The Making of a Butterfly

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The Making of a Butterfly

Traditional Chinese Martial Arts As Taught by Master W. C. Chen

Author: Phillip Starr

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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.


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6 x 9
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About the Author

A practitioner of the Chinese martial arts for nearly 50 years, Phillip Starr is the founder of Yilichuan kung fu, a system that merges China’s three internal styles. Also a 3rd grade black belt in Kyokushin karate, he is National 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."

Reviews/Press Quotes

The Making of a Butterfly is a rich story of old Chinese kung-fu meeting American culture. This book made me long for the old ways of martial arts instruction before McDojos and health clubs dominated the land. I had been waiting for this book for a long time and didn’t even know it. A wonderful book, lovingly written.”
—Kris Wilder, Goju-Ryu karate instructor and author of Lessons from the Dojo Floor and The Way of Kata: A Comprehensive Guide to Deciphering Marital Applications

“Phillip Star is a very personable and knowledgeable sifu in the Chinese martial arts. I endorse his knowledge and teaching, and hope that everyone reads The Making of a Butterfly with an open mind and body.”
—Sifu Harlan Dai Tong Lee, five-time U.S. National AAU Kung-Fu Champion and head instructor of the Gee Yung Fut-Ga Institute in Honolulu, Hawaii

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