TEMPLE OF MARTIAL ARTS
Lau Kune Do is a traditional, American style of Kung Fu and Tai Chi pioneered in 1975 by Sifu Richard Tsim. It is a combination of the external arts of Wing Chun, Hung Gar and Northern Shaolin, and the internal arts of Ba Qua and Tai Chi, creating a highly effective and efficient martial arts system.
In 1975, Sifu Tsim was studying for his Masters Degree at the University of Massachusetts. A few fellow students saw Sifu Tsim practicing martial arts in the school gym and asked if he would be willing to teach them. Sifu Tsim agreed and they set out together on a path of self discovery. During this time, Sifu Tsim began to devise a unique system relying on extremely compact, economic movements that flow and adapt to changing situations, like water. Appropriately, Sifu Tsim's first students, Dan Connelly and Bob Cavenah, coined the term "Lau Kune Do", which means "Way of the Flowing Fist".
In 1980, after returning from a trip to Asia, Sifu Tsim decided to migrate to Southern California and started teaching Lau Kune Do in the City of Long Beach, California. In 1991, Sifu Tsim built the Lau Kune Do landmark, main temple on Broadway, making it the world headquarters of Lau Kune Do.
Since its humble beginnings on the university campus, Lau Kune Do now touches the lives of nearly half a million people.
The soft overcomes the hard.
The slow overcomes the fast.
The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.
The Incident and Inspiration for Lau Kune Do
"…It was the year 1974. Sifu and I were in college and we were roommates. We practiced Kung Fu quite frequently in our apartment… One evening Sifu came home from work… Looking unusually weary (he worked part-time in a Chevron gas station near downtown at the time). I noticed a small cut on his lower lip… I asked him what had happened… He told me that he had an altercation at the gas station… Two crazy characters stopped by and made a purchase of 50 cents worth of gas. After he finished pumping the gas he turned to them for the change… Suddenly, one character jumped out of the car and attacked him with a jab… Surprised, Sifu quickly leaned back, successfully avoiding the first jab, but the guy's second jab followed quickly enough to graze Sifu's lip causing a small cut… Sifu then parried off two of his subsequent punches, side stepped and quickly countered with a left 'cat strike', and immediately moved forward in an arrow step, hitting the man with a hard front elbow strike followed by a fast sweep, and finished with a quick and powerful back fist sending the guy to the ground… That night Sifu recounted the incident and was not happy even though he defeated the guy… He said that a guy from the street or 'street fighter' -- no matter how quick or good he is -- should not be able to touch a well-trained Kung Fu artist. He decided that the art needed change, to be much more simple, quicker, more effective and especially more responsive to a sudden attack. At the time I could see from his eyes, that unfortunate incident planted a seed in his mind… The concept of Lau Kune Do was germinating… Frankly, I think Sifu is way ahead of his time… If you stopped practicing what you are learning today in Lau Kune Do and pick it up 25 years later, the techniques and concepts, respectively, would still make sense…"
How the art's name, Lau Kune Do, was coined.
"In the year 2002, Sifu's father passed away in China. Shortly after he returned from Asia, he and his wife Jane, an Australian beauty, came to visit me and my friend, Eva, in North Andover, Massachusetts. I asked him if he would consider coming back to Massachusetts to restart the old school. I told him that I missed him and that part of my life. Back in the mid 1970s Sifu and I hung out, practiced and discussed Kung Fu almost every day. One evening, in my house at Turnpike 114, Sifu, Bob Cavenah and I were discussing whether we should train with 'forms' or 'no form'. Sifu responded that a skillful martial artist should be able to adapt to any situation regardless of how his opponent moves, like how water flows into different containers and becomes the shape of the container. Then Bob asked what 'flow' is in Chinese. Sifu said it would either be 'Liu' or 'Lau', depending on a Northern or Southern accent, like the difference between 'Kung Fu' or 'Gung Fu'. I said that, since the roots of the art are primarily from Wing Chun, which originated in the southern part of China, we should call our style 'Lau Kune Do'. Thus, the name 'Lau Kune Do' was formed and, when translated, means 'the way of the flowing fist'."