An Eastender made me who I am today
He was quite an extraordinary man.
An orphan, brought up in the East End of London.
In a Dr. Banardos home. Apparently, he taught himself to read and write when he was 14.
His name was Clifford Chee Soo, and he was the son of a Chinese seaman and an English mother who died in childbirth. He reckoned he was the only Chinese Cockney in the the UK.
He was my first ’master’, if you like. In fact, he was a huge inspiration to me as a young boy studying the Li family arts. He impressed me so much that I practised relentlessly when I was a teenager, trying to gain some of his skills.
Later, I became the youngest instructor in kung fu in his association. I was still in school at the time and was taking my exams. To be honest my history and English were average, but my stick set and wrist locks were superb ;-)
Twice a month (at least) I'd travel to Coventry to train at weekend workshops with him and every couple of months I'd do a workshop in Llantarnam leisure centre in Newport. In Coventry, I was privileged on a number of occasions to stay at his home.
The stories about him were legendary. For example, a friend of his was a very high ranking judoka (judo player) and Chee Soo went along to one of his sessions where he ’sparred’ (randori) or fought with every player there and threw them all with exactly the same technique.
And the end of the session the guy apparently awarded him an honorary black belt grade in recognition of his skill.
And the point of this email? There isn't one really, I'm just fondly remembering some of the old times and what started me on the path that I'm currently treading :-)
Back then, it was all about techniques, like how many new techniques can I learn, how many do I know and so on.
Today it's all about skill and consciousness. Consciousness being a very valuable tool in your health arsenal.
Ok, so I'm not a cheerful, chirpy (Chinese) cockney character but I can help you along your own frog and toad or even to climb the apples to a higher awareness.
It's an essential step in becoming more skilful at everything you do and I've rolled out the barrel here:
Catch you later, me ol' China