Twenty Five Years of Kung Fu Tai Chi

By Gene Ching

A quarter-century might seem insignificant in the grand scope of the thousands of years of Chinese martial arts history.  However, modern times are accelerating at an alarming rate, so a lot has happened in the past twenty-five years.  In 1992, when Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine began, Bill Clinton defeated George W. Bush and Ross Perot for the U.S. Presidency and Yang Shangkun was the 4th President of the People's Republic of China.  Hong Kong and Macao were not under China’s sovereignty and it was only the third time that the People’s Republic of China participated in the Summer Olympic Games.  The World Wide Web had just been opened to the general public.  There were only three Star Wars films and Michelle Yeoh made her return to filmmaking after a half-decade absence in Police Story 3: Supercop with Jackie Chan.  So many things taken for granted nowadays had yet to be invented.  There was no iPhone, no smart tablets, no MMA or UFC, no Marvel Cinematic Studios, and no hybrid or electric cars.

Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine began in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1992.  This is the most dense and diverse region for all styles of martial arts in the United States of America.  From Bruce Lee to the Shaolin Monks, the majority of influential Chinese martial pioneers came to America through the Golden Gate.  Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine is the only American newsstand magazine exclusively devoted to the full scope of Chinese martial arts.  Today Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine is the largest in print on American newsstands with the most pages of any martial arts magazine.

Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine is published under the auspices of Tiger Claw Martial Arts Supplies.  Tiger Claw was also founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1985.  Tiger Claw has risen to become one of the largest suppliers of martial arts equipment in the nation, with offices in California and Tennessee, serving all styles of martial arts, Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Taekwondo, Karate, Judo, MMA, and everything else.

Accordingly, Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine is published by TC Media International, a subdivision of Tiger Claw founded in 1993.  Gigi Oh is President of TC Media International.  Beyond Kung Fu Tai Chi, TC Media International also oversees, a retail outlet for Tiger Claw gear and some other independent martial arts equipment providers. was originally founded as a mail-order print catalog but became a leading online store in 1995.  Now housed in Tiger Claw's Tennessee warehouse, is the primary sponsor of Kung Fu Tai Chi.

Wushu Kung Fu Magazine January 1992Gigi Oh became Publisher of Kung Fu Tai Chi in 1994.  The rest of the TC Media International staff, including Associate Publisher Gene Ching, and Graphic Artists Kevin Ho and Patrick Lugo, have all been with Kung Fu Tai Chi since 2000.  Beyond production and publication of Kung Fu Tai Chi, this core staff also provides graphic art, technical writing, promotion development and consulting services for martial arts and martial artists.  This includes every aspect of the business, from designing logos, uniforms, medals and trophies, developing instructional and promotional videos, assisting with school pamphlets, tournament programs, and marketing campaign, to anything else a martial arts school might need.

Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine was originally titled Wushu Kungfu, and eventually was retitled Wushu Kungfu Qigong before settling on Kung Fu Tai Chi.  Both Wushu and Qigong were not terms common to the American vocabulary.  They still are not in the common vernacular.  This caused problems when the newsstand distribution network couldn’t even say the title properly, so Kung Fu Tai Chi kept the two terms most Americans recognized best.

Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine began as a quarterly, alternating TC Media International's other two titles at the time – Dojo, which focused on Japanese martial arts, and Dojang, which focused on Korean styles.  By alternating these three quarterly magazines, TC Media International had a fresh issue on the newsstands every month.  Dojo published ten issues from 1993 to 1996.  Dojang published eight issues from 1994 to 1996.  In 1996, Dojo and Dojang were merged into World of Martial Arts, which focused on all non-Chinese styles of martial arts.   Both World of Martial Arts and Kung Fu Tai Chi went bimonthly, alternating on the newsstands every month until 1999 when World of Martial Arts ceased publication and Kung Fu Tai Chi became the sole magazine of TC Media International.

Dojo MagazineDojang MagazineWorld of Martial Arts magazine

For the year 2000, Kung Fu Tai Chi was a monthly newsstand magazine.  It went back to bimonthly the following year to make room for a new publishing platform – the internet.  In 2001, Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine launched its official website, has grown into one of the largest martial arts websites in English.  It hosts an online discussion forum with nearly 23,000 members and well over a million posts, all in a searchable database. posts new exclusive material every week including movie reviews, bi-weekly sweepstake contests, videos and more. also supports social media platforms like Facebook, currently with over half a million 'likes', Twitter with nearly 14,000 followers, MySpace, and Google+. also has its own YouTube channel which currently has over 13,000 subscribers and 3 million views.

In 2001, Tiger Claw established the Tiger Claw Foundation in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy.  Tiger Claw has a long history of contributing to the martial arts community with financial aid, gear and promotions.  It has always been the intention of Tiger Claw to give as much support to the athletes and the arts as possible with their direct donations.  This spirit of grassroots funding has been a guiding objective for Tiger Claw throughout its existence.  On that tragic day of 9/11, Tiger Claw had just received its supply of American flags.  By strange coincidence, appeared in the top ten as a source of flags in a major internet search engine.  The flag inventory, which would have usually lasted two years, was sold out instantly.  Tiger Claw decided to donate the proceeds of the sales directly to the Red Cross.  More patriotic goods, such as mugs and t-shirts, were created solely to generate more funds for this cause.  After the sales rush subsided, Tiger Claw reviewed its history of charitable contributions and it was determined that a formal non-profit foundation must be established to continue our grassroots support efforts.  The Tiger Claw Foundation enables Tiger Claw to go beyond responding to multiple requests for contributions, and proactively provide extensive community support to creative endeavors in the arts.

The following year, 2002, marked the 10th anniversary of Kung Fu Tai Chi.  The Tiger Claw Foundation held a Benefit Gala for its special committee, the Friends of Wushu, and raised $20,000.  The Friends of Wushu supported the U.S.A. Team to the Wushu Tournament Beijing on August 21–25, 2008, at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing, China, along with USA Wushu and Sanshou Team members for the 7th World Wushu Games in Macao, with direct donations to the athletes.  The Gala attracted leading grandmasters and masters from all around the world in a unique showcase of Chinese martial arts.

In 2006, Tiger Claw began venturing into promoting tournaments by launching the Tiger Claw Elite Championship.  It was a cooperative effort between Tiger Claw and Disney that featured Chinese, Korean and Japanese martial arts.  For three consecutive years, the Tiger Claw Elite Championships nested its competition within various tournaments across the nation, beginning with a season opener at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, early in the year.  Over the summer, it crossed the country through a dozen different tournaments.  Winners qualified to compete in the finals at the end of the year, held in Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando, Florida.

Disney's Wide World of Sports complex

The final year with Disney took a different turn.  In 2008, the Tiger Claw Elite Championships were held in Santa Clara, California, but in response to the tragic Sichuan earthquake that struck just prior to the tournament, it transformed into a massive fundraiser, Martial Arts Benefit for Quake Victims.  The leading San Francisco Bay Area Chinese martial arts schools came out and put on a tremendous benefit performance show, raising over $73,000, all of which was donated to construct a new school in Sichuan.  After that, the Tiger Claw Elite Championship went on hiatus.

In the wake of the success of the Tiger Claw Elite Championship, the local Chinese martial arts community clamored for continuation, so Tiger Claw launched Tiger Claw Elite Championship in 2009.  Held under the gargantuan 80,000 square-foot canopy of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center’s South Hall, it was a cooperative effort with the Bay Area Sport Karate Association, which held their Karate competition separately and simultaneously.

In 2010, in honor of the Year of the Tiger, the Tiger Claw Elite 2nd Championship cooperated with the non-profit Tiger Claw Foundation to bring attention to the plight of the tiger by supporting WildAid, an international non-profit organization.  WildAid’s mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade within our lifetimes.  Jackie Chan is a primary spokesperson for WildAid, accompanied by Harrison Ford, Yao Ming, Leonardo DiCaprio, Li Bingbing, Maggie Q and many other international celebrities.  All proceeds from this division will be donated to WildAid’s efforts.

The WildAid Tiger Claw Champion is a special "any style, any form" division at Tiger Claw Elite Championship, the only place where contestants from Karate, Taekwondo and the Chinese martial arts can compete against each other.  The WildAid Claw Tiger Champion is awarded a custom trophy and special showcases in Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine including the Back Cover (see the back of this issue), Inside Back Cover and ‘got qi?’ campaign in the following year.  In 2015, the Tiger Claw Elite Championship added youth divisions to the WildAid Kid Tiger Championship: The WildAid Teen Tiger Championship for competitors age twelve to seventeen and the WildAid Tiger Cub for ages eleven and under.  The youth divisions have attracted more competitors, which has significantly increased the donation to WildAid.

KFTC20 event posterIn 2012, Tiger Claw Elite Championship was combined with the 20th anniversary celebration, KUNG FU TAI CHI 20 YEARS.  In addition, KUNG FU TAI CHI DAY began in Plaza de Cesar Chavez, a lovely greenway park in the heart of downtown San Jose, and within a block of the convention center.  KUNG FU TAI CHI 20 YEARS was another unique showcase of Chinese martial arts that attracted leading grandmasters and masters from all around the world.

In 2013, Tiger Claw went completely independent under the re-established banner of Tiger Claw Elite Championships.  Over the years, The Tiger Claw Elite Championship has hosted the Traditional Karate Championship, the Tiger Claw Elite Taekwondo Championship and the Tiger Claw Elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship because Tiger Claw serves all styles of martial arts.  The Tiger Claw Elite Taekwondo Championship has remained a mainstay since the relaunch.  Both the Tiger Claw Elite Championship and KUNG FU TAI CHI DAY have been growing steadily each year.

With the decline of print publishing and the shift towards the internet, the Tiger Claw Elite Championship has become another vehicle for Kung Fu Tai Chi to propound Chinese martial arts.  Through the championship, Kung Fu Tai Chi can support the Chinese martial arts community in a very hands-on way, providing a gathering place and showcasing the champions.  Extensive coverage is presented both here and on, along with's Facebook page and YouTube channel.  Through Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine, and the Tiger Claw Elite Championships, Tiger Claw and TC Media International strive to share Chinese martial arts culture with the English-speaking world.

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About Gene Ching :
Gene Ching is the Publisher of Kung Fu Tai Chi and the author of Shaolin Trips.

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