|Master Mollica on
being thrown by
Grandmaster Ch'ang Tung Sheng:
"Attacking Ch'ang Tung Sheng was like sticking your hand in a blender...
He hit you, locked you, and threw you to the ground with one whirling motion!"
-Matt Mollica, 5th Teng
The oldest form of Kung Fu, Sway-Jo can be traced back to Huan Ti, the "Yellow Emperor" (2700 BC). Sway-Jo means "competing to throw", so Sway-Jo is often called Chinese Wrestling, which could be misleading, since leg work (low kicking, leg tangling, and tripping), arm locks, and a variety of hand strikes are all part of this devastating system.
The father of modern day Sway-Jo was Grandmaster Ch'ang Tung Sheng who died in 1986. Grandmaster Ch'ang Tung Sheng was born in 1908, the year of the Monkey, in Hopei Province in the northeastern section of China -a province long known for the great martial artists produced there. Of all the Masters coming from this region over the past 2,000 years, one of the most pre-eminent is the legendary Grandmaster Ch'ang Tung Sheng, perhaps the greatest fighter in the last 300 years irrespective of style and certainly the most tested and proven one in this century. Grandmaster Ch'ang started serious training in Kung-Fu in 1915 when he was seven years old. He learned the basics from his father & grandfather, but later his teacher was the famous Master Chang Feng-Yen who was well known as the foremost expert in Pao-Ting Sway-Jo, the fastest and most powerful of the 3 main branches of this ancient art. Chang Feng-Yen was the top disciple of Ping Jing-Yee, who like Grandmaster Ch'ang, was a legend in his own time. General Ma, the first of the great Masters to compile ancient Sway-Jo techniques for publication, was another prestigious student of Ping Jing-Yee.
Grandmaster Ch'ang has often stated that Master Chang Feng-Yen was the best teacher in that time regardless of style, and, as a result, many of the most promising young students wished to study with him. Of many who came before Master Feng-Yen to exhibit their basic skills, very few were chosen. Grandmaster Ch'ang was not only one of those few, but by the time he was seventeen he was already declared a Master himself, had attained proficiency unmatched by any of his peers, was the favorite pupil of Master Feng-Yen, and had married his Master's second daughter. When Grandmaster Ch'ang was about 20 years old, he left Hopei Province and went to Nanking to study at the Central Kuo Shu School, the best in all China, in order to learn all the major styles of Kung-Fu. Since the best instructors and students from every major style were represented there, admission was an honor and exposed the practitioner to the widest possible cross-section of Chinese Martial Arts knowledge that could be found anywhere- in a phrase, if it wasn't practiced there, it probably wasn't worth much. Once again, Grandmaster Ch'ang's capabilities were such that after five years of training with the best students in all of China, he emerged at the head of the program and became the teacher of the Sway-Jo department, having also mastered the styles of Shing Yi, Lo Han, Tai Chi, Pa Kua, and most elements of Shaolin in addition to his own!
Master Mollica throwing Scott Sheely: