The Chin Woo (Athletic) Association was founded by Grandmaster Huo Yuanjia (1868 – 1910).
Towards the end of the 19th Century, many foreigners were in China, and some referred to the Chinese as the “Sick Men of Asia.” Master Huo believed that “in order to strengthen the country, you must first strengthen the people”, and established the Chin Woo School to allow all Chinese the opportunity to learn Chinese kungfu.
Famously in 1909, a European wrestler was sent to Shanghai to challenge any Chinese that would accept. Master Huo accepted the challenge and emerged victorious. This incident escalated Master Huo’s reputation to that of a national hero.
Master Huo died from suspected arsenic poisoning on 9th August 1910. After the death of Master Huo, Chin Woo was reorganised to make it available to other parts of China and Asia. In 1920, Shanghai Chin Woo sent representatives to Southeast Asia. They opened the first Chin Woo School in Saigon, Vietnam, and later in parts of Malaysia and Singapore. To prove their skills, they were often required to give demonstrations or accept challenges. By 1923, these five Chin Woo Masters had opened Chin Woo schools all over Southeast Asia and visited nine different countries.
Currently, Chin Woo is one of the largest martial arts organisations in the world with branches in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, USA and Vietnam.
The stories of Huo Yuanjia and Chin Woo have been fictionalised in many popular movies, including Bruce Lee’s “Fist of Fury” and Jet Li’s “Fist of Legend” and “Fearless”.
Wushu- is an Olympic recognized sport. It was evolved, hundreds of years ago, by Buddhist Monks of the Shaolin Temple in order to defend their temples from robbers. Nowadays, it main function is as a competitive sport, spectacular in content, involving high kicks, gymnastics, explosive martial techniques and is very good for mental discipline. Choreographed routines have been developed to perform at demonstrations, competitions and for film/TV. Routines are open hand or with weapons. The performance is a spectacular show.
San Shou-combines western boxing with traditional kung fu, as a competitive sport is on a Lei Tai, which is a raised platform made of steel and wood. Measuring 24 square feet x 2 foot high, it is surrounded by and covered with thick matting, where the students aim to score a point by softly punching or kicking their partner above the belt, attempting to get their partner off the Lei tai or taking them down to the floor. Students wear protective padding. If no Lei Tai is available, matting is placed on the floor, for safe training.
Lion & Dragon dance - traditional dance in Chinese Culture in which performers mimic a lion's movements in a lion costume. Performed at important occasions such as business opening events, special celebrations or wedding ceremonies, or may be used to honour special guests. Often mistakenly referred to as dragon dance. An easy way to tell the difference is that a lion is normally operated by two dancers, while a dragon needs many people. Also, in a lion dance, the performers' faces are only seen occasionally, since they are inside the lion. In a dragon dance, the performers' faces can be easily seen since the dragon is held on poles.
Flag Dance – The art of spinning and waving of flags in a rhythmic fashion to music. Wushu is performed over and around the flags. The Chinese army waved flags to aid transportation, practiced ready for warfare and acrobatics were implemented to keep the army fit and healthy.
Tai chi- an internal Chinese martial art practiced with slow movements for both health benefits as well as self-defense. Medical research has found evidence that tai chi is helpful for improving balance, flexibility, strength, coordination, sleeping patterns, reducing stress and for general psychological health, and that it is associated with general health benefits in older people. It is also typically practiced for a variety of other personal reasons: its hard and soft martial art technique, demonstration competitions, and longevity.
Yoga -A physical, mental, and spiritual practice that helps to relax and condition the mind and body. Yoga is more than physical exercise; it has a meditative and spiritual core. Yoga makes you feel relaxed, stronger, happy and healthy as well as helping to improve core strength.