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A FIGHTER'S GUIDE TO LEARNING KUNG-FU SAN SOO

Observations and Professional Insights
by Master Paul H. Borisoff

  · Make the most of your 
    practice time.

  · Enhance your martial art
    workout.

  · Improve your mental focus

  · Increase your technical
    proficiency

  · Build your confidence

 

 
 
 

Table of Contents

Foreword:  In the Valley, Since 1978
Topics:

1.    Art and Kung-Fu San Soo
2.    What is Kung-Fu San Soo?
3.    How We Train
4.    The Derivation of Power
5.    Perception and Speed:  Critical Concepts
6.    Kung-Fu San Soo:  The Language of Fighting
7.    The Articulate Fighter:  Flexible vs. Patterned Thinking
8.    Why We Pay So Much Attention to "The Basics"
9.    Humility and Respect in the Workout
10.  Accuracy and Control in the Workout by Master Ron Gatewood
11.  Simulating Movement
12.  Some Additional Thoughts on "Working Out"
13.  Tough Guy, Talk
14.  Fun and Play in the Workout
15.  Working in Your Own Element
16.  The Element of Surprise
17.  Using the Conscious and Sub-Conscious Mind
18.  A Modified Approach to Learning
19.  Basing Out Lessons. But, Based on What?
20.  San Soo:  Old Vs. New
21.  Should a Student use Techniques from Other Sources?
22.  Footwork and Stances
23.  The Basic Eight Stances
24.  Commitment of Body Weight. How to "Step"
25.  Shifting Horses
26.  The delivery of Roundhouse and Straight Punches
27.  "Look up in the sky"... "It's a punch"… "It's a block"
28.  Circular Movement
29.  Complete Movement vs. Shortcut Movement
30.  Position, a Critical Part of Good Punching and Leverage Technique
31.  Off-Angle Fighting
32.  Using Pre-arranged, Patterned Blocking and Punching Sets
33.  Mastery Unrealized
34.  The Search for Knowledge and Truths

Acknowledgements:
  Celebrating Our 39th Year
 

 

 
 

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In the Valley, Since 1978

........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! .......

.......With the 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 and coming.........

 
Master Charles W. Cory, Paul H. Borisoff and Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo – 1986


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 creatively........

........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........

........The more 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 fighter........

........The 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 spontaneous assault........

........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 hand.


Circular Movement

The geometry of Kung-Fu San Soo is predominantly circular.  Stepping, blocking and punching technique necessarily follow circular paths........

........The shortest 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.

 

 Example 3

 

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.

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007, Revised 2015 by Paul H. Borisoff, Master

 


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