Born in 1937 in Hong Kong, Chu was educated in martial arts and calligraphy as a child. He studied: Northern Shao Lin from Master See; Fut Ga (Buddha Fist) from Master Lee; Cheng Wing-Gung’s Wu style Tai Chi; Yang style from Master Chan a student of Yang Cheng-fu and Tung Ying-jeh; and Judo from Gom Jen (Golden Well), a Japanese Master. Chu has never claimed to be a lineage bearer.
He came to New York in the 1960s for college and graduate studies. He earned a masters degree in physics from Queens College and completed graduate work for a Ph.D. (ABD). Chu always said he began teaching Tai Chi to further his own training. He studied with Master William C.C. Chen and assisted teaching at his school; and he took classes at the Judo Center in the East 70’s. By 1970, he was teaching Tai Chi both at Aaron Bank’s Karate Academy and Hank Kraft’s Judo School in Queens. Finding he had students he opened his own school in 1973. On typical weekdays in the 1980s he would leave a full day of teaching at Brooklyn Tech to open the Times Square studio for four hours of classes starting at 4:30 PM, to arrive home by 10PM.
Grandmaster C.K. Chu, one of the great Tai Chi masters of the twentieth century, died at New York Presbyterian Hospital Saturday, October 12th, 2013, after a nearly two year struggle with cancer. He was 76. He is survived by his wife, Carol, their four daughters Elizabeth, Linda, Diane, and Stephanie, and nine grandchildren. Contributions in Master Chu’s honor can be made to the Tai Chi Chuan Center. A memorial took place at St. Peter’s Church (54th and Lexington in Manhattan) on the afternoon of November 9th, 2013. You can learn more about Master Chu’s life in the Foreword to Why Tai Chi?, and read what some of his students have to say about the impact Master Chu had on their lives in the memorial guestbook.