Su Yu Chang’s Passing: April 29, 2019

SU YU-CHANG (1940-2019)

su yu chang Su Yu Chang started his training in martial arts at a early age with the famous Kung Fu style known as “Lost Track.” Master Chang Te-Kuei also introduced him to the art of Praying Mantis.

When he was 17, in Taiwan, he continued his studies there with Wei Xiao-Tang and Li Kuen Shan, both showing him the vagaries of Praying Mantis. He also kept an active interest in Lost Track so he contacted Li Yuen-Tzu. Sifu Li also initiated Su to the powerhouse of BaJi and the grappling art of Shuai Jiao (Chinese wrestling).

As time passed Su’s Baji experience was further enriched by Tong Chong-Yi. Yu-Chang expanded his Baji training by Ma Ying-Tu, a direct disciple of the famous Li Shu-Wen.

With his own skills rising, Su became an instructor at the Central Institute. In 1960-62 he was occupied teaching at a military school. At one point he decided he wanted the complete curriculum of Baji and PiGua, so he asked Li Yuen-Tzu, but this teacher was disabled so Su was sent to learn from Li Shu-Wen’s disciple, Liu Yun Chiao.

Su Sifu helped to bring his repertoire to the world with seminars in localities like USA, Japan, Spain and more. He also brought a puckish humor and enthusiasm to his art.

“Praying Mantis is so unique that your opponent will say, that even if you kill him, it was worth it to see these techniques.” 

My own dealings with Su Sifu were friendly and made somewhat familial, I think, by my having studied with Adam Hsu. Even in his later years, Su’s technique lived up to “lightning hands,” as he was known. He had a special ability—sometimes dizzying to students—to alternate instruction between Spanish, Japanese and English, all languages he spoke along with Chinese. It is said that he studied more branches of Mantis style than anyone who has ever lived. I don’t know about that, but I can spot a lifelong enthusiasm when I see it.

While watching a well-circulated video with my class one time, one of my students commented that the film must have been sped up. I asked him to pay attention to a man smoking a cigarette, who sat along the wall of the small room in which Su performed. You could see that his actions were at regular speed, proving that the film ran normally. Su Sifu was the fastest performer I have ever witnessed.

And, of course, the Plum connection with Su was strong—we have represented his books and DVDs for decades. I also anticipate an uptick in the number of questions we normally receive concerning his long out-of-print video series. We will continue to investigate its republishing and inclusion in our library. If you want to see what we currently offer, please click here for his Pachi Tanglang book, or here for his Liu Da Kai Baji DVD.

May his memory be a blessing.

Below is a compilation of Su Yu-Chang’s performaces and those of his teacher, Liu Yun Chiao.


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