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What is Shou' Shu?

Shou' Shu, meaning “fighting way of the beasts”, was
brought to us by Da' Shifu Al Moore Sr. It is an
ancient form of Kung Fu whose motions are based
upon the fighting ways of seven different animals.
These are the bear, siberian tiger, mongoose, white
crane, praying mantis, cobra, and the imperial
dragon. Each of these animals represents a distinct
fighting system in itself and when they are combined
it is called Shou’ Shu'.

In the world of martial arts there are very few true

fighting arts left. Fighting arts are defined as arts that,
at their core, still retain the pure intent of self
protection. While it may not be obvious to the
layman, most so called martial arts are not truly
martial at their core. They are certainly founded upon
martial principle but have deviated for some other

These purposes can be but are not limited to:

• Government control
• Conversion to a sport
• Commercialism

These three influences have changed the martial arts world to something completely
different than what it was. Because of this change the publics perception of what martial
arts are and how their training methods operate has also been greatly altered.

Shou' Shu' is one of the rare fighting arts that has been preserved. It has not deviated from
it's original intent. Some things may change as modern influences change. But as long as
the intent and the principle remains true, then the art is considered to be pure. There are
still a few schools and individuals teaching the art in this pure form.

One of my favorite quotes from Da' Shifu Al Moore Sr. was

"There is no your way. There is no my way. There is only the Shou' Shu' way"

What this meant was that to be true it had to follow principle. Personal opinion cannot be
involved. There are three tests which can be applied. If all three are true it is Shou' Shu'.
If not, it is not. these are:

1) Constant flowing focused chi

2) Immediate control of opponents centerline
3) Block possibilities rather than weapons
The development of Shou' Shu' can be accredited to the Mandarins. This is why we still
call it Chinese martial arts even though it is no longer practiced in China. As with most
martial arts it originally came from ancient Egypt. It was brought to India and eventually
passed on to the Chinese. In China it was developed to an extremely high level of
sophistication by the Mandarin warlords. The art was kept within the royal families by
only teaching it to the eldest son of a Mandarin warlord. In this way the secrets of the art
were protected.

As you study Shou’ Shu' you will slowly begin to understand its complexities and
underlying principles. These principles are what is important. Shou' Shu' is taught
through techniques but it is not a technique art. Techniques are merely the tools by which
Shou’ Shu' is taught. Shou’ Shu' is a unique way of moving which is very natural to the
body. While it is true that a level of proficiency with which a person can defend
themselves can be attained within six months time, one has not even scratched the surface
at even several years of study. If a person has an open mind and is willing to learn, there
is much to be attained through the study of Shou’ Shu'. A study which can keep the mind
active and the body supple for a lifetime.

Shou' Shu' is very different from any other martial arts. If you have studied elsewhere
this will be evident immediately. If not it wouldn’t take much looking to find out that this
is true. While the reasons for this are purely conjecture one obvious reason is how it has
been passed down. It has historically been passed down through generations that were
very concerned with keeping it true to its martial origins. For several generations before
us it was kept underground. This was necessary to its survival. It was practiced by those
that needed it for survival and because of this it was maintained as a highly effective art.
It was never adulterated by mixing in other arts or by taking it into the world of sport
where so many martial arts have lost their martial aspects. Today's practitioners of Shou'
Shu' train hard to continue to maintain its integrity.

It would seem logical that only a few hundred years ago that all
martial arts had to have been highly effective. It is pretty simple to
recognize that those that practiced martial arts that were not effective,
and took their knowledge to the battlefield, did not return to pass on
their arts. For this reason all surviving martial arts had to have some
degree of effectiveness. But in today's world this, of course, does not
happen. Teachers are free to pass on arts regardless of their
effectiveness. If they can convince their students that acquiring such
and such belt will render them invincible on the street, then that art will spread and that
teachers pockets will be filled.

Only through integrity and perseverance can high quality martial arts be passed down.
There is no magic pill that can make a martial artist. There is no amount of hype that can
make a person better at defending themselves. Only perseverance under quality
instruction can do this. It seems like a lot of work to acquire martial skills. One might
wonder if the payoff is high enough. The answer is a resounding ABSOLUTELY! The
benefits are far more than you can imagine. Far greater than what we can go into here.
We'll suffice it to say that Shou' Shu' can be a vehicle for great personal change. Yes we
are all about self defense, but personal development is a byproduct and its benefits are


It is quite the paradox that by learning how to become a highly skilled fighter you can
also become your best self. We concentrate on martial development yet you will naturally
realize development in many other areas. You won't find mention of it in class but it is
happening. It is a natural byproduct of intense training and development of self

We do not promise that it will be easy. As a matter of fact, at times, it may seem to be
one of the most difficult things you've ever done. But we do promise that it will be fun
(most of the time), it will be challenging, it will push your body, it will push your mind, it
will push your spirit. It will push you to be a better you.

Congratulations on taking the first step. Years from now you just may look back on that
as one of the best decisions you ever made.

Studio Protocol

This is a short primer for students who are new to Shou' Shu' Kung Fu, and are
unfamiliar with many of the basic courtesies that we all observe when we
practice. The discipline of Shou' Shu' has a long history full of meaningful rituals
that are sometimes lost among modern day practitioners. This is unfortunate
since nothing in Shou' Shu' exists without reason or applicable function.
As a general rule ritual within the studio is
established to create an atmosphere which
facilitates accelerated learning. All rules are
designed with this as the end goal. No rules
are meant to belittle a student, but to create an
atmosphere of respect where learning can
occur. These are traditions, which have
spanned centuries and have proven to be the
most effective system of establishing a learning
environment. Remember you are here to learn
and it is our obligation to see that you do.
Failure to observe these simple behaviors not
only detract from the depth of the art it can create dangerous situations.
Observance of these rituals are not only gestures of respect, but serve to keep
ourselves and our classmates out of harms way, Both in this school and outside
in the world. Many of these rituals are simply basic manners that serve to help us
carry the proper attitude when training and that will extend to our daily lives
The Salute
There are two main types of salutes. The greeting salute and the opening salute.
The greeting salute is used when entering the Quan. It is generally thought of as
a simple hello. The opening salute is done to open and close a class and also to
open and close a form. The purpose of the opening salute is to take a moment to
clear the mind.
The Greeting Salute
The greeting salute is made with the right hand held in a fist. The left-hand thumb
is bent and the four fingers stacked straight. The palm of the left hand is held
over the fist. Both elbows are bent and the arms form a circle. The covered fist is
meant to symbolize a sheathed weapon, showing that we are meeting with no ill
will towards one another
There are actually several forms of this salute. With the first salute the legs and
back are held straight, the feet are together and the eyes are focused on the
person that is being saluted. This salute is intended for persons of equal or lower
rank than you.
The second salute, mainly intended for red belts and brown belts, has the same
hand formation but may be held slightly higher. The feet are held in a cat stance,
rather than feet together, with the right foot forward. The eyes are also focused
on the person being saluted.
The third variation is simply a slightly more formalized version of the second and
is intended for black belts. It is the same followed with a slight bow with the
hands side by side, palm downwards.
The height at which the arms are held during a salute is meant to show the
degree of respect. Holding the arms high and following with a slight bow shows
great respect. It is a safe practice to always salute with the hands at chest level.
Saluting with the hands lower signifies that you are superior to the person
saluting and could be considered an insult.
The Opening Salute
In the opening salute both hands circle over the head like doing a backstroke
while the left leg cross steps behind the right in what is called a chines cross
step. knees bent, the right hand is crossed over the left in front of the lower body.
Both hands meet together in front of the chest with the palms of your hands
facing up. Then as both feet come together a circle is formed with the arms in
front of the body with the fingertips touching. Bring the hands to the side, palms
up and then a slight bow with the palms down and eyes focused on the person
being saluted
This salute is done before and after a form. It helps clear the mind for the
execution of the form and shows respect for the form. It is also done to enter into
or close a lesson. It shows that the student will give his/her full attention to the
The meaning of the salute goes as follows: "I come to you with open hands,
these are my weapons. I come to you with mutual respect and to learn, I lay my
weapons down"
Finally, but maybe most importantly, the full salute is always given to Da' Shifu
anytime he enters the training area. The reason behind this is not only to show
great respect, but because Da' Shifu is all of our teachers. No matter who your
instructor is, you are Da' Shifu's student. All knowledge comes from Da' Shifu. It
is assumed that at anytime Da' Shifu is around that he is teaching all of us. We
should always be listening to him anytime he is around. For this reason we
should always give Da' Shifu a full formal salute anytime he enters the training
area, symbolizing that we are entering into a lesson with him.
Note: Da' Shifu passed away in 2002. Sometimes you will see the people who
knew him salute the picture on the wall in memory. He was a great man and we
now respect him by passing down his art to you to the absolute best of our
As of early 2010 Da' Shifu James Clark is the officially recognized Da' Shifu. He
trained directly under Da' Shifu Al Moore Sr. and was the only man to receive all
of the beast knowledge directly from him.
When should we salute? Salute when entering and exiting the training area to
honor this space. All of this tradition, its majesty and legacy, depend on what
happens here and now. We salute to show that we will work to preserve these
skills and pass them on to future generations in honor of our martial ancestors,
our teacher's teachers and the founder of the style. As mentioned before salute
when greeting Da' Shifu, Shun Shifu, and his instructors to show respect for the
hardship they endured to achieve these positions. Everyone starts as a beginner,
and the challenges that stand before you now stood before each of your
instructors at one time. Salute anyone that you might work out with, especially for
blocking exercises and technique practice. This signifies that you will work
together on these skills, taking care not to injure one another.
Be the first to salute. Do not wait for your senior/ higher rank to salute you. This
demonstrates your alertness, quick reflexes and most importantly, your respect.
If you are the first to notice that a black belt or Da' Shifu has entered the training
area, you should alert the others in the room to turn and salute.
Salutes should also be promptly returned by upper ranks. It is considered rude
not to do so.
Full gi should be worn at all times. Gi pants and school T-shirt are acceptable
when the weather is hot but gi's are preferable as they will not rip as easily when
used to grab and control a student’s fall. If a student is wearing only a school T-
shirt then the gi top should be brought along and left in the students training bag.
It may be necessary to put the top on for certain exercises. Proper attire is very
useful in your training. The baggy pants allow for high kicks and low stances. The
tops help in your safety. Be proud of your school and wear proper uniforms.
Jewelry, Rings, watches, and other accouterments must be removed before
practice. These objects can cause injuries in training and they are expressions of
ego, which we leave behind as we enter the Quan. If you want to stand out from
the rest of the class, do so by developing outstanding martial skills.
Shoes should be removed before entering the training area. The only shoes
allowed are specially designed mat shoes without tread on the bottom and which
have never been worn outside. We are very particular about keeping the mat
area clean and sanitary.
Belts should be worn at all times. Belts should be worn in a square knot (When
tied the knot should look like a fortune cookie). When a student is not in a lesson
the knot should be worn at the front. This shows that student is proud of their
rank. When in a lesson, knots should be at the side with the opening in the
square knot facing forward. We say the knowledge goes in the opening. Men
wear their knots at the left, women at the right. A knot in the center during a
lesson is taken as a challenge. Let the turning of the knot remind you that it is
time to open your eyes, your ears, and your mind and learn.

Lesson Etiquette's
Arrive at your lesson promptly, dressed and warmed up, ready to go. When your
instructor signifies that it is your lesson time, quickly gather up yourself or your
classmates and meet on the floor.
Talking in-group or a lesson should be kept to an absolute minimum.
Making suggestions to other students, or teaching, is absolutely
forbidden. This can be the most disruptive thing a student can do in
class. His/her partner will not learn because he is distracted from
listening to the instructor who is running the class and will also be
angered because he/she is there to learn from the instructor and not
the student. Surrounding students will also be distracted by listening to
"interpretation" of student. Students should never interpret or analyze how
something is said; student should only listen to what is said.
Some lessons may vary slightly from instructor to instructor. This may be for a
variety of reasons. Since many of the techniques may have multiple
interpretations and may be designed to teach you more than one principle,
different instructors may have different emphasis.
Also, for this reason do not attempt to teach something to someone else unless
you have been qualified to do so. You may not have the complete technique yet
and it would be a shame to teach your mistakes to someone else. It is much
harder to train out an old bad habit than it is to train a new one.
During your lesson be flexible enough to adapt to any variation, without question.
Although some things may seem contradictory, you may well find, with practice,
that what seemed like contradiction was really two ways of saying the same thing
Questions are generally disruptive. Often times questions are really statements;
these are considered rude and challenging. Usually a question will be answered
shortly by the instructor without it ever being asked. The system of teaching is
such that we build a technique in a way that the student has a full understanding
of it at the end of the lesson if he/she has been listening. Questions should only
be asked if student does not understand what the instructor is trying to get
across. If this is the case the student should tell the instructor that he/she doesn't
understand so that the instructor can explain in another way. A simple "I don't
understand" is usually the most appropriate.
Shou' Shu' is a complex art. It takes years to understand things which are now
being taught to you, although you will think that you understand them now, this
unfortunately is human nature and it tends to shut off the mind to new
understandings. Because of this you must completely trust that your instructor is
leading you along the correct path
If you have an injury which will not allow you to train with your usual rigor, inform
your instructor. The instructors are very capable of adapting your lessons to your
Please try to make at least two lessons per week. Some people are successful
while only attending one but most people do not have the self discipline to be
able to attend only one class and practice enough to succeed. Two or more
classes are recommended.
Quan Etiquette
Be careful and aware on the floor. Other students may make
quick turns or sudden movements, so always give each other
a wide berth. Never walk between an instructor and his/her
students. If you need to pass by a class pass at the rear of the
We all keep our Quan clean and orderly. Everything has a
place, so when you use something, make sure that you return
it to that place. If you use the mat replace it, if you see
something that needs to be cleaned up, clean it up. Ask for
help if you need it. Alert studio coordinator if anything is in
need of repair.
Do not use unnecessary conversation as an excuse not to
work out. Remember you are not only keeping yourself from
working out but whomever you are talking to also.
This Quan is here for practice. Eating and drinking, smoking, alcohol and drug
use are inappropriate behavior within the training area. The use of profanity is not
allowed Profanity is not welcome in a place of learning.
Traditionally the hierarchy of the Quan is arranged like a big family. There are
children training in the Quan and they are the youngest members of our family. It
is the responsibility to act as a good role model for our youth.
Since our Quan is open to the public, we frequently have visitors interested in
training. If you see someone who looks lost ask them if they need help and direct
them to Shun Shifu or the studio coordinator.
If you decide to practice before or after group (and you are encouraged to do so)
be respectful of the lessons that are going on.
Never belittle another style of Martial art.
Students should never touch an upper rank belt without permission
Chewing gum is not permitted.
Everyone should be addressed by his or her proper title. I.e. Mr., Mrs., Miss,
Shifu, Shun Shifu, Da Shifu. First names are not acceptable except in the case of
females who are uncomfortable with this practice.
Students shall remove their shoes before entering the school. There are two
reasons for this. It is an ancient tradition, which shows humility. It also keeps the
mat area free of debris, which may be harmful.
Never walk through a class which is in session.
If you are late for a class and wish to join the class give a full salute to the
instructor of the class and quietly join the class.
No eating, drinking, smoking, or chewing gum in the studio.
Hygiene is extremely important in the studio. Students should be clean with
toenails kept short.
A student should never ask about his next rank test date. This shows lack of
patience, humility, and disrespect for your instructor's professional judgment. You
will be told when it is time for your test.
Control your emotions at all times. The studio is no place for emotional flares.

While Shou' Shu' is about personal development the
paradox is that you need others to maximize this
development. Teamwork is essential to the success of
Teamwork can come in many forms. Primarily it comes
into play as a workout partner. Part of your training will
be playing the role of the assailant. You must play this
role as well as possible for the proper training of your
partner and your partner will do the same for you. Role
playing has nothing to do with sparring or trying to one
up the other person. You must concentrate on your role
and make the situation as realistic as possible. This is
not a time for sparring and playing around.
Teamwork is also holding bags and assisting each other in training in any way
One of the most important aspects of teamwork is encouragement. Being a good
role model for others. Do not stand and talk. Work out. Do your forms. Practice
your techniques. Help others. In this way everyone will develop together into the
best martial artist possible.

Have Fun
Have fun. Learning Shou' Shu can be a fun and enlightening experience. It
certainly will be difficult at times. But most of the time this is just your own ego.
Get over it. Get over yourself. We can't all, always shine. There are times when
we will shine and other times when we will be frustrated. This is the process at
work. Enjoy it. Have fun with it. Learn to laugh at yourself. Its not so bad.


Quan- School or training area. Also spelled Quan. Commonly called the studio. Japanese
arts use the term Dojo. We do not use this term
Ju'- Orange Belt
Zi'- Purple Belt
Lan'- Blue Belt
Lu' - Green Belt
He'- Brown Belt
Wu chi- Horse stance
Sha' Chi- Sha' chi is the opposite of Sheng Chi. It literally means "killing breath". Sha'
Chi can be either stagnant or destructive chi. Both are detrimental to health.
Sheng Chi- The simplest definition of Sheng chi is positive energy. However we can
delve deeper into the meaning. Sheng Chi is the term used when energy is in balance. It
literally means "cosmic breath" and is thought of as the life force. When chi is said to
flow in a meandering healthy pattern is said to be Sheng Chi. It is the life force that
causes growth. Sheng Chi's season is Spring and bamboo is typically used as it's symbol.
This is because Sheng Chi is associated with positive growth. Positive energy, to be
balanced in one's energy. The term Sheng Chi is used in Feng Shui to represent a state of
positive balance, all energies are in harmony. It is represented by the dragon's breath, or
life energy. Sheng Chi is another term for lucky or prosperous chi. When chi is balanced
and is flowing, then it is termed Sheng Chi. Sheng Chi brings openings, progress,
satisfaction, fertility and so on I.E. the blessings of life. Sheng Chi is positive, vital, life
bearing energy. Sheng Chi can be seen as the energy of spring, bringing growth to all it is
around. Sheng Chi is like fresh meandering water. It is the true auspicious life force.
Sheng - Of high moral character, upright, upstanding, or valuing morals.
Chi – energy
Sheng Chi Kung Fu- The name of our school. This is not to be confused with the name
of our art, Shou' Shu' Kung Fu. We often call it the Sheng Chi Training Center to try to
alleviate confusion.

Explanation of Titles

It's easiest to understand the meaning of these terms if you think of them in terms of a
family. The Da' Shifu being the grandfather. The Shun Shifu being the eldest son of the
grandfather. The Shifu's being the other sons of the grandfather. The brown belt is given
the title Shi Bok because he would have a family responsibility but not a direct
responsibility of raising the children (students). Like an uncle would. Shi Hing would
also have a responsibility to the family but a lesser responsibility than the Shi Bok. Shi
Hing is like an older cousin.

Si Jo (Shi Gung)- The creator of the art. This is not necessarily reserved for the original
creator of the art. The term is used for a grand master who has contributed to the art and
created a grandmaster below him.
Da' Shifu- The title for the grand Master (teacher of teachers or the great teacher). Da'
Shifu- Grand master. Common usage of this term is to define a master who has mastered
all eight degrees. Proper usage is to denote the top shifu of a system. The term is properly
only used in reference to other shifu's. As the term shifu literally means master, father, or
teacher. The term Da' Shifu means Grand master, Grandfather, or Grand teacher.
Shun Shifu- The title for the schools master and head instructor. Literally means "chosen
father" or "first son". This is in reference to the Da' shifu. A Shun Shifu would be the
eldest shifu.
Shifu- The title for a black belt instructor. The term literally means master, teacher, or
Shi Mu- A female black belt. This term is not in common usage. It is the female version
of Shifu. I don't advise using this term. The female black belts prefer to go by Shifu.
Something about the way it sounds.
She' Bok- The term for a brown belt. Not in common usage. Literally this term means
She'Hing- The term for a lower level male instructor. Not in common usage. Literally
means cousin.
She'Jie- The term for a lower level female instructor. Not in common usage. Literally
means cousin

Setting Goals

It is important for you to realize what your own goals are, and also that they
may change through the course of study. People study martial arts for different
reasons. Many have the goal of black belt from the start. Many want to get to a
level at which they can defend themselves. Others may only be interested in
using it as an exercise form. Others yet, just find it fun and interesting and like
the family atmosphere and camaraderie. You should know what you want out
of it and how fast you want it. And also realize that this may change.

One of the most common things we see as school owners is the guy that
comes in gung ho and tells everyone he will be a black belt faster than it's
ever been done. This guy typically lasts less than a month. Then there is the
other person who just focuses on the task at hand. Just simply mastering this
one technique. Doing this over and over and several years later that person will be a black belt.

If you simply focus on the task at hand and do it with as little outside thought as possible you will
succeed. Be present. Be focused. Be intent. That is all it takes. Have a goal but mastery of the
moment is what is important.

Don’t compete with others only with yourself. While a little friendly nudging is healthy some will
become distraught when another exceeds them in rank. Everyone is in a different situation.
Some can only afford enough time to come into the studio once a week, others are here
constantly. If you concern yourself with the progress of others it can be very unhealthy and can
easily hinder your own progress. All that is important is that you constantly improve. It doesn't
really even matter how fast. Only that it is constant.

One of the wonderful things about Shou' Shu' is that whether you are searching for a style which
will make you combat ready in a short period of time ( 6 Months or so) or a style which is a
complete art in which a person can study for a lifetime, Shou’ Shu' can meet both of these
needs. Its techniques are generally effective upon learning them but are also very sophisticated
and can be developed for years to bring them to very high levels of proficiency. This is
something our Da' Shifu brought to the art. He devised a system of teaching whereby a student
is immediately effective yet can continue to study to get the true sophistication of the art. Prior to
his advancements it took a great deal of study before application was added.


How long would it take me to get a black belt (or its equivalent)?

As long as it takes, no longer and rarely sooner.

Unlike grade school and college classes that must squirt people through in a given amount of
time, a martial art is boundless. That means that advancement is achieved only after the student
can perform a technique at a certain level. If it takes a month or a year, which is up to the
student and his or her abilities, time for practice, and other individual factors. It is very difficult to
say how long it takes.

© Sheng Chi Kung Fu 2010 13

However, our system is setup in a way that all of the material for black belt will be presented to
the student in approximately six years time. This assumes that the student is able to move along
with each teaching cycle. It is possible that it can be done faster. However even keeping up with
the six year standard will require a great deal of self discipline.

Realize that a black belt in Shou’ Shu' is not the same as a black belt in most other styles. There
are many threadbare styles out there with very questionable requirements and it is not
uncommon to achieve a black belt in a year or less. If you would like to have a black belt one
can be purchased for fewer than ten dollars in most martial arts supply stores. If you would like
to be a Shifu, be prepared for several years of diligent study.

This is a very difficult question to answer. We can't predict how much a person will practice or
what difficulties they will have. At Sheng Chi Kung Fu we hold our standards very high. We
uphold the standards in the way they were taught to us. It is a skill level that is required, not an
amount of time. Each person is different.

However if we were forced to give an answer in a given quantity of time we'd say that it
averages about 2000 hours of training. We don't take shortcuts and with the amount of
knowledge and skill needed to pass the black belt test a great degree of training is required.
This is as it should be. The rank of black belt is a highly respected and coveted rank at Sheng
Chi Kung Fu.

Is Kung Fu tied to certain religious beliefs?

Some of the major styles of Kung Fu do have philosophical and religious roots or associations.
For example, many Kung Fu styles originated or were influenced by the Buddhist Shaolin
Temples. Other styles such as Taijiquan and the other Wudang Mountain arts are heavily
influenced by Taoism. Therefore, it is natural for people who are considering Kung Fu training to
wonder if it is compatible with their own philosophy or religion.

The short answer is that, regardless of influence or origin, the training and practice of Kung Fu is
not inherently religious and should not conflict with most other major religions. In our schools,
training has no reference to any religion. It may have been practiced in the monasteries at one
time, but this was because it strengthened the monks in order that they could meditate longer
and also because it was a safe haven for the martial artists of the day. Other schools try to
preserve the ancient traditions by incorporating Zen meditations or Taoist philosophies. This is
more often influenced by individual schools and instructors than anything else.
Normally it is not considered ethical for an instructor to try to impose his own views on his
students. However, the philosophical aspects of some arts may still be present in the required
training to the extent that some potential students would be offended by it.

We make certain that religious belief systems are not a part of our curriculum.

What is Chi (Qi)?

Once you approach the green belt you will hear Chi mentioned quite a bit in your study of
Shou' Shu'. What is this mysterious Chi?

© Sheng Chi Kung Fu 2010 14

Quite honestly it is just a generic term for energy. But that term may reference many things.
Kinetic energy is chi and so are electromagnetic waves. The Chinese terminology just simply
lumps all energy into one generic term.

In the study of martial arts you will run into examples of chi which may seem magical to you.
This has been the subject of many good stories. However always remember magic is certainly
something you don't understand. Just because a Shifu can place his hand on you and pulse a
wave of very painful chi through your body with seemingly no motion or effort do not assume he
practices some sort of alchemy. He simply knows the inner workings of his body better than you.

Chi is also referenced in many other ways. Life force, universal energy, etc. For the thousands
of years it has been talked about, it has never truly been defined. Some believe it is a life force,
others believe it does not exist. Some believe it is the power that drives the universe or the
sustaining force in our bodies. It is possible that it is one of these; maybe it’s a bio-kinetic
Phenomenon that science has yet to explain. Or maybe the power of the mind in union with the
body. Perhaps it is only a tool which aids in increasing ones strength.

Whatever it is, most people will begin to feel it around green belt level. Some sooner, some
later. Shou' Shu' will help you find it and develop it. And it does make you feel much healthier.

Should children study Kung Fu?

In general, yes. Some of the possible positives would be control of aggressiveness, developing
self-discipline, instilling self-respect, and self-control, as well as self-defense.

The major issue with children in the martial arts is the integrity and trustworthiness of the
teacher and the school. Martial arts are to be treated with respect. A true self defense art
requires that many aggressive maneuvers are taught. Because of this it is important that
children develop a respect for the arts. They should know without question that martial arts are
to be used only for self defense. This is stressed as a part of the curriculum.

The joints and connective tissues of children are more vulnerable to injury than those of adults.
Because Shou' Shu' is a soft style martial art its motions prevent injury. Elbow and Knee joints
are never snapped to full extension which will eventually cause injury or deterioration of the
joint. Many hard style martial arts require these hard snapping motions (It is for this same
reason that good baseball coaches will not allow young pitchers to throw pitches which require
hard snapping of the arm - like curve balls). Throws, however, are quite different; the small size
of children makes them naturals for learning rolls and falling techniques.

Will I be put into class with people of higher skill levels than me?

No, we have an orientation system. Students start off with two private lessons with a
professional instructor. After these introductory lessons they then go into orientation. This is a
program especially designed to help beginners get used to training in Shou' Shu' Kung Fu. New
students will remain in the orientation program for up to a few months before moving on to our
regular group classes.

© Sheng Chi Kung Fu 2010 15

I'm a little uncoordinated, will I do OK in Shou' Shu'?

Yes, don't worry, everyone feels a little uncoordinated when they start. Shou' Shu' teaches
coordination. We do this by breaking down each little body motion into smaller motions and build
from there. Developing a mind body connection develops coordination and balance. Studying
Shou' Shu' greatly increases coordination and balance.

Should I get in shape before starting my training in Shou' Shu' Kung Fu?

We hear people say they are going to get in shape first. Kind of a funny idea. The best way to
get in shape is to come in and start. Training in Shou' Shu' at the Sheng Chi Training Center is a
fantastic way to get into shape. We'll start you off at your level and go from there. You'll find
yourself getting into shape at the proper rate. This is important for long term benefits.

Do you teach kids and adults together?

No, kids learn differently than adults therefore we have separate programs for each.

Is Shou' Shu' an aggressive art?

Truthfully I've always thought that was a funny question. An art is not aggressive, people are. An
art is effective. We look at it in terms of teaching skills. Are some of these skills devastating. Of
course they are. You might need those skills. It would be terrible if we did not teach you the
skills for a serious life threatening encounter and you ended up needing them one day.

We teach you the skills. You determine how to use them if you ever need them. But of course
we will coach you in proper application ahead of time.

Taught in the wrong way, any martial art can cause big egos and attitudes. We teach our
students how to be aggressive if needed, but there's no reason to walk around with this attitude
all the time. Attitude is a cover up for low self esteem. Actually when a martial art is taught
properly, the student becomes more confident. Because they are more confident, they become
less aggressive. We think of teaching a highly effective and aggressive art like this. We want to
give our students the tools they might need for any situation. But you don't pull out a sledge
hammer to drive a push pin.

I've heard it called Shou' Shu' Karate, is it Karate?

No, it's Kung Fu. However, in the 70's the teaching methodologies of Kempo Karate were
incorporated to teach Shou' Shu'. The system of teaching through techniques was borrowed
from Kempo karate. Even a lot of Kempo techniques were used. When they were taught, the
animal motions of Shou' Shu' were applied to them. They were only used as a vehicle to teach
Shou' Shu'. Shou' Shu' is not these techniques, it is a set of principles which teach a highly
efficient system. However, take the animal principles out and you basically have kempo karate.

© Sheng Chi Kung Fu 2010 16

Is Shou' Shu' similiar to other forms of Kung Fu?


Are there other systems similar to Shou' Shu' Kung Fu?

Probably, but we haven't found them yet. When looking at other arts we'll sometimes recognize
pieces but we've never encountered an art that has anything more than a few of the pieces.

Why don't I hear about Shou' shu' in the popular martial arts histories?

Actually there are a couple of reasons for this. One reason is because the art was underground
for so long. When the martial arts were outlawed in China, Shou' Shu' went underground. It
actually fell into the hands of the triads. The triads preserved it, but because they were a
criminal organization, histories of the lineage and inner workings were not preserved.

Another reason is that Shou' Shu' was originally only taught to a select group. It was not a
widespread art. The more widespread arts are the ones that are popularized today. For obvious
reasons some arts were kept hidden and even their existence was kept secret. One way to think
about this would be an analogy to our own military. Does the US military divulge it's secrets?

A third reason that the art is actually comprised of seven different arts. Only when these arts are
taught in a combined system is it called Shou' Shu'. If they were taught individually they were
called by their individual beast names.

And finally and probably one of the biggest reasons is that in countries with less freedom than
our own it is possible that history is written by those in power. That means that history can be
rewritten many times. Sometimes these histories can be very removed from the truth. This is
common in martial arts. Some of the most prominent martial artists would pale in comparison to
true masters of whom you have probably never heard.

Is Shou' Shu' Kung Fu useful for competition?

Yes, if you adapt it that way and train for those conditions. Shou' Shu' is a way of moving. It can
be adapted to symmetrical fighting although our emphasis in the studio is assymetrical fighting.
There are several people who compete using Shou' Shu'. Some are very successful in the
popular cage fighting competitions and kickboxing competitions. It's just not our emphasis in the

We preserve the martial aspect of Shou' Shu' and any time the emphasis is on competition this
undermines the martial aspect.

© Sheng Chi Kung Fu 2010 17

Why do most schools spend most of their time sparring?

Because Americans like competition. Competing against oneself for self improvement is a
concept foreign to most Americans. Sparring was introduced into the arts to satisfy The
competitive nature of Americans. Prior to this it was only one small aspect of the martial arts.

Don't you need to spar to develop your skills?

Depends what skills you would like. If you are looking to compete in a sport karate, then yes.
Shou' Shu' Kung Fu will adapt easily to this. However our emphasis is teaching a true martial art
used for it's original purpose, self defense.

Do you Spar?

Not really. We have drills which are sparring like and designed to develop certain aspects of the
art. Unlike most schools which are focused around sparring, you will not find this at Sheng Chi
Kung Fu. We are a self defense art, not a sport. There are beneficial aspects of sparring and we
do have special classes outside of the regular curriculum which take advantage of these
benefits. These classes are invitation only and we only invite a student in when they are ready.

Isn't there a fast track to black belt teaching system?

Not that I've ever seen. I'd be very wary of anyone who said there was. For thousands of years
the process has taken time and work. I doubt it will change.

Can you guarantee I'll get a black belt in a given amount of time?

No, I would be wary of anyone who made a guarantee like that.

Are there testing fees?

No, we don't believe you should pay for something you earned. Although testing is a cost to the
school, the idea of charging for it just doesn't sit well with us. If the school does not profit from
the testing procedures then there will never be an incentive to promote a student for financial
reasons. It just keeps everyone honest.

However we do have a non-profit charity which we run. This charity supports our efforts in
teaching at-risk youth. At testing time a box will be out. If you so wish you may donate to the
charity at testing time.

© Sheng Chi Kung Fu 2010 18

Is your school mostly male?

No, about 50% of our students are female.

Is your school mostly kids?

No, it's about 50% kids and 50% adults.

Do you have to be a black belt for the art to be effective?

Absolutely not. You'd be amazed at how well a purple belt can defend himself/herself.

I know someone that got their black belt in under two years. Were they just a superstar or

Well I don't know the circumstances so I can't comment. Maybe they were. Maybe not. Getting a
black belt in one school means something totally different than another. It's best not to try to

How long does it take between degrees?

Same as "how long does it take to get a black belt"?

I've heard of 6 year old black belts, is this possible?

Not in Shou' Shu' Kung Fu. The term black belt means a lot of different things depending on the
studio and the art.

How old is your youngest black belt?

Currently the youngest ever to test for black belt was 16 (Shifu Sumers). There are no rules as
to age but we don't expect that anyone will beat that. With the huge mass of knowledge that is
necessary for black belt, it is doubtful that the age will ever be much younger than 16.

So why do most people think Martial Arts is for kids?

Thank Hollywood for that one. Prior to the movie "The Karate Kid" there were very few kids in
martial arts in this country. When the movie came out and was a huge success it created a huge
surge of parents who wanted their children to train in Martial arts. The martial arts schools of the
day just weren't ready for it. They had never taught kids and didn't know how. They scrambled
to figure it out. Unfortunately the pressures of catering to this new market caused many schools
to adapt in ways that compromised their arts.

© Sheng Chi Kung Fu 2010 19

Back in this martial arts gold rush, our school chose not to jump on the bandwagon. We avoided
all the trendy methods that were being used to attract kids into the studios and opted to keep
our art pure. After the dust settled we finally decided to develop our children's programs in 1995.
By waiting and observing how this boom of the 70's and 80's affected other arts we had a pretty
good idea of what we didn't want to happen to ours. We set out to design our children's program
with one of our primary goals being that we would not compromise the art in any way. Many
others found that simplifying and compromising the quality of the art was the fastest way to
financial gain. We decided to do it another way. Over the last decade we have developed our
children's programs with this goal in mind and we're very happy with our results. We now are
very successful at developing highly skilled martial artists at relatively young ages.

Isn't Martial arts for kids?

Well, it didn't start out that way. Far from it actually. When the martial arts came to America it
was an adult male dominated discipline. Many of the styles had come from a military
background. The students and teachers of these arts, all being soldiers, were men. When the
early martial arts schools sprung up they were very much like boxing gyms. They were back
alley schools frequented only by men. There were no women or children in these schools.
These early schools were mostly Japanese and Okinawan hard styles. At this time the words
Kung fu were not known in this country. Kung Fu schools in America came about a little later.
Many martial arts schools today predominantly cater to children. At Sheng Chi Kung Fu, we
have programs developed for all ages.

© Sheng Chi Kung Fu 2010 20


At the Sheng Chi Training Center we have spent years developing a highly
efficient system for training students in the art of Shou' Shu'. This system is
designed to maximize all potential areas of training. It is a group based
training and after years of experimentation we have found that students
who undergo this training system exceed the levels of students in private
lesson based training. There are many helpful instructors who will help
others on a one on one basis but primarily it is a group based training

All belts are split into three divisions. Each of these divisions is roughly
equivalent. Students learn the requirements for these belts on a rotating
system. At the lower levels this is a six week system. At the higher levels it
is much longer. Each successive belt at the lower levels is taught for six
weeks. We then move onto the next belt division of the three divisions. Each class cycles
through these divisions. If at the end of the six week cycle the student is ready to test then they
may test for that division. If not it will come around again in twelve weeks.

The order of the three divisions is irrelevant to testing. A student may test on any of the three
divisions to acquire the next belt. However testing is cumulative. A student must test on all of
them material he has previously tested on for each successive test.

Each six week cycle consists of four weeks of learning new material, one week of reviewing that
material, and one week of test conditioning (called a burn).

Previous material will not be covered in class. This is the students responsibility to stay fresh on
all material. This is a necessary self discipline and is required. Students who have not exercised
this discipline are free to attend lower level classes to relearn their material. Many students do
this as a regular practice anyway to keep that material fresh and further strengthen it.

It is the students responsibility to have all previous material tested on fresh in their mind at all
times. It is a simple discipline to practice that material each day. It only takes a few minutes. If
the student has not done so it is not the instructors responsibility to fix it. Attention will be given
to more diligent students.

You may also be interested in our online Martial arts classes. These are a great adjunct to your
regular training and can be found at our website

© Sheng Chi Kung Fu 2010 21

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