.
The referee and a bunch of officials ran up blowing their whistles and yelling at me, saying that there was not supposed to be any contact. I tried to explain to them that this was the way I fight, but they ignored me. They took the guy away and cleaned up the mat.
Later they called me up again. When they did, the whole gym got quiet and everyone was watching me. I faced another black belt. (When the referee said ?GO!?) This time I knee him up to the groin and lifted him about two inches off the ground. I followed up with a backhand to the side of the neck, knocking him unconscious.
I got thrown out of the tournament then. I tried to explain that the style of San Soo allowed me no other way to act. I asked to be allowed to talk to the audience, to explain to them why I did what I did; but the tournament official wouldn?t let me.
A fight is a fight. It?s my life or yours! If you win, you might kill me. I fall down and crush my skull on the sidewalk, then I die. You break my nose or put out my eye then I?m ruined for life. I can?t honestly do less than my best and in a fight my best is to win.
In about 1959 I opened a school and began teaching San Soo to anyone who wanted to learn. Then I had to advertise it as Kung Fu San Soo Karate so people would have some idea what I was teaching. It wasn?t until many years later that the public became aware of Kung Fu.
Now, I?ve been teaching for over 20 years. I have an Association of 23 studios throughout the Southern California area that are comprised of my black belt instructors.
There are studio?s teaching San Soo in this area that don?t belong to my Association. In those cases it is the student who suffers. My Association guarantees that instruction is correct and the student is learning the Art right and not some mixed up version thought up by some so called ?expert.?
To me, teaching is a rewarding experience. My students have ranged the full spectrum. Movie stars, lawyers, doctors, police officers, college students, all sorts of people. They learn and in turn usually show a few moves to their wives, families or anyone they care about. I?ve been told a lot of times that as a result, someone was able to fight off an attacker because of this.
It gives me a good feeling to know that the art is used constructively. My teachings have helped many people. I made so many mistakes growing up, now I?m able to rectify a few of them.
As I got older, I also got wiser. I know now the things I did when I was young were not right. I?m not proud of many of the things I did, but like anything else, they were part of a growing experience.
I have many students I?ve almost raised. Students who have been with me since they were kids and now they?re married with families of their own. I tell them all the same thing. When you do something, do your best. If it?s fighting or your everyday life, treat people like you would want them to treat you. Don?t start trouble, but always stand up for yourself and your beliefs. If you don?t want to fight, walk away. But if your opponent tries to hurt you as you do, turn around and take him out. Don?t give him a chance.
Always remember: ?You can take my life, but not my confidence.?
Authors Note --
I began my initial training in San Soo just prior to my 18th birthday under one of Jimmy?s students. When I was 19 and a half, (around 1971) I began training under Jimmy. In 1982 I wanted to document some of the many things Jimmy had shared with me. To do that I wrote this article. When the article was completed, I read it to Jimmy. Jimmy had me make changes where appropriate to ensure accuracy.
In this rewrite of that original article, I have changed the introduction to make for easier reading. Additionally, I have corrected grammar. Jimmy?s statements are verbatim to the original article except for several small structural changes made so his statements would be easier to understand.
Jimmy passed away in 1991 from natural causes. At the time of his death, he had been both a fighter and involved in the art almost 70 years.
Just prior to his death, one of Jimmy?s students shared a simple truth with him. Jesus Christ had died for Jimmy?s sins. As the student shared, Jimmy learned despite his past God?s forgiveness and unconditional love (grace) were available to him.
Understanding the ultimate sacrifice Christ paid for him, Jimmy Woo, the fighter. Jimmy Woo, the man of violence who feared no one. Jimmy Woo, who had been taught from the time he was a little boy to be tough and strong; broke down and cried. Jimmy confessed Jesus as his Savior and committed his life to Him.
For Jimmy?s students who have also committed their lives to Christ, his wife Bernie, his children and grandson ?J.P.? who carries on the family tradition; I dedicate the rewriting of this story.
Today, when we refer to Jimmy?s death we do not use the term ?We lost Jimmy.? Jimmy isn?t lost because we know where he is. When we talk about Jimmy, those of us who trained at his El Monte school can picture him standing in the foyer of the studio. Waving to us as he walks out the door, he smiles. As he leaves, he says three basic words that now take on a new meaning in the Christian life . . . the words . . . ?See you later!?
The important point here to remember is that Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo was talking to his students about his great uncle Chin Siu Hung since *before* 1982, and the age of the Internet. (Jimmy died in 1991 from old age.)
Now, here is a link to an old web page, using the way back machine.
http://web.archive.org/web/200103100120 ... rigins.htm
Paul Chan wrote:In the last two years alone, he (Paul Chan) has visited Master Chan Sai Mo in Guangdong province. Chan Sai Mo is the son of Chan Shui Hung, the latter of which was the stepson of Chan Heung.
Look at this old web page, which also was from the way back machine. It has Chan Shui Hung and Chan Sai Mo listed on the lineage chart.
http://web.archive.org/web/200103100118 ... ineage.htm
Chan Sai Mo (Chen Shi Wu; Mandarin) is the son of Chan Shui Hung; and Chan Shui Hung was Jimmy H. Woo's great uncle. Chan Sai Mo is Jimmy H. Woo's second cousin.
Let me repeat the obvious, Chin Siu Hung - Chan Shui Hung - Chen Shou Xiong was the great uncle of Chin Siu Dek - Chan Sau Zoek - Chen Shou Jue (Jimmy H. Woo).
Can you follow all of that, or are you a low functioning dillweed?
A few years ago, I was able to find the following message thread at this URL link (no longer valid, though):
http://www.clfma.com/modules.php?op=mod ... pic=158&11
A poster asked about the relationship of Chin Siu Hung to Chan Heung.
Joe Keit wrote:I read somewhere about a CLF sifu named Chan Siu Hung. He was supposed to be Chan Hueng's stepson.
Here is part of the answer by the forum moderator (Howard Choy)...
Howard Choy wrote:Chan Siu Hung was not a stepson of Chan Heung, but an adopted son, and he was such a model disciple that Chapter 46 of The History of Choy Lee Fut, written by Chan Yiu Chi was devoted to him.
He was well known for his diligence and perseverance in practice and for his loyalty and moral behaviour. Chan Heung and Chan Koon Pak often talked about him and he was treated like a family member.
He was born poor not knowing his parents and worked as a repairer of carrying baskets. Chan Heung not only taught him Martial Arts but also medicine and gave him the name Chan Siu Hung. Through his own effect he became first a dit-da doctor and sold herbal medicine in the street with his martial skill. Later he had his own clinic and Choy Lee Fut school in Toishan. His specialty was steel chain whip (yuen bin) and the rope dart (fei tor).
Reading of all of this caused myself to request a copy of that book, The History of Choy Lee Fut written by Chan Yiu Chi.
Howard Choy gave a reply, which part of it is as follows...
Howard Choy wrote:Sifu Jon Surritt, like others, has asked for a copy of Chan Yiu Chi manuscript The History of Choy Lee Fut where the mention of Chan Siu Hung appeared. Unfortunately, it is not available to the public. However, I will try to do a full translation of Chapter 46 and post it here in the near future.
Chan Yiu Chi wrote:The History of Choy Lee Fut (chapter 46) written by Chan Yiu Chi.
Translated by Sisuk Howard Choy, July 2002.
(Chan Siu Hung) practiced his skills with perseverance and attached importance to loyalty and righteousness. Unlike others, he practiced relentlessly and believed nothing is impossible if a person puts his mind to it.
Chan Siu Hung was nicknamed ?Dian Chi? (or Crazy ?Chi? ? Chi was a man of antiquity who feared that the sky would fall). He worked as a repairer of carry-baskets and first studied with my father (Chan Koon Pak) at Chow Yung Jo (a village in Xin Hui). His patience and loyalty impressed my father so much that after many years of tuition he was not only taught the Kung-Fu skills but also herbal medicine and Dit-Da.
(Chan Koon Pak) suggested that he should change his profession to selling medicine in the street, and gave him the name Siu Hung. He became quite well-known in the surrounding district but was always courteous and respectful, and never used his skills to showoff. He always acknowledged Chan Heung Gung as his Si-Jo and Chan Koon Pak as his Sifu.
Later he retired from ?traveling the lakes and rivers? and settled down in Toi-Shan City, Sai-Yup County. I have heard that his specialty was the ?Yuen Bin? (Chain Whip) and ?Fei Tor? (Rope Dart).
(Chan Siu Hung demonstrates that) if a person can study continuously and is of good faith and character, he can become a useful person.
(Here is where you can find Howard Choy's translation, plus a copy of the original Chinese characters written by Chan Yiu Chi):
http://www.taishan.com/english/research ... iuhung.htm
Also, if you use the way back machine for this old web page, you will see Chan Siu Hung's name listed on it, on page 2, under Chan Koon Pak's lineage.
http://web.archive.org/web/200511031620 ... neages.pdf
Here are some interrelated lineage charts from the people who support & promote the area of Taishan, China.
http://www.taishan.com/english/research ... e/tree.htm
http://www.taishan.com/english/research ... /tree1.htm
http://www.taishan.com/english/research ... /tree2.htm
http://www.taishan.com/english/research ... /tree3.htm
http://www.taishan.com/english/research ... /tree4.htm
http://www.taishan.com/english/research ... /tree5.htm
http://www.taishan.com/english/research ... /tree6.htm
I wanted to add that the Taishan.com interrelated lineage charts also have linking icons where possible.
For what it's worth, on this web page of Taishan.com:
Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo (Lo Sifu Chin Siu Dek) is listed fourth on a list of important people to have immigrated from Taishan, China.
For those who are intellectually honest, then maybe at least I have provided you with some food for thought.
For those who are *not* intellectually honest, or for those who are low functioning, then there is nothing more I can do for you. Besides, you're not worth my time, nor my effort, anyway. You truly are beneath me, and beneath everyone who practices Kung-Fu San Soo. You are a bug to be squashed, like the pissant that you are!
Final note, Kung-Fu San Soo (Tsoi Li Hoi Fut Hung Kung-Fu San Soo) is far, far superior to modern day Choy Lee Fut. Modern day Choy Lee Fut is nothing more than people dancing & prancing around doing forms, thinking they know how to fight, when in actuality, the Chinese "Si Gung" hasn't let them into his "inner circle" or "inner chamber" of trusted students (and he probably never will); ERGO (therefore), they haven't been shown real hand to hand combat (and probably never will).
Tsoi Li Hoi Fut Hung Kung-Fu San Soo teaches real hand to hand combat from day one. Modern day Choy Lee Fut teaches pretty forms to win trophies at worthless kung-fu tournaments (and how to act like a pseudo-tough guy on the Internet).
Copyright © 1995 Jon Surritt. All Rights Reserved.