Shifu Clifton James has been studying martial arts since 1984. The initial kung fu style studied was that of a Southern Wu Xing Chuan, Shaolin Five Animal pattern, under Master Tung Ping from Tainan, Taiwan. Training included Tae Kwon Do kicking courtesy of Master Tung Ping’s military service which saw him in the President’s Bodyguard as well as Sanda/San Shou according to International Chinese Kuoshu Federation rules.
At the end of 1987, with 2 kung fu class brothers, training was initiated with Master Chin Miel Su. Thereafter, the guans in Port Elizabeth at that time adopted the Shun Wu Tang syllabus.
The Port Elizabeth guan is closely linked to the Port Elizabeth Chinese Community due to Sifu Clifton’s heritage as a 2nd generation Chinese South African. The guan takes part in Chinese celebrations by demonstrating both martial arts and lion dancing on these occasions, most notable of these are Chinese New Year.
Due to the close links to the local Chinese Community, the Port Elizabeth guan has been fortunate to be able to benefit from various teachers sent to the South Africa by the Republic of China – Taiwanese Overseas Chinese Commission. These teachers have included a dancing teacher who taught martial art and other Chinese cultural dances, a martial art teacher who taught various hand & weapon forms as well as self-defense and a police academy combat teacher who taught baton and restraining techniques as well as self-defense.
The guan offers classes in Shun Wu Tang Nan Pai Tai Tzu Lohan Bai He Quan and traditional Chinese Lion dancing, both Cantonese and Taiwanese versions.
In March 200,7 Sifu Clifton James was promoted to 5th Degree Black Sash by Master Su.
Shifu Clifton James is currently one of the Senior Instructors of Shun Wu Tang in South Africa. He is also an Executive Committee member of the South African Chinese Kuoshu Authority in charge of Finance and Administration. This position has been held since 2000.
Shifu Clifton James also holds the position of being a Class “B” (National) Kuoshu Judge and Referee.
Shifu Clifton James was the team leader for the South African National team attending the International Chinese Kuoshu Federation’s World Championships held in Tai Chung, Taiwan in 2004. This was an unique tournament as the tournament areas were floating on a canal.