The only American heir to W. C. Chen, Phillip Starr continues the master’s teachings in this useful guide that also profiles the exciting early years when martial arts were still new in America. Through this entertaining collection of personal anecdotes involving Master Chen, the author, and his classmates, readers learn a particular aspect of the traditional martial arts. Included are explanations of the importance and meaning of courtesy and the custom of bowing, the significance of training with weapons and how it impacts bare-handed skills, and the value of traditional forms and how they relate to actual combat.
Phillip Starr holds a third-grade black belt in Kyokushin karate and is the founder of Yilichuan kung-fu, which represents a merging of the three classical Chinese martial arts. He is the chairman of the Yilichuan Martial Arts Association.
Having begun martial arts training in judo in 1956, Starr soon became one of the first Americans to study kung-fu and was the only American student of Master W.C. Chen. Starr became a U.S. National Champion for the United States Karate Association (USKA) in 1976—the first kung-fu stylist to be awarded that title by the USKA. From 1991 to 1995 he served as National Chairman for the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Chinese Martial Arts Division, which subsequently became the largest kung-fu organization in the United States. Also in 1991, Starr returned from competition retirement to became the U.S. National Xingyichuan Champion at the AAU National Championships. The same year, he received the AAU's highest honor, the Presidential Leadership Award. In 1992 he was named to the Kung-Fu Hall of Fame by Inside Kung-Fu Magazine for "Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Martial Arts."