San Soo is based on five “families” of techniques.
Tsoi Ga - Striking
Li Ga - Leverage
Hoi Ga - Pressure Points
Fut Ga - Psychology of Fighting & Attack
Hung Ga - Physical Power
Teaching effective use of physics, body dynamics and common sense, San Soo trains the mind and body to generate maximum power while instantly adapting to any combat situation. Principles of leverage, balance, momentum, timing, controlled breathing and concentration give San Soo fighters extreme power. Because of its effective, no-nonsense approach, San Soo is used by many military and law enforcement agencies across the country.
In addition to agility, balance, and confidence in one’s self, San Soo develops self discipline and respect for others.
The historical roots of Tsoi Li Ho Fut Hung, known in America as Kung Fu San Soo, go back about 1500 years to the Temples in China. However, due to the constant upheaval in China's history, many records have been lost or destroyed, leaving some questions unanswered. As dynasties were overthrown and Emperors changed, China was divided and sub-divided into various warring factions, and each faction produced many different types of fighting styles. The art of Tsoi Li Ho Fut Hung is a combination of some of these fighting styles that emerged throughout the tumultuous history. The Martial artists, throughout China's history, have been forced to fight for the Emperors or against them using their fighting skills. It is only due to their unique fighting skills that the monks and the martial arts are still in existence today.
Although the martial arts came out of the monasteries, the monks are not the originators of the arts. The Buddhist religion is one of peace and not violence, so the monks would not have spent their time devising means of combat. However, according to Han and Tang Law, soldiers were not allowed to leave their positions unless they died or entered monasteries. Many of these soldiers left their positions to become monks, but took their martial arts exercises with them. While they had become monks to leave their positions behind, they continued to train in the arts and eventually trained many of the other monks.
One of the monasteries that trained in the martial arts was the Kwan-Yin monastery in the village of Pon Hong, Guangdong Province in Southern China. The main reason these monks began to train in the martial arts was to protect themselves from bandits and outlaws. They traveled from village to village collecting supplies and donations for the monastery. Many times they were set upon by outlaws and killed for their supplies.
One young monk that trained at the Kwan Yin monastery was Leoung Kick. He was an orphan when the monks took him in at the age of 10. Leoung Kick was at the monastery until the age of 30, when he decided to leave. Upon leaving, he took with him the training and experience he had gained as a fighter in Tsoi Li Ho Fut Hung, the fighting style that was developed by the monks at the Kwan Yin Monastery. He was the Great, Great, Great Grandfather of Chin Sui Dek, a.k.a. Jimmy H. Woo.
Three generations later, Chin Siu Hung, following in the footsteps of his family, became a well-known San Soo teacher. Hung was a big man both in status and in size. He was 6'5", 320 lbs., and the overlord of his province. As a practitioner of San Soo, he became a participant of the Lei Ti matches. These were competitions between martial artist of northern and southern China. They were also great social events for martial arts experts. Hung was famous for issuing challenges to the entire crowd of practitioners. In these events, the participants fought until their opponent submitted and often ended in death. When Hung issued a general challenge, there were rarely volunteers and the meeting became strictly a social event. Hung's style of fighting was known for it's crippling ability and few would challenge him.
In 1918, Hung's nephew, Chin Siu Dek, Jimmy H. Woo, came to live in his province. At the age of 4, the family taught Dek little fighting "tricks". When he turned 5, his formal training began. From the beginning, Dek was his Great Uncle's prize student. He learned extremely fast and loved the grueling workouts on the hard floors. In his teens, Dek became a travelling teacher of the art of Tsoi Li Ho Fut Hung. If someone in the province needed a grievance settled, Dek was the enforcer. When the village elders decided it was time for the young men to learn to defend themselves, Dek was sent to the village to stay for months and teach them.
In December 1962, Jimmy opened his martial arts studio at the Midway Shopping Center in El Monte, California. In the early years, he called it "Karate-Kung Fu" because no one knew what kung fu was at the time. He also opened up his studio to non-Asian students. He was the first Si Fu, Master, to teach American students. He went by the name Jimmy to these American students, and referred to the art of Tsoi Li Ho Fut Hung as Kung-Fu San Soo. He used the term San Soo to reinforce the combat style of his art.