INTRODUCTION TO CFCWA
The Chin Woo (Athletic) Association (sometimes spelled Jin Woo, Jing Woo or Ching Woo) was originally founded in Shanghai in March of 1909 by Master Huo Yuan-Jia of Tientsin China. Chin Woo means “The Essence of Martial Arts”. The “Cloud Forest” Chin Woo Martial Arts Association was established in 1996 in the USA as a non-profit organization by Grandmaster David E. Wei Kash, under the auspices of the Hong Kong Chin Woo Athletic Federation and registered with the Shanghai Chin Woo Athletic Federation. Click to view the letters.
The purpose of the Cloud Forest Chin Woo Association is to benefit human health and society, and to disseminate martial arts worldwide, the primary focus being to research the sciences of the Martial Arts as well as Eastern medicine, acupressure, massage, and health sciences both domestic and foreign. The Cloud Forest Chin Woo Association wishes to promote the gifts that the eastern cultures have to offer, and educate individuals and/or groups about those gifts, including creating an environment where underprivileged children and families may experience and utilize the various Martial Arts systems. We believe this is the true spirit of Chin Woo, as envisioned by Huo Yuan Jia.
Traditionally, the responsibility of training and teaching both medical and martial skills fell upon the shoulders of the Shaolin and Wu Tang temples. It is upon these principles and concepts that we have founded our organization and college, seeking to revive individuals whom have the experience and knowledge of past masters, in order to start a new era of “real” and respectable Chinese martial artists and medical practitioners.
In the past, monks would start by teaching basic preventative medicine in order to keep the body healthy and strong so that it would be less susceptible to sickness and disease. This preventative medicine is known today as the Chinese Martial Arts or more commonly as “Kung Fu”. Through their study and dedication they learned very early that these arts, mainly used as preventative medicine, could also be used to preserve their way of life. This newfound knowledge eventually breathed life into a formidable and legendary martial arts system that is coveted (and in many unfortunate cases poorly mimicked) even today.
The Shaolin and Wu Tang martial arts were only selectively taught to certain individuals. A person would have to be of Royal Chinese Blood, well respected and high ranking in the Chinese Military, or be someone with traits of extremely high character, moral values, and dedication in order to be trained. More information is available on the Prospective Students page. Although during certain periods in China's history the general public was taught some martial arts skills during times of war and oppression, these skills were basic and minimal depending on the severity of the situation and were usually broken down to the point where a person could learn fairly quickly to be decent on the battlefield (keep in mind that even these basic skills were far advanced compared to the typical warfare of the day). This being the case, the number of people actually learning the complete Chinese Martial Arts systems were relatively few. It is for this reason that the Chinese masters have placed such an emphasis on genealogy of their systems along with a considerable amount of documentation (Our genealogies are listed on the main page for each system of study). A true master should be able to trace his system back, teacher by teacher, to a certain Temple, General, or Emperor…depending on the system of study.
Although the preventative medicine of the Chinese Martial Arts did help to diminish sickness and disease through a healthy body, not all of the people were allowed to practice this art, as mentioned before. Also, at times, some illnesses were stronger in nature and some monks would still get sick, although these occurrences were few. It was for these reasons that the monks researched, practiced, and developed what is known today as Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chinese medicine mainly uses a combination of herbs, acupuncture, and massage techniques for most illnesses. Western medicine has pulled a lot from these techniques. For example, the popular drug pseudo ephedrine (Sudafed) was developed from a herbal decongestant that the Chinese have used for centuries known as Ma Huang or Chinese Ephedra. Since its discovery by Western doctors in the last couple of decades, it is hard to find a decongestant without this drug in it. The Neosporin salve was also created from an ancient herbal formula. However, to reiterate, these same prescriptions have been around for centuries in China. This is not to say that one system of medicine is better or worse than the other, but rather, both have their places in the well-being of the human race as a whole. We can see this as Chinese medicine is becoming more prevalent in our society even in this day and age.
When dealing with true personal combat knowledge, as well as medical knowledge, people tend to follow the assumption that they are on opposite ends of the spectrum, and when dealing with the end objectives of each philosophy this may be so. However, much of the actual knowledge is the same. For example, a person may know the acupuncture points (also known as pressure points) on the body along with their relationship to each other and the organs of the body. With this knowledge a person can treat a disease, a bruise, a sprain, or one of many types of afflictions. However, this same person could quickly incapacitate or even kill with the same knowledge. Of course, one has to be taught how this is done; a person could not just pick up an acupuncture chart and start killing people. However, a person can't pick up an acupuncture chart and start treating people either. The point being that the same knowledge could be utilized in either case. Another example could be through Chinese herbal. A formula could be composed in order to help an individual, or one could be composed to poison an individual. Once again, knowledge of the herbs involved is the key element, although the ending objective may be different. Thus, two ideas on opposite poles, in this case martial and medical, are joined by common practices. This is part of the origin of the traditional yin and yang symbol ([) and also one of the reasons why these two seemingly opposite responsibilities were rested on the shoulders of the same individuals. Because of this “complete” knowledge gained through the arts, a master was considered high within the social structure of the provincial community. With this role came important responsibilities, mainly to the people. The master was not only in charge of the local militia, but was also the head of the provincial clinic. It was up to the master to train others to help in the community either in healthcare, or to keep the local peace. Therefore, it was inevitable throughout time that certain individuals would choose to specialize in one or the other.
The Cloud Forest Chin Woo Association has several college courses available to those who wish to become a professional Martial Artist. Within our college programs, a person may choose to educate themselves in either Traditional Chinese Medicine or the Chinese Martial Arts and Sciences. However, a person also has the option of becoming like one of the traditional masters of Shaolin and Wu Tang if that is their goal. There are not many people left in the world who have this entire knowledge. However, we feel it is our responsibility to pass this information on to select individuals so that the next generation may profit from it and eventually share this information with more individuals. That is the purpose of these programs.