Grandmaster Ch'ang Tung Sheng
Cha'ng, Tung-sheng was born in 1908, the lunar
year of the monkey, in the Hopei province of China. His martial
arts training began when he was a young boy, and by the time he
was in his late teens, he was already widely acclaimed as a master.
The nickname of "Flying Butterfly" was given to him early
in his career for his ability to swiftly circle and ensnare his
opponents. Grandmaster Ch'ang's teacher was the famous Chang, Fang-yen
who was well known as the foremost expert in Pao-ting Shuai-chiao
- the fastest and most powerful of the three main branches of the
art. Chang, Feng-yen was the top disciple of Ping, Jing-yee, the
legendary grandmaster of Chinese Wrestling. General Ma, the first
of the great masters to compile ancient Shuai-chiao techniques
for publication, was another prestigious student of Ping, Jing-yee.
In the 1933 National Kuo Shu (kung-fu) Elimination/Examination Tournament (involving
over one thousand participants), it was Master Ch'ang, Tung Sheng who, at the
age of twenty-five, emerged victorious as the heavyweight Champion. The government
sponsored games included masters from all of China, in various styles, being
examined (fist forms or Talu) and battling each other in (free-sparring or
San-shou) all-out combat for supremacy. Fifteen years later, after traveling
throughout China, Grandmaster Ch'ang proved he was still number one when he
finished on top in the 1945 National Athletic Meet and Shuai-chiao tournament.
Having won the championship in the fifth, and seventh national tournaments,
Grandmaster Ch'ang moved on to teach at the Central Police Academy in Taipei
for nearly thirty years. During that time, he was also the chief official for
the national tournaments, and Shuai-chiao competitions held in Taiwan. In February
of 1982 Grandmaster Ch'ang began promoting the art of Shuai-chiao by traveling
around the world. In the United States, Grandmaster Ch'ang gave demonstrations
and workshops to kung-fu organizations, police departments, and universities.
He also presided over three US National tournaments.
The unexpected death of Grandmaster Ch'ang on June 18, 1986, left the world
with many unanswered questions about Shuai-chiao. With his passing, he took
with him many secrets that have yet to be discovered by those who still practice
the art. However, Grandmaster Ch'ang did leave some documented works that are
currently being used by some major Universities and Shuai-chiao organizations.
These include the standardized belt rank system that has been adopted by the
USSA, instructional videos and books, and the poem of Shuai-chiao. This thirty
character poem, which contains the essence of the Pao-ting style of Shuai-chiao,
has passed on through the generations and is now the central core by which
the true spirit of Shuai-chiao perpetuates.