KFSS is a southern Chinese martial art. It is not a sport system; it is, rather, a combat system. Training in KFSS is a slow and deliberate progression where one learns how to attack the body’s nervous system in ways that cause secondary reactions that make other targets vulnerable. In addition to the fighting techniques, we also train with ‘forms,’ which are pre-determined routines similar to Taijiquan. We do use a belt rank system. It takes about four years to earn a black belt.
The art was brought to the US by Jimmy H. Woo, who opened a school in Los Angeles in the early 1960s. Bruce Bibee began training with one of Jimmy’s students, Ted Sias, in 1972. By 1977, Bruce was teaching women’s self-defense classes locally. In 1981, Bruce returned to Alaska — he had been here in from 1967 to 1970 working on the North Slope and on the preliminary survey of the trans-Alaska pipeline. In 1982, he opened a kung fu school with Ted Stickel as one of his helpers. Bruce and Ted trained together in CA under Ted Sias.
Under the direction of Bruce and Ted, the school thrived, gaining both adult and children students. Eventually Ted left and began training in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Bruce continued to grow the kung fu school. The picture above is from that timeframe. In addition, Bruce worked during the day as a counselor, eventually earning his Master’s in Transpersonal Psychology and the state certification of Licensed Professional Counselor.
Ted Stickel returned to AK in the late 90s, the Kung Fu San Soo Center moved to a larger location with two workout floors. One was dedicated to kung fu training; the other, to BJJ. A few years later, BJJ got big enough to go off on its own, and it split into two different organizations: Anchorage BJJ, and Gracie Barrra. The kung fu business wound down as Bruce’s family situation changed, and he contemplated retirement. For a while, he taught out of a gym location, but when the gym closed, the request for him to continue teaching and providing counseling sparked the next evolution.
The Kung Fu San Soo Center is now back in mid-town Anchorage, sharing space with Bruce Bibee Counseling. We only serve the 12 years old and older group now, and we’re open for evening classes through the week, and Saturday classes for basic self-defense.