“Martial Arts saved my life. It gave me purpose, and it’s kept me grounded in a world that creates a lot of hate, and discrimination.”
I have always been the kind of person who stands up for others, wants the best for those around me, and tries to bring all my friends along with me towards success. I have seen the hardships of life through loss, homelessness and tragedy, but I have also experienced how wonderful life can be, the promises it brings with every morning that I open my eyes.
My first kung fu school taught me the value of learning to heal as well as harm. We learned pressure points for destruction, but also for healing. It was a nice balance, but I didn’t see the true value in it or my training when I was a teenager. I didn’t understand how patient and kind my first teachers were, and how much they would influence me as I aged into adulthood. Now that I’m grown and matured into the man who is president of the martial arts association I was a member of when I was a kid, I can see the value in what these incredible men put into me. How much my first teachers cared for my well-being, my emotional health, and my physical martial training is over-whelming. I owe them so much, and yet, it’s a debt they don’t accept for themselves. They merely wish me to do the same for future generations.
Accepting the role President for the Cloud Forest Chin Woo Association sounded exciting, as though I’ve finally arrived at the place I was meant to be, as if I’ve worked so hard for the position. Only I’ve come to realize that what I’ve worked and trained for isn’t the position, but the opportunity to help the martial arts community grow, and to become more grounded in the martial sciences. It seems no matter what I’ve learned in my past, I’ve only more to learn for the future. We all have much to learn from one another, and to keep the spirit of sharing and training alive within us. This is the only true way martial arts will continue to grow and strive, carrying with it the traditions of the past, and looking for the modern innovations of the present.
We are now one year passed the covid-19 pandemic, and the world seems to be bleeding from the inside out. We’ve seen loved ones lost due to covid infections and the loss we feel is tremendous. As a society, it seems we have become more violent, more judgmental, and even more isolated than we were before. We had to close the association and school down for nine months, and we felt the loss of community and our martial spirits were almost crushed. We are now opening our doors again, and students are beginning to trinkle in, slowly at first and with much fear built from what the pandemic did to us all. But there is hope, and with that hope we will begin anew, choosing to lift each other up and rebuild the martial arts community that we once had and to grow it larger with vigor energy of love and support.
This is the essence of Chin Woo, to build a strong community of people who want to be healthier, to explore the true boundaries of the human potential and to push through those boundaries to new heights of skill, speed and strength. I am the third President of the Cloud Forest Chin Woo Association Head Quarters since it was given to my Master’s Master, in 1979. The Republic of China’s Tai Chi Chuan Association appointed Grandmaster Chao Yuh Feng as Director for Yun Lin (Cloud Forest) County. Born in 1910, he trained Wu Tang Ti Pai and Bai Ma Si (White Horse Temple) Style. He then learned Tai Tzu Chang Chuan from his Uncle, Chao Jung Dao, the 34th Patriarch of the system. By the time his uncle passed, GM Chao had already inherited the system and become the 35th Patriarch.
In the early 1980’s, he moved to California with his family, and met my Sifu, David Kash, who was a student of Wong Ark Yuey, at the time. After several months of communicating with GM Wong, Feng accepted David Kash as his personal student. Grandmaster Kash became the 36th Patriarch of the Emperor’s Long Fist & Zi Ran Men Systems and accepted the Cloud Forest Chin Woo Presidency in 1995, one year before GM Feng passed away. In 2019, Gm David Kash retired from the Cloud Forest Chin Woo Presidency, and I accepted the role with hopes of leading the association into a new modern world filled with technology, and new emerging ideas of martial study. In 2020, he also accepted me as the 38th Patriarch of Emperor’s Long Fist & Zi Ran Men Systems of Kung Fu, along with the Taoist systems he teaches.
Now here I am, typing away what I hope is an interesting biography for everyone, so that they can know me and understand me a bit more. In truth, I am a simple person, who loves teaching martial arts. I've never had interest in being the toughest, or the strongest or even the best fighter. I am very proud of my students when they surpass me in skill, and I hope that I continue to keep that humbleness about me well into my old age. There is freedom in just wanting to pass down the traditions of an art, it takes the stress of ego out of the picture and let's me just ‘play' every day that I'm at work. I've been a healer professionally for almost 20 years now, and sometimes it takes me a few moments to realize that I've been training to harm people for an additional decade. For a student of war, who loves well-performed violence, I don't have any good feelings towards hatred, or discrimination or bullying. I find these acts shameful, dishonorable and worthy to be wiped out through better education, martial arts training for self-esteem and reinforcement of self-confidence building drills. People are so angry because there is so much fear in them. There's a lot to be afaid of, but with continued perserverance from those in charge of such things, we can train up our future generations not be be so afraid.