In the Valley,
........I began my study of Kung-Fu San Soo with Sifu Charles W. Cory,
in July, 1975. Kung-Fu was enormously popular and the business
opportunity was great for the community at large. I opened my studio in
Northridge, California in 1978. With Bruce Lee’s vast popularity and the
success of the Kung-Fu series on TV, finding students was not a problem.
Perspectives, "Lookie Lous," as we called them, came in to check out
classes in droves. At my opening, Sifu Cory wished me luck, but added
that I wouldn’t need it. He was right........
.......As was usual for the martial arts at that time,
and in particular for Kung-Fu San Soo, workouts were pretty physical.
I think back to how we worked out, and from the perspective of the
2000s, wonder how we survived the lawyers. There were so many students,
and if you didn’t care for one, you just threw him out or gave him an
extra whack. People being people, some were teachable and enjoyable and
others were, well you know… challenging! .......
passing of Jimmy H. Woo and what I believe is an uncertain future for
San Soo as a whole, I feel that presenting the tried and true ideas,
which have been most helpful to me, may be of great assistance to our up
Master Charles W. Cory, Paul H. Borisoff and Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo –
Kung-Fu San Soo: A Fighting Language
........In our day-to-day use of language,
single words may suffice to make a statement. Yelling “stop” or
“don’t”, saying “yep” or “nope”, frequently does the trick. Similarly,
in fighting, a punch in the nose or a stomp on his toes will do the
job. However, an "articulate fighter" uses his technique more
........Kung-Fu San Soo can be thought of as a language. When one uses
oneself, the brain processes a fighting vocabulary of kicks punches,
etc. and organizes them into a variety of “fighting phrases”. In fact,
rather than executing long, memorized, pre-arranged patterns, the human
mind can superbly issue out groups of organized, meaningful and
purposeful movements: one movement setting up the next........
expert the use of this fighting language, the more it can be said that a
person is “articulate”. The better that one uses oneself, doing what
one wants to do, the better and more effective one is as a
execution of a set pattern, in the martial arts, can be likened to a
generic behavior or trick, performed by a dog, and lacking an automatic,
unique and appropriate response ... Rote,
memorized patterned fighting rarely addresses or can deal effectively with a
........So, good San Soo is not the incessant repetition of a memorized,
well-worn repertoire. It is instead the dynamic and spontaneous use of
effective and efficient fighting ideas. And the San Soo Practitioner
uses these fighting ideas in specific ways to accomplish the task at
The geometry of Kung-Fu San Soo is predominantly circular. Stepping,
blocking and punching technique necessarily follow circular
distance between two points may be a straight line, but circular paths
must be utilized to clear punches, navigate a variety of target
obstructions, and open gates to access targets in a more surreptitious
or blind-side manner.........
Progressive Pivot or 'Hop Around'
.........This is an
example of a pendular rotation. The left foot moves in a circular
step to a point (x), forward, as the upper body rotates 180 degrees
clockwise and faces the starting point. Then the right foot
describes a large half circle and stops at a point on horse behind the
left foot. At this point, the fighter is in a left cross stance
facing the starting point. This pattern is called a progressive
pivot. This is an example of pendular rotation. The body
rotates around the left foot which bears the full weight of the body.
The Search for Knowledge and Truths
........As the Kung-Fu San Soo practitioner studies the many varied
lessons of our fine art, one might take a moment to read between the
lines and reflect on the hard work and sacrifice that went into the
creation and evolution of our system. Man has always fought against man
since the beginning of time, and learned from their successes and
failures. Most people understand that conflict and disagreement are
part of the human condition. Peace to any meaningful degree will only
come though the search for humility, respect, and understanding. The
ancient monks of China knew this well and so, developed Kung-Fu San Soo.