The Chin Woo Connection
The 7th World Chin Woo Championships & Jimmy Wong's Taiji Legacy 2002

By Gene Ching

Long before the communists even began dreaming up contemporary Wushu, kungfu compulsories had been instigated in Shanghai. Under China?s final emperor Puyi, the patriotic Chin Woo Association, fictionalized in Bruce Lee?s Fist of Fury and Jet Li?s Fist of Legend, established a curriculum to preserve and propound the Chinese arts. Today, almost a century later, Chin Woo is still going strong the world over.

Fifteen years ago Master Jimmy Wong brought Chin Woo to the States. Since then, he has held his national-level tournament, the Taiji Legacy Championships, four times. It?s a deceptive title since Taiji Legacy includes external kungfu, modern Wushu and kick-butt Sanshou fights. For this fifth one, Wong planned to host the World Chin Woo Championships alongside Taiji Legacy, bringing the ten Fists of Fury/Legend/ Chin Woo to Dallas. However, after 9/11, tournament turn out is down all around, especially for world events. Wong admits that contractual obligations bound him to see it through for Chin Woo despite probable financial loss. And yet, irregardless of the difficulties getting visas, his worldwide Chin Woo family came. Chin Woo VIP?s Bah Chee Yeoh, Yap Chan Kor and Wie Yoo Teng came from Malaysia, Kok Yeng Chow from Switzerland, Satoshi-Ito from Japan and Yoke Wan Lee from the UK. The unity of Chin Woo still thrived under the big Texas sky.

Taiji Legacy was held in a new venue, the Arlington Convention Center, home of the Texas Rangers (the baseball team, not Chuck Norris) conveniently next door to the luxurious Wyndham Hotel and sandwiched between Six Flags amusement park. Distant screams from dragon-shaped roller coasters echoed behind the clash of steel swords, waxwood staffs and muscled limbs. Friday night kicked off with a spectacular masters? demo included such luminaries as Joseph Chen, Jin-Cai Cheng, Calvin Chin, Sam Chin, Chun Man Sit, Augustine Fong, Joe Keit, Johnny Lee, Kam Lee, Randy Li, Li Siu Hung, Liang Qiang Ya, Benny Meng, Sam Ng, Henry Poo Yee, Steve Sun, John Wang, Wu Xiao-Ping, Zhang Hui, and many other fine masters. The biggest applause went to those who demoed twice, the ballistic 2000 & 2001 China National Champ He Jingde, the Shaolin monkey Monk Shi Xingying, and Wong?s own unwavering demo team who not only double demoed, they lion danced, competed and ran the whole show. Patty Sun, Bee Dao, John Nguyen and the rest of Wong?s academy showed the awesome staying power of true kungfu practitioners - a true testament to their master?s teaching skills.

The opening ceremonies were grandiose with a parade of 15 lions, one for each year of USA Chin Woo. Under the beeping whistle of Master Teng, Chin Woo athletes demoed their most renowned compulsory, 12-stance Tan Tui. Taiji Legacy?s signature Taiji jam session filled the floor with all the five major styles of Taiji, Chen, Hao, Sun, Wu, and Yang, plus ?other? styles. Only Jiang Jianye stayed on the floor for all six. Songshan Shaolin Temple of America, run by Houston monks Shi Deshan and Shi Xingying, gave a special demonstration that was overseen by an honored guest straight from Shaolin, Shi Deyu. Deyu was visiting America as part of 30-member delegation from Shaolin demonstrating exclusively in Texas. With the orange monk robes and the orange official shirts, Taiji legacy was bright as an October pumpkin patch. Lifetime achievement awards were presented to Wang Jurong, William C. C. Chen and posthumously to Wong?s own Sifu, Yap Shu Shen (accepted by his son, Yap Chan Kor.) Taiji Legacy?s famous Day-Glo dragon coiled into a giant C and W (Chin Woo, not Country Western) then folded into a butterflylike phoenix for a black light finale.

The opening ceremonies were so extravagant that they pushed back the tournament, but once begun, the nearly eight hundred competitors from fifteen countries duked it out for two solid days (three days if the preceding Chin Woo events are included.) Despite its internal moniker, Taiji Legacy has all the trappings of any national level tournament, seminars by world renowned masters as well as competitions internal and external, traditional and modern, form and fighting.

Sanshou fights were the highlight of Saturday night with the gigantic Keith Voney outgunning all comers in the finale. And with Olympic status as a dangling carrot, the Wushu ring was clearly more intense, running late into the night. Traditional styles, both internal and external were well represented and like last year, a special contest for Wing Chun Grand Champion was held.

Taiji Legacy has come a long way, and Chin Woo, even further. Next year Jimmy Wong plans to unveil the first building designed exclusively to house Chin Woo on American soils. In the tradition of Chin Woo, this will be more than just a kungfu school. It will be a center of Chinese culture where sinophiles can study and practice language, music, calligraphy, the arts and even receive traditional Chinese medicine treatments. What?s more, he is donating his website,, to share with Chin Woo associations around the world. If things go as planned, will serve as an international hub site for this venerated kungfu association. But for now, if you want to see the action, you?ll find videos of Taiji Legacy 2002 available there.

Click here for Feature Articles from this issue and others published in 2002 .

Written by Gene Ching for KUNGFUMAGAZINE.COM

Print Friendly VersionPrint Friendly Version of This Article