When we wrote with appreciation last September about the Brendan Lai Supply Company in San Francisco, we bemoaned the fact that many unnoticed courtesies and traditional attitudes were in danger of disappearing. We had no idea how prophetic we were being. This January 1, the doors closed and this sign was posted in the window…

BLSC1“After nearly 36 years in business, Brendan Lai’s Supply Company   closed its doors forever on January 1, 2014. With the lamentable sea changes in the traditional martial arts scene, in the manufacturing sources in China and in the general shopping behavior of the public, Brendan Lai’s Supply Companty could no longer justify staying open under these adverse conditions.

BLSC wishes to thank its loyal customers for years, decades of patronage. Please share your memories by visiting

Happy 2014 to all.”

5 Responses to “Closed”

  1. Hal Asbury says:

    Supply stores catering to the traditional kung fu market have never been that plentiful, but in NYC and San Francisco-two areas where there was at least a measurable kung fu presence have seen their suppliers dwindle. We’re in between eras in my opinion. I just hope that the Chinese arts will have their essence in future. Modification up to a point is inevitable, but I’m hoping that they’re not gutted and left bereft of their unique aspects.

  2. Jeff says:

    As the owner of a martial arts school, do you (Ted) have to buy a more-expensive insurance policy if you teach weapons? I ask because of what I see locally – few schools teach weapons.

    Also, you need space to teach weapons and again, locally, most of the schools are in tiny spaces. If you rent space in a gym, you can’t teach weapons because weapons damage floors. I’ve been reprimanded at a tournament for allowing my staff to contact the expensive gym floor.

    I guess I’m asking, is there a possible monetary link to the decline in demand for weapons to the cost of maintaining and teaching these skills?

  3. Rick says:

    Oh no! I made a trip to visit them about 2 years ago. I ended up buying a 9 ft long waxwood staff, steel rings, and some shoes. They had a decent selection and good prices. I made several more orders with them over the phone.

    They started to put together a website, but every time I visited, including the last time I visited, (a while ago, to be sure), it was still incomplete. I don’t think a small brick and mortar kung fu store can survive in today’s market. They really needed to go online and sell to the world.

    It’s a shame to see them go.

  4. In the 1980’s I had two great loves. Inside Kung Fu magazine and Brendan Lai’s Supply Co. I am past sad to hear this news and I hope and pray the best for Sifu Lai’s family and lineage holders.

  5. I W says:

    Oh, D*mn!

    Since I had the day off on MLK (Jan 20, 2014), I considered stopping by after I was done shopping at another supply company in Sunnyvale.

    I was fortunate to visit the store 2+ years ago. It was a small shop, but I spent well over 30 minutes looking around. I remember buying some shoes and a book or two. Their weapons were too large for me sizewise. I didn’t consider that they could special order, but I was a beginning Kung Fu student when I first visited.

    I had checked their website a few times, but it was always incomplete.

    I agree that they need to be in the online business. Brick and mortar are only for those that have cash to burn. A Sunnyvale store I visited was located in an industrial district as a warehouse (small office lobby with a door leading to the storage area).

    I prefer to go in person so I can pick and choose. The trip will cost me in gas, but save me in time and shipping.

    RIP BLSC. I’m glad to have fulfilled the wish to visit as an adult after seeing your ads in IKF during the 1980s as a kid.

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