Marty Anderson was lucky enough to train with Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin in the 1970’s. He visited Sigung’s school a few times and although they could not converse in common tongue it was the ‘lead by example’ and tactile feedback/observations that helped Marty pick up CST Wing Chun.
Marty commented on a photo posted by Mindful Wing Chun in January 2018 with the below story of how, after asking GM Chu about realistic fighting application within the art, GM Chu showed Marty, behind closed doors, what the power of intent and multi-limbed attack and defense really looked like. Imagine training with this young and vibrant Chu Shong Tin and the training partners Marty must of had.
Enjoy the story!
‘Thank you for your interest in my observations. I am not a good writer and can only type with one finger but I will do my best. I stopped practicing martial arts and Wing Chun in the early 1980’s so my perspective on CST’s abilities is limited. I believe that all the guys in the room in the picture could provide a far better evaluation of Sifu’s skills than I could. I can tell you that when I was training in HK at CST’s school I made a point to crossing hands with CST at least once every day since I would be at the school from opening til closing each day. I can assure you it was a very humbling experience each time. If eating humble pie was fattening I would weight as much as a building. I did not have the skill to push him to his limits to know what his capabilities were. I do not speak Chinese so my experiences were mostly observational except when I could find a student that new some English but that was limited to his understanding of Wing Chun.
Since CST did not speak English at that time I would mostly learn from watching. When I was living at the school I had an experience that may be of some interest and give some insight into Sifu’s abilities at that time. Through another student I asked about the combative application of Wing Chun since that was my main interest at the time and my time was getting short in HK since my money was running out. Through this student he told me that the best fighter was one who could block and hit and kick simultaneously in any combination from any position. He did not elaborate further at that time. When the school closed and everyone had left he would normally go back to his flat in the next building and I would make my bed and sleep but not that day. Sifu stayed and showed me what he was talking about through the other student. Since neither of us could speak to each other it was all action and demonstration. He showed me a side of him I had not seen before and had I not known what a kind person he was and understood what control he had on his hitting ability it would have been a terrifying experience.
His look while standing there changed from what I normally saw in the school to the only way I can explain it was like looking at a some what deflated ball to suddenly it was a completely inflated ball. His posture was very erect and I could see a complete concentration in all parts at once. His eyes were not the soft kindly look I had always been used to but a look of complete determination like a tiger that was about to eat you. It has no malice toward you other than you are now dinner. He had me attack in different ways and then demonstrated the defence by blocking the attack and hitting and kicking at the same time. It was an exercise in futility for me and the brutal destructive efficiency was obvious. The only chance was to be much faster and still there was that multi-pronged response.
He then demonstrated being the attacker and that was impossible to defend against unless you could block hit and kick simultaneously as well. The ease of his kicks were remarkable. I tried to question in a visual way about seeing people shift there weight to kick as a sign of their intentions when attacking and then he demonstrated some thing I had not seen him do before. He faced me straight on then leaned to his right and shifted all his weight to his right leg and demonstrated it by lifting his left leg of the ground then replacing it back on the ground but not shifting his body or weight back and then kicked with complete control the right leg without shifting his weight to the other leg.
The next day when some students came into the school I asked them about the kicking demonstration I had seen but they said they had not seen it before and thought I was mistaken as it seems impossible and defies gravity. They probably thought I was crazy. I later asked CST if he would show the other students and he did and they were equally amazed as I was. His control of his center of mass and concentration was unbelievable. Over the next week or so everyone was trying to do the kick but would sometimes just fall on the floor trying. No one could do it but I knew this was the key to the ability to this style of attack and defense.
The knowledge of something is one thing but the knowing of something is another thing. It took me many years to understand what I had seen. Over the years I have occasionally done the demonstration kick he showed me that night so others would see what can be done if you can control your center of mass. I believe I showed it to John Kaufman when we first met. I would never compare my abilities to Sifu’s ever but his lessons were not ignored by me and I worked hard to understand as best I could what was so generously taught to me and over the years when comparing with other Wing Chun players and other martial art styles I did my best to represent CST’s style even though my skills are so far below CST’s.
I still don’t know why he showed it to me then but I will be forever grateful. Back in the day and over the years I have had the opportunity to compare with many skilled people in many martial arts styles and I have never seen anyone move as fast as CST or with as much power. But I am not telling any surprising to people who have trained with him.’
– Marty Anderson, January 2018