Extreme Seniors

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Kung Fu San Soo

Many are familiar with the name Kung Fu. There have been a lot of Kung Fu movies including Kung Fu Panda. Some may have seen the amazing Shaolin Monks who practice Shaolin Kung Fu. But, like any of the martial arts, there are usually different ‘flavors” that may not even seem to be closely related. From my understanding, Kung Fu appears to use circles as opposed to Karate and Taekowndo that are primarily angular. An example of the circular orientation would be a block that may be a large or a small circle. In Kung Fu San Soo, small circles are used and this time of block is usually referred to as a windmill. Kung Fu appears to be softer and more flowing than Karate.


The San Soo of Kung Fu San Soo (KFSS) means “crazy hands.” This is due to the fast small circles made with the hands for blocking and striking. Kung Fu San Soo is an aggressive style that emphasizes quickly moving in to an opponent instead of backing away. Backing away can be seen in Taekwondo where the practitioner is trying to move outside to be able to use kicks. A KFSS practitioner would rather move inside the range of the kick to use hand and elbow techniques as well as knees, sweeps, and low quick kicks.


Kung Fu San Soo was brought to the United States and was modified by Jimmie Woo in the mid-20th century. It is a close quarter combat (CQC) system that has no tournaments or competitions since there are no rules for such fighting/self-defense. For example, an opponent has a limited number of eyes that can be poked out. The art has forms for both empty hands and weapons. Classes are taught by presenting a “lesson” or two that are practiced with a partner (avoiding poking their eyes or breaking their arms!). There is light contact, sweeps, throws, and joint locks. It is meant for use in self-defense.


Some elements of Kung Fu San Soo are taught at the Albuquerque Taekwondo and Self Defense Club.