Articles - Setting The Record Straight - January 8th, 2003
Some people claim to know San Soo and yet they teach what looks like Karate. They have
included the practice of jujitsu, kick boxing or boxing, or other styles into their studios.
Many instructors had some amateur wrestling or boxing and the truth is they were better at
that than they are at what little San Soo they learned. They claim to be teaching San Soo
when they teach Shaolin or some southern style kung fu. They have even adopted all the history
and terms from the southern classical styles in order to sound more informed to there
students. Maybe it's because they lack knowledge in San Soo. (I don't claim to know all
the reasons. "Just that I know San Soo") Some people don't have a problem with demonstrating
all these new hybrid styles they claim to be so effective and than still manage to call it
San Soo. Even Bruce Lee who admittedly took the best techniques from different styles had
the smarts to call it Jeet Kune Do. The rest of us have the option to agree or disagree with
his opinion. Whether they were the most practical or effective, does not matter, they were
his choices, but he renamed it because he knew he changed it. Our students depend on our
experience, our knowledge, our expertise and yes our honesty. As in any other conversation,
when you talk about San Soo those listening are depending on the truth.
More and more studio's open up all the time and it's right for you to run your studio how
you see fit. It's such a shame to see more instructors teaching San Soo who have very little
time studying the art. Who claim many more years to their experience. Who never studied with
Lo Sifu (But claim to) Who are talking about him as if they knew him personally. Who are
repeating false information told to them by the uninformed or those who needed to lie to
More people are getting exposed to very poor San Soo techniques or these new hybrid styles
(not complete San Soo). How can we expect good reports?
My San Soo is not borrowed, stolen, or made up. There is no need for me to supplement my San
Soo, adding from other arts to give further information or to correct errors. You will not
find me adding years to my experience. Claiming to know this art and showing you films of
someone else (No-one has my permission to advance themselves or there business with tapes
of me or my business). You may have started San Soo before me as early as 1959 and You may
have spent more time on the mat working out than me, but not in El Monte. No-one in San Soo
has spent more time than me on the mat working out under Lo Sifu at the El Monte studio
(from 1968 till he passed away in 1991). Many people claim this, they say when they started
and than say "until his passing in 1991. The truth is they never worked out or they came
only for lessons, diplomas, or to the advance classes. They worked out for a few minutes
and left, if they worked out at all. Most were too busy to come and as the years passed by
they came less and less. Unfortunately, for some reason these people always forget to
subtract all the years they were away.
The longest period not working out for me was for two months in 1976 after an appendix
operation. A week and half later it got infected, they removed the stitches, stuffed it
with gauge and let it heal from the inside out. Otherwise my return would have been sooner.
On the last month I sat and watched and continued to write my lessons down.
By 1970, with the exception of Masters Harry Sera and Jack Sera all the students who started
with Lo Sifu as early as 1959 had left or went on their own and stopped studying with Lo
Sifu. They may have kept working out but my point is that they sure didn't do it with Lo
Sifu in El Monte. Those that opened up a studio only came to the advance classes or on Saturday.
But as the years went by, they came less and less and eventually stopped coming altogether.
No-one mentions the fact that Lo Sifu retired for two years in 1984 and 1985 and the fact
that none of the so called old timers came back for the advance classes from 1986 to 1991
when he passed away.
Some of you may have a beautiful studio, bigger than mine, more students, more top belts and
that's great as long as it's not only because you're a good business man and if you don't
promote like an assembly line. It would be great for all studio's to be successful, because
they have solid San Soo skills so that new people to the art are not learning what is really
a hybrid style.
The perpetuation of San Soo will be determined by those schools that actually teach the same
art. The Dap Ga San Soo School in Whittier, Ca. will consider you and your school by never
giving San Soo a bad name, my desire is for you to do the same. Before you listen to someone
who talks about me or my school, who knows nothing about me or San Soo, who never studied
from Lo Sifu, who claims to know how someone else would fight when they don't know how to
fight themselves, who make challenges while hiding on the internet or talk about working out
with my students and who don't have the backbone to come to my studio and say they came to
slap me around in person. Must you resort to mouth Karate by phone or computer to your
students who don't know me and who believe in you. Why talk about me? Can't you stand on your
own feet? The reason you don't talk to me in person is obvious. Leave me out of your
conversations. Have you nothing to say to your students about yourselves without the need to
associate yourselves with me? To all the rest of you out there, if you want to know anything
about me why not visit my studio. Talk to me in person. Come ask me questions. Hear my
viewpoints first hand. Come look at all my diplomas which are signed by Lo Sifu himself.
To those of you that teach pure San Soo, Thank You. To the rest of you; why not improve
your San Soo? For those that choose to look elsewhere, more power to you in your new art
and in your quest to fulfill your lack of training, experience, and mainly in your lack of
knowledge in San Soo.