About Chin Woo

The organization often credited as the champion for Traditional Chinese martial arts is called the Chin-Woo Athletic Association (CWAA). The Chin-Woo Athletic Association is the second largest umbrella organisation for Chinese martial arts in the world today. It is the only non-government funded international organization with a focus on Traditional Chinese Martial Arts and it has over 56 branches in 35 countries covering 5 continents.The word Chin (Jing in Cantonese) meaning refined, top-grade or spirit. The word Woo (Mo in Cantonese) meaning military, of the martial arts and brave & daring. The first of the CWAA was formed in Shanghai, China around 1909. By naming the then school, the Chin-Woo Athletic Association and not a kung-fu organization, the founders have avoided rebel and militaristic connotations. This helped keep both the general public as well as the local authorities from being concerned over any connection of this newly form school to any subversive activities.

As the nightmare of the 1900 Boxer Rebellion were still vivid and fresh on everyone’s mind.There is a romantic but true story associated with the founding of the Chin-Woo School. During the early 1900’s China was frail and corrupted to the core. The Ching dynastic government had to kowtow and made concessions to almost every foreign power whom has set foot on Chinese soil. With the official’s cowardice had led the people of China to consider that Traditional Chinese Martial Arts was false and unworthy. At the time there was this travelling circus show staged at the Apollo Theatre in Shanghai. In one of it’s act the performer, O’brian the strongman has openly challenge any Chinese people who could fight and defeat him. After having beaten several feeble attempts from the locals the strongman bragged that no Chinese Martial Arts could match his strength and skill. Agitated by this boastful claim, a group of patriots led by Chen Gong-Ze contacted Huo Yuan-Jia of Tianjin to come to Shanghai to accept this challenge.After much negotiation by both sides, agreement to the contest rules has been reached. The news of this much-publicized contest has reached national interest, as a contest to defend the honour and integrity of an important part of Chinese culture. Many people came from afar to witness this event. However, the strongman O’brian obviously had second thoughts about this and departed before the due day of the match. On the day, as not to disappoint the fuelled crowd that has massed in front of the 20′ x 20′ stage at Chang Garden. It was decided by Huo to take on any challengers from the crowd. In the next two days challengers were defeated one after the other.

The demonstration of Huo’s prowess on stage has impressed who were there and restored their faith and confidence in Chinese Martial Arts. Sensing this surge of self-pride from the people from this outcome, Chen Gong-Ze and others invited Huo to remain in Shanghai to teach his family style at the Chin-Woo Athletic School. Huo died some eight months later of jaundice (his nickname “Yellow-Faced Tiger”, probably stemmed from this condition). Huo’s senior students continued until 1919 when the founders reorganized the school to Chin-Woo Athletic Association at a new location with four new instructors, Luo Guang-Yu of Northern Praying Mantis style, Chen Zi-Zeng of Eagle-Claw style, Wu Jian-Quan of Wu style Tai Chi Chuan and Zhao Lian-He of the Northern Shaolin style.

With this borne the Chin-Woo concept of many arts under the one roof and a new notion of the modern Chinese Martial Arts School where a formal “introduction” before acceptance for training by the teacher is no longer a requirement.During the early years, the CWAA slogan being “to strengthen the citizens to develop the country”. This sentiment received recognition of the founding father of modern China, Dr. Sun Yat-San and aroused the patriotism of many established martial artists throughout China. Within the following years branches have spread to all corners of South East Asia, i.e. Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia, with recent addition of Taiwan, Singapore and Japan.In recent times, this association’s slogan have been extended to “Chin-Woo As One Family”, given that the fraternity have now grown beyond the Asian boundary into Switzerland, France, Poland, United Kingdom, North & South America, Australia and New Zealand.

This growth into a global organisation has led to a two-yearly international get together for all members in the form of competition and cultural exchanges since 1990. Twice held in Shanghai in 1992 & 1994. Guangzhou hosted the 4th Chin-Woo World Championship in 1996. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia hosted the 5th Chin-Woo World Championship in 1998. In 2000, Tianjin Chin-Woo hosted the 6th World Championship. The 7th Chin-Woo World Championship in 2002 was for the first time an international meeting hosted outside of Asia, in Texas, U.S.A.

Following on this mode, the 8th World Chin-Woo Championship was held at Warsaw, Poland while the 9th International meet was held in Manchester, England in 2006. The New Zealand chapter was first incorporated in 1995 and formally launched in October 1998 in Auckland, with 43 members. Since then, the membership has increased many folds with branches in Auckland and Wellington with members between Whangarei to Timaru.

The mission statement for the Chin-Woo Athletic Association of New Zealand is to promote Traditional Chinese Martial Arts and culture in New Zealand. In other words, it is to utilise Chinese Martial Arts as a medium to bridge the cultural differences and to develop friendship and cultivate harmony and peace around the world. Chin-Woo is also a non-commercial and non-political organisation.

The formation of the Chin-Woo New Zealand chapter can be largely credited to Mr. Kenneth Liu, an ardent supporter of the Chin-Woo movement in the past 40 years. It is through his passion and dedication to the course of promoting Traditional Chinese Martial Arts that has enabled the “seeds” of Chin-Woo to be sown in New Zealand.

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